Milford Haven, Wales
The town of Milford Haven did not exist when Shakespeare wrote his play Cymbeline. First staged in 1611, the play preceded the town by almost 200 years: It was not until 1793 that Sir William Hamilton founded Milford Haven.
Still, Shakespeare referred to “blessed Milford” in this perhaps not very well-known play. There is an explanation, of course. The town’s name is derived from the Milford Haven waterway, which for centuries has been known as a safe harbor. The list of those who have taken advantage of the sheltered location is long, including Vikings and various army leaders.
Almost fjord-like, this waterway was formed at the end of the last Ice Age. The result is one of the deepest natural harbors in the world. Both the port and the waterway are core to the economy and history of south-west Wales, an area of the UK that many consider to be one of the finest parts of the country.
That’s at least in part due to the scenery offered in the UK’s only coastal National Park, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The spectacular coastline is a mixture of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, woody estuaries and inland hills.
With some 13,000 inhabitants, Milford Haven is part of an area known as “Little England Beyond Wales.” The expression reflects the fact that, although part of Wales, English, not Welsh, has for a long time been the predominant language here.
Only some 8.6 miles/14 kilometers from Milford Haven is Pembroke, with the magnificent Pembroke Castle. The castle traces its roots to the late 11th century, and is the birthplace of Henry Tudor. As Henry VII of England, he was later to become the first monarch of the House of Tudor.
With such a range of landmarks within reach from Milford Haven, surely one must agree that Milford has been blessed.
Depending on size and schedules, cruise ships can be accommodated alongside at Pembroke Dock Ferry Terminal and Pembroke Port, or in a designated anchorage off the Haven fairway.
- Visit Castell Henllys Iron Age Fort and lose yourself in the myths and legends depicted in its sculpture trails. The recreated fort features replica Iron Age roundhouses, built on the same spot as a hill fort that existed some 2,400 years ago. The Welsh name translates to “castle of the old court.”
- Castell Henllys is part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which is the only completely coastal national park in the UK. A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, the National Park also offers a fascinating insight into times past. Prehistoric tombs, Celtic crosses and Iron Age hill forts are only some of the examples of what it has to offer visitors.
- St Davids Cathedral stands on a spot where a monastery was founded in the late 6th century. The founder was St. David – the patron saint of Wales. It is said that this clergyman was born on the Pembrokeshire coast. The Cathedral is situated in the city of St Davids – the smallest city in the U.K.
- When in St. Davids, consider visiting Ramsey Island and delight in its rare flowers, birds and butterflies. Surrounded by a number of smaller islands, Ramsey Island is situated about 0.6 miles/1 kilometers off the coast of the St. Davids peninsula.
- Henry Tudor was born at Pembroke Castle in 1457. He later went on to become King Henry VII of England, thus founding what is known as the Tudor Dynasty. First established in 1093, the Pembroke Castle was built on a rock promontory surrounded by water.
- For an insight into the maritime history of Milford Haven and the nearby area, visit Milford Haven’s Museum in the old custom house. The oldest building in Milford Haven, the house was built for the storage of whale oil.
- In Milford Haven you will also find the Hamilton Terrace – worth a visit due to the Georgian houses that can be found here.
A number of shore excursions can be on offer in Milford Haven. Examples include:
- Wherever you turn your head in Pembrokeshire (almost, at least), you will find something worth experiencing. It might be the Welsh landscape, an ancient burial site, or a castle ruin. Experience it all during a coach tour.
- The town of Narberth can be the destination on some excursions. Offering a blend of new and old, Narberth features a number of popular antiques shops.
- A visit to the St Davids Peninsula will include not only the St Davids Cathedral (see above), but also the Pembrokeshire National Park with its pictorial scenery.
Cardiff, the capital of Wales, is some 100 miles/160 kilometers away. It’s more than double that distance to London: 250 miles/400 kilometers.
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