Boat trips in Pembrokeshire
A boat trip is one of the most rewarding family activities on offer in Wales. With spectacular scenery and fascinating wildlife to discover both above and below the water, there’s no better place in the country to explore by boat than the coastline of Pembrokeshire.
If you're a lover of adventure, hiking, stunning landscapes and luscious greenery then the chances are you’ve already fallen in love with the beautiful county of Pembrokeshire. Home to one of the most wonderful coastlines in Britain with rugged cliffs and Blue Flag beaches, there’s plenty to explore on the mainland. However, off the coast lies a collection of islands, home to spectacular nature reserves, that can be visited by boat to see their rare colonies of seals and birdlife. On this list of our favourite Pembrokeshire boat trips, we’ve made sure to include trips to several different islands, as well as along one of the prettiest sections of mainland Pembrokeshire. And with holiday parks at Kiln Park, Lydstep Beach and Penally Court, a quality Haven place to stay is never far away.
Commonly regarded as the most beautiful of Pembrokeshire’s isles, Ramsey Island is easy to get to and famous for being an important breeding site for grey seals. In the cliffs, you’ll spot thousands of gulls, auks, buzzards and the wonderful Manx Shearwaters.
The island is just over a mile out at sea from the St Davids Peninsula and has a certain rugged charm, having been battered by strong winds and wild waves for thousands of years. The island is just under two miles long and a mile wide and its highest point Carn Llundain offers splendid views across half of Pembrokeshire.
Thousand Islands Boat Trips are your best bet for trips to Ramsey Island. They have been operating since 1975 and have the sole landing rights to the RSPB Nature Reserve. These ever-popular Pembrokeshire boat trips depart St. Justinians and take you on a voyage beneath the majestic cliffs adorned with nesting seabirds and colonies of seals. They also offer whale and dolphin spotting packages, fishing trips, and even excursions to Ramsey Island to see the seabirds and seals among the dramatic scenery at sunset, as well as guided walks with RSPB members.
Fishguard Bay is blessed with some of the most spectacular scenery, unrivalled in North Pembrokeshire. Walking in this area is a great way to take in the breathtaking panoramic views and they are undoubtedly beautiful from land, but why not elevate the experience by viewing Fishguard Bay from the sea? This is now possible with Fishguard Bay Boat Tours.
The harbour is the ideal departure point to take in the full breadth of Fishguard Bay before heading out onto the waters. On the popular voyage to Strumble Head, you’ll see the landing place where French forces last invaded mainland Britain and take in a rugged coastline of prehistoric rock formations, and fascinating wildlife, such as porpoises, seals, gannets and many other seabirds, before reaching the dramatic Strumble Head lighthouse. The North Pembrokeshire coast is truly an underrated location and is surely one of the top Pembrokeshire boat trips.
Skomer is the largest of the Pembrokeshire islands and is internationally recognised as a sanctuary for a growing population of puffins. While it’s possible to witness these colourful birds any day of the year, your best chance is in May and early June, the breeding season, when the seabirds are particularly abundant. There is also an array of other birdlife and you may catch a glimpse of the island’s rabbit or Skomer vole population. May is also a fantastic time to see the flowering bluebells and red campion which carpet the island in late spring.
Skomer Landing Trips are the only way to land on Skomer and get within a few feet of Pembrokeshire’s puffins! The 15-minute boat ride takes you to the island where you’ll spend the day in the birdlife and flower paradise before catching a return boat in the afternoon. All Skomer Island day visit tickets must be pre-booked online and the number of visitors is limited to 250 a day to prevent erosion and to control the impact of people on the wildlife. Make sure to book early so as not to miss out.
Marking the most westerly point in Wales, Grassholm is one of the most remote islands in the British Isles, eight miles off the Pembrokeshire coast over the choppy waters of the Jack Sound. Gannet is renowned for its wildlife, in particular the large colony of gannets, a magnificent rare seabird. The turbulent waters that lap the shark fin-shaped island are also fertile grounds for porpoises, dolphins, and seals.
Grassholm has been owned by the RSPB since 1947, and while no landing is allowed on the island, it is possible to get a close look at it from boats that sail there from St Justinians and Martin’s Haven. The 50 seater passenger boat 'The Dale Princess' affords passengers a close look at the phenomena known as the “white halo” — approximately 30,000 pairs of Gannets crowding onto the tiny island to nest and lay their single egg. The gannets are also known to dive into the waters to hunt fish from heights of up to thirty metres! You might also see other birds such as Kittiwake, Razorbill, Shag and Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls. Plus, there is always the chance of a seal, dolphin or porpoise encounter, making this one of the best Pembrokeshire boat trips.
Skokholm lies three miles off the Dale peninsula. The island has a history of Viking connections and is bordered by spectacular cliffs of old red sandstone that climb to almost 50 metres high in the south-west.
Atlantic Grey seals swim around the Skokholm Island and bask on the surrounding rocks, while Harbour Porpoise, and common, bottlenose and Risso’s Dolphins are often sighted in the surrounding waters. However, it’s the birdlife that draws visitors from far and wide. Like Skomer which lies three miles to the north, Skokholm hosts a flourishing population of Manx Shearwaters and puffins which are spectacular to behold. However, unlike Skomer, Skokholm is not open to day visitors. You need to book an extended three, four or seven night stay with the local Wildlife Trust, or otherwise content yourself with a cruise around the island instead.