You might expect a beach house named after Dylan Thomas’ fictional town of Llareggub (“bugger all” spelt backwards) to be a little, well, different – topsy-turvy, even – and you’d be right. This whitewashed, neo-1960s terraced house perched on the cliff above Saundersfoot is unassuming on the face of things, but push open the door, go downstairs and it’s the Alice in Wonderland effect, as things become curiouser and curiouser.
Bearing the touch of creative dream team Anjana and David Devoy, this secretive house opens up like a magic trick, with vast windows revealing the ever-changing play of light and the Atlantic as it crashes down on Saundersfoot Bay – a sight just as hypnotic in a wind-whipped storm as in dazzling sunshine.
Why we love it…
The call of gulls, the surf rolling in… When you see how close the sea is, you’ll pinch yourself. As fantasy coastal escapes go, this is pretty darned close to perfection. Some of the loveliest beaches and coastal walks in Pembrokeshire entice on the doorstep, but when the sun’s out you’ll struggle to drag yourself away from the terrace, where you can watch the surf roll in.
The beach house sleeps six – big enough for a family or a group of friends – and it’s kitted out as such, whether you want to spend all day reading novels and drinking coffee, throw a dinner party or get all romantic with a candlelit bath. It’s not just the sea air. There’s something about the house’s semi-hidden nature, high above it all, that makes you unplug and relax the instant you arrive.
To call Llareggub ‘quirky’ doesn’t quite cut it. This is a radical, architecturally striking transformation of a house where poor miners once holidayed – big on Welsh spirit but also deliciously boho. The Devoys have long been talked about in design circles for such one-off creations as the ‘Conker’ on the remote Red Kite Estate in the Cambrian Mountains, and this avant-garde beach house once again captures their unique vision.
The heart of the house is the huge, high-ceilinged open-plan living room and kitchen, where a huge picture window frames the sea. A place to dwell and dream, it has been decorated in playful, vintage-cool style: salvaged driftwood and lampshades that hover like clouds, sheepskins on bare wood floors, a spectacular rope light suspended above a long wooden table, velvet sofas in rust and teal. There are books and records, seascapes and family photos capturing happy memories (the house has been in David’s family for the past 50 years). The attention to detail doesn’t even let up in the toilet, with its funky fish wallpaper.
Above all, Llareggub is a home and has been designed as such, with substance as well as style, as evidenced in practical details like a washing machine (for all dirty beach clothes), well-equipped kitchen, and boot, surf and doggy room out back.
On the first floor you step through to the first double bedroom, with a reclaimed wooden headboard, crisp white bed linen and an Eero Aarnio-style ball chair.
Downstairs, the design dives into more experimental waters in the master bedroom: eggshell-smooth tadelakt walls in a mouth-watering shade of mulberry give a seductive flavour of Morocco, and a gorgeous iridescent bead chandelier and impressionistic wildflower lamps cast a flattering light on the modern-day four-poster bed and abstract duvet. The other room is more nautically minded, with teal walls, a lifebuoy mirror, copper lamps and an upcycled suitcase papered with a map of the world.
The two bathrooms are have a kind of unpolished, nature-reclaimed beauty: burnished tiled walls and driftwood, entangled rope and rough-hewn slate, a coal-black dairy refashioned into a shower and a freestanding tub big enough for two.
The food scene in Saundersfoot has become one of Pembrokeshire’s most exciting in recent years. Down on the beach, daily in summer and at weekends in winter, you can grab yourself a street food feast at Cŵlbox, a converted horsebox dishing up the likes of bang-bang prawns, whitebait, crispy squid and dirty fries. Or swing over to the cool, harbourside, ultra-relaxed Stone Crab restaurant for a delicious, reasonably priced seafood platter.
If you’re planning on a blowout tasting menu at much-lauded Coast, scenically perched above Coppet Hall Beach, book well in advance, especially in summer.
What’s here and nearby
Plenty. The Beach House is right next door to St Bride’s Spa, one of Wales’ best. If the weather turns iffy, its luscious marine treatments, hydrotherapy pool gazing out over the bay and thermal suite, with steam rooms, saunas and salt infusion room, are the dream.
Saundersfoot Bay itself is just a couple of minutes’ walk away. It’s a gorgeous scoop of butterscotch sand, particularly lovely at low tide when it more than doubles in size and rock formations and pools appear. Outer Reef Watersports Centre take you further out kayaking, surfing, coasteering and SUP, and also rent out gear.
For a longer walk, you can easily hook onto the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. A gentle four-mile stretch weaves through coastal woods and above wild, hidden bays to remote, rugged Monkstone Point (look out for seals and their pups) and on to Tenby, beyond which one of our all-time favourite stretches of coast in Wales begins…
NEXT ON THE JOURNEY: From Llareggub Beach House, it’s 9 miles west to the hidden-away Little Retreat in Lawrenny
At a glance
Snooze factor: 9 Peaceful: mainly because of the super-comfy beds. It’s like you’re in your own little coccoon, suspended above Saundersfoot’s bustle.
Food: 8.5 It’s a short walk down to Saundersfoot’s great array of places to eat
Eco-friendly factor: 7 A raft of recycled materials have been used in the construction from reclaimed timber to driftwood.
Location: 9.5 Saundersfoot is a nice-enough little seaside town but it will seem utterly spectacular when viewed from Llareggub Beach House – whether that’s the big living room window or down on the terrace.
A little explanation needed here. See St Bride’s Spa? See the little lane snaking off the B4316 directly under it? Take that lane! That is Captain’s Walk. Follow it to the end, where there are a few parking spaces in front of the little terrace of houses of which Llareggub Beach House is one.