36 Hours in Llanelli
Llanelli and the Millennium Coastal Path has everything to provide a perfect day out or a relaxing holiday in idyllic surroundings.
Why go now
From spotting flamingos at the Wetland Centre to cheering on the Scarlets at a rugby match, you are guaranteed to be entertained in Llanelli. The town and surrounds have been transformed from an industrial hub to a hotspot of tourism and leisure, with plans for the development of a new wellness centre guaranteed to leave visitors refreshed. Outdoor activities abound, from cycling the Millennium Coastal Path to walking in beautiful Parc Howard. And when it comes to refuelling, Llanelli boasts fab foodie experiences from sumptuous seasonal dinners to classy rooftop cocktails.
Get your bearings
Easily accessible, the M4 conveniently ferries road users to Llanelli, while rail visitors are treated to spectacular sea views when coming from the east, or to beautiful landscapes skirting the Brecon Beacons when arriving on the Heart of Wales line. Once you've landed, Llanelli boasts plenty of coastal fun as well as gorgeous views out across the Burry Inlet to the Gower Peninsula. Legendary around the world, the Llanelli Scarlets rugby team have their base at the Parc y Scarlets; catch a match if you are in town and experience the local passion for the sport.
Take a view
It's hard to beat the view from Machynys, the Nicklaus designed modern links golf course where you can take in panoramas over the Gower Peninsula and the 18th hole with a resplendent afternoon tea or lunch before you; head for a cosy fireside table in the Brasserie in winter or the wraparound terrace in the summertime.
Take a stroll
There are plenty of places to stretch your legs while treating your eyes to stunning scenery. Sandy Water Park, formerly the site of a steelworks, is now a pretty and tranquil part of the Millennium Coastal Park. Pick up the Wales Coast Path in the Park and stroll between Burry Port for a stroll with an edible reward, look out for one of the many tempting cafes and restaurants with fantastic views along the Wales Coast Path, including Pwll Pavilion Café, Fresz, Y Bryngwyn, High Tide, St. Elli's Bay and Flanagans. At the heart of the Millennium Coastal Park is the Discovery Centre, due to be transformed into a brand new dining destination, while continuing to offer tourist information and services: watch this space.
A lush lunch
Relative newcomer to Llanelli, Marzano’s Caffe Bar has become a local favourite on Friday nights for its tapas evenings and is just as well-loved at lunchtime, when you can tuck into wonderful food in a casual, friendly setting.
Stock up on all things local at Llanelli Market, where you can put together a picnic from delightful cheese stalls, bakeries and more, browse antiques and pick up handmade arts and crafts.
Beautiful four-star hotel and spa Stradey Park is one of Llanelli’s most glamorous addresses and though the interiors are sumptuous, the spa inviting and the dining room tempting (even offering a ‘Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea’), the rooftop lounge is where it’s at. Unwind with a tipple and vertiginous views over the estuary and out to the Gower Peninsula.
Out to brunch
Head to the cheerful, blue-painted Altalia for a brunch that will set you up very nicely for a day's exploring. Classic brunch dishes - Eggs Benedict, Florentine and Royale are served in a bright and airy setting.
A walk in the park
Transport yourself back in time to the 19th century when Llanelli grew on the strength of its tinplate production with a visit to Parc Howard Museum and Art Gallery. Enjoy the romantic landscaped gardens, then head into the Mansion itself to marvel at the largest collection of Llanelly Pottery; free guided tours are available (advance booking is required).
Take a ride
Bring or hire a bike and see why this part of Carmarthenshire is arguably best enjoyed on two wheels; the Celtic Trail West (route4) runs through the Millennium Coastal Park, where the glorious traffic-free trail takes in rare botanical wildlife and is suitable for all levels of cycling ability. The Park also connects to the scenic Swiss Valley Route, which follows a disused railway line to the rolling hills above Llanelli, with the option to link up to the National Botanic Garden of Wales.
A cultural afternoon
Head to 18th century Llanelly House and take a guided tour to learn about the influential Stepney family, hearing gossip and scandal from upstairs and downstairs. The café, housed in the Best Parlour and Drawing Room, is the ideal setting for an Instagram-worthy afternoon tea. On the outskirts of town, discover ‘Llanelli’s secret location’, Stradey Castle. The Grade II listed building is impressive from the outside, but just wait until you enter and behold the ‘Grand Staircase’, the setting for regular private concerts. No stuffy historic house still stuck in the past, this is very much a home still in use and on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month, the owners themselves bring its fascinating story to life on Heritage Tours.
Icing on the cake
Seeing bright pink flamingos is probably not what most visitors to Llanelli expect, but this is just one of the unforgettable experiences to be had at the WWT Llanelli Wetlands Centre. The attraction is a treasure trove of wildlife activity: hand feed the rarest goose in the world, spot kingfishers, water voles and dragonflies on a canoe safari and fly up the Viewing Tower for a breath-taking 360˚ panorama view of Carmarthen Bay.