There's plenty to do in West Wales.
Here’s our far from exhaustive list of some of the best. If you need any help just ask us in Wright’s and we’ll get you all the information you need.
Carreg Cennen Castle. Photo: Cadw
OUR FAVOURITES NEARBY
Carreg Cennen at Trap, not far from Llandeilo and about 10 miles from here. It has the most spectacular position of all the local castles and there is a cave to explore too (you’ll need to hire a torch. How exciting is that?). There’s a nice little tea rooms at the foot of the hill amongst the farmyard.
Dinefwr Castle is within the grounds of the Grade 2 listed Newton House at Llandeilo - a National Trust property part Jacobean, part Venetian Gothic with grounds landscaped by Capability Brown in the late 18th Century. You can happily spend a day here exploring the house, grounds and the castle - the latter has splendid views across the Towy Valley. Newton House is touted as the most haunted historic house in Wales - empirical evidence of this is of course somewhat lacking.
Llansteffan Castle stands guard on a promontory overlooking Carmarthen Bay at the mouth of the River Tywi (Towy). Park in the beach car park and walk up from the shore. The views are great and you can combine the visit with a walk along the coastline to the west. There’s a tidy little cafe by the car park and good fish and chips from Florries’ cabin. Llansteffan is about 20 minutes by car.
Again, there are a lot in West Wales but we are particularly blessed in having two of the best regarded within a stone’s throw.
OUR FAVOURITES NEARBY
Aberglasney was featured in the telly series “Aberglasney a garden lost in time” which chronicled its restoration. The medieval house and gardens are amongst the finest in Wales with 10 acres of magnificent grounds and an Elizabethan cloistered garden at its heart. It’s a couple of miles to the east of Wright’s.
The National Botanic Garden of Wales was a signature Millennium Project and features the magnificent glasshouse designed by Sir Norman Foster that rises out of the surrounding landscape. As well as this central feature there’s a tropical butterfly house and grounds that extend to 350 acres with walks into working farmland and the unrestored woodland and water features that are the remnants of the original estate. The entrance to is just a couple of miles from Wright’s near to the A48 trunk road.
Yew Tunnel, Aberglasney Gardens. Photo: Aberglasney Gardens
Baranfundle bay. Photo: James Knight, Creative Commons
The coastline of West Wales is incredible in its variety, scale and beauty. Here we’ve stuck to places within an hour’s drive but even within this parameter these only scratch the surface of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. A little further on, Ceredigion is a whole other ocean of delights.
OUR FAVOURITES NEARBY
Llansteffan is a local favourite as mentioned above and the closest beach of any note. Next nearest is the vast expanse of Cefn Sidan which lies within Pembrey Country Park (you have to pay to get in, there are some other things to see and do but it’s looking a bit tatty at the moment). From Cefn Sidan you can look over to the Gower which by virtue of the Burry Inlet being in the way will take you about 45 minutes to reach, but it’s worth it of course.
There are riches too numerous to mention. Especially wonderful though is the stretch west of Tenby that includes the peerless Barafundle, Freshwater East, Bosheston (lily ponds are here) and Freshwater West (the Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company serve crab and lobster rolls from their shack here).
A fine place for a wander, with some little specialist shops like the Peppercorn (tumbling with all things kitchen and cooking), Toast (maybe not the expected location for a branch but our friends Jessica and Jamie Seaton started the business in the area back in 1997).
Less than half an hour’s drive away, Laugharne is probably most famous for its Dylan Thomas connections and there is plenty to explore there in relation to the great poet including the Dylan Thomas Boathouse. It’s a place of real character in its own right though, a place of of artists, livers of life (and a few lifeless livers) and home to the wonderful Laugharne Weekend and its associated shenanigans. If you like to drink and talk, here is as good a place as any.
A little further west but just off the A40, the town has burst into life in the past couple of decades as home to the magnificent Ultracomida deli and tapas bar and a scattering of other interesting indie retailers. It’s also home to the Queen’s Hall one of the best music venues in the region.
Further west again is the seaside town of Tenby. It’s still a traditional bucket and spade destination and one of the best at that, but it’s a little charmer too with its town walls, winding ancient streets and fishing boats bobbing in the harbour. You can get a boat here and fish for mackerel or visit Caldy Island.
Toast, Llandeilo. Photo: Toast
Y Polyn. Photo: Y Polyn
eating and drinking
We do a lot of this ourselves so feel free to come in and ask us in Wright’s if you’re headed in a particular direction and want a recommendation. Here are some of our favorites for your delectation.
Our favourites nearby
Y Polyn is just up the road, so lucky us. Multi award winning with very good reason, this is one of the best restaurants in Wales run by our friends and one time partners Mark and Sue Manson. In Llandeilo the Ginhaus is a great little den offering, you guessed it, over 250 different gins along with a deli and breakfast lunch and dinner too.
Down in Ferryside at the mouth of the river, are some of the best fish and chips you’ll find at Ferry Cabin, the chips are from potatoes grown on their own farm and the fish often features locally caught flounder, mackerel and the like - you can eat in and they have a licence. Across the estuary in Llansteffan “Big Bill” Hill and wife Judith run Yr Hen Dafarn in the centre of the village. It tends to be open for dinner only on a Friday and a Saturday but take the opportunity as it arises. Much of the vegetables are grown in Bill’s garden and he also fishes and hunts too so the supply chain can be wonderfully short here.
Further around the coast at Laugharne seek out The Cors. Usually open Thursday to Saturday for dinner only it’s an old vicarage set in enchanting gardens designed and curated by the equally charming Nick Priestland who is also the chef/patron. We fell in love with this place a long time ago and it’s not wearing off.
In Narberth we already mentioned the brilliance of Ultracomida and they have another branch in Aberystwyth too. If you’re up that way (it’s about 90 minutes) then you must also go to Pysgoty, a fish restaurant in a former public toilet (yep) on the South Promenade - it’s the fish restaurant Wales has waited for. Just down the coast is the justly celebrated Harbourmaster Hotel at Aberaeron.
Cardigan is just an hour away and is a good place for a wander. Stop in at Bara Menyn for great bread, coffee and a bite to eat. There is also the excellent Pizza Tipi down on the quay run by our friends at Fforest the magical place to stay just down the road from the town at Cilgerran.
In Felingwm, just a couple of miles away on the Brechfa Road out of Nantgaredig is The Plough Inn, run by Mike and Helen Strasden has the best trad pub food in the area.
And finally, a hop and a skip away from Wright’s is the Emlyn Arms, a friendly local pub where you can get a bite to eat and a pint every day except Monday.