The bracing, blue-green waters of the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy in Pembrokeshire is a playground for adventure enthusiasts. Here’s how to visit and where to chill afterwards.
Pembrokeshire slate was in high demand all over the British Isles throughout the 18th century. With colours ranging from purple-black through to silver-grey, and highlighted with luminous hues of blue-green, the quarry pit at the St Brides Slate Company at Abereiddy was famous for its vibrant, earthy lustre.
The quarry closed in 1910. Spotting a unique opportunity, local fisherman blasted a narrow channel between the quarry and the sea, creating an artificial harbour in the old pit. Today, the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy is a 25-metre-deep pool in a mesmerising shade of blue-green.
With a rugged intertidal zone, the coastline around Abereiddy has become a playground for adventure enthusiasts. Scramble along the rocky coastline on a coasteering tour, or leap from the 11-metre-high ruined quarry buildings into the depths of the Blue Lagoon.
But visiting this beautiful corner of Wales isn’t just about thrill-chasing. Explore the character of this stunning shoreline in a kayak, walk the Pembrokeshire coastal path for sublime views or relax on one of our favourite beaches in Wales where you’re likely to have the sand and the surf all to yourself.
Here’s all you need to know to have a great day out at the Blue Lagoon and its surrounding area.
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IN THIS GUIDE
THINGS TO DO AT THE BLUE LAGOON, ABEREIDDY
HOW TO GET TO THE BLUE LAGOON IN PEMBROKESHIRE, WALES
The Blue Lagoon is next to Abereiddy Beach in southwest Wales within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. As a popular location, it’s a good idea to plan your visit in advance.
PARKING AT ABBEREIDDY BLUE LAGOON
The easiest way to get to the Blue Lagoon is to drive and park at Abereiddy Beach car park.
The car park is very rocky with no marked places, however, at busy times there are attendants at the entrance who will tell you where to park as it starts to fill up. If it’s full when you arrive, you will be asked to return in one hour’s time. Therefore, on holidays and weekends, try to arrive early or late in the day when it’s less busy.
From the car park it’s a 5-minute walk along a good path to reach the Blue Lagoon. This path is accessible for scooters and wheelchairs.
The roads to the car park are very narrow with only a few passing places, so take care when driving to Abereiddy. There are public toilets in the car park and sometimes a van selling drinks and snacks. Parking costs £4 for the day (cash only), regardless of when you arrive.
PARKING AT PORTHGAIN
If you don’t mind more of a walk, another option is to park at Porthgain (a 10-minute drive away). There is free parking in the village, and it is usually much easier to find a space than at Abereiddy Beach. From the village, It’s a glorious 45-minute walk to the Blue Lagoon over a magnificent stretch of coast.
BLUE LAGOON BY BUS
The 404 bus runs between St. Davids and Fishguard stopping at Abereiddy Beach and Porthgain. During the summer months the bus only runs 3 times a day and not on Sundays, so plan your day carefully. Download the timetable for the 404 bus here.
COASTEERING AT THE BLUE LAGOON
One of the best ways to enjoy the Blue Lagoon is to join a coasteering group. Invented in Pembrokeshire, coasteering is rock-jumping, shore-scrambling, and cliff-jumping in the area of coast between high and low tide. It’s a unique outdoor activity with a mild to mad splash of adrenaline.
The first part of the tour takes place on the coast, where you will traverse along rocky edges, leap from low cliffs into the water, ride the swell and explore sea caves.
The second half of the tour takes full advantage of the Blue Lagoon. Run down steep slopes before leaping into the lagoon and try jumping in from the ever-increasing heights of the old quarry buildings that line the edge. The first jump starts from around 2 metres above the water, before a second attempt at around 6 metres. The highest leap is from around 10 metres.
We went with Celtic Quest and had a great time. They provide you with wetsuit, helmet and buoyancy aid and make sure everything you are doing is safe given the conditions. You need to be comfortable swimming and jumping into water, but you only need to attempt what you are happy with.
TOMBSTONING & LEAPING AT THE BLUE LAGOON
While joining a coasteering tour is safer and allows you to explore the coast around the Blue Lagoon with the help of a guide, there is nothing to stop you having your own adventure. It’s free to swim in the lagoon and you can jump in from the cliffs or the ruined quarry buildings on your own.
Just beware of a few things:
The water in the Blue Lagoon is very cold. While the surface is a couple of degrees warmer than the sea, deeper down it gets a lot colder. It’s very important to get acclimatised to the temperature of the water before leaping in. If you plan on spending a long time in the water, don’t underestimate the benefits of a wetsuit.
The water is deep below the ruined quarry buildings, but if you jump from the rocks around the lagoon, make sure there are no shallow obstacles below the surface.
Finally, if you jump from 2 metres, a belly flop may be embarrassing but it won’t really hurt you. However, when the tide is out, the leap from the higher quarry building is 11 metres. From this height, you’ll be travelling at almost 30mp/h by the time you hit the water. Make sure you enter vertically (like a pencil) with your arms crossed at your chest – otherwise you could seriously hurt yourself.
For an idea of how the experts do it, check out the Red Bull Cliff Diving world series that took place at the Blue Lagoon in 2012. They attached a diving platform to a 27 metres high ledge on the cliff wall.
KAYAKING INTO THE BLUE LAGOON
The coastal area around the Blue Lagoon is packed with interest. Secret caves and inlets hide untouched beaches and towering cliffs provide a home to an abundance of seabirds and other wildlife.
One of the best ways to explore the Blue Lagoon is from a kayak. If you have your own, you can set off from Abereiddy beach, but for most people it is easier to join a tour.
No experience is needed and it’s a great way to explore the dramatic Pembrokeshire coast. The MUUK kayaking tour passes the narrow entrance to the Blue Lagoon, and if the tide is high enough, you can paddle through the tight gap and spend time jumping from the towers.
PICNIC & PEOPLE WATCHING OVER THE BLUE LAGOON
Even if the idea of swimming in cold water and leaping from ungodly heights, doesn’t appeal, the Blue Lagoon is a great place to people-watch. There is a grassy headland at the top of the lagoon which is the perfect location to set up a picnic. Enjoy the antics of the people jumping in or just watch the sunset over this beautiful location.
It’s a steep, unprotected drop to the rocks around the lagoon below the headland. So, keep the alcohol consumption sensible and be very careful with young kids.
HEAD TO THE SECRET BEACH OF TRAETH LYNN
The area around the Blue Lagoon is a stunning stretch of coastline with several hidden beaches. The best is a secret cove of golden sand called Traeth Llyfn, just beyond the headland behind the Blue Lagoon. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a day of adrenaline-charged activities.
The 15-minute walk across the clifftops takes in some of the best coastal views in Pembrokeshire, before arriving at a steep metals staircase that descends to the cove. Hardly anyone comes here, but it’s a magnificent beach surrounded on three sides by walls of rock.
At high tide almost all the sand is covered, except for a lovely slice of soft sand under the rocks. There’s rock-pooling at the edges, and at low tide there’s room for games on the beach between huge rocks nested into the sand. Just don’t head out too far as the currents beyond the sheltered area can be fierce.
HIKE THE COASTAL PATH AROUND THE BLUE LAGOON
The area around the Blue Lagoon is excellent for hiking and one of our favourite walks on the Pembrokeshire Coast passes through this beautiful area. The hike is just over 2 miles and takes about 45 minutes as it heads over the majestic coves and rugged headlands between Abereiddy and Porthgain.
All along the route remnants of the slate trade can be uncovered including crumbling office buildings, disused quarries, and remnants of the tramway that ran the slate from the mine to Porthgain harbour.
Porthgain itself is fascinating with the remains of the massive factory that once produced slate and bricks, looming over the tiny village from the cliff face it was built into.
You can return the way you came, head inland to complete a circular walk or time your trip to coincide with the 404 bus. Find all the details on our Pembrokeshire Coastal Walks guide (coming soon).
END THE DAY WITH A PINT AT THE SLOOP INN
After exploring the joys of the Blue Lagoon, take the 10-minute drive from Abereiddy to Porthgain and end the day with a drink at the Sloop Inn. Established in 1743, the pub is packed with memorabilia harking back to the village’s industrial and fishing past. Photos of the old port, bricks made by the now ruined kiln and nautical objects dot the walls.
On a warm day its terrace has views over the bay, but it’s the wood-panelled interior, cosy burning fire and collection of games that tell of seafarers sheltering from the cold and misty nights.
Thursday is quiz night, where Malcolm asks the questions – and periodically gives away the answers by mistake.
It’s quite simply one of the most atmospheric pubs on the Pembrokeshire coast.
WHERE TO STAY NEAR THE BLUE LAGOON, PEMBROKESHIRE
The Blue Lagoon is located in southwest Wales in the beautiful Pembrokeshire area. There are several great affordable places to stay, as well as country houses making the most of the local area. Here are some recommendations from us.
There is no better location for discovering the area than Caerphys B&B. The Pembrokeshire Coastal path is just half a mile away and the Blue Lagoon half a mile further. With a hearty breakfast and helpful hosts, it’s a great base for hikers and explorers.
Noddfa Farm has recently added rooms to their campsite. This family-run joint has excellent value, clean, comfortable rooms just a short distance from the Blue Lagoon. There’s no breakfast but woodfire pizzas from (Thu to Sun, summer only) are the best we’ve had for a long time.
This country house is set in 600 acres of farmland and offers boutique rooms in a traditional but luxurious style. They’ve recently gone completely green with all their electricity produce via their own wind turbines. The restaurant lets the local in-season produce speak for itself.
TWR Y FELIN HOTEL
A quirky contemporary hotel incorporating a circular turret that was once a windmill. The communal areas are packed with art and all the rooms are boutique, but the pick is the one in the turret itself. It’s extremely convenient for all the facilities St Davids has to offer.
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