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The handsome market town of Llandeilo fuses farming feet with country chic. Sat atop a hill overlooking the River Tywi, its narrow streets and pastel-painted Georgian houses sweep down to the impressive single-arch stone bridge below. It is little wonder Llandeilo was nominated by The Sunday Times as one of the best places to live in Wales.

But unlike many other ‘Instagram-worthy’ places in the world, you won’t find yourself navigating a path through scores of ‘grammers stopping for an impromptu photo-shoot every 25 metres.

Meinir Howells grew up on a farm at Capel Isaac, less than 2 miles from Llandeilo. She went to school in the town and still farms close by, with her husband Gary. She is well known as a presenter of S4C farming show, Ffermio and Llandeilo remains close to her heart. She told us more about the town she is so fond of.

Llandeilo has changed a bit since her school days, but for Meinir, the strong sense of community still shines through. She tells us that people who grew up here are always keen to return and people coming into the area are always made welcome. Naturally, she believes that farming is at the very heart of that community; “pull that farmer out and you lose the community, the Welsh language, the culture and everything that comes with it.”

Boutique Style

Today, Llandeilo is a popular shopping destination with visitors and locals alike. They are drawn because Llandeilo is refreshingly lacking the ubiquitous chain stores that are a staple in many other British towns. Instead, Llandeilo boasts a great selection of independent traders and quirky antique shops. Shopkeepers take the business of window-dressing very seriously here and there’s often competition for the most elaborate and unique seasonal displays.

Llandeilo is the original home of international clothing and lifestyle brand Toast. Today, Rhosmaen Street and the streets off it, are full of quality stores and boutiques such as Bellissimo, Dot Clothing, The Lighthouse, Monsho, Relm Wear Rig Out and Barr & Co.

Local is on the Menu

Once you’ve shopped till you drop, you’ll no doubt be looking for a coffee shop or bar where you can refresh, and admire your purchases. Again, Llandeilo comes up trumps with a range of characterful cafes, bars and restaurants. Meinir is keen to point out their commitment to use locally sourced produce.

You can shop, eat, drink and relax at Davis and Co. Locally sourced food made fresh to order. We can vouch for the serious yumminess on offer, and dogs are welcome both inside and out. 

If you need a chocolate boost, then Heavenly is for you. Meinir is particularly fond of their ice cream. We loved the strawberry cheesecake flavour!

For the perfect picnic, head over to the Ginhaus Deli on Market Street. As the name suggests, they also stock an impressive range of gins. With bottles ominously named ‘Death’s Door’ available to sample and buy, you’ll probably be glad of the Scotch eggs, cheeses and pieces of charcuterie to soak it up with afterwards

Castle Country

Wales has more castles per square mile than any other country in the world and this corner of Carmarthenshire has more than its fair share.

Just outside Llandeilo, Dinefwr Castle occupies a significant place in Welsh history. It’s also the setting of Meinir’s choice for a country walk. The fortress, perched on a hilltop overlooking the Tywi Valley, was where The Lord Rhys held court in the 12th century and influenced decisions about Wales. The 800-acre National Trust estate on which the castle sits is also home to 17th-century Newton House, Wales’ first parkland National Nature Reserve (NNR) and an 18th-century landscape park, enclosing a medieval deer park.

Approximately 5 miles south-east of Llandeilo, you’ll encounter the imposing ruins of Carreg Cennen Castle. We’re certain you’ll struggle to find a castle any more dramatic than this. Perched on a 90-metre limestone crag, Carreg Cennen’s silhouette dominates the skyline for miles around. It’s said that Urien, one of King Arthur’s knights, built it as his fortress. The combination of its stunning location, rich history and connection to the legend of Merlin means Carreg Cennen regularly features on lists of the most romantic places in Wales.

Dinefwr Castle

Recharge and Revive

After the afternoon’s feast for the eyes, reward your stomach with a dinner date at The Cawdor. Its bright red exterior makes it hard to miss on Llandeilo’s main street. Inside the hotel is far more relaxing: think comfy sofas, log fires and a cozy bar. Whether you choose formal dining in the restaurant, or a relaxed bar meal, no one should leave without trying the old-fashioned sticky toffee pudding.

Top up the tank ahead of another day of sightseeing with a brunch at the Hangout. Made with locally sourced ingredients wherever possible, they offer everything from the basics – toast, granola and porridge, under the menu section ‘#imnotthathungry’ – to a full cooked breakfast sure to shift the most gruesome of hangovers, fittingly named ‘#vodkaisnotmyfriend’

Wales’ Garden County

Two very different but equally appealing gardens compete for your attention in this part of Carmarthenshire.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales is a 560-acre complex that opened in 2000, with a range of themed gardens and the world’s largest single-span glasshouse among its attractions. If you visit ‘Pi’, a large contemporary sculpture in the gardens, you’ll get to see another of our historical gems nearby, Paxton’s Tower. The Neo-Gothic folly was built in honour of Lord Nelson and ‘Pi’ was designed specifically as the perfect frame for it.

Just minutes away, but a world apart in comparison, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d wandered onto the set of a period drama at Aberglasney Gardens. Its formal walled gardens date from Elizabethan times with a unique cloister garden at its heart.

 

Meinir Howells grew up on a farm at Capel Isaac, less than 2 miles from Llandeilo. She went to school in the town and still farms close by, with her husband Gary. She is well known as a presenter of S4C farming show, Ffermio and Llandeilo remains close to her heart. She told us more about the town she is so fond of.

Llandeilo has changed a bit since her school days, but for Meinir, the strong sense of community still shines through. She tells us that people who grew up here are always keen to return and people coming into the area are always made welcome. Naturally, she believes that farming is at the very heart of that community; “pull that farmer out and you lose the community, the Welsh language, the culture and everything that comes with it.”

Meinir’s Insider Tips

The Best Walk – Around the Dinefwr Castle estate.

The “Must Do” for Visitors – Insist on locally sourced produce.

The Photo Stop – The view of the stone arch bridge with cottages behind.

The Hidden Gem – Talley Abbey.

Her Personal Favourite – Local Welsh lamb.

The Refreshment Stop – There are too many to choose from!

Places to stay in Llandeilo and the Tywi Valley

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