A Guide to Caldey Island
Less than a mile from Tenby on the south Pembrokeshire coast is the picturesque island of Caldey.
Welcoming visitors from Easter until October, the island is blessed with sandy beaches, hidden coves and walks that offer incredible views out towards the south coast of England and of Tenby, a definite one for your Pembrokeshire bucketlist.
Welcome To Caldey
One of UK’s holy islands, Caldey has a fascinating history stretching back over 1500 years to when the first Celtic monastery was built there in the 5th century. Since the early 20th century it’s been home to a group of Cistercian monks, who farm the land and sell their produce to the visiting tourists to flock to the island to enjoy its rich history and beautiful landscape.
Aside from the monastic community, there are around 40 permanent residences on the island with visitors welcome through the spring and summer, shuttled to the island by boats from the mainland.
The island is a haven for wildlife with many rare species of flora and fauna found on its shores.
The adjoining St Margaret’s Island, a small rock formation at the south point of the island, is home to the UK’s largest colony of cormorants and is also one of the only places in the country where you can see red squirrels. They were introduced in 2016 as part of a plan to control rats on the island.
What you can do:
Once on the island, there is so much for you to enjoy and see, so make sure you leave enough time to fit it all in. You will arrive at a jetty on the beach directly opposite the mainland and from here you can walk toward the village or head out to the coast and enjoy one of the many walks around the island’s coastline. Maps are available to pick up in the post office, which will help you plan your day.
There are several places to visit in the village including The Old Priory, Sy Iltyd’s Church, and St David’s Church. The Abbey and Monastic Enclosure are not open to the public, but you can view services from the Abbey Church viewing gallery.
The monks make their own chocolate and perfume, which you can buy in the village shop. You can also visit the chocolate factory to see how it’s made. Away from the village, you can walk out to the impressive lighthouse and enjoy the views out over towards Devon.
How to get there:
You can visit the island from Easter until October via one of the boats that shuttle visitors on and off the island – which is a fun experience in itself! If you’re travelling by car, head to Tenby and park in the town and walk down to the harbour where boats to the island leave.
The boat shuttles run from Monday to Saturday around every 20 to 30 minutes. A return ticket must be purchased before getting on a boat. You can buy these from the Caldey Island Kiosk in the harbour, where you can also find out more information about the crossing including the time of the last boat to and from the island, which marginally changes through the season.
It’s around a 2.5-mile journey to the island from the harbour that should take around 20-minutes. At low tide, boats leave from Castle Beach, while at high tide you can catch it from the harbour. If you have any confusion about where to go, ask at the kiosk. When on the island, boats leave from the beach or jetty where you arrived – make sure to check the departure time for the last boat of the day.
The Island is closed to visitors on Sundays.
All crossings are at the mercy of the weather so changes to opening times are common. It’s best to always check before you travel, to avoid disappointment.
There are no vehicles on the island, so you will have to get everywhere on foot.
There is support for anyone with limited ability, but we recommend getting in touch directly before you set out on your journey to confirm.