The giant lobster towered over me, its huge red claws wafting in the breeze. A man in a top hat waved to the people gathered round, then trundled off with his cart, pulling his inflatable crustacean through the crowds. I was at Milford Waterfront Fish Festival, in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire on the coast of south west Wales. The Fish Festival is an annual event that brings visitors from near and far to experience the quirky fun on offer.
There was so much to see and do that I was happily occupied all day. As well as Larry the Lobster, there were two giant fishermen wandering about, doing little jigs and posing for photos with awed kiddies and delighted adults. Stalls selling local crafts, food and drink did a roaring trade. On a large stage, singers, musicians and dancers performed; one guy did a belter of a Tom Jones act and a youth troupe did the most amazing dance moves to very funky music. I saw how to fillet fish and tried Pembrokeshire Earlies (tasty new potatoes.) There were cookery demonstrations using the best seafood in the area. In one of the tents, we had the opportunity to handle REAL lobsters and crabs; I had a very close encounter with a feisty spider crab.
One of the best parts of the day was the Fish Festival Chowder Trail. I picked up a commemorative bowl for £5 and a score sheet and set off with Kailea Turner, PR Officer for the Port of Milford Haven, to visit the participating eateries at Milford Waterfront. We followed the trail round Milford Marina and sampled 8 very different chowder recipes. I must admit, by the 5th bowl I was chowdered out and could only take a teeny sample of the final 3 bowls! We scored each chowder bowl out of 10 and handed in our score sheets to be added to the voting. At the end of the day, ‘Milford Chowder Champion 2019‘ was announced – Coco’s Restaurant; a decision I whole-heartedly agreed with.
After all that chowder I was ready for something a bit different so Kailea suggested I take a short boat trip with Discover Coast and Cleddau. We set off in a comfortable rib to the mouth of the River Cleddau. We passed the oil refinery and tankers, highlighting that this is a working port as well as a tourist destination. The sun shot sparkling ripples of light onto the water as we zoomed along, coming close to an old fort, which can now be rented. On our return, we got a great view of the Fish Festival in full swing as we moored alongside the jetty.
I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the marina, back to the stalls and entertainment going on all around. Finally I got an icecream and sat down in one of deckchairs in front of the stage to watch a group of guys playing rock n roll and reflected on a fun day out at a very quirky festival.
Watch ‘Milford Fish Festival’ video
More Things to Do at Milford Waterfront
Milford Waterfront is a great holiday destination for all ages. Overlooking Milford Marina with its many yachts and sailing boats, there are plenty of independent fashion shops and galleries selling local art and crafts, plus beauty and wellbeing businesses.
It’s lined with a great selection cafes, bars and restaurants ready to serve you a true taste of Pembrokeshire. I can highly recommend Foam for its excellent seafood with river views and Coco’s for its award-winning chowder. There’s indoor bowling, water sports and boats trips up and down the river and out to the islands.
Milford Haven Museum is nearby, telling the area in an engaging and informative way. Throughout the year there’s a calendar of exciting festivals and events at Milford Waterfront including the Street Food Festival, Regatta Weekend, childrens activities and annual Fireworks Display.
The day after the Fish Festival I had another trip with Discover Coast and Cleddau, this time out to Skomer Island. In spite of the blustery weather we saw thousands of puffins and other seabirds including manx shearwater, guillemots, gulls and a porpoise.
Stay in Milford Waterfront ‘Floatel Cabin’
One of the most exciting additions to Milford Waterfront is the set of four Floatel Cabins providing unique holiday accommodation right in he heart of things. Each self-contained cabin sleeps 2 people, with an en suite shower room, WiFi, a TV, tea and coffee making facilities, high quality furnishings and private balcony overlooking the Marina. Oh, and they are VERY stable – I didn’t know I was on water.
Each Floatel Cabin is named after a significant aspect of the town. I stayed 2 nights in Nantucket, named after the island off Cape Cod in Massachusetts, USA. Milford Haven’s whaling forefathers left to build a new life and a new town here. I was delighted to see a copy of one of the famous Quaker Tapestry panels in my cabin; you can see the original at the Quaker Tapestry Museum in Kendal.
After my busy day out at the Fish Festival, it was a real treat to come back to my Floatel, sit on the balcony with a glass of wine and watch the boats bobbing around as the sun set over the Marina. Find out more and book a unique stay in one of the Floatel Cabins at Milford Waterfront.
I also stayed at Fields Lodge, an excellent B&B just outside Milford Haven, where I had one of Jane’s award-winning breakfasts. I can recommend her Eggs Benedict Cymru with salmon, spinach and Welshman’s caviar (seaweed) – delicious.
I visited Milford Fish Festival and stayed at the Floatel Cabin courtesy of Milford Waterfront. Many thanks to everyone there, especially Kailea Turner, who made my stay extra special. Make sure you go to Milford Waterfront and experience the magic of this charming corner of south west Wales.