Living Space

The Gatehouse, Nolton Haven – Pembrokeshire

When warm weather is just a faint hope on the wind. A faraway dream. There is an easy way to rise above the cold, damp darkness of dreary days. It’s easy. Spoil yourself. Go on. Don’t hold back. Treat yourself to a taste of luxury living, in a secluded piece of paradise, nestled deep in the bosom of Pembrokeshire.

With a picture perfect beach and bay just down the hill. Oh, and in case that isn’t enough for you. How about a hot tub? Actually, forget a hot tub, everyone does those these days. We want to spoil ourselves. How about your very own, personal sauna, gym and yoga space? How does that sound?

Getting There

We were staying near Nolton Haven. It’s on the coast roughly halfway between Haverfordwest and St Davids. Getting there is simplicity itself. Jump on the M4 and keep on going until you run out of road. Then turn the satnav on. It’s a joyous journey filled with curvy roads, pleasing views and enough scenery to beat a beauty parade.

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In short, everything they say about Pembrokeshire is true. It’s quiet, unspoilt, pretty as a picture and just like Cornwall. Without the crowds. But don’t tell anyone, they’re trying to keep it quiet.

Dressing Room

The Gatehouse

We were staying in the Gatehouse Nolton Haven A recently renovated, stonebuilt, new age barn that sleeps four, in two sumptuous bedrooms. It is one of those places that is so stunning, so drop dead gorgeous, that if I didn’t do this writing lark for a living, may very well have left me speechless.

Honestly. It’s that good. Imagine staying in a 5 star, Scandi cool, boutique hotel in Stockholm, except you’re in the middle of glorious countryside, in Pembrokeshire. In truth, it’s even better than that.

The attention to detail is unbelievable. Everything looks great, feels amazing to the touch and is superb quality. For instance, when you walk in the front door, there’s a bench where you can sit to take your shoes off. Mainly because you really HAVE to walk around this place barefoot or in socks. There’s underfloor heating throughout. A real thrill for the toes).

Yoga

The bench on it’s own would be lovely, but this one, has a sheepskin casually thrown over it, turning a boot removing chore, into a bum snuggling treat.

Don’t know the couple, Emma and Rich, who put this place together, but they are obviously talented, tasteful and totally at the top of their game. There are so many delicious touches, quirky corners and charming kitsch cuties, feels like a toyshop for grownups with an eye for the eclectic. 

Record Player

As if to prove my point, at one end of the house there is a snug, The Whisky Room. It’s just right for two to sit and reflect quietly on the days adventures, maybe plan more for the morrow, of just sit and chill. And just to put an extra cherry on the icing on the cake, there’s a genuine, old fashioned record player against one wall.

Record Player

With a stack of assorted vintage vinyl too, wide enough in range and high enough in quantity, to keep you entertained for hours. And in case, you’re wondering, yes. We did sit and listen to records for hours. Whatever else may have gone to the dogs in this world, vinyl still rocks.

Kitchen / Living Room 

But now, let’s get back to basics. The kitchen. Always a good place to begin. This one is exquisitely equipped with everything you could ever possibly want or desire, from cooking a four course dinner, to serving cocktails on the verandah.

Kitchen

There’s even a coffee machine for those hard core coffee aficionados, a toaster for sourdough sweethearts and brushed concrete surfaces wherever the eye might wander. It’s like a candy store for cooks.

bedroom

Bedrooms

The two bedrooms are each equipped with a dreamy double bed that looks expensive, feels extravagant and offers you the chance to sample the sleepy life of a millionaire. The room I was in is found upstairs from The Whisky Room and has a monstrously fine dressing room attached.

Whisky Room

A space filled with yet more stunning knick knacks and tasteful touches to keep you smiling. My particular fave was the full length mirror with golden fairy lights and steel stags head. 

Living Space

The fabulous living space is filled with a huge corner sofa, elegant Ercol style furniture and a steel and glass, sculptural stairway, leading your eye all the way up to the wondrous wooden rafters, along with the other bedroom. All combines to make Grand Designs look like a bunch of half hearted amateurs.

Bathrooms

The bathroom cum wet room is yet another superb space. With drench shower, gigantic egg bath and mood lighting which is as soft and sensitive as a baby’s smile.

Bathroom

Sauna

Stepping you out of the back door takes you into a delectable, oak beamed, chill out zone. A splendid woody space, just right for a spot of yoga, or to top up your triceps with the weights that line one wall. If you fancy getting all hot and bothered, there is a sauna centre stage and loving it. 

Sauna

With one wall of the sauna given over to a full length picture window, it is the perfect place to end the day. Or begin it. After the heat, you can cool things down with a cold water bucket, or a more genteel, good old fashioned, warm, soapy shower.

Out and About

A mile down the road takes you to Nolton Beach. A cutesy little cove, perfect for wave watching, body boarding, building sand castles, or just paddling. There’s also a cosy looking pub right above the beach.

Norton Beach

Wildwater Sauna

If you are one of those hardy souls that enjoys swimming in the sea, no matter how chilly the waves may be, this picture perfect little bay has the perfect accessory. A superb sauna by wildwater Sauna  Basically, it’s a posh shepherds hut with a woodburner in it.

Wildwater Sauna

You go to their website, book yourself a place and hey presto. Suddenly swimming in cold water is a doddle. You go in the sea, then in the sauna, then in the sea and back in the sauna. A most civilised way to get that cold water glow on.

Wildwater sauna view in Pembrokeshire

St Davids

Twenty minutes drive along the most charming of country, coastal roads takes you to St Davids, Britain’s smallest city. It’s one of those places everyone should visit, at least twice in their lives. A bijou city with shops, cafes and hotels aplenty.

Amongst the delights on offer are a butcher, a baker and what looks suspiciously like a surfboard maker. 

Fine Dining

Since we were staying in such a luxurious pad, we decided to push the boat out, go for a decidedly luxurious meal at Blas Restaurant, St Davids. It’s in an old windmill, part of a very swish art hotel and did not disappoint. The walls were covered in contemporary art, the staff were wonderfully attentive, and the food was the sort that arrives in small portions on large plates, yet satisfies every single one of the senses.

Blas Restaurant dinner

Each perfectly packaged mouthful packs a powerful punch of subtle, yet intriguing, flavours. My dining companion, who is a chef himself, reckoned this place was the perfect blend of inspired combinations and creative elegance. High praise indeed.

Blas Restaurant dessert

Coastal Foraging

Pete the chef was most keen to try a bit of coastal foraging, see what seafood we could find on our doorstep. So we met up with Craig, a local life-long forager who leads guided trips for Coastal Forager . A warm and friendly bloke, he really knows his onions. And wild garlic.

Coastal Foraging

He also knows all the secrets and delights of the inter-tidal zone. The weather was against us, so we spent the time chatting indoors. His trips sound fantastic, full on seashore safaris. As well as finding food to eat and cook, you also get to explore the inner workings of the seaside, whilst tramping through the foreshore. Since they’re family friendly, the chef and I are already planning to return with assorted kids and  grandkids in tow. 

Conclusion

This part of Pembrokeshire is perfect for a peaceful staycation getaway. With a gorgeous Gatehouse, fantastic food and enough luxury to live your best life for as long as you can stay. And don’t forget the saunas! Mmm. It’s hot stuff.

FAQ’s

How Much does the Gatehouse cost?

Stay from £140-£180 per night depending on season. Based on four sharing.

How much does Wildwater Sauna cost? 

Prices are £15 her hour for communal sauna, £85 for a private sauna for up to six people.

Which hotel is Blas Restaurant based in?

Twr y Felin Hotel, St Davids.

How long do the Coastal Foraging tours last and how much do they cost?

Craig offers two fully-guided courses – the Classic (£85 per adult, under 16yrs free) and the Extreme Low Tide (£125 per adult, under 16yrs free). The tours last approx 6 hours.

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