The 'serene and beautiful' UK paradise island that is only accessible by boat

Priory Bay, Caldey Island
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Caldey Island, a peaceful sanctuary just off the Pembrokeshire coast near Tenby, is famed for its ancient history, tranquil beaches, and lush woodlands. This picturesque tourist hotspot, one of the UK's sacred islands, is just a brief boat journey away from the mainland.

The island has been home to inhabitants since the Stone Age and has welcomed various monk orders since the Bronze and Iron Ages. Since 1929, it has been in the possession of the Cistercian Order monks who continue to reside, pray, study, and work within their monastery on the island.

Priory Bay, the island's only public beach and a green coast award site, is ideal for swimmers when the sea is calm. For a quick bite, visitors can relax at the tea garden cafe with its alfresco seating area.

Priory Bay, Caldey Island
Caldey Island is off the south Pembrokeshire coastline near Tenby -Credit:Getty Images

Alternatively, those who fancy a picnic can find plenty of benches on the village green, lighthouse area, and Matthews Meadow, according to Wales Online, reports Wales Online.

While the Abbey and Monastic Enclosure are not accessible to the public, tourists can visit the Abbey Church viewing gallery and join in the services of Sext. Visitors can also discover St Iltyd's Church, St David's Church, and the churchyard where they can light votive candles.

Day-trippers can also explore the island's shops, which offer a variety of products, including perfume crafted by the monks. The Post Office houses a small shop and a museum that sheds light on the island's history.

A surprising treat can also be found on the island, as there is also a chocolate factory where visitors can tour and buy milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and fudge.

The island offers plenty to discover with numerous walking paths. Visitors can opt to amble along the coastal paths, take pleasure in cliff and woodland walks, head towards the lighthouse, or venture beyond the village through grass and gravel pathways.

How do you get to Caldey Island?

The island welcomes visitors from Monday to Saturday, from Easter until the end of October. Day-trippers can reach the island via boats.

At high tide, passengers can board the boats from the harbour steps in Tenby, while at low tide, a mobile jetty on Tenby Castle Beach is available. All children journeying to the island must be accompanied by an adult.

While there are no public car parking facilities in Tenby's harbour area, visitors can park in nearby car parks within a short walk. During the school summer holiday, a park and ride bus service operates from North Beach car park.

Is it possible to stay on Caldey Island?

St Philomena's, a retreat house on the island, provides a space for groups or individuals seeking 'a few days of reflection'. However, it is currently under renovation and is anticipated to reopen in 2024.

In the meantime, there is a Monastic Guesthouse available for men to stay for a short period or up to a week, where they can join the monks in worship, meals, and daily tasks. More details are available here.

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