Oh we do like to be beside the seaside, and while there will always be a place in our hearts for the traditional brash British holiday resort with its kiss-me-quick hats, amusement arcades and fish-and-chip cafes, there are times when somewhere a little quieter, more secluded and serene is required.
Somewhere, perhaps, that could be likened to a Caribbean beach with fine golden sands, calm, clear water and space to relax in the sun in peace. If only such an idyllic holiday beach existed in the UK.
Actually – don’t tell anyone – it does. Barafundle Bay on the Pembrokeshire south coast in Wales has often been voted Britain’s best beach thanks to its unspoilt setting backed by sand dunes and pine trees, its pristine sands and a sea which is safe both for paddling and swimming in. Managed by the National Trust, Barafundle Bay’s relative isolation lends it the tranquillity of a desert island, unmarred by the presence of deckchair attendants, ice cream vans and garish neon illuminations.
Inevitably, there is a price to be paid by those wishing to take advantage of Barafundle’s beauty. Located on the rugged and scenic Pembrokeshire Coast Path, the nearest any car can get is half a mile away in the village of Stackpole. From there it’s a walk along the cliff top above the bay, until a flight of steps (there’s one at each end of the bay, both too steep for prams and pushchairs) is reached which descends to beach.
The exclusivity which makes the bay so special can also render it a nuisance should you arrive on the beach and realise that you’ve left your sunhat, beach towel or children all the way back at the car. Everything that you need must be brought to and from the beach along that cliff path.
But putting in the effort to prepare your excursion is well worth the effort when you eventually set on foot on a beach which has been ranked among the top eleven in the world by the Good Holiday Guide placing it on a par with beaches in Tunisia and the British Virgin Islands.
The good news doesn’t end there because if, like so many people, you visit Barafundle Bay on a whim and then fall in love with the place there are self-catering holiday cottages in the area which give you the opportunity to return for a holiday here.
And let’s face it, for the chance to enjoy one of the best beaches in the world without having to jump on a plane, who wouldn’t want to return to Barafundle Bay?