By now, it was Wednesday and the weather gods continued to be nice to us. As it was much too warm for anything else, we decided to go to the beach.
Several beaches were rejected, as we wanted a beach with at least one other attraction nearby, but still a bit off the beaten track.
We opted for Manorbier, in the very south of Pembrokeshire about 5 miles from Tenby, which has a picturesque castle overlooking the beach.
We'd been to both the beach and the castle before, but considered them well worth another visit.
Manorbier's beach, reached by a path through the dunes, is a sandy one, has a stream running down the northern end, and is great for rock pooling.
In spite of the glorious weather and the number of cars parked in the National Trust car park, there weren't all that many people about, so that we could explore the beach and rock pools in peace, taking photographs and enjoying the gently caressing sea breeze.
Afterwards, we spread our picnic blanket in a grassy spot beyond the parking area in the castle's shadow.
Then, it was up to the castle, which dates from the early 12th century. It is a rectangular enclosure castle with round and square towers. There was no moat as the castle stands on a natural promontory facing the coast. The main gateway to the inner ward is across a bridge and dry moat.
In 1146 Gerald of Wales, the great twelfth century scholar known as Geraldus Cambrensis was born at the castle.
Our last visit to the castle was on a windy day back in 2013, when there was a rather disappointing Vintage Fair taking place.
Now, it seems to be much more commercially exploited, its facilities for weddings very much in evidence. As it is privately owned, and surely in need of funds to keep the place going, who can blame them really?
There's a well with a secret passage to the beach (bottom right), which was used by smugglers.
I was wearing my tomato red trousers combined with a lightweight short-sleeved pussy bow top, to which I'd clipped a flower to keep the pesky bow in place, as well as some pale pink beads.
My hat made another appearance, although this time with a different band of flowers. The bag is my faithful over the shoulder waterproof travelling bag from Dutch brand Kitsch Kitchen, which is a holiday staple.
Then came Thursday. If we'd had to believe the weather forecast, the apocalypse was near, as heavy thunderstorms and torrential rain were predicted.
Not in North Pembrokeshire though: we woke up to a grey day with some fine but steady drizzle.
The rain didn't worry us much as it meant we could indulge in one of our favourite wet weather options: a trip to Newcastle Emlyn. About half an hour up the road, there are two antique centres vying for attention.
Our favourite one, New Road Antiques, has a decent selection of vintage clothing, including a corner called The Country Squire, where Jos took the plunge and bought a vintage, Scottish made, Tweed flat cap.
My purchases were a book on collecting vintage fashion, a cute wicker and red leather handbag and some vintage plastic beads.
Jos also picked up a Bakelite loudspeaker.
After a car picnic, we called in at the town's one and only charity shop (Animals in Need), tucked away in a back street, where I found another vintage handbag (the light tan one in the photo) as well as several books.
The rain had eased off in the meantime so we decided to visit a little known gem hidden away just outside the village of Boncath: the Cilwendeg Shell House, which is only open on Thursdays between April and August.
The Cilwendeg Shell House is an ornamental grotto, a folly if you like, built in the late 1820s by Morgan Jones the Younger, who inherited the Cilwendeg estate upon the death of his uncle and created the Shell House in his uncle’s honour.
It is on private land, part of an estate farm, and not signposted at all, so we nearly missed the turning.
After parking our car, the folly was approached along an atmospheric woodland walk, where it could be seen shimmering in the distance.
Through the open door, with a barrier keeping you from entering, the fascinating interior can be admired.
Look at those lavishly decorated walls and ceiling, made up entirely of shells and sparkling minerals!
The Shell House, which was created by an unknown architect, was used as a garden retreat for the Jones family, and the fireplace meant that it could also be used in winter.
Wouldn't it be a perfect hideaway for whiling away a rainy afternoon, reading a gothic novel, with a fire gently crackling in the hearth, and all the lanterns lit?
I'm fascinated by the elaborate grottoes people construct. I've seen walls of glass bottles, caps off pop bottles, and other found objects that someone with great vision and patience decided to go crazy with. These shells are a wonder! I suppose there would be an unlimited number of shells to work with, but still!ReplyDelete
Great to see those wonderful red trousers being worn-and I love how you dressed-up the hat. Jos found a treasure in that speaker, and such a cool flat-cap.
A couple of years ago, I saw a kind of igloo with walls made of differently coloured glass bottles. But that shell house was something else altogether. I guess I should wear the red trousers more, but to be honest I feel much more comfortable in a dress or skirt ... xxxDelete
so amazing landscapes and beautiful places to visit!, all the castles and buildings, the beach, the shells and rocks!, I always enjoy your posts!ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing the details about your bag, which I've been watching some posts ago. It looks like a perfect (and colorful) bag for travels! (and my kind of comfy bag too!)
And I love your comfy & cool outfits, those vintage shirts and cute hat with different flower bands are fabulous!
I think you're inspiring me to complete my picnic equipment, as yours is so cute!, I love that basket!
Thank you Monica! It's indeed a perfect bag for travelling, waterproof and with a couple of compartments which can be zipped up. Having looked at Kitsch Kitchen's website, I'm not sure they still do those bags though, which is a pity ... xxxDelete
Oh wow, that shell house is amazing. So much love and work has gone into it. I'd have been tempted to go back to those rockpools and start collecting shells for my own version...ReplyDelete
(Also, your pussybow blouse is ace.)
I just love a pussybow blouse ...Delete
You'd need to collect quite a bit of shells, I guess. I wonder how many were used in that shell house! xxx
Love that Bakelite speaker and that vintage shop looks right up your street!ReplyDelete
I find those shell places fascinating. We visited a stately home once that had an entire room like that with it all over the walls and ceiling. The rest of the house was normal, so it was quite a stark contrast when you first walked in. xx
The Bakelite speaker was a lucky find for Jos. I didn't buy much in that vintage shop, though. Can you believe they had no proper fitting room. If you wanted to try something on, you had to do it in the staff loos ... xxxDelete
Manorbier was a great choice of beach and a place I've never heard of.ReplyDelete
With your knowledge of Welsh history, I'm thoroughly enjoying your series of holiday blogs. The photography is excellent too. xxx
Thank you Sally! Manorbier's a great little place if you're ever in the area. No use visiting those places without at least a little grasp of their histories ... xxxDelete
I always find shell grottos and houses so fascinating and for some odd reason, a bit creepy too, but that wouldn't put me off from sleeping in on though!ReplyDelete
Glad to read that you're enjoying your Welsh trip and home you'll find some more bargains on your travels! xx
I wouldn't have minded spending the afternoon reading inside that shell house, after visiting hours, of course. We did have a great holiday, even if the weather wasn't on its best behaviour ... xxxDelete
The beach looks lovely, as does your picnic basket-Tyrells too! I LOVE the secret passage idea! Having my imagination nourished by a hefty diet of Emission Blyton as a child, my ambition is to go into such a secret passage!!ReplyDelete
Thank you Kezzie! I've loved Tyrells ever since I discovered them while on holiday in Herefordshire. They're quite hard to find in Belgium! xxxDelete
The Shell House is AMAZING!! Very beautifully done.ReplyDelete
I loved your 'hack' to keep the pussy-bow at bay. That is very clever. You are a very stylishly dressed tourist. I'm sure your lovely clothes and hat make you stand out in the crowd!
Looking forward to more Wales pics.
Happy thrifting ;)
I love a pussy-bow, but they're not always practical, especially when travelling. Hair clips are quite handy devices for keeping them in bay! xxxDelete
I went to a shell museum in Dorset I think it was, as a child, and it scared the living daylights out of me! It was a series of rooms formed entirely from shells and the work that went in to each was incredible, but that didn't stop my abject terror with each step!ReplyDelete
I can imagine it being scary for a child, especially when you're actually in the room(s). It must have been quite claustrophobic. Not sure how I'd had reacted ... xxxDelete
You have picked a perfect spot for beach-combing and picnicking! The rocks are really beautiful - here, most of the rocks are a shade of gray, and I love seeing the colorful red and yellow stones. You had a good treasure hunt again! And that shell interior is so unique and simply AMAZING!!! Lots of love!ReplyDelete
Manorbier is especially known for its red rocks, and those rockpools are quite fascinating, a photographer's dream! xxxDelete
I would love to find sea glass sometime. Beaches are fascinating. I'm a great one for gathering stones.ReplyDelete
Thanks for visiting my blog, Anna! I love exploring beaches, but I've never found sea glass either. I always bring home shells and stones, though! xxxDelete
oh yes - that "grotto" is marvelous!!ReplyDelete
you found some chic bags at the shops - and *The Country Squire* corner would have been the BW´s fav shopping destination :-)))
i wonder if you did not swim at the beaches?? not even wetting your feet in the rock pools? (i´m a bit of a seal - i even go swimming in november in the baltic sea....)
lots of hugses! xxxxx <3
I'm a real wuss when it comes to swimming in the sea, but I do dip my toes into it sometimes! I'll prove it to you next time I'm at the seaside ;-) xxxDelete
Ah you got to visit the shell house!! It was closed for winter last time we were in that area. It's still on my list. xReplyDelete
Oh, you must try and visit it some time. It's a delightful short walk up there, and the shell house itself is really worth a visit. It's been on our list for seven years, but we only made it this year, as it's only open on Thursdays, even in summer!Delete
I love those shell grottoes! I've seen them on TV but never seen one for real.ReplyDelete
So glad you managed to give those red trousers an outing, they look fantastic on you. We've got a cracking Scottish tweed jacket on our rails to match Jos's flat cap! xxx
I guess I'll need to wear those trousers more, but I do so love wearing my frocks! I've been trying to get Jos to wear a tweed jacket for years, but I think I'm making progress ... xxxDelete
You pack so much into your days. The beach looks idyllic, and the castle - well I rather like the idea of getting married in the ruins of a castle (not that I'll be getting married again - a vow renewal perhaps?)ReplyDelete
The shell house is amazing. I really do forget that we have so much to do and see here - why do foreign shores always seems more interesting than our own?
The castle would indeed be a lovely setting for a wedding! Looking back, it does indeed look like we packed much into our days. It didn't really feel like that, though, as we always do everything at a leisurely pace ... xxxDelete