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History of Tenby

Tenby's roots date back to the time of the Norman Conquest when the county was invaded and colonised in around 1093. Much of the medieval castle walls, built by the Pembrokeshire Earls in 1264 to fortify the town from Welsh rebellion, have survived intact to the present day.

The narrow cobbled streets lined with shops, cafés and restaurants are also reminders of this bygone age. Tenby did not become a popular tourist destination until after the Victorians began visiting the town for the health benefits they believed the resort offered. It was popularised by Sir William Paxton, and in 1863, The Industrial revolution arrived in the form of railways and shipping lanes and the tourist industry truly boomed.

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Tenby

Tenby Mural
Local artist Eric Bradforth painted this 32ft by 8ft mural to grace the Market Hall. The painting displays events and details from Tenbys long history, including the building of the walls and railways and the various individuals whose influence on the town still remains. The Market Hall is open Monday to Saturday from 9am until 5pm and opens onto both Upper Frog Street and the High Street.

Castle Hill Memorial
The Welsh National Memorial to Queen Victoria's Consort, Prince Albert, was one of many additions to Tenby made during the Victorian era, when Tenby was a Mecca for the well to do holiday maker of the day. Inaugurated by Prince Arthur in 1865, the Memorial is a short distance from a replica Victorian bandstand built in the last decade. Every summer, the bandstand is home to various musical performances.

The Lifeboat Station

The Lifeboat station was built in 1852 has been the home many vessels and their crews. The current lifeboat, Sir Galahad, inherits 150 years of history, and over 200 successful rescues. It's station house stands between Castle Hill and the Harbour and is open to the public during the summer months from 7am until 9pm, Monday to Saturday.

Tudor Merchants House
Built in the 15th Century, and still furnished and decorated with authentic Tudor fittings, Tenby's Tudor Merchants House successfully illustrates the lifestyle of a successful Tudor family. It's the oldest Furnished residence in Tenby and is owned and run by the National Trust. Located on Quay Hill between Tudor Square and the Harbour, the Tudor Merchants House is open from the 17th March to the 2nd November, open all week except Saturdays, (Closed Saturdays), 11am - 5pm. Call 01834 842279 for details.

Tenby Museum and Art Gallery

Tenby's rich and long history is presented in detail at the award winning community museum on Castle Hill. Natural history and social changes are chronicled alongside the Art Gallery, which showcases local art and representations of Tenby through the ages. Call 01834 842809 for more details.

Medieval Castle Walls
The 13th Century castle walls mark out Tenby's original boundary before it expanded across the cliff tops and inroads of the local area. The original walls included a number of gatehouses and a large Barbican on the western wall, which is now the Five Arches. The height and depth of the wall was increased for the last time in the 15th century. Today, the town walls stand as a reminder of Tenby's ancient roots and importance, both strategically and commercially, over the last seven centuries.