Meet Simone Mansell Broome – the owner of Pen-y-banc Farm

Each of our cottages has a different history behind their life as a holiday destination, and each of their owners a different story to tell.

We have some great summaries of these properties on our website, but who better to tell us about staying at these destinations and the story behind them, than the owners themselves!

The family team who run the Ceridwen Centre, including children and dogs

Simone and her family run the Ceridwen Centre on Pen-y-banc Farm. This large and characterful house offers either self catering or catered accommodation. There are also some lovely glamping properties to choose from around the farm, whether you fancy a roomy yurt, historic gypsy caravan or cosy converted cabin.

The Ceridwen Centre can also offer reflexology treatments, bike hire, mountain biking skills, arts and crafts classes, and an on-site shop sells lovely local and home-grown produce.

There is a golf course nearby, Cilgerran Castle is a short drive away, and there is a choice of some great local walks around the historic landscape and beautiful Teifi Valley. Simone tells us about the background of her farm and what it has to offer its guests:

What is the story behind the Ceridwen Centre and Pen-y-banc Farm?
We moved here in 2007 to Pen-y-banc Farm, and our initial aim was to create a hospitality and tourism business we could grow, which would support us and any of our family who would want to become involved.

It was also important to us to run our business on sustainable principles, being as carbon neutral as possible, so these principles have informed our purchasing choices and the way that we renovate and create spaces here on the farm.

Four images in a collage, gypsy caravan, a box of vegetables, a bride and groom outside a yurt and a wood cladded shack

What do visitors like to do when they stay on Pen-y-banc Farm?
To relax and unwind, To enjoy the scenery, the fabulous views, the sunsets over the valley and the starry skies on a clear night.

We attract walkers, cyclists (we have bike repair and a mountain bike skills area/pump track on the farm), bird watchers and amateur photographers, antiques hunters and lovers of craft and art, families with children of all ages who love the freedom they have here (and the outdoor games), families with pet dogs, couples looking for a romantic break or short activity or touring break – all sorts in fact. Because our accommodation is quite spread out we can easily cater for different sorts and ages of groups at the same time.

In the summer we have occasional pizza evenings which are popular with the guests on site, and there is a bar which we open for events and on request at other times.

3 images, pizza night at Ceridwen Cente, a couple walking along a mown path hand in hand, 2 dogs in a field

If you were a visitor to Pen-y-banc Farm, what would you do on an ideal day?
Visit the donkeys and sheep, walk round the farm (we’ve created a farm walk this summer), maybe visit one of the local attractions – we’re just over a mile from the National Wool Museum and there are some fabulous art and craft studios locally – or go to the beach, possibly barbecue for supper, collecting organic salad stuff from the farm, or maybe spend a relaxing evening in the wood-fired eco hot-tub.

two donkeys and a few sheep in a field woodfired hot tub sat on wooden decking area in the countryside

What do you like best about letting the Ceridwen Centre and your glamping properties?
Seeing people enjoying themselves and having some time and space to slow down and relax. Doing as much or as little for them as they need. Helping guests to discover and explore the fabulous local area. Sharing our farm, and the way it is run and is growing, with the visitors. Happy faces. Thank you cards and emails! :)

For more information or to book please see the Penybanc Farm properties on our website.

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Introducing the top 8 historic houses in West Wales

While on holiday here, it’s well worth visiting some of our many historic houses to absorb some of the area’s history. Here are our recommendations of the 8 top historic houses to visit in West Wales. Each house has a unique history and different aspects to spark your imagination and show you a view of the past, offering a fascinating day out.

1. Picton Castle, PembrokeshirePicton house behind pink flowers

Picton Castle and its magnificent gardens are an ideal day out for all the family. Awarded the 2014 and 2015 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, this large attractive building is an unusual combination of castle and fortified manor house. Its RHS Partner gardens are a must-see, and the house has many attractions as well as now housing Pembroke’s Museum of the Home.

The Castle was owned by the Wogans since the 13th century and their descendants the Phillipps, once one of the most powerful families in Pembrokeshire. Seasonal events include a Children’s Easter Egg Hunt, Tapas Nights, viewing the Picton Renoir painting, and a Victorian Christmas Tour.

Amenities include Picton Galleries and its exhibitions, shop selling locally-produced items and plants for sale in the courtyard from Picton Castle Nursery. A restaurant and deli are open throughout the year selling lunch and afternoon teas, with evening events detailed on their website.

For opening times and prices visit the Picton Castle website or phone 01437 751326

2. Llanerchaeron, CeredigionLlanerchaeron to the right with a driveway infront and lawn behind

Llanerchaeron is a Georgian Villa which was designed to make the most of the beautiful landscape and its panoramas. Built in the Palladian style by John Nash in the 1790s, it remains amongst the least altered of his early works. The beautiful setting also includes the working farm and gardens open to the Llanerchaeron, a Georgian Villa public.

The small farmhouse and formal gardens were bought in 1634 by Llewellyn Parry, a descendant of Welsh princes. 20th-century renovations included new fireplaces, and internal electricity powered by a waterwheel on the estate!

Some of the most interesting features include a dairy, brewery and salting house, laundry and cheese press room. A further feature is the Edwardian kitchen range, where homemade Welsh cakes are baked for you to try!

Events include storytelling, geocaching and quilting workshops, as well as festivals and plays. Conti’s Cafe sells refreshments, and the Farm Shop sells produce from the farm. Baby-changing and disabled facilities available, with some disabled access. See website for opening times. Only guide dogs allowed.

For opening times and prices visit the Llanerchaeron website.

3. Newton House, Dinefwr Park, LlandeiloNewton House in the distance behind autumn leaves

Visit Newton House and go back in time to before WWI! Run by the National Trust, this striking house with its four corner towers is set in a beautiful wide valley surrounded by ancient trees and 18th-century parkland. Expect ghostly encounters in the cellars, or the spirit of the strangled Lady Elinor Cavendish on the staircase!

The medieval Deer Park, Wales’ only parkland National Nature Reserve, is skirted on one side by the River Tywi valley. Originally built in 1660, it has later 1850s Gothic additions which form the majority of the current house. The estate was landscaped by George and Cecil Rice (Rhys), aided by Capability Brown, and very little has changed since.

The house was owned by the Rhys family, descendants of the ancient princes and kings of Deheubarth, who once ruled the area from Dinefwr Castle on a nearby hilltop. It was sold by Richard Dynevor in 1972. The name derives from the former location of a medieval “New Town”, constructed for the English to trade.

There are guided rooftop tours, exhibitions on the first floor and events throughout the year, listed on the website. A National Trust shop and Art Gallery are also on site, with plants for sale, a Second Hand Bookshop and a Farm Shop selling the extremely local venison!

Facilities include the Billiard Tea Rooms where you can enjoy fireside lunches and teas, or the Castle Walk Cafe, designed especially to be dog- and muddy-boot friendly. Dinefwr Castle is also open to visitors.

For opening times and prices visit the Newton House website.

4. Tudor Merchant’s House, TenbyTudor Merchant's House, Tenby with people stood outside in a narrow street

The Tudor Merchant’s House is in the heart of Tenby. Visit this late 15th-century historic house for a trip back in time to Tenby in the Tudor period. This is a small treasure in the middle of a beautiful seaside town and harks back to the days when Tenby was an important centre for trade.

The site is a middle-class town house, furnished in a c1500 style. It was originally built for a merchant who would have traded in various goods including cloth, coal and spices. Interesting features include a garderobe within a tower on one wall of the building, and a herb garden to the rear of the house.

This is a great interactive experience, with guides on hand to show you how the family once lived and ate, and children’s costumes to try on. Whilst there are no facilities attached to the house, there are a variety of places to find refreshments around Tenby, as well as a host of other attractions.

For opening times and prices visit the Tudor Merchant’s House website or phone 01834 842279

5. Scolton Manor Museum and Country Park, PembrokeshireScotlton Manor behind the lawn, picnic table and  green leaves

Scolton is a Victorian manor house set in 60 acres of parkland currently being managed to encourage wildlife, as shown in the Visitor Centre. There are many reasons to visit the property, whether you are interested in history, wildlife or beekeeping.

Built in 1842 for the Higgon family, once Sheriffs of Pembrokeshire, this is a typical house for the country squire. It became a convalescent hospital in WW2, and remained a private house until bought in 1982 by Pembrokeshire County Council to house the county museum.

Features to look out for in the house include the great cantilevered staircase, a portrait of Lucy Walter, mistress to King Charles II and mother to his son James, Duke of Monmouth, and a painting of the “Battle of Fishguard”, the last invasion of Britain, by the French at Carreg Wastad. There is also the Walled Garden, currently under restoration, and the Pembrokeshire Beekeeping Centre with live demonstrations.

Open from Spring to Autumn, facilities include a Tea Room with homemade refreshments, and a Gift Shop selling the local honey.

For opening times and prices visit the Scolton Manor website.

6. Ffynone Mansion, Boncath, PembrokeshireFfynone Mansion

This attractive Grade I listed house is in a beautiful setting looking out across the Pembrokeshire countryside. Named after the springs around the site, it is set in a peaceful 20 acre landscaped estate. This is a perfect day out for those wanting a quiet and relaxing day.

Created in 1793 by John Nash and thought to be one of his best earlier creations, the house was constructed roughly on the site of its medieval predecessor. The estate was purchased from the Morgan family by Colonel John Colby in 1752 and the present house commissioned by him.

Early 1900s renovations included a ballroom and dining room in Italianate baroque style, leaving Nash’s work intact. The gardens were landscaped at the same time. In 1987 the house was bought and restored by the third Earl Lloyd-George.

Please book in advance to view the house and for guided tours. Large groups are welcome. The house and gardens are open May to September, Thursday to Saturday, with an NGS garden day on 1 May.

Refreshments are available from the tea Shop serving homemade cakes and hot drinks. There is limited disabled and pushchair access to both house and woodlands.

For opening times and prices visit the Ffynone Mansion website or phone 01239 841610

You can even stay at Ffynone Mansion in one of the self-catering apartments. South Flat sleeps 4 and Stable Flat sleeps up to 6.

7. Stradey Castle, Llanelli, CarmarthenshireStradey Castle from a distance

Stradey Castle is a Grade II listed historic house which has been opened by the Mansel Lewis family for all to enjoy and as a way of preserving the castle and its contents. Apart from drawing in visitors, it is also a popular location for filming and photoshoots, including the 2011 Doctor Who Christmas Special!

Currently under the process of restoration, the present house dates to the mid-Victorian period and includes a tower and a secret passage around the basements. The original Stradey House was built in the 17th century, but has since been demolished. It is set in 100 acres of farmland and woodland, and the Woodland Gardens are also available to explore (please enquire when booking).

Opening times and guided tours are available every 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month, please check the website for further details. The heritage, educational, garden and Christmas tours are generally conducted by the present owner, and the house is also available for wedding receptions. Disabled and pushchair access to the ground floor only.

For opening times and prices visit the Stradey Castle website or phone 01554 774626

8. Cresselly, PembrokeshireUpton in the background, horses grazing on the lawn to the front

Cresselly is a grand house, an epitome of the country house, set a short distance from the Cresswell River Estuary to the east of Pembroke. With links to the Wedgwood family, the estate was also once visited by Coleridge. Visit this site for a peaceful, relaxing and historic day out.

Owned by the Allen family, the current Georgian house was built in 1769. Prior to this, the Cresselly estate had been owned by the Bartlett family since 1564. John Bartlett Allen, a descendant of the Bartletts and the Irish Allen families, commissioned the rebuilding of the new house away from the coal mines to which the family owed much of its income.

The new house was higher up the hill, overlooking the Cresswell River and onwards towards Milford Haven. It has many period features, including original solid oak furniture, and a glass chandelier. Open 10am-1pm, 3-16 May and 1-14 August. Visitors are welcome for guided tours, please see website for details. No dogs or children under 12 permitted.

For opening times and prices visit the Cresselly website or phone 01646 651992

If you are looking for somewhere to stay near any of these historic houses, we have a wide variety of self-catering accommodation in the area for you to choose from. See our full collection of holiday cottages.

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Goodbye spring, hello summer!

We have all been admiring what spring had to offer us in West Wales this year: some of the cutest little lambs, the daffodils and snowdrops, bluebells have come and gone and the puffins made another appearance on Skomer Island, which even got BBC’s Springwatch talking!

Now that we say goodbye to spring, a season we all love here at West Wales Holiday Cottages, we are so happy to see the warmer evenings and the true signs that summer is here! West Wales is the perfect place to admire summer, from busy beaches and ice cream to exploring the coastal path, spotting some of the best wildlife on offer, bottlenose dolphins and seals!

Watch our video as we wave goodbye to spring for another year and say: ‘hello summer!’

Don’t miss out on your summer holiday, we still have some availability for a truly magical last minute adventure on the West Wales coast. Whether you choose to base your adventure in a superb cottage in Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion or Carmarthenshire, we hope you love the area as much as we do!

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Coasteering: adventures on the West Wales coast

Jumping in the sea when coasteering

Coasteering: jump right in!

If you love sea-swimming, cliff-walking, rock-scrambling and cliff-jumping, then coasteering is for you! One of Pembrokeshire’s most famous activities, coasteering offers the opportunity to explore the beautiful coasts of West Wales in a whole new way. Come across secret beaches, caves, sea stacks and reefs – all otherwise virtually inaccessible – and live life on the edge for the day.

Coasteering involves moving along the rocky coastline either on foot or by swimming (with wetsuits, buoyancy aids, helmets  and optional wetsuit hoods, socks and gloves, depending on the season) – but without using boats.

Experiences can range from several hours in length to an entire adventure weekend, and can be tailored to the individual’s level of experience. Family coasteering can include children from 8 years old, a qualified professional is always there to guide the group.

Coasteering is an adventure for water-confident adrenalin junkies or complete beginners – go on, have a go!

Coasteering activity providers in West Wales

Jumping off coastal cliff in Pembrokeshire with Celtic Quest Coasteering

Celtic Quest Coasteering Abereiddy – 01348 881530

Jumping into the sea from the rocks with Adventure Beyond

Adventure Beyond Llandysul – 07787 123761

Leaping from a cliff into the sea when coasteering with The Real Adventure Company

The Real Adventure Company St Davids – 07421 831462

The Outer Reef surf school

Outer Reef Surf School Pembroke – 01646 680070

Sealyham Activity Centre list of activities available

Sealyham Activity Centre Wolfscastle – 01348 840763

More coasteering providers:

Cardigan Bay Active Cardigan – 01239 612133

TYF Adventure St Davids – 01437 721611

Preseli Venture Mathry – 01348 837709

The Big Blue Adventure Newgale – 07816 169359

Dragon Activity Guides Letterston – 01348 841336

To find the perfect base for your coasteering holiday in West Wales, why not take a look at our superb range of coastal cottages.

 

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West Wales’ top 8 gardens to visit

West Wales has a variety of gardens to visit, each with different aspects guaranteed to draw you in and ensure you enjoy your day. Here are 8 of the best gardens to visit in West Wales, encompassing a wide range of garden designs and habitats, and something for everyone, whether you are an ardent horticulturalist or a family with children!

1. National Botanic Garden of Wales

Pontarddulais, CarmarthenshireLarge glass dome on a hill behind orange flowers

Voted the best in Wales, these spectacular gardens are a must-see. With over 8000 plant varieties in their collection and many different types of garden as well as waterside and woodland walks, the site was designed in part with a focus on conservation and education.

The beautiful and inspiring collection of habitats includes the Walled Garden, Tropical House and Bog Garden, as well as areas showcasing Wales’ rarest tree and Welsh rare plants. The Great Glasshouse is the largest single-spanned glass structure in the world and houses a collection of Mediterranean plants.

Facilities include a Garden Plant Shop, Gallery, the Seasons Restaurant, Gatehouse Café, and with further refreshments in the Mediterranean Café, found in the Great Glasshouse.

Open every day apart from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Guide dogs only. No bikes are permitted, however if you cycle to the gardens you qualify for half price entry! There is also free entry for Garden members.

For opening times and prices, visit the National Botanic Garden of Wales website or phone 01558 667149.

2. Aberglasney Mansion and Gardens

Llangathen, CarmarthenshireAberglansey behind the patterned lawn

Found in the Tywi Valley, these gardens are said to be some of the most beautiful in the region and it is thought there have been gardens here since 1477. The modern landscape is currently in the process of being restored.

The gardens are particularly varied and include a Cloister Garden, Ninfarium, Pool Garden, Yew Tunnel and Lower and Upper Walled Gardens. They were created around Aberglasney House, and also feature a Gatehouse. possibly early 17th-century.

There is a shop, and tea rooms selling homemade refreshments, including traditional cream teas. Seasonal events are held, details on their website.

Open every day except Christmas Day. Guide dogs only.

For opening times and prices, visit the Aberglasney website or phone 01558 668998

3. Colby Woodland Garden

Amroth, PembrokeshireWoodland garden in bloom

Set in a former coal-mining landscape and maintained by the National Trust, these gardens are found in a quiet, secluded valley. It is a lovely place for families and children to have adventures or for a peaceful walk.

The Woods with their Acers and Dogwoods are particularly colourful in autumn and beautiful in spring with bulbs covering the woodland floor. Attractions for children and adults alike include rope swings, cooking on campfires and building dens!

The Wildflower Meadow is great for pond dipping, with a stream, stepping stones and plentiful wildlife. The Walled Garden and former kitchen garden is best in summer, with its herbaceous plants, a water feature and sculptures.

The house is early 19th-century (unfortunately not open to the public), whilst the gardens were begun in the 1870s. Their industrial past is seen everywhere and includes the Bedlam Pit (the former mine entrance), the old mine wheel and an old tramway.

Facilities include the Bothy Tea Room, a Gallery showcasing local artists, the Gift Shop, and Farm Shop with award-winning produce. There are also baby-changing facilities, access for pushchairs and backpacks, and disabled access in the nearer reaches of the garden. Events include children’s quiz trails, family fun days, wildlife walks and winter fairs.

For opening times and prices, visit the Colby Woodland Garden website or phone 01834 811885.

4. Llanerchaeron

Aberaeron, CeredigionA very green walled garden with a pathway leading to an archway.

This striking National Trust walled garden, lake and traditional working farm were created around the villa designed by renowned Regency architect John Nash in 1790. The walled garden has been producing fruit and vegetables continuously for the last 200 years.

Examples of traditional horticultural techniques can be seen throughout, including fire pits and hot water systems. The site is also renowned for an ancient and large collection of apple trees, now numbering 51 varieties.

Elsewhere on the estate, visit the late 18th-century villa and collections of antiques and ancient farm equipment. There is a Cafe, and produce from the gardens and farm are sold in the Farm Shop, including some rare breed Welsh pork and Welsh Black cattle.

Open at weekends and with seasonal events, please check their website for details. Parkland and woodland are open daily. There are baby changing and feeding facilities, disabled parking and partial disabled access.

For opening times and prices, visit the Llanerchaeron website or phone 01545 570200.

5. Hilton Court Gardens and Crafts

Roch, PembrokeshireSquirrel Lodge at Hilton Court Gardens

These gardens have a great choice of activities that can provide a whole day’s entertainment. You can walk in the 8 acres of woods among bluebells, or around the three beautiful large ponds and their water lilies, all havens for wildlife.

The gardens are perfect for families, with children’s Wooden Houses including Badger’s Hall and Squirrel lodge. The Solar Dome houses semi-tropical plants and allows you to enjoy afternoon tea in its tropical atmosphere, whilst the Gardener’s Restaurant and Woodland Tea Room provide a range of refreshments. You can enjoy a game of boules, or explore the shop with its range of gifts, or the small plant nursery that specialises in alpines, all found in the restored Victorian courtyard.

Open all week. Seasonal events include pond dipping, outdoor theatre and film showings.

For opening times and prices, visit the Hilton Court Gardens and Crafts website or call 01437 710262

6. Hafod Estate

Aberystwyth, CeredigionA carpet of bluebells in a woodland area

Set in the Ystwyth valley near Devil’s Bridge, this 200-hectare estate is one of the best examples of a Picturesque Georgian landscape in Europe. First designed by Thomas Johnes, it was a major attraction in its day. The series of walkways, woodland and gardens, including Mrs Johnes’ Garden, are currently in the process of being restored.

This site is ideal for the avid walker, with five different signposted routes. They vary from moderate to strenuous in length and include the Ystwyth Gorge walk, where you can walk through bluebells, next to steep drops and waterfalls and over the restored suspension Chain Bridge above the Ystwyth River.

Access to the estate is free, as Open Access and Forestry Commission land. There are £2 guide maps available in the church car park or from Tourist Information Centres.

For opening times and prices, visit the Hafod Estate website or call 01974 282568

7. Picton Castle and Gardens

Haverfordwest, PembrokeshirePicton Castle behind orange dahlias

These 40 acres of award-winning gardens are ideal for families and those who enjoy a lovely walk. Part of the RHS Partnership, they include important collections of rare trees and plants, including their Rhododendron collection.

The gardens offer a wide range of habitats, such as the peaceful and romantic walled garden and perhaps the largest Jungle garden in Britain. There is autumn colour with redwoods and giant oaks on the woodland walks where you can see rare conifers from around the world. Family activities include woodland trails and the adventure playground.

Once home to one of the most powerful families in Pembrokeshire, the 13th-century castle can also be visited – an unusual mix of medieval castle and fortified manor. The Gardens have seasonal events that include plays, music concerts and displays, and there is a Restaurant, Gift Shop, Plant Sales and Art Gallery.

For opening times and prices visit the Picton Castle and Gardens website or call 01437 751326.

8. Upton Castle Gardens

Cosheston, Pembrokeshire4 children stood next to gunnera manicata

These beautiful listed gardens have the added benefit of being designed around the historic Norman Castle of Upton (sadly not open to the public). Set within 35 hectares in a secluded valley, they include ancient woodlands, herbaceous borders, formal rose garden and a 19th century walled kitchen garden, currently under restoration. The main draw of these gardens is their collection of unusual tree and shrub varieties, including Tree Magnolias and the Handkerchief Tree.

Upton Castle dates back to the 12th or 13th centuries with later additions. It includes three of the original towers, evidence for a drawbridge and a small medieval chapel nearby. Further features of the site include woodland walks, wildflowers and wildlife visible along the nearby Upton Creek, were otters have been seen.

Currently maintained and cared for by volunteers, the gardens are open daily from April to October and have facilities including toilets and a picnic area.

For opening times and prices visit the Upton Castle Gardens website 

If you haven’t yet booked your holiday in West Wales, see our full collection of holiday cottages in Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire to find the perfect base for your garden-visiting break!

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Fancy a taste of the good life? Stay at Ty-Clyd

Pet the horses, feed the hens and watch the cutest little Spring lambs West Wales has to offer: Ty Clyd is the perfect rural escape and most definitely offers a taste of ‘the good life’!

Ty-Clyd is an old cottage which was renovated in 2010. Teresa, the owner, told us that 3 generations of her family were born there, her mother, her grandmother and great grandmother.

The cottage was the original farmhouse at Hafod Fach near Cross Inn, Llanon near Cardigan Bay. In the 1920s, Teresa’s family built the house which she lives in today and, no longer inhabited, the cottage became used as a farm outbuilding. Completely renovated, it is now a beautifully presented traditional Ceredigion-style longhouse.

The sitting room and wood burner at Ty Clyd

Alongside the log burner in the living room, you can see the original bread oven. The framework you can see on the other side is what was used to hang cooking pots above the fire – some of the old pans stand on the windowsill (top left of the picture).

Ty Clyd front door with tubs of flowers

Ty-Clyd is ideal for couples looking for a rural escape with a romantic base, for families wishing to venture to the beach, and for walkers and their dogs too. There are 20 acres on the farm, including wildlife-rich fields which are Sites of Special Scientific interest. Stroll slowly through them to spot wildflowers and unusual butterflies!

From Ty-Clyd, you can enjoy beautiful countryside views and walks along forestry trails, explore the stunning Ceredigion Coast and the unspoilt landscape of the Cambrian Mountains. The friendly local pub is just a 5 minute walk away and there are plenty more places to eat in the Georgian harbour town of Aberaeron just 15 minutes’ drive.

It is much-loved by guests who stay there. As one said, “Please don’t change a thing, a perfect stay. Wonderful well appointed and equipped cottage, perfect host, a wonderful stay.”

Sion the Welsh Cob looking at the camera

Sion the Welsh Cob

Come and meet Sion and the sheep yourself: book your stay at Ty-Clyd today!

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Win a holiday at Bwthyn Creigiau!

There are less than 3 weeks to go, so don’t hang around! On Wednesday, 9 June, we will be announcing the lucky winner of a holiday in Bwthyn Creigiau!

A collage of photos of the inside and outside of the holiday cottage Bwthyn Creigiau

The prize will be a 3-night out-of-season stay for up to 6 people and a baby in this old barn and piggery dating back to 1710, renovated into a beautifully designed, easy access holiday cottage.

bwthyn-creigiau 600

This 3-bedroom converted barn at Llangain in South Carmarthenshire is just 10 minutes from the beach at Llansteffan on Carmarthen Bay and 5 minutes from the All Wales Coast Path which passes through Green Castle Woods. If you are a fan of castles, Llansteffan Castle will be sure to give you the wow factor!Llansteffan Castle

What did others have to say?

“We have spent a wonderful week here ! What a charming and comfortable cottage, with everything you could need. The surroundings are lovely and the Vickridges are clearly taking great pride in caring for them – we enjoyed watching and listening to the birds tempted by the gardens. The cottage was great for us and the location meant you felt tucked away in the evenings, but other places are easily accessible for trips out. Our particular favourites were, The National Botanical Gardens, Folly Farm (fab day for the children) and Tenby with its picturesque beaches (we went on the train from Carmarthen – which was well enjoyed by the girls). Thanks again for a truly lovely stay – we hope to be back again!” – Thomas, Laura, Emily, Martha & Helen, March 2016

To see full details of the cottage including live availability and prices, view Bwthyn Creigiau on our website.

If you haven’t yet entered the free prize draw, fill in the entry form now for your chance to win a holiday in Bwthyn Creigiau. The winner will be able to choose any 3-night stay from 1 October 2016 to 31 March 2017 outside school holidays, subject to the dates being available. Limited to one entry per person, closing date 9 June 2016. The winning entry will be drawn at random on Friday 10 June.

Good luck!

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Walking inspiration with outstanding views

May is National Walking Month so here is some inspiration for walks amid fantastic scenery in West Wales. Four walks that offer something for everyone, whether you’re a novice or not!

1. Ready, set, walk!: Ffynone Falls, Carmarthenshire

Around 30 minutesFfynone Falls

Walk from the Ffynone Falls car park through the woods to the waterfall. Have a paddle and take in the scenery before making your way back along the same route.

2. Go further: Bosherston Lily Ponds Adventure Walk, Pembrokeshire

Around 1 hourBosherston Lily Ponds in bloom

Walk along the eastern arm of the flourishing Bosherston Lily Ponds to a viewpoint over Broad Haven South Beach.

3. You’re getting ahead: Ragwen Point Walk, Carmarthenshire

Around 2 hoursPendine beach

A cliff-top walk to a secluded bay with breathtaking views from Pendine.  Along the walk you will pass Gilam Point where there is an Iron Age hill-fort.

4. Make a day of it: Cardigan to Mwnt circular walk, Ceredigion

Around 4.5 hoursThree images of Mwnt: the beach, the chapel and the hill, Mwnt itself

Explore the coastal path from Cardigan to the famous area of Mwnt, taking in the views of the Teifi Estuary and possibly spotting a dolphin or two.  Choose to rest half way at Mwnt, either on the beach, or if you’re feeling energetic, you might like to take advantage of the breathtaking views from the top of the hill.

Whatever you decide to do this May, don’t forget to walk! Walking is not only good for the body, but it is also good for the soul. Time to blow away the cobwebs and do something great! If you need help with accommodation, we can help you find your perfect self-catering resting spot in either Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire or Ceredigion… and some even have walks from the door!

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It’s Mother Earth Day! Earn rewards by glamping the ‘green’ way!

Today is Mother Earth Day and people across the globe are responsible for spreading the word and inspiring others to treat our spherical ball of wonder with extra care, not just for today, but for all 365 days in the year!

While some are planting trees and researching ways to shrink their ozone destroying footprints, we wanted to show you an opportunity to go green with a difference!

The Ceridwen Green Cauldron Scheme is aimed at holidaymakers staying at the Ceridwen Centre site, 5 miles from Newcastle Emlyn in Carmarthenshire. Recycling spaces, labelled bins and explanatory signs are all provided but you’ll have to impress the owners by following all the waste and recycling guidelines in return for a Ceridwen Green Cauldron sticker. If you return to Ceridwen this sticker can be exchanged for goods – like local beers, a pizza voucher for one of the pizza nights, an organic veggie box and more.

Discounted prices have been added to some accommodation for late availability to celebrate the occasion! A mix of earning rewards by caring for the environment and laying your head down in some of the funkiest glamping spots around, here are some accommodation options to consider during your ‘Mission Compostable’!

1. Go wild, choose yurting!

Choose from Damson Yurt, Wild Garlic Yurt or Afallon. All sleep 2 adults, 2 children, a baby and your dog is welcome too!Yurt in field plus image of interior and view through the roof

 2. Shake it up, pick the Hop Shack!

The Hop Shack is one of the quirkiest shacks we’ve seen, perfect for a couple or a family. With room for 4+ cot and two dogs, this is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of a stressful life!Cladded shack at the Ceridwen Centre

 3. Hilltop romance! Roll into the Gypsy Cwtch!

Quite possibly the most romantic spot in Carmarthenshire! Set at the top of a valley, Gypsy Cwtch sleeps 2 adults, 1 child and your dog!Gypsy Cwtch at the Ceridwen Centre

 4. Cwtch up at Caban Bach!

If you’re a couple looking to set yourselves in rural surroundings, this new eco pod is for you.  Caban Bach sleeps 2 and your dog!Caban Cwtch at the Ceridwen Centre

We hope we have inspired you this Mother Earth Day, good planets are hard to find, go green!

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Will you #FindYourEpic in West Wales this weekend?

The weekend has arrived, and if ever you’ve needed an excuse to dust off your adventure hat or just pretend you’re Indiana Jones for the day, this is it!

This is no ordinary weekend in Wales, no, this is the official Weekend of Adventure.

April 2-3 sees Wales take on ordinary life, encouraging people to step outside of their ‘norm’ and try something new!

You don’t have to be an adrenaline fuelled junkie to join in (although we will want to see what you lot get up to), there’s something for everyone. Need some food for thought? Ideas are now being served by us at West Wales Holiday Cottages, Buon ‘Appadventure’!

10 New Adventures to Experience in West Wales

Try a new sport! Test your limits! Venture into the wild! Sit back and relax to new live music. Become an Iron Age villager for the day! Meet sealife, take a train ride into the past, or spend a night outside and wave at Tim Peake and the ISS. There are a host of new things you could try whilst visiting West Wales and this region offers some of the best locations for these activities.

1. Cycle the Celtic TrailA couple cycling the Celtic Trail in the sunshine

This 245 mile long road cycling challenge stretches from Chepstow to Fishguard. Not for the novice cyclist, it is a perfect way to take in the variety of scenes that is West and South Wales.

The Challenge has coastal and inland options and is split into eastern and western legs, stopping at Carmarthen on the latter. The coastal section is recommended for spectacular views and is suitable for hybrid or road bikes.

The alternative high-level inland route is more suited to a mountain bike, especially in places. Much of either route is away from traffic, with a lot of hill climbs to take in. There is so much to see along the way, and so many pubs to refresh yourself!

Website: http://cycle.travel/route/celtic_trail

2. Have a Taste of Wild Food ForagingHandful of mushrooms

The trend for foraging for your own food has been growing for a while now! Whether it be blackberrying or collecting samphire, there is a cornucopia out there waiting for you all year round. Wales also has some great sites for wild mushrooms, but only eat those that have been expertly identified.

Trehale Farm (01348 831037) takes you coastal foraging at Abermawr Beach. The Wild Bass Guide (07515 380169) specialises in bass lure angling and runs foraging and food days from May to October on the Pembrokeshire coast path. Wild About Pembrokeshire (01437 721035) is an informative website on the rules of wild foraging and offers courses for beginners, hedgerow foraging, seashore foraging and wild cooking. Wild Pickings, Ceredigion (01239 654021 provides courses and workshops with special events throughout the year. The next event, in April, focuses on wild spring greens whilst others include autumn collecting, coastal foraging and hedgerows.

3. Go Dolphin WatchingBottlenose Dolphin leaping in Cardigan Bay

Either take a lovely coastal walk and be lucky enough to spot a dolphin – or a whole pod of dolphins! – or take a boat trip out into the bay, where the dolphins are likely to come and find you! June to September is the best time to see them.

The biggest pod of dolphins in the UK can be found in Cardigan Bay. You are most likely to see dolphins between Cardigan Island and Aberporth, with key siting points at Mwnt, the promontory of Ynys Lochtyn, Newquay, Aberaeron and Poppit Sands. You may also see porpoise, seals, whales, orcas and basking sharks.

There are a range of tours available, departing from Gwbert, Poppit Sands, St Dogmaels, Cardigan, Newquay, St Justinians and Milford Haven. More information is available at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre
(01545 560032). Tour guides include A Bay To Remember (01239 623558),
Newquay Boat Trips (01545 560800) and Blue Ocean Adventures (07432 262711).

4. Jump into CoasteeringA man jumping off a rock on the Pembrokeshire Coast

Experience the beautiful Welsh coastline in a whole new way with this adrenalin-filled sport. A combination of sea swimming, cliff walking, rock scrambling and cliff jumping allows you to explore secret beaches, caves, sea stacks and reefs which would otherwise be inaccessible.

Experiences range in length and are tailored to your needs and experience. Trained professionals ensure your safety and provide you with the necessary equipment to ensure you enjoy your day. Fun for all (over the age of 8), whether water-confident adrenalin junkies or complete beginners!

Some reputable firms include the award-winning Celtic Quest Coasteering (01348 881530), Preseli Venture (01348 837709), licensed to use National Trust coastlines, Cardigan Bay Active (01239 612133) and The Big Blue Adventure (07816 169359), running boat-based adventures from Haverfordwest.

5. Visit a Music FestivalYoung people at a music festival in the sunshine

For a weekend of great live music, why not visit one of the many local music festivals in West Wales? There are a variety of different festivals, ranging in genre and scale.

The Fire In The Mountain Festival (3-5 June) is in Aberystwyth. Perfect for lovers of bluegrass, country and folk music, with a huge number of bands from the US, Scotland and Wales. With well-known performers alongside local talent, Fishguard Folk Festival (27-30 May) consists of concerts and ceilidhs as well as workshops and family events.

Fishguard International Music Festival runs from 21 July to 2 August, showcasing classical recitals and concerts. Llandeilo Music Festival (9-17 July) has predominantly classical music. AberJazz Festival in Fishguard is on 25-29 August. These are just a sample of what is available!

Finally, The Big Cwtch (10 September) is an award-winning, fun-packed, and excitingly different charity music and food festival, set in Crugybar, Carmarthenshire. It has a great Welsh line-up, a variety of places to eat and drink and activities for adults and children alike!

6. Saddle up for some Mountain BikingCycling in the Cambrian Mountains

High in the Cambrian Mountains and in sight of Cardigan Bay, Bwlch Nant yr Arian is the perfect place for mountain biking in the beautiful Welsh countryside. Whether a beginner, or an experienced biker keen to try your mettle, this is one of the best mountain biking locations in West Wales.

There are a variety of grades of trail, including three of the best in Wales. They range from 5 to 35km in length, for different levels of experience, all of them signposted. Disabled access includes the vicinity of the Centre and one trail winding around the beautiful lake.

The site has an award-winning Visitor Centre, two play areas, Shop and Cafe with great food, located nine miles east of Aberystwyth. The Visitor Centre is open all week 10am – 5pm. No bike hire available on site. Check out their website for details on safety guidelines, necessary equipment and trail info.

Telephone number: 01970 890453

Website: https://naturalresources.wales/out-and-about/places-to-go/mid-wales/bwlch-nant-yr-arian-forest-visitor-centre

7. Become an Iron Age VillagerChildren dressed in ironage villager clothing at Castell Henllys

Castell Henllys near Cardigan is great fun for families and as close to time travel as you can get, set in beautiful Welsh countryside. Reconstructed roundhouses, Iron Age livestock and a host of things to do, set high up in 30 acres of woodland and pasture, take you back into prehistory.

Once part of the Demetae tribe, with a community of up to 100 people, this village is set EXACTLY where it once stood over 2000 years ago. Practice being an Iron Age warrior and learn the art of warfare, meet a villager and hear about her daily life, and hear stories of the past around the campfire.

Facilities include a picnic site, childrens’ play area, maze, and a Visitor Centre with shop, cafe and exhibitions. The hillfort is accessed up a steep track from the Centre. Disabled parking closer to the site and a site vehicle also aids access. Open Monday to Friday, see website for details on special events.

Telephone number: 01239 891319

Website: http://www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk/default.asp?PID=261

8. Go StargazingA sky of stars above a mountian

West Wales offers some of the best unpolluted night skies in the UK. If you can access a telescope or even pair of binoculars then even better! Jupiter’s moons and the Orion nebula are both visible through a large pair of binoculars but there is plenty to spot without one. Or, if lucky, spot the International Space Station pass overhead, best seen at dusk.

Some of the best stargazing sites (identified by the UK Dark Sky Discovery Partnership) include the National Botanical Gardens of Wales and Broadhaven South car park (which host events), Kete and Martins Haven National Trust car parks, and Newgale, Penbryn and Poppit Sands beaches.

Exciting astronomical events include Jupiter at Opposition (8 March), with its four moons, cloud bands and red spot. A highlight on 9 May is the very rare transition of Mercury – watch this tiny planet cross the face of the sun (a daytime event!), but always use special solar filters, or make a pinhole camera. The Perseids Meteor Shower is on 12-13 August with up to 60 an hour, Jupiter and Venus are in conjunction on 27 August at sunset, while 13-14 December hosts the Geminids Meteor Shower – the biggest and brightest of the year!

9. Travel by Steam Railway at GwiliA steam train on the Geili Railway

Take a ride into the past on this atmospheric railway, once part of the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth line, up through pretty steep-sided valleys, past historical features showing the industrial history of rural Wales. Industrial and wartime rolling stock paint a picture of life when the trains ran passengers and goods regularly up and down the track.

With a new stretch only opened in 2015 allowing passengers to see the Gwili Falls once more, the railway now twists and turns over and alongside the bubbling River Gwili for 4 miles, from Bronwydd up towards Danycoed. Enjoy riverside picnic spots, woodland walks, and wildlife along the way.

At Llywfan Cerrig there is a Miniature Railway, a weir and a platform where quarried stone was once loaded onto the train. The final halt at Bronwydd Arms has a Museum, Shop, the Gwili Tea Rooms and Signal Box. Special events and train times are listed on their website.

Telephone number: 01267 238213

Website: http://www.gwili-railway.co.uk/

10. Experience a Food FestivalThree women eating at a Food Festival

There is a wealth of delicious food out there for you to sample! As well as the traditional Barabrith and Welsh cakes, West Wales has so much more to offer from quality farm and local business produce. Specialities include Salt-Marsh lamb with its beautiful salty-sweet flavour, organic fruit and veg and Cambrian Mountain Lamb.

West Wales’ long coastline makes it a haven for seafood lovers. Pembrokeshire Fish Week celebrates all things fish from 25 June to 3 July. Milford Haven Fish Festival (25 June) is the main event, with chef demonstrations and chowder trail. The harbourside Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival in Aberaeron (3 July) celebrates local lobster, crab and mullet.

Cardigan River and Food Festival (6 August) has been a growing attraction. It concentrates on the quality and diversity of local food producers, with award-winning cheese and rare breeds, and family fun. Lampeter Food Festival (23 July) has many stalls, cookery demonstrations and other entertainment for all the family while Narberth Food Festival is on 24-25 September.

The Really Wild Food Festival at St David’s (28-29 May) is Winner of the Best Pembrokeshire Day Out Award. With the sea as a backdrop, this fun festival is all about the countryside, what you can forage and how to cook it. The Big Cwtch 10 September) is a great festival showcasing local music and local food. Finally, Aberystwyth Christmas Food and Craft Fair in November celebrates Welsh produce and give you a chance to find a few Christmas presents!

We can help you find the perfect place to stay in West Wales, whether it be a cottage in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire or Pembrokeshire, and if your four legged friend fancies an adventure too, we have tons of dog friendly cottages to choose from!

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