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Tenby's History

Tenby goes back to pre Norman times but the remains of the walled town you see today is from the 12th century. You can park up and take a wander back through time in the pedestrian only centre (summer months), filled with cosy pubs, delightful cafes and plenty of local arts and crafts.

Most of the old buildings in Tenby are linked through underground tunnels which were used by smugglers. King Henry VII actually escaped him enemies working for the then King Richard III through one of these tunnels to Brittany. Unfortunately most them have since fallen into disrepair and they are closed to the public.

It was in Victorian times when Tenby really became popular, with plenty of people getting paddleboat steamers over from Devon to enjoy a day out. Most of the houses you see today overlooking the water were built in this era.

Things to see and do:

Tudor Merchants House

Step back in time in this National Trust house, with plenty to see and learn about living in Tenby in Tudor times. Well worth a visit. More info

St Catherines Fort

The fort which encompasses most of the island was originally completed in 1870 but it was only in 1886 that it was fully armed. With the threat of war diminished, the fort was sold for a princely sum of £500 in 1907. The eventual owners turned it into a sumptuous retreat from their busy lives, complete with tapestries and animal skins. After briefly becoming a zoo for most of the 1970s, the fort has been mostly empty since. You can now visit the island and fort - Click here for more info

The Castle

Tenby castle has mostly disappeared now but you can still walk around Castle Hill, which is where Tenby RNLI Lifeboat station is based. Keen an ear out for the siren which means they are launching the boat! Next to the RNLI station is the old lifeboat station, which has since been converted into a private residence and was featured on Grand Designs.

Tenby Museum & Art Gallery

Tenby Museum is hidden away on Castle hill but is well worth a visit! They have regular exhibitions and plenty of information about the history of Tenby and the surrounding area. More info

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