Broad Haven, Pembrokeshire (review published 2015)

As I jogged along the glorious Pembrokeshire Coastal Path it seemed I’d accidently stumbled into Teletubbyland.
There before me was a turfed dome which bore a striking resemblance to the home of those colourful characters Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po.
I rubbed my eyes but it was still there. I was tempted to knock on the full depth, oval window running the width of the property and cry, ‘‘Eh-oh… anyone in?’’
But this wasn’t the Tubbytronic Superdome of the legendary children’s TV series; it was an eco house owned by Bob Marshall-Andrews, a Labour rebel MP from 1997-2010.
Called Malator, it was designed and built in 1998 by the same people behind Birmingham’s iconic Selfridges store and the media centre at Lord’s cricket ground.
Futuristic in many ways, there’s a certain child-like simplicity to its organic form and Bob, I later discovered, is used to the Teletubby comparisons – and welcomes them.
He told TV’s Homes By The Sea: ‘‘Children are often disappointed when they come in. They look at me and say, ‘you’re an impostor – what have you done with the Teletubbies?’.’’
Bob’s home boasts stunning views of the beach at Druidston Haven and the wider St Bride’s Bay. From below, it looks like a flying saucer has landed on the hillside.
The coastal road runs within feet of Malator but the property blends in so well with its surroundings that passing motorists only notice its crooked, steel chimney.
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I became a little jealous of Bob as I stood admiring the building but those feelings faded as I retraced my steps along the coastal path, back to my own holiday home by the sea.
My family was staying a couple of miles away in Broad Haven and the beach view from our second floor apartment was a match any day of the week for Malator.
The smart apartment, booked through Welsh Cottage Holidays, was in a terrific seafront complex that boasted a cafe, a bar and a restaurant on the ground floor.
Our stay was blighted by rain but we were quite content to sit eating Welsh cakes (provided) at the dining table in the bay window, watching the surfers or hardy dog walkers.
Broad Haven is a quiet resort but for all your essentials there’s a Londis shop 100 yards from the apartment, alongside another pub, another cafe and a windsurf hire shop.
There’s a huge Tesco six miles away at Haverfordwest, where there’s also find a cinema, swimming pool and a couple of soft play centres for those rainy days.
Broad Haven has, as the name suggests, a huge beach that our four-year-old daughter loved running wild on. It’s perfectly safe for paddling and there are lots of rock pools.
When the tide is right out, there’s about a three-hour window to walk to the cove at the old fishing village of Little Haven and perhaps frequent its three pubs.
We took ice creams to The Point, a lovely viewpoint with a small beach called The Sheep Wash where, 50 years ago, farmers took their sheep before shearing to be, well, washed.
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Broad Haven is well placed for exploring this part of Pembrokeshire.
Head north and you come to the colourful little village of Solva with its art galleries and a woollen mill with original water wheel that makes rugs for Prince Charles.
Beyond Solva is St David’s, Britain’s smallest city, famous for its cathedral of pink grey stone, which is adjacent to the atmospheric ruins of The Bishop’s Palace.
It’s the place to buy tickets for boat trips to Ramsey Island, a protected wildlife haven where the 120m high cliffs are home to peregrines and the hidden coves are perfect for seals.
Ramsey Island is at the northern tip of St Bride’s Bay. At the southern end is Skomer Island, where you can get up close and personal with puffins – no binoculars required.
It really is a glorious part of the world when the weather’s on your side – but don’t kid yourself that you’ll have seven days of sunshine on your holiday.
Be prepared for rain and get a room with a view. The Teletubby House is not available to let but there’s a good substitute in Broad Haven.
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Travel file
Adrian Caffery and family stayed at 32 St Bride’s Bay in Broad Haven. Guests can take the lift up to the five-star apartment, which has double and twin bedrooms, a bath/shower room and a spacious kitchen/living room with a dishwasher, washer/dryer, breakfast bar and sofas. Electricity is included, bed linen and towels are provided and there is allocated parking. The apartment has a private corridor which is ideal for leaving sandy pushchairs, buckets and shoes in. As an example of prices, a family of four can stay at the apartment for seven nights from October 3 for £425.
Wales Cottage Holidays, which has been established for 35 years, has hundreds of barn conversions, apartments and farmhouses in coast, country and mountain locations across the country. Call 01686 628200 for a brochure or visit www.walescottageholidays.co.uk
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