Saturday, 13 June 2015

2015 - Day Out 05: Tenby

Date: Saturday 06 June 2015

We are back on the coach again and with us returning to Whittles, we decide to visit Tenby and Saundersfoot, a place that I love and after 7 years since I was on holiday in this area, I am looking forward to the day ahead.

Tenby Harbour
We are the first pick up and I make my way to Wollaston, just as Mr UKBuses arrives on the first National Express West Midlands Service 276 of the day. We make a beeline to the Post office where we purchase liquid refreshments for the journey ahead and make our way back to the bus stop, our pick up point, with other passengers waiting, where at 07:10am, our Whittles coach makes it way from Stourbridge and pulls up at our stop, where we board. We make ourselves comfortable ready to pick up the other passengers before heading to our final destination, we make our way to Franche, Kidderminster, Bewdley, The Whittles Depot and Stourport and just before 08.00am we make our way to Tenby, but before that our coach drivers of the day, Gary and Cecilia read out the mandatory health and safety information before Gary puts his foot down.

We make our way onto the M5 and onto the M50, stopping off for a refreshment break at Cardiff Gate services, making our way into the services via the tradesman's entrance, after a "fresh air" break of course. We do go to purchase breakfast from Burger King, but with the slow service and queue ahead of us, we decide to get a sandwich from Waitrose, both of us opting for the Chicken and Bacon. We take our seats and start eating and find out that there is no bacon on our pre-made sandwiches! We head back to the coach having some more "fresh air" before boarding, See picture below.

Our Whittles Coach
It's Cecilia's turn to take the wheel and we leave the services and head towards Tenby, along the way we pass through Port Talbot, Llanelli and Swansea, on the M4, before heading into Carmarthen. We make our way through Carmarthen, with Cecilia trying to get past a horse box before heading into St Clears. From Carmarthen, I'm back on known territory as I know the route that will be taken, so we head along the dual carriageway and arrive at St Clears heading straight over the island and then I get confused as, since my last visit 7 years ago, they have constructed a new road, which actually improves the journey by chopping some mileage off the route and will enable us to get us to Tenby quicker. After our brief journey along the new road, we are back on familiar roads and we are not too far away from Tenby and as we pass the Stepaside and Kilgetty turn off, a place where I stay when coming on holiday in these parts and where I will also be staying again in a couple of months, we head along the main road to Tenby, with Gary telling us some facts about Tenby, half of them which I already knew and a welcoming view is seen when I see the Tenby viaduct, which we pass under and head up to the hill, where just after 12 midday we arrive at our destination of Tenby and alight our coach on South Parade.

Cheers! From The Three Mariners
"Fresh Air" is had before entering the town via the Five Arches entrance in the town's medieval walls and we decide to have some liquid refreshment in "The Three Mariners", see picture left. After getting our breath back and recovering from the journey down we look at the plan and notice we can get an extra hour in Saundersfoot, so we drink up and make our way to Upper Park Road, where our bus can be seen at the stop, luckily we make it on time and we board our Silcox Coaches Service 352, and we make our way out of Tenby and towards Saundersfoot, passing New Hedges along the way. We arrive in Saundersfoot and before having a look around, we are after food and decide to make a visit to my favourite chip shop in Saundersfoot, "The Argosy" - fish and chips are purchased and we take the short walk to the harbour front where, luckily, a bench becomes available just as we arrive and we sit down overlooking the sea eating our fish and chips, which I nearly drop when a low flying seagull decides to annoy us. It is a clear day and Mr UKBuses points out some land in the distance which I tell him that it is Devon, Ilfracombe to be exact. I feel disappointed at The Argosy, even though the chips were to the normal, beautiful standard, they let us down with the fish as it was full of bones.

The new Coppet Hall carpark and Coast Restaurant

Mr UKBuses leaves The Hean Castle
Dinner finished, I want to make a visit to Coppet Hall, so Mr UKBuses decides to stay on the bench whilst I investigate. I make my way half a mile up The Strand and through the little old railway tunnel where upon leaving, I arrive at Coppet Hall and am shocked of the difference. I heard that they had redeveloped the area, which was once just a sandy car park, but it has been transformed into a landscaped, tarmac covered car park and also a brand new building has been constructed which plays host to the "Coast" restaurant, see picture above. A few photographs are taken and I make my way back through the tunnel and back along The Strand to the seafront, passing what was once the "Coal" office building, which was later converted into a Fish and Chip shop and latterly played host to the Tourist Information Centre. The Tourist Information Centre has been moved to The Regency Hall and this once grand building has now been deserted and is sad to see what it looks like now, compared to what it once was. I meet up with Mr UKBuses and we decide to pay a visit to "The Hean Castle" where a pint of "Doombar" is purchased, see picture left (with Mr UKBuses leaving The Hean Castle last!). Mr UKBuses spots the pool table so we decide to have a game. Mr UKBuses wins the first round after I pocketed the black in the wrong pocket, I take the second round, so a decider needs to be played which I take the victory after a surprising comeback. After my victory, we finish our drinks and decide to make our way back to Tenby to take a boat ride to Caldey Island, as we pass the old hotel, we turn the corner and see a Silcox Coaches Service 351 at the bus stop, so we board the "Coach" which has come from Pendine, Amroth and Wiseman's Bridge and take our seats for the return journey to Tenby.

We arrive back in Tenby and alight at South Parade and I take a short cut though an entrance in the town wall, which brings us out by the church in the town and make our way towards the harbour. We make our way down a narrow road where I point out to Mr UKBuses where the harbour webcam is located and carry on down to the harbour where we can book our boat trip, as we arrive there are no boat trips today as there is a sign saying "Sea Not Nice!", so we decide to have a short walk to the South Beach, after a quick look at the old and new lifeboat stations,  where Mr UKBuses has an ice-cream and takes a seat looking out towards St Catherine's Island, an old fort and also we can see Caldey Island where we planned to visit and the sea looks nice! Ice cream finished we make our way back to the harbour and into the town. Along the way we decide to have a pit stop and head into "The Hope and Anchor" where we have a pint of Felinfoel Brewery's "Double Dragon" with Mr UKBuses upsetting a fellow coach passenger by grabbing the only free table outside. After we finish our drinks we make our way further into the town, where we make a visit to "Dales", an old fashioned music shop owned by the older brother of Actor Charles Dale, with my knowledge confirmed by showing Mr UKBuses a signed picture of him on display in the shop. On previous holidays I always enter this shop and always come out with a T-Shirt and this visit is no difference with a Metallica "And Justice For All" T-Shirt purchased.

Cheers! From The Cove Inn
After my impulse purchase, we still have time in Tenby before catching the coach back, so we decide to sample a couple of more hostelries, the first being  "The Cove Inn", see picture right, which looks like it has recently undergone a refurbishment, it is Mr UKBuses turn to get this round and out of all of the rounds purchased today, he has had the two lowest priced ones, must be a "Doombar" thing as they were both pints of "Doombar". With the pints finished we head out and go down the passageway by the church again, where upon spotting a fish and chip shop, we decide to sample a portion of chips from The Ocean Fish and Chip Shop, filling us up for the journey back home. We carry on down one of the old town streets eating our chips and whilst Mr UKBuses finishes his, I take the opportunity to visit the nearby sweet shop so that I can get some sticks of rock for people back home. Mr UKBuses finishes his chips, so we have time for a final pint in Tenby before catching the coach, so we head opposite and enter "The Five Arches Tavern" and ordered the "Brains SA". This was a nice traditional pub and must be an old building in the town as the walls were made of stone.

Drinks finished we leave the Five Arches Tavern and walk through the Five Arches in the town wall bringing us out on South Parade where we have only a few minutes to wait for our coach to turn up. Due to a couple of buses being at the bus stop, our coach had to drive around the corner and onto Upper Park Road to pick us up, so all the passengers made their way to the coach and we all boarded promptly and took our seats for the journey back. Bang on time at 5.00pm we depart and say goodbye to Tenby (only for a couple of months for me), and make our way back through New Hedges and onto the main road towards St Clears and Carmarthen. We get back onto the motorway and pass Swansea and Cardiff and we take a slightly different route seeing as we don't have to pay on the return journey, we go across the Severn Bridge and leave Wales behind and enter England. Not long after being in England, we stop off at Michael Wood's Services for a break and some "Fresh Air" and everyone boards promptly ready for the final leg of the journey, with Cecilia taking over the driving duties and Gary acting as DJ by putting some cryptic music on.

We head up the M5 and just after Worcester we leave the motorway and make our way to Stourport for the first drop off point and then it is a return trip to the depot, but unless I didn't say anything, Cecilia would have missed it out and gone to Bewdley. After we visit the depot, we head into Bewdley, Kidderminster and then Franche. Upon leaving Franche, Cecilia takes a different route and heads onto the Norton Road and Mr UKBuses sees an opportunity and asks to be dropped off at the bus stop in Norton Road, so we bid goodbye to Mr UKBuses. I stay on board and we head into Stourbridge first and the final drop off is my stop at Wollaston arriving at 09.50pm, where I bid farewell and say thanks to Cecilia and Gary. Before I head home I do decide have a nightcap at "The Unicorn" and a pint of Bathams before going home and resting my legs.

Yet another good trip was had with Whittles, with memories flooding back of my past holidays in the area and also a big thanks must go to our Drivers, Cecilia and Gary and also to Mr UKBuses for choosing Tenby as one of our coaching destinations, speaking of Mr UKBuses, here are his bald spots:

Bald Spot 1

Bald Spot 1: The Bald Spot looks out to sea towards Amroth and Pendine Sands.

Bald Spot 2

Bald Spot 2: The Bald Spot outside The Hean Castle, Saundersfoot.

Bald Spot 3

Bald Spot 3: The Bald Spot decides to hide at Tenby Harbour.