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where to go before or after our Pembrokeshire CP hike

I’m part of a group of people from US, walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path for 13 days/111.6 miles in June. We are using a walking company and walking from Sandy Haven to St. Dogmaels. All trail hiking has already been planned.

However, a friend of mine and I would like to do some more sight-seeing either before or after the trail hiking. Neither of us have been to UK and we have yet to plan which is the best airport to fly into, London, Manchester or even Dublin. In addition to price it would also depends on where we would spend the extra days (3-5 days). What would you suggest?

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1834 posts

It could well be cheaper to fly into Dublin and then travel by train to Rosslare for a ferry to Fishguard (Stena Line) or Pembroke Dock (Irish Ferries). Check air fares on www.skyscanner.net and select “monthly View’.
You are right to also consider Manchester & London Airports. From Manchester, direct trains run every other hour to Milford Haven but it is a very long trip. (MH is the nearest rail station to your start point at Sandy Haven). Likewise, from London to MH is also a long trip. If doing either of these routes, I would consider staying 2 or 3 nights in Cardiff. (Go to the Wales forum where you should find some info on past posts about Cardiff). Here is a map of the rail system in Wales:> http://www.projectmapping.co.uk/Reviews/Resources/ATW%20Route%20Map%20-%20Dec%202013.pdf
Another way of doing it is to fly into Dublin; then fly to Cardiff Airport. Now, you could go into Cardiff but if you want to get to Milford Haven (or Tenby) the quickest & cheapest way (just over 3 hours) - take the shuttle bus to Rhoose station = £1; then catch a train to Bridgend from where you can get trains to Pembrokeshire. (I just check for Today & fares are about £21 but if I were to pre-book for tomorrow - some off peak trains are only £10).
Now, if you were to come on the ferry into Pembroke Dock, you could consider spending time before your main trek in south Pembrokeshire. You could take a train or bus to Tenby = lovely seaside resort. Tenby can also be reached by train from the east.
If you just want to hike the coast, consider taking a bus from Pembroke to Bosherston. Start walking the path behind the church along boardwalks by lily pools. When you reach the coast - turn east. See:>https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stackpole
http://www.tenbyvisitorguide.co.uk
http://www.visitpembrokeshire.com/attractions-events/castles-and-heritage/ (See Pembroke Castle)?
Regarding the end of your main trek at St.Dogmaels > you will no doubt go to Cardigan. From here, you could take a bus back east to Carmarthen where you can catch a train to wherever. Alternatively, you could take a bus north up the *coast to Aberystwyth - from where trains go east to Shrewsbury - where you can change for a train to Manchester or continue all the way through to Birmingham International Airport. (Shrewsbury is worth a look - maybe an overnight). https://www.visitshrewsbury.co.uk
However, I would also consider staying a couple of nights in Aberystwyth and taking :>http://www.rheidolrailway.co.uk
Between Aberystwyth & Shrewsbury is Welshpool - the town is not up to much but 1 mile W is:>https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/powis-castle-and-garden
The bus will call at New Quay & Aberaeron. You may like consider stopping in one or both of these places for an hour or so & then taking the next bus north - check bus timetable. Aberaeron has a lovely harbour surrounded by pastel coloured houses:> http://www.aberaeron-wales.com
For Buses:> https://www.traveline.cymru
For trains:> www.natioanlrail.co.uk (Cheaper to pre-book long journeys about 11 weeks out for specific trains - try and book with the company that operates the train).