This magical part of Wales was once home to poet Dylan Thomas and has loads to offer visitors, including the fab National Botanic Gardens.
Why go there?
With its awesome sandy beaches, endless greenery and easy access to the western Brecon Beacons, Carmarthenshire is a great place for a short break, whether that’s a romantic winter holiday for two or a fun trip with all the family. According to legend, Merlin – King Arthur’s faithful wizard – was born here, and if that’s not magical enough for you, we know for certain that Welsh bard Dylan Thomas produced some of his most remarkable poems while living in the area.
Where do I start?
The National Botanic Gardens of Wales contains over 550 acres of parkland and a cool, futuristic glasshouse designed by world-famous architects Norman Foster and Partners. It’s worth the visit just to observe the spectacle of a great huge dome bulging out of the landscape, as though sprung up from the earth. Inside is a six-metre deep ravine, rock terraces, waterfalls and a lake.
Where should I kip?
Perhaps the area’s most famous pub, The Brown’s in the village of Laugharne, is also a boutique bed and breakfast. Famously, Dylan Thomas – a renowned boozer –left the bar’s phone number as his own, and since then visitors have included Mick Jagger, Peter O’Toole and Cerys Matthews.
The much-lauded Y Polyn restaurant in Carmarthen offers gutsy home cooking in a laid-back atmosphere – and with prices that won’t frighten your purse. Expect a decent selection of fish and meat dishes presented in a rustic style, as well as a fine selection of top-quality deserts.
If I do one thing?
Kidwelly Castle is an awesome fortification overlooking the River Gwendraeth. Just outside the gatehouse stands a memorial to Princess Gwenllian who died in battle, not far from Kidwelly, fighting the lord of the castle, Maurice de Londres.
Carmarthen train station