When you think of a ‘girls’ holiday’, your mind will probably conjure up images of champagne being popped in Magaluf, crystal blue seas in Ibiza or the gleaming Houses of Parliament in Budapest. However, due to money being tight, my friends and me being seventeen and with only two of us that were able to drive, we decided to set our sights a little closer to home. Wales, to be precise. Tenby in Wales, to be even more precise.
Camping was obviously the cheapest option and, with high hopes and about ten bottles of port strapped to our backs, we hit the road, with several more of us crammed into my friend’s KA than is recommended. After hurtling down the motorway for hours, we arrived at our destination: a family campsite. With a lot of families and small children. We were not deterred.
Our teepee (yes, we bought a humungous teepee) took all eleven of us to erect and, once our baggage was stashed inside, we cracked open the big plastic box we had brought and began making punch in it out of vodka, gin, port, orange juice, Baileys, and essentially anything else that is disgusting that we could think of. Once suitably inebriated, we hopped (stumbled and nearly fell onto the tracks) onto the train that was a five minute walk away, to Tenby. The streets were beautiful, lined with trees adorned with fairy lights, with bars and restaurants as far as the eye could see. Now, this was the tricky part: being served. Due to none of us being old enough, confidence was definitely going to have to be key. We entered the first bar we saw, and were turned away again as soon as we walked through the door. This happened about seven more times until, finally, our prayers were answered and we were served with only a few raised eyebrows. The pub was strange, with a nautical theme and life rafts hanging from the walls.
For some reason, we appeared to be the only females in the building, and every other man around us seemed to know the other one. It was explained to us, via the bartender, that the whole pub was filled with members of the British Army having a night off. I began talking to a man that must have been in his forties, all the while not noticing that he had dropped a cigarette onto my thigh, that was slowly burning through my flesh. I still have the scar to this day.
When it was finally home time, two of the squaddies hitched a ride in our taxi, with all of us being too intoxicated to notice. We finally realised at about 6am that morning when we were awoken by the sound of a sit-on lawnmower, being ridden by the owner of the campsite, with the soldiers running for their lives in front of it.
The next day mainly consisted of us trying to avoid this man, who was clearly insane and insisted on riding the lawnmower around our teepee in a circle. As evening descended, we made our way back to our beloved Tenby that housed our beloved nautical bar, and attempted to charm more of the locals.
‘There’s a secret beach party happening down there.’ Said one of them, gesturing to some steps leading down a cliff edge. After rolling our eyes and insisting that this was ridiculous, we eventually followed the group down the steps and, to our amazement, they were telling the truth. Speakers were everywhere, stashed in caves high up in the cliffs and dotted around on the beach below. The beach itself was isolated by rocks, and no sand could be seen due to the amount of people down there. Huge metal tubs were filled with ice and cans of beer, and a DJ stood above us all, several feet up in another cave. We were told it only happened once a year on the same day each time, and understandably began to feel like we were in Skins. Due to being seventeen, we decided to play a game involving who could kiss the most people, and split up to get to work. After being told by at least three people that I was a terrible kisser, I gave up.
After dancing in the sand until our feet were blistered, we knew it was time to call it a day. The walk to the train station was a long one, made longer by our lack of shoes.
If any of you have time this summer, I implore you, take a trip to Tenby. It is small, safe and tranquil, yet holds as many pubs as the Zante strip and, if you time it right (the start of August) maybe even a secret beach party.
Current Location: Tenby, Wales