Boat trips & dolphin watching near Tenby
With miles of pristine Pembrokeshire coast, it’s no wonder there are many excellent boat trips from Tenby. Whether you want to fish, visit a peaceful monk sanctuary, or spot seals or dolphins, Tenby has it all.
While most of the trips listed run from Tenby Harbour, we’ve included one an hour's drive away because it offers a 90% chance to see some dolphins.
Caldey Island is about a mile from the Pembrokeshire coast. You can see the rock from our Penally Court and Lydstep Beach holiday parks. All through the summer months, except Sundays, boats run to Caldey Island from Tenby Harbour — if the weather allows.
It’s one of Tenby's most popular boat trips because it’s a fascinating insight into a world of religious isolation. For many centuries now, monks have inhabited Caldey Island. In large part, that’s due to the peace and seclusion of this island.
Once there, you can explore the Abbey church, where the monks perform their daily services. But don’t miss St. Davids, a beautiful little Norman church, or the Old Priory, a striking church made from limestone. Some other highlights are the lighthouse and the chocolate factory.
A walk around Caldey Island is an excellent way to experience the solitude of unspoiled nature. It’sa great day out.
If wildlife is your thing, the Seal Safari is not to be missed. Marine wildlife tours around the Pembrokeshire coast don’t get much better than this. The twenty-person boats leave Tenby Harbour several times a day. Book ahead to avoid disappointment!
The local guides on board are experienced and hugely knowledgeable, giving the trips a worthwhile, educational feel. The trip explores the ocean side of Caldey Island, where you can find the Grey Seal population. Seeing seals up close and in their natural habitat is a rare treat.
On the right day, you can also see a variety of seabirds and even dolphins. Some boat trips also allow you to bring a dog, which is an excellent option for families and holidaymakers.
Offshore Island Dolphin Voyage
Of all the dolphin-viewing boat trips near Tenby, St. Davids might be the best. Sure, it’s about an hour's drive west of Tenby, but the chance to see dolphins and whales is worth the journey.
The Offshore Island Dolphin Voyage is a spectacular two-and-a-half-hour boat trip that takes in several points of interest. After embarking from the mainland, you’ll head to Grassholm Island, one of the world’s largest gannet colonies. From there, depending on the weather, you can take in the iconic Smalls Lighthouse before heading back toward Ramsey Island.
We recommend this trip because of the high likelihood of seeing dolphins swimming freely in the water. If you’re in luck, you’ll also see some whales, seals, and even porpoises. The boats typically depart daily between May and September.
There’s nothing quite like taking a trip out to the sea with a fishing line and catching something for dinner. Tenby Sea Fishing provides an excellent mackerel fishing experience on the MV Triton 2, a purpose-built catamaran.
Daily trips leave from Tenby Harbour and last around one and a half hours. The Tenby Sea Fishing operators also provide free tuition for using a rod and reel. While these trips are excellent for novice fishers, they’re also suitable for experienced anglers.
With onboard toilets, 270 degrees of deck space for fishing, and a dog-friendly policy, boat trips from Tenby don’t get much better. Moreover, if it rains, you can duck inside the cabin and enjoy the views.
Caldey & St. Margaret’s
The Island Ranger to Caldey & St. Margaret’s is one of the best boat trips Tenby has to offer. This one-and-a-half-hour trip leaves Tenby Harbour several times per day on a catamaran built to navigate coastal waters in style and comfort.
With three viewing decks, ample walking space, a spacious covered cabin, and two toilets, the Island Ranger is a very comfortable way to explore the coast. It even has a licensed bar, alongside hot drinks and snacks.
The Island Ranger is more than just a home-from-home. It’s an excellent way to explore Pembrokeshire’s most fascinating offshore islands too. To the northeast of Caldey, you can find Paul Jones’ Bay, named after a famous pirate. While you won’t find any marauders there these days, there is a seal colony, which is probably much better.
Next up, you can take in St. Margaret’s Island, a protected bird reserve. Look out for the Cathedral Caverns while you’re there, and you might spot a puffin or one of the other bird species that populate the island. Unforgettable.
Explore the islands on a RIB boat
Finally, if you’re looking for something a bit more rough and ready, you can try a RIB boat trip to the island. RIB stands for Rigid Inflatable Boat, and while they lack the comfort and facilities of some of the other vessels on our list, they’reperhaps the most exciting way to explore the coast.
You can book a RIB trip from Tenby Harbour. The boats fit around 12 people, and the trips last about an hour. There is also an option to book a private trip. A RIB boat is a fantastic way to see the coast and Caldey Island and get up close to the seals. It can be choppy, so it’s not for the faint-hearted.