OUT & ABOUT
Carmarthenshire is home to an amazing variety of coastlines, from the longest stretch of sand in Wales, Pendine, where many land speed records were set, to beautiful estuaries such as Laugharne, where Dylan Thomas wrote his famous “Under Milk Wood”.
More recently the transformation of a 14 mile stretch of coastline from Pembrey to Llanelli has created the Millennium Coastal Park. This provides a wildlife ribbon of revitalised harbours, traffic free cycle-paths, a championship golf course and ends in the internationally important WWT National Wetlands Centre Wales, a bird reserve on the mouth of the Loughour Estuary. In fact, wildlife abounds in Carmarthenshire, from otters on the rivers to the beautiful Red Kite in the air, which can now be seen in many parts of the county and visitors can watch them swoop and dive in specially set up feeding stations.
The coast provides clear green Gulf Stream waters and the power of the wind to bring you kite surfing, wind surfing and sailing opportunities. Water challenges are not all coastal with some of the best canoeing runs in Wales available all the year round, not to mention the wonderful freshwater fishing locations set amongst beautiful scenery. Carmarthenshire can boast two of Europe’s best Sewin, (Sea Trout) and Salmon rivers within its boundaries – the Teifi and the Towy.
Come walking in Carmarthenshire and enjoy gentle riverside paths, seafront strolls or head for more challenging walks in the Brecon Beacons National Park. For cyclists and walkers there is an excellent choice of quiet country lanes, cross country sections of the National Cycle Network and traffic free routes. The many miles of free cycle tracks exploring both the coast and inland areas make cycling a pleasure and very safe. For those adrenaline addicts that like more adventurous cycling there is mountain biking and many trails that snake down through the Brechfa and Cwm Rhaeadr Forests with family trails at Crychan Forest. Horse riding is also available and you can hire a horse or bring your own.
The National Botanical Gardens of Wales and Aberglasney Gardens provide contrasting but interesting gardens with both modern and historical twists. Aberglasney Gardens have recently been restored along with the beautiful house and has a very old Yew arched walkway and many attributes of a country estate. The Botanical Gardens house the largest single span glasshouse in the world and in addition to showcasing wonderful plants, is home to much research into sustainability and the usefulness of plants.
Carmarthenshire’s somewhat stormy and turbulent past is evident from the many castles in the county: Dinefwr, Dryslyn, Llansteffan, Laugharne, Kidwelly and Carreg Cennan to name but a few. All the castles are set amongst stunning scenery and offer a romantic and educational glimpse into the history of Wales.
If your family would prefer theme parks with exciting rides, good shopping locations or some theatre and live performances, we are within easy reach of amazing venues.
Pembrey Motorsports Centre
- The late Ayrton Senna and current Formula 1 star Jenson Button are just two of the many stars who have used Pembrey as a test circuit. Run by BARC (British Automobile Racing Club), the track provides racing for cars, motor cycles, karts, trucks and hosts rallies and sprints and other motoring events. www.barc.net Pembrey SA16 0HX 01554 891042.
- Glimpsed in the early morning mist, Kidwelly provides a spine tingling flashback to the medieval age. The castle is so complete and well-preserved that it is a match for any of the great castles of Wales.The earliest castle was Norman and the town was established in 1115 AD. The town’s symbol of a black cat tells a story! www.cadw.wales.gov.uk Kidwelly SA17 5BQ 01554 890104.
- Carmarthen is one of the oldest Roman towns in Wales. The town you see today grew up around a medieval castle, the gatehouse of which stands near the Old Town shopping area and houses the tourist information Centre. Legend has it that Carmarthen is the birthplace of Merlin, the wizard of Arthurian legend. One of the shopping areas is now named after the famous wizard. The market town is steeped in history with two town trails and a ghost walk on offer. There is a twice weekly produce market and a very modern 3D cinema!
Cefn Sidan Beach and Pembrey Country Park
- One of the most popular visitor attractions in Wales, the area attracts both locals and visitors. There are 202 hectares of glorious parkland linked to one of the cleanest and safest beaches in Wales. Apart from seven miles of sand, the park includes a whole host of family attractions, including a dry ski slope, toboggan run, adventure playground, pitch and putt golf, miniature ride on railway and many walks and cycle tracks. www.discovercarmarthenshire.com Pembrey SA16 0EZ 01554 742424.
- An outstanding heritage garden set in the tranquil heart of the TywiValley. Restored to old glory, 10 acres of horticultural treasures include three walled gardens and an old Yew arched walkway. Unique attractions include the Elizabethan/Jacobean Cloister Garden and a parapet walk. A new woodland walk and the indoor Ninfarium provide surprises. www.aberglasney.org Llangathen SA32 8QH 01558 668998.
National Botanical Gardens of Wales
- The National Botanical Garden of Wales is an iconic destination and a garden of international importance. Dominated by Lord Norman Foster’s stunning Great Glasshouse, the garden is home to some of the rarest and most endangered plants in the world. With something to suit all age groups and interests. There is a wide programme of activities, demonstrations and exhibitions running throughout the year. www.gardenofwales.org.uk Llanarthne SA32 8HN 01558 668768,
National Wetlands Centre
- Part of the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust, the Wale’s centre at Penclacwydd is a “must see”. The brainchild of Sir Peter Scott, the centre is set in a stunning 450 acre mosaic of lakes, pools and lagoons, with a collection of more than 600 of the world’s most spectacular birds. You can walk, cycle or canoe! www.wwt.org.uk/visit-us/llanelli Llanelli SA14 9SH 01554 741087
- Llanelli is named after its patron saint, Elli. Llanelli has an industrial heritage and was formerly known as “Tinopolis”. It is also home to Llanelli House , recently renovated, and Parc Howard, a lovely park and home to the museum of Llanelli Pottery. The now quiet ports and waterside areas have been regenerated to provide a focus to the Millennium Coastal Park. Llanelli is famous for its Rugby Team, The Scarlets, one of the oldest and best known clubs and who now reside in a brand new ground and stadium, Parc Y Scarlets. www.llanelly-house.org.uk www.scarlets.co.uk www.parchoward.org.uk
Ffos Las Racecourse
- The first horse racing course to be built in Britain since the war, Ffos Las has a full programme of equine events throughout the year. The site of the race course was once dubbed "the biggest hole in Europe" such was the scale of opencast mining at the location. The ambitious project was created by millionaire business man and racing enthusiast, Dai Walters. The course opened in 2009 with races over the flat and fences. www.ffoslasracecourse.com Trimsaren SA17 4DE 01554 811092
Please take the link to Discover Carmarthenshire for further information on places of interest and local attractions.