Culture VulturesDiscover Carmarthenshires Cultures
Epic Days out in Carmarthenshire this Summer
1. Shopping in Llandeilo
A world away from the classic British high street of Costas and Next, Llandeilo is bursting with independent shops and cafes. the first ever Toast lifestyle store opened here and it’s still going strong on King Street. For those who love to cook there’s Peppercorn packed with designer kitchenware; antique lovers can lose themselves in The Works, the largest antiques centre in in south west Wales and there’s Heavenly for Ice Cream and the Ginhaus deli for its hundreds of gins and great food. Shopping, ice cream, gin and cakes, what’s not to love!
Here there’s 10 acres of immaculate gardens to explore with a unique Elizabethan cloister at its very heart and a Grade II grade II* listed mansion with a fully restored ground floor to mooch about. Take time to explore and then relax in the tea rooms over a slice of Bara Birth. There’s a great shop to stock up on horticultural essentials and you might be lucky to catch one of the rolling art exhibitions in the mansion or an evening of music in the Pool garden. If you don’t want to leave, they even have two holiday cottages for rent in the grounds!
3. The Nation Coracle Centre
The Nation Coracle Centre- this quirky museum is at Cenarth, almost touching the north of the county’s boundary and showcases a unique collection of coracles in very shape and form from Wales and around the world – all set in a 17th century mill beside the famous Cenarth Falls where salmon can be seen leaping in the autumn months. You can follow the fascinating story of one of the oldest forms of water transport and see examples from as far afield as India, Tibet and the USA. You may even spot a fisherman on the river on your way still using a coracle to fish from www.coraclemuseum.co.uk
This was Dylan Thomas’ home for many years and the poet is very much at the heart of everything about this pretty estuary town. Take the Dylan Thomas Walk starting with a look around the impressive castle, wander up the path to his writing shed and the on up to the Boathouse where he lived, calling in at his grave on the route back into town where he lies alongside his beloved Caitlin. There’s the impressive Corran Book Store to explore and no visit to Laugharne is complete without a pint at Dylan’s favourite pub, Browns Hotel.
5. Heart of Wales Line
You don’t have to be a rail buff to enjoy this breathe taking journey and its incredible views. The line is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year and runs between Swansea and Shrewsbury for some 121 miles through tranquil villages and pretty spa towns. Jump on at Llanelli and take the line north for a day out enjoying the panoramic views of the Loughor estuary, the river Tywi as it meanders between the market towns of Llandeilo and Llandovery and of course don’t miss the impressive viaduct at Cynghordy. A walking trail has opened up for most of the Carmarthenshire stretch recently so you can choose to retrace your journey on foot, boarding the train again at a station down the line of your choice, just make sure you check the train times!
Visit the ancient town with its showstopper castle, one of Wales’ most impressive, standing on a steep ridge towering above the River Gwendraeth and the country’s oldest canals. The earliest castle on the site was Norman and the town itself dates back to 1115AD so this will be a day packed full of learning about fascinating history and legends which surround the area by following the mythical ‘black cat’ trail. Marvel at the memorial to Princess Gwenllian, a true Welsh heroine, who died in battle in 1136 nearby fighting the Lord of the Castle, Maurice de Londres, to save Deheubarth (South West Wales) from the Norman invaders. Fast forward in time by dropping in at the Kidwelly Industrial Museum on the 13 acres of original tinplate works, the only surviving works in Britain with most of the buildings and machinery intact.
7. Llanelly House
One of Wales’ finest Georgian buildings and its only been open to the public for the last five years after major restoration project. A visit brings alive the legacy of the Stepney family and a chance to reflect on the triumphs and tribulations of the town Llanelli and the surprising influence that it had on other areas of the world during the industrial revolution. Don’t miss out on learning about the scandals of the ‘upstairs, downstairs’ times of the Victorians that haunt the house and book a guided tour which allows exclusive access to the upper floors.