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Car-free Guide to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

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Posted by John Sannaee at 12:07 on Monday 29 July 2013

Our guide to how to travel to and around the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park without a car.

A forward thinking local partnership that integrates public transport in the area has made it cheap, comfortable and hassle-free to travel car-free to some of the country's finest beaches.

>> For great places to stay and eat, as well as ideas for days out in Pembrokeshire, see our
Greentraveller Guide to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park 

The Strumble Shuttle and Pembrokeshire's rugged coastline. Photo: Pembrokeshire Coast National ParkThe Strumble Shuttle and Pembrokeshire's rugged coastline. Photo: Pembrokeshire Coast National ParkA. Getting to the Pembrokeshire Coast without a car:

By Train:
The Pembrokeshire Coast and surrounding area is well served by the rail network, with major station at Tenby, Haverfordwest, and Fishguard. Lying on the West Wales Lines, they are destinations for regular services from Swansea, as well as some trains right through from London Paddington (particularly on Summer Saturdays), and a few from Manchester. Most of the time, visitors from the rest of Wales and Britain will have to change at Swansea for the last part of the journey to the Pembrokeshire Coast; Swansea has regular mainline services from a range of destinations across the country, including Cardiff and London. Arriva Trains Wales also operates local services to Whitland, Pembroke Dock, and Milford Haven.

By Coach or Bus:
As well as local Pembrokeshire buses serving the National Park, various destinations along the Pembrokeshire Coast, such as Haverfordwest, Pembroke Dock, and Tenby are served by National Express and Megabus from London, Cardiff, Bristol, and several other destinations.

By Ferry:
If you are coming from Ireland, you can take the ferry from Rosslare to Fishguard or Pembroke Dock (both handily connecting into the rail and bus networks), with either Irish Ferries or Stena Line.

>> For great places to eat and stay, as well as ideas for days out in Pembrokeshire, see our
Greentraveller Guide to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Solva Bay, Pembrokeshire, taken during a shoot for a video we're producing for Visit Wales on using public transport to reach some fantastic destinations. Photo: GreentravellerSolva Bay, Pembrokeshire, taken during a shoot for a video we're producing for Visit Wales on using public transport to reach some fantastic destinations. Photo: GreentravellerB. Getting around without a car:

By Train:
Once in Pembrokeshire, the train is not necessarily the easiest way to travel around the National Park, however local services on the West Wales Lines do cover several destinations close to and within the National Park, and the branch along the south coast of Pembrokeshire takes in some lovely scenery. For more details and timetables, check out the Arriva Trains Wales website.

Zoom along the cliffs and bays of Pembrokeshire on the Puffin Shuttle. Photo: Pembrokeshire Coast National ParkZoom along the cliffs and bays of Pembrokeshire on the Puffin Shuttle. Photo: Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

The Celtic Coaster cuts through Pembrokeshire's gorgeous scenery. Photo: Pembrokeshire Coast National ParkThe Celtic Coaster cuts through Pembrokeshire's gorgeous scenery. Photo: Pembrokeshire Coast National ParkBy Bus:
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park has an excellent network of buses that skirts beach and cliff to take you right to many of the popular beaches, villages and towns along the coast. The Coastal Bus services consist of five main interconnecting routes (plus the 315 Between Dale, Milford Haven, and Haverfordwest, the 349 running from Tenby west to Pembroke, and the 351 from Tenby east to Amroth). Each service runs along a different section of the famous coastline, the routes are as follows:
387/388: ‘The Coastal Cruiser’ circles around the Pembroke Peninsula

400: ‘The Puffin Shuttle’, runs from St Davids to Martin's Haven

403: ‘The Celtic Coaster’ skirts the St Davids peninsula

404: ‘The Strumble Shuttle’ from St Davids to Fishguard

405: ‘The Poppit Rocket’ from Cardigan to Fishguard via Newport

For visitors, there are good connections with the railway network at Tenby (routes 349 & 351), Pembroke Dock (the ‘Coastal Cruiser’, route 387/388), Milford Haven (the ‘Puffin Shuttle’, the route 315), and Fishguard (the ‘Strumble Shuttle’, route 404 & the ‘Poppit Rocket’, route 405).

These buses have different winter and summer timetables, but run year-round, and are supplemented by further buses criss-crossing the Pembrokeshire peninsula. For more details of all the routes and timetables in the area, see the Pembrokeshire council bus services mini-site.

Disembarking one of the local buses at the start of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, St Dogmaels. Photo: GreentravllerDisembarking one of the local buses at the start of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, St Dogmaels. Photo: Greentravller

Pick up some lovingly produced local food from the many local food producers in Pembrokeshire. Photo: GreentravellerPick up some lovingly produced local food from the many local food producers in Pembrokeshire. Photo: GreentravellerC. Cycling:
Pembrokeshire’s glorious coast features miles of well-maintained roads, including numerous quiet country lanes, which are virtually traffic free. The National Park is also criss-crossed by bridleways, and offers fantastic off-road biking opportunities. Cycling can be the ideal way to get to a hidden cove or hill-top view, just be sure not to cycle on footpaths such as the Coast Path if they are not specifically indicated as bike-appropriate routes.

You can take bikes on most mainline train services, however places are limited so you should always reserve a space in advance, by calling up the train operator, or heading to your local railway station ticket office. On local services in Pembrokeshire, reservations will not always be available and it will depend on space and business on individual services. Sadly, for the time being bikes cannot be taken on buses in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, due to the generally small size of the vehicles.

If you want to hire a bike upon arrival in the National Park, there are plenty of places to do this, and to pick up maps and local advice: Cycle Pembrokeshire offers a full list of cycle providers on and around the Pembrokeshire Coast. Additionally, the National Park’s visitor centres (below) offer help, maps, and more.

The map on the National Park cycling page can help you to plan your route around the Pembrokeshire Coast, and better yet Cycle Pembrokeshire offers a range of inspiring routes to try on its Cycle Breaks page, including some fantastic interactive maps. You can search for individual cycle routes around Pembrokeshire and the rest of Wales on the GPS Cycle and Walking Routes in Wales page. You could also find out about the work of Sustrans in Pembrokeshire and the rest of Wales, including useful information for cyclists, on the Sustrans Cymru website.

For more information, see Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s cycling page and Greentraveller’s guide to getting active in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

The Visitor Centre, Oriel y Parc, St Davids is packed with useful information about the National Park, plus there's a lovely cafe which caters for vegetarians, dairy free diets, gluten free diets and children. Photo: GreentravellerThe Visitor Centre, Oriel y Parc, St Davids is packed with useful information about the National Park, plus there's a lovely cafe which caters for vegetarians, dairy free diets, gluten free diets and children. Photo: GreentravellerMaps and further information
If you’re looking for more tailored-made help and advice for your trip to the Pembrokeshire Coast, visit one of the National Park’s visitor centres. Situated at Tenby, Newport, and Oriel y Parc, St Davids (with an on-site gallery, see above) the well-trained staff can give you bucketfuls of handly local advice, as well as plenty of maps, guides, leaflets, and more.

If you want a general overview of the National Park, the official Park website offers a clear, informative map that features all major roads and railway stations. They also offer a range of maps for walkers, plus a list of useful maps and publications that you could buy to accompany your trip.

>> For great places to eat and stay, as well as ideas for days out in Pembrokeshire, see our
Greentraveller Guide to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

The bus to Druidstone beach on the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Photo: GreentravellerThe bus to Druidstone beach on the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Photo: Greentraveller

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