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Things to do in Carmarthenshire

©Shutterstock / : Martin Fowler

Carmarthenshire is the largest County in Wales, situated in the south west, it encompasses coast line, rolling pasture land, the southern tip of the Cambrian Mountains in the north, the verdant Tywi Valley, the dramatic Black Mountain and the western edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park in the east. Carmarthenshire Tourist Information Centres can supply full information about the County.

The county town, Carmarthen, on the River Tywi, is a busy town with modern amenities and an ancient history. Carmarthen Castle is a ruined 11th century Norman Castle, overlooking the town. Visit Carmarthenshire County Museum,at Abergwili, to learn about the history of the County.

To the east at Llanarthne, is the National Botanic Garden of Wales, opened in May 2000. The garden contains the largest single-span glasshouse in the world and the longest herbaceous border in Britain. The Botanic Garden is still being developed, an unique garden to keep visiting.

Llandeilo is a great base for exploring the many historic castles in the area. Dryslwyn Castle to the west, Dinefwr Park, Castle and Newton House, and Carreg Cennen Castle. Four miles west of Llandeilo, Aberglasney Garden is well worth visiting, the restoration programme is bringing this ancient garden back to life, with a cloister garden, parapet walk and six separate garden spaces to enjoy. Two miles west of the town is Gelli Aur Country Park, 60 acres of wooded parkland surrounding a country mansion, where events and craft demonstrations take place throughout the year.

Llandovery is a pretty market town in the upper Towey valley, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. In the town itself is the ruins of Llandovery Castle.

In the north east of the County at Pumsaint is Dolaucothi Gold Mines, a Roman gold mine set in the wooded hillside, overlooking the lovely Cothi Valley. There are guided tours of the underground workings, gold panning, exhibitions on gold and mining history and working trains on the mine floor.

At the north west of Carmarthenshire on the River Teifi is Newcastle Emlyn with its ruined castle. The river is famous for world-class fishing of sea trout, salmon and brown trout, the town is a popular base for fishermen. To the west at the beautiful Cenarth Falls is the National Coracle Centre, where coracles are made in the workshop. The Teifi Valley Railway, created from a branch line of the Great Western Railway offers a two mile journey through the beautiful Teifi Valley, a chance to enjoy the age of steam. Four miles east of the town the National Woollen Museum tells the story of the woollen industry of Wales, with demonstrations of spinning, weaving and displays of traditional Welsh textiles.

At Whitland in the west of Carmarthenshire is another of the Counties remarkable gardens, Hywel Dda Gardens and Interpretive Centre, commemorates Hywel ap Cadell, 'King of all Wales' in the ninth and early tenth centuries. The only garden in Europe dedicated to the law, the memorial is divided into six small gardens, each representing a section of the law.

The seven mile beach at Pendine Sands in the south west of Carmarthenshire is famous for land speed records, where Malcolm Campbell broke three records. Visit the Pendine Museum of Speed, to see some of the record-breaking vehicles. To the north is Laugharne, with its picturesque castle, overlooking the Taf Estuary. Laugharne was the home of the poet Dylan Thomas, the Boat House where he wrote "Under Milk Wood" is open to the public. To the north is Llansteffan Castle built by the Normans, near the site of an earlier Iron Age hill fort.

Across the estuary on the eastern side of Carmarthen bay is picturesque town Kidwelly with Kidwelly Castle, one of the best preserved medieval castles in the County. Kidwelly Industrial Museum interprets the former industries of Carmarthenshire, tinplate, coal mining and brick manufacture.

To the south is Pembrey Country Park, encompassing Pembrey Forest and the seven mile beach at Cefn Sidan Sands. On an adjacent site nearby is the Welsh Motor Sports Centre.

Llanelli is an attractive town, situated at the mouth of the River Loughor. Visit Park Howard Art Gallery and Museum, featuring the town's history and a large collection of Llanelli pottery. A mile east of the town is the National Wetlands Centre Wales, the 500 acre reserve is situated at the edge of the Burry inlet, and is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The Llanelli Millennium Coastal Park is the largest land reclamation scheme undertaken in Wales, over 2000 acres of industrial wasteland have been restored to create a coastal path and cycleway between Pembrey Country Park and the National Wetland Centre.

Days out in Carmarthenshire

  • Carmarthenshire County Museum
    At Abergwili, near Carmarthen on the A40, this the museum of Carmarthenshire's past.
    Carmarthenshire County Museum
  • Carreg Cennen Castle
    There are few castles in Wales which can boast a more spectacular location than Carreg Cennen. Its stout, weatherbeaten ruins crown a precipitous limestone crag overlooking the remote Black Mountain.
    Carreg Cennen Castle
  • Dinefwr Park & Newton House
    Dinefwr Park and Castle is a very special and beautiful place. Now, thanks to a £5 million, three-year project the Park is being transformed and is getting even better!
    Dinefwr Park & Newton House
  • Kidwelly Castle
    This castle is one of Wales's best kept secrets. Kidwelly, on a steep bluff overlooking the River Gwendraeth, presents a vision of medieval times.
    Kidwelly Castle
  • Laugharne Castle
    The handsome castle, standing foursquare on the waterfront overlooking the Taf estuary, bears testament to a troubled past when the Normans built a string of coastal strongholds to consolidate their hold over south-west Wales.
    Laugharne Castle
  • National Coracle Centre
    The National Coracle Centre is situated beside the beautiful Cenarth Falls, and houses a unique collection of coracles from all over the world, including Tibet, India, Iraq, Vietnam and North America
    National Coracle Centre
  • National Wetland Centre Wales
    Enjoy a wonderful day out watching and learning about some of Wales's most exciting wildlife - and help WWT to protect it at the same time.
    National Wetland Centre Wales
  • West Wales Museum of Childhood
    The Museum of Childhood at Llangeler is more than a toy museum, it is an extensive collection of all things to do with childhood.
    West Wales Museum of Childhood

Places to Visit in Carmarthenshire

  • Ammanford
    Ammanford is today one of the busiest towns in the county but still retains a flavour of the town's proud coalfield heritage.
  • Brechfa
    Brechfa, (Meaning: WELSH "mottled place") hidden in the Cothi valley north east of Carmarthen, has been described as one of the most secluded villages in South Wales and has a long and fascinating history.
  • Carmarthen
    Carmarthen is a thriving commercial centre with a good mix of traditional and modern shopping facilities and famous bustling indoor and outdoor market.
  • Cilycwm
    Cilycwm is a small, scattered community of mainly hill farms in Wales, to the north-west of the Brecon Beacons National Park, near Llandovery.
  • Kidwelly
    Kidwelly has one of the best preserved castles in Wales standing on a steep ridge above the river. The Kidwelly Industrial Museum is the only place in Wales where you can see how tinplate was made by hand.
  • Laugharne
    Laugharne was home to Wales' most famous poet and writer Dylan Thomas, who lived in this unique and attractive township.
  • Llandeilo
    Llandeilo still retains its old world atmosphere with its narrow streets and attractive historic buildings.
  • Llandovery
    Llandovery a market town on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, is a good base for walkers and all those who appreciate the countryside.
  • Llandyry
    Llandyry is a hamlet with a small church between Pembrey and Trimsaran on the B4317 road. It is a quiet and pleasant place in which to live. The church probably dating from the 17th century, is the main reason visitors come to Llandyry.
  • Llanelli
    Llanelli is a vibrant shopping centre with numerous attractions nearby including the Millennium Coastal Park, Celtic Trail Cycleway, Pembrey Country Park and Cefn Sidan Beach, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and Parc Howard Museum.
  • Llanfihangel-ar-Arth
    Llanfihangel ar Arth is the most notherly village in the community, nearest the river Teifi. It is believed that the village's name derives from the name of parish's church - Sant Mihangel - which was established in the 6th century.
  • Llangeler
    Llangeler is a thriving parish of over 3,000 people in West Wales. Its pretty little church is in the centre of Llangeler village, set in the lovely rich green countryside of Carmarthenshire.
  • Pembrey
    Pembrey is a friendly Welsh which sits a mile from the historic town of Burry Port with its pretty harbour and 4 miles from the ancient town of Kidwelly with its famous castle. Pembrey and the surrounding area is steeped in history.

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