10 romantic cottages with a real fire

romantic fire in woodburner

On 25 January in West Wales, we celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day – the Welsh patron saint of lovers. It’s a day for romance, a day to show the one you love how much you care, perhaps by giving them a St Dwynwen’s Day card or a gift, traditionally a Welsh love spoon.

If you would love to spend some special time together, why not escape the winter blues with a getaway to magical West Wales? Imagine a romantic break with beach walks and pub lunches, enjoying time to talk without the interruptions of daily life and creating memories to share.

Here are 10 of our best cosy cottages for two, each with a log burner or fire so you can snuggle up together, toasty warm and hide from the wintry weather outside.

Leet Cottage, Little Haven, Pembrokeshire

King size bed in Leet Cottage

Enjoy romantic walks on the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast, stroll into Little Haven village with its pubs, cafes and pretty beach then retreat to the comfort and luxury of Leet Cottage.

Thyme Lodge, Cryngae Farm, Carmarthenshire

A beautifully converted barn, Thyme Lodge is a cosy retreat with everything you need for a romantic break.  Walk for miles in the surrounding countryside,  explore the beaches and coves along Cardigan Bay or just relax in front of the fire.

Danclawdd Cottage, Danclawdd, Pembrokeshire

Danclaudd Cottage

Guests at Danclawdd Cottage said: “Tucked away up a leafy lane, a comfy cottage perfectly situated to enjoy all that the North Pembrokeshire coast and countryside has to offer.” Walk to Foel Cwmcerwyn, the highest point of the Preseli Hills,  stroll to the pub or visit nearby Narberth for delicious food to enjoy back at your romantic hideaway.

Maes yr Afon, St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire

Maes yr Afon

Full of character, Maes yr Afon is perfect for a romantic break with its traditional curtained box bed and cosy woodburner.   Find fresh bread, fish and chips and a choice of pubs in St Dogmaels.  Bringing your dog too? Dog-friendly Poppit Sands beach is nearby, your dog will love it!

Rectory Cottage, Cilrhedyn, Pembrokeshire

Rectory Cottage

Tranquil and secluded, Rectory Cottage is a luxurious country cottage for two in North Pembrokeshire.  Find sandy coves and fishing villages along Cardigan Bay to the north, the Preseli Hills and the delights of Pembrokeshire to the South.

Y Caban, Wig Farm, Llangrannog, Ceredigion

Y Caban

Leave the world behind on your romantic break at Y Caban.  A cosy log cabin with direct access to the woodland path to the beach and coastal path you can walk for miles or just relax and watch from the balcony as the Woodpecker, squirrels and Jays take turns at the feeders.

Glascoed Coach House, Whitland, Carmarthenshire

Glascoed Coach House

A romantic, king-size four poster bed, woodburner and use of the sauna and hot tub – you will just want to ‘stay in’ at Glascoed Coach House.   If you need to go out, the nearby Georgian town of Narberth offers delicious foods, individual shops, contemporary arts and crafts, and plenty of places to eat.

Ysgubor-y-Tanybryn, Tregaron, Ceredigion

Ysgubor-y-Tanybryn

Half a mile up a track with 2.5 acres of wild flower meadow, garden and woodland, Ysgubor-y-Tanybryn is the perfect place for a romantic break or a honeymoon.  Visit the ancient market town of Tregaron or explore the peaceful, unspoilt landscape of the Cambrian Mountains.

Gardener’s Cottage, Cardigan Castle, Ceredigion

Gardener's Cottage

What could be more romantic than staying in a castle? Gardener’s Cottage is a luxurious cottage for two in the grounds of Cardigan Castle, a unique, historic setting for a special holiday.  Roam around the castle grounds and restored gardens, explore the beauty of Cardigan Bay or enjoy the views from the castle walls.

Number 19, Cardigan, Ceredigion

Fire in woodburner at Number 19

Set in the heart of Cardigan, a small market town on the Teifi Estuary, this petite town house with honeyed oak floors, deep pile carpets and cool calm decor is perfect for a truly relaxing break for two – and their dog. Number 19 is perfect for returning home to after walks on Poppit Sands, the Coast Path and the Preseli Hills. With pubs, cafés and restaurants on your doorstep there’s no need to even cook dinner!

Wherever you choose to stay in West Wales, the beauty of the landscape will form the perfect backdrop to your romantic break and the warmth of the welcome will cheer you. Fall under the spell of magical West Wales and you will soon be planning your return.

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Bay Tree Barn at Cryngae Farm

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In less than a week, we will be drawing the lucky winner of a holiday in Bay Tree Barn at Cryngae Farm. The prize is an out-of-season getaway for 3 people and a dog in this cosy cottage.

Whether staying in Spring, Autumn or Winter, there will be plenty of opportunities for country walks and coastal ones, too, along sandy beaches and on the Wales Coast Path. It’s a wonderful area to explore out-of-season; it has a special beauty when the branches are bare and the views far reaching.

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“Fantastic location, in a tranquil setting. If peace and quiet is what you desire, then this is definitely the place for you. Great base to explore the west coast of Wales.” - Review by previous guests at Bay Tree Barn.

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After a long bracing walk, it’s lovely to return home to Bay Tree Barn and collapse on the sofa in front of the log burner.

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Rustle up some supper in the cottage kitchen or pop into nearby Newcastle Emlyn for a choice of places to eat.

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And at the end of the day, retire to bed for a sound sleep after a day in the clean fresh air of West Wales.

“We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday and Bay tree barn was an excellent base that was set in beautiful countryside and within easy driving distance of the coast. The cottage itself was very cosy and comfortable having excellent modern facilities with everything you could need; even some added extras such as fresh flowers . The owners were very welcoming on our arrival and continued to advise and help us during our stay, particularly in helping us to locate good places to go walking with our dog. I would highly recommend this cottage.” - Review by previous guests at Bay Tree Barn.

To see full details of the cottage including live availability and prices, view the Bay Tree Barn listing. Or see all the cottages at Cryngae.

If you haven’t yet entered the free prize draw, fill in the entry form now for your chance to win a holiday in Bay Tree Barn. Limited to one entry per person, closing date 28 January 2016.

 

 

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Win a holiday in Bay Tree Barn!

Win a holiday in Bay Tree Barn

It’s time for a free prize draw

Oh, how we love a little competition to brighten up our January days :) Imagine staying in this pretty converted barn for a bonus out-of-season break, going for walks in the West Wales countryside or along the coast – mostly an excuse to warm up in a friendly pub, of course!

The prize of a 3-day break in Bay Tree Barn is courtesy of the lovely owners of Cryngae Farm, Sharon and Kev Street. The cottage sleeps 3 in 2 bedrooms and you are welcome to bring your well-behaved dog to lie gently toasting in front of the log burner after a good long walk.

The lucky winner can choose any available 3-day break during February, March, October, November or December 2016, outside school holidays. (Although it looks like the cottage is unavailable in February and March, dates can be made available for the winner, they are just not available for others to book online.)

For your chance to win a magical West Wales getaway in Bay Tree Barn, just fill in the entry form. Closing date 28 January 2016. Good luck!

 

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Siocled! 6 West Wales Chocolate Makers – Siopa Nadolig Part 3

Part 3 of our guide to Christmas Shopping West Wales style is all about that essential festive ingredient; chocolate!  Indulge your senses with luxurious, handcrafted chocolate, featuring the extra special flavours of Wales.

Box of chocolates by Chocolate Fusion

Chocolate Fusion – delicious luxury chocolates handmade in West Wales by husband and wife team, Nick and Kitty, in the tiny Cardigan Bay village of Glynarthen in Ceredigion. Stocking fillers from £1, artisan chocolate bars from £2.50 and boxes of filled chocolates up to £17.

 

Sarah Bunton Choco Shot

Sarah Bunton Chocolates – gorgeous slabs of artisan chocolate, Christmas themed chocolates and indulgent selections of filled chocolates including Welsh specialties such as Merlyn Liqueur or Welsh honey. From stocking fillers (from £1.75) to boxes of filled chocolates (£16.95). Sarah Bunton is an award-winning chocolatier at Devil’s Bridge near Aberystwyth in Ceredigion.

 

Wickedly Welsh dragon bar of chocolate

Wickedly Welsh Chocolate Company – high quality, contemporary and slightly eccentric handcrafted chocolates made in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. Try a bar of Raspberry and Vodka Dark Chocolate or maybe Rhubarb Crumble and Custard in Moreish Milk Chocolate! Prices range from artisan bars at £3.49, Christmas Baubles at £4.99 all the way up to ‘The Ultimate Chocolate Indulgence’ box at £59.99.

 

Choco Dragon Christmas chocolates

Choco Dragon – Welsh chocolates shaped as sheep, dragons, rugby balls and lovespoons. Their special Christmas shop is filled with a variety of seasonal items ranging from stocking fillers (from £1) to large chocolate snowmen £19.99. Based in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire.

Selection of Nom Nom chocolate bars

Nomnom Chocolate- Created by Liam in his small kitchen in Llanboidy, Carmarthenshire, yummy chocolate bars containing finest cacao, combined with the very best Welsh ingredients from local producers.  Choose from 10 flavour combinations such as Blueberry Gin, Wild Plum or Welsh Cake.  Single bar from £3.59, pack of 3 from £8.61, pack of 5 from £17.00.

Heavenly Chocolate Snowmen

Heavenly Chocolate – as well as chocolate bars and boxes, Heavenly have chocolate in the shape of lovespoons, stiletto shoes and even handbags! Handmade in Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire.

For more delicious ingredients to add to your Christmas celebrations, see Part 2 of this series, Bwyd a diod – Food and drink and for unique gifts or something special to remind you of West Wales, see Part 1, Siopa Nadolig: Christmas shopping West Wales style.

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Christmas Shopping West Wales style – Part 2: Bwyd a diod – Food and drink

In Part 2 of our guide to Christmas gifts made in West Wales, we have a delicious selection of food and drink from local artisan producers to tempt your tastebuds. Available to order online, these make perfect presents for foodies or anyone who likes a special treat at Christmas.

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West Wales artisan cheeses and traditional terrines

Pant Mawr Farmhouse Cheeses  – a  range of mouth-watering, traditional, handmade cheese from the heart of Pembrokeshire’s Preseli Hills.
Caws Cenarth – the oldest established producer of Welsh Farmhouse Caerffili, the Adams family makes a range of cheeses at its Carmarthenshire farm – try Garlic and Herb Caerffili, Smoked Caerffili, the Brie-like Perl Wen, Perl Las, or Golden Cenarth, a washed-rind cheese with a powerful flavour.
Caws Teifi Cheese – award winning artisan cheeses made in Ceredigion using raw milk and local ingredients.  ‘Celtic Promise’ is one of only two cheeses in Britain to have been awarded the title of Supreme Champion twice at the British Cheese Awards.
Cnwd – smoked meats and fish plus gourmet pâtés and terrines made to traditional recipes in Carmarthenshire. Try Carmarthenshire Smoked Duck Breast or Towy Valley Wild Venison & Hazelnut Terrine.

Bottles of wine, beer and spirits

Wine, beer and spirits – a little festive cheer!

Celtic Wines – wines, liqueurs, preserves and vinegars all made at a family winery in rural West Wales. Christmas hampers with cheese and chutney or cheese and wine from £15.
Penderyn – fine Single Malt Welsh Whisky produced in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons plus Brecon Gin, Five Vodka or Merlyn Welsh Cream Liqueur. Christmas gifts from £15.77.
The Jacobi Brewery of Caio –  a craft brewery based in a converted barn on the Dolaucothi Estate, Carmarthenshire.  Buzz Light Beer, Gold Miner Light Ale and others available to buy online in cases of 12.
Dà Mhìle Distillery – very special, artisan organic spirits made in Ceredigion –  Organic Whisky, Botanical Gin, Seaweed Gin and an award-winning orange liqueur. From £4.95.

Bottles and jars of preserves, syrups and vinegars

West Wales honey and preserves

Wild Pickings – Wild Pickings is a small wild food business, run by professional forager Jade Mellor. Wild food from the woodlands, coast and hedgerows of West Wales are used in a range of delicious pickles, preserves, dried foods and chocolates.
New Quay Honey Farm – honey, fudge and mead from Cardigan Bay. Pretty stoppered bottles of fruit and honey meads from £5.95.
Wendy Brandon – a huge range of jams, preserves, vinegars and marmalades from Pembrokeshire. How about Greengage Vinegar, Raspberry and Rowan Relish, or Grapefruit Marmalade with Juniper Berries?
Sarah Cooks – Pembrokeshire preserves including  Boozy Mincemeat, Pink Grapefruit Marmalade with Armagnac and some lovely gift packs.

Basket containing Welsh speciality foods

Mix and match with a carefully selected hamper

If you have trouble deciding between cheese, preserves and whisky, why not order a gift hamper with a tempting range of local produce?

Hampers to order online
Cwmcerrig Farm Shop – hampers of Welsh produce from £50
Cnwd hampers from £25

If you are staying in West Wales for Christmas or New Year why not pre-order a holiday hamper from Llwynhelyg Farmshop in Ceredigion (Tel: 01239 811079, email:info@llwynhelygfarmshop.co.uk) or Wright’s Food Emporium in Carmarthenshire (Tel: 01558 668929 email: maryann@wrightsfood.co.uk).

For more ideas for special gifts inspired by the sea, landscape and traditions of West Wales, see Part 1 of this series, Siopa Nadolig: Christmas shopping West Wales style.

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Siopa Nadolig: Christmas Shopping West Wales style – Part 1

Christmas gift ideas from West Wales: give something a little different this Christmas. Our first post includes 9 ideas for gifts which celebrate the natural beauty and traditional crafts of West Wales.

Painting of Aberystwyth beach by Lizzie Spikes of Driftwood Designs

Aberystwyth – Print by Artist Lizzie Spikes – Driftwood Designs

Did you get to visit West Wales this year?  With Christmas only a few weeks away (eek!) why not bring a little bit of Welsh magic back into your life and support one of our small local businesses at the same time?

Take a look at some of our favourite things to buy for loved ones, for difficult-to-buy-for aunties or just for yourself – no socks, promise! These gifts are inspired by the coast, countryside and traditions of West Wales.

Gifts inspired by the sea

Painting of Llangrannog beach by Lizzie Spikes of Driftwood Designs

Driftwood Designs – Lizzie Spikes’ original paintings, cards and prints are inspired by the landscape, literature, people and places of West Wales with many pieces made using ‘flotsam and jetsam’ that washes up on our beautiful beaches.

Silver bangles on a rock on the beach, made by Kerry of Beachcomber Jewellery

Beachcomber Jewellery – Designed and handmade by Kerry Hughes who confesses to being ‘obsessed’ with beachcombing, the Beachcomber Jewellery collection is inspired by the beautiful beaches of Cardigan Bay. Each piece is individually handmade from recycled silver using traditional tools and techniques.

Bottlenose Dolphin leaping in Cardigan Bay

Adopt a Dolphin – Did you spot one of the Cardigan Bay Dolphins on your holiday to West Wales?  Help the Sea Watch Foundation keep our dolphins safe by adopting a dolphin for yourself, or as a present for someone you care about.

Gifts inspired by the landscape

Painting of bluebells with trees behind by Diane MatthiasDiane Mathias – has a “great passion for the wild places, mountains and skies of Wales” which are captured in her work.  Find beautiful paintings, prints and handmade cards on her website.

Nine Sheep - a painting of sheep in snow by Helen ElliiottHelen Elliott –  The places, people, seasons and creatures of West Wales are depicted in Helen’s vibrant and colourful work. Take a look at the Buy nice things section on her website where you’ll find prints, cards, calendars, gifts and beautiful original paintings.

Painting of rocks and sand at Poppit Beach by Chris Chalk

Chris Chalk  – Poppit, Mwnt, Newgale, Barafundle – do you have a favourite West Wales beach?  You’ll find paintings and prints inspired by the beaches of West Wales alongside images of mountains, valleys, wildlife and remote parts of the Welsh countryside on Chris’s website.

Gifts inspired by tradition

Photo of two men carving traditional Welsh lovespoons

Give a gift from the heart by choosing a traditional Welsh Lovespoon from The Lovespoon Workshop.  The Thomas family make many varieties of handcrafted and personalised Welsh Lovespoons at their workshop near Tenby in Pembrokeshire.

Maeslyn Mill tapestry in Coral Pink & Mint from Jane Beck's Blankets

Jane Beck Welsh Blankets – Cosy up for Christmas with a beautiful woollen blanket or bed cover from Jane’s inspirational website.  You’ll find beautifully made clothing, gifts and cushions featuring traditional Welsh colour and pattern plus knitting, crochet and needlepoint.   Both modern and antique items are available.

Cheeseboard in Welsh Slate with "Caws" in Celtic font

The Welsh Slate & Gift Boutique use the best quality Welsh Slate from Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales for their range of slate products.  Everything is individually handmade in the Gwendraeth Valley in Carmarthenshire. Find out more on their Facebook Page.

More Christmas gift ideas next time

In our next post, we’ll have some ideas for gifts of delicious West Wales produce you can send in time for Christmas. See Part 2: Bwyd a diod -Food and drink.

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Guest Review – Skokholm Log Cabin

Guest Review of Skokholm Log Cabin: stayed June 2015

“We loved our stay at Skokholm log cabin.

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Skokholm Log Cabin, Rosebush, Pembrokeshire

The location was perfect, nestled next to the Preseli Hills and near the coast of Pembrokeshire.

Preseli hills view

Preseli Hills

 

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Pembrokeshire Coast Path at Ceibwr

The log cabin was very secluded and surrounded by the most beautiful countryside, all of which you can take in sat outside on the veranda.

We packed loads into our days because we only stayed 3 nights but with all of Pembrokeshire accessible by car and Haverfordwest close by for supplies you’re really in for a treat if you stay here!”

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Skokholm Log Cabin – Double bedroom

Skokholm Log Cabin sleeps 2 and accepts 1 pet.  Check availability and prices here.

Looking for somewhere a bit bigger?  Take a look at our other holiday cottages in North Pembrokeshire

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3 Ways to Enjoy Autumn in West Wales

“October gave a party; The leaves by hundreds came – The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples, And leaves of every name. The Sunshine spread a carpet, And everything was grand, Miss Weather led the dancing, Professor Wind the band.” George Cooper

Autumn has arrived in West Wales and there are plenty of ways to enjoy the colours and peace of our beautiful countryside at this time of year. Here are just three: walk, cycle and drive.

Walk

If an energetic hike in the hills is your cup of tea, head to the Preseli Hills or the Brecon Beacons to enjoy panoramic views of the autumn landscape.

Rounded hills covered in gold and brown bracken and heather await you in The Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire National Park. The hills are dotted with ancient remains such as hill forts, burial sites and the Celtic Golden Road, a path that traverses the length of the Preselis.

Bedd Arthur in the Preseli Hills

Bedd Arthur

Walk to Bedd Arthur or Arthur’s Grave which sits on top of the Preseli ridge and overlooks the rocky outcrop of Carn Menyn, a site some suggest was a source of the bluestones used at Stonehenge.

Distant view of Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons

Brecon Beacons

The 520 square miles covered by the Brecon Beacons National Park includes Pen y Fan, the highest peak in southern Britain. The area has a rich history and is a paradise for anyone keen on outdoor activities.

Sunlight on the autumn leaves in The Arch Woods Walk in The Hafod Estate

The Hafod Estate in Autumn

Take a leisurely stroll through the Hafod Estate (Hafod Uchtryd), 12 miles south-east of Aberystwyth. Follow one or more of the 5 way-marked walks to enjoy the spectacular scenery and autumn colour.

Cycle

Brechfa Forest in the heart of Carmarthenshire and The Cambrian Mountains offer some of the best mountain biking trails in Britain.

Mountain bking on the Brechfa Forest Mountain Bike Trail

Brechfa Forest Mountain Bike Trails

Looking for a hair-raising ride or a gentle pedal with the family? – take your pick from easy to severe mountain bike trails in Brechfa Forest. The specially designed trails follow the streams, valleys and rich forest landscape which is a haven for wildlife all year round.

The Cambrian Mountains offer a peaceful, rugged landscape where you can really ‘get away from it all’, cycling a wide range of terrain ranging including some of Britain’s best downhill riding, rugged off road routes and wild forests.

Mountain bike on a trail in the Cambrian Mountains

Cambrian Mountains

Drive

If a less strenuous way to experience the beautiful West Wales countryside is more your style, there are plenty of stunning routes on quiet roads. Try the mountain pass on the A4069 between Brynaman and Llandovery over gorgeous moorland. Take time to stop along the way to enjoy the view or get closer to the mountain ponies.

Car driving round the bends on the A4069 mountain pass in the Brecon Beacons

A4069 Mountain Pass – Brecon Beacons

Why not stay for a week in autumnal West Wales and explore its beauty in all three ways: walking, cycling and driving? To find the perfect place to stay, take a look at our fine selection of holiday cottages in West Wales.

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The Welsh Poppy

Welsh Poppy Meconopsis Cambrica is the County flower of Merioneth (Merionnydd).

The bushy plants of the Welsh poppy produce a thick clump of pretty, lacy foliage which is attractive in itself, even before the fragile, dancing flower heads begin to appear in June. The central pistil and stamens are prominent and their matt texture make an interesting contrast with the shiny petals surrounding them, attracting many pollinating bees and insects. Colour varies from light lemon yellow to a deep orange.

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Family Controversy

Carl Linnaeus, the famous botanist and taxonomist (responsible for classification and naming of species), identified the plant as a poppy in 1753, naming it Papaver cambrica. Cambria is the Latin name for Wales, very similar to the Welsh name for our country, Cymru.

However, by 1814 further study led to this yellow poppy being reclassified by the French taxonomist, Louis Viguier as a new species, Meconopsis cambrica, (Mekon meaning ‘poppy’ in Greek). He thought it was related to the blue Himalayan poppy.

Recently, more rigorous research into DNA has led a team of European scientists to revert to the Linnaean conclusion. In 2012 The Daily Telegraph published a report on these new findings by Ken Thompson (plant biologist) in which he states that the Welsh Poppy is probably a Papaver after all and possibly not related to its Asiatic cousins, the Meconopsis in any way.

Where to see and How to grow

The Welsh poppy is happy almost anywhere, although it prefers well-drained soil. It is very happy in a shady corner and so works well in brightening up a darker area of your garden. It spreads freely in many gardens and is often found on verges and in walls or steps as an escapee.

Regular dead-heading allows prolonged flowering right into the end of summer and early autumn. Although they are perennial, the plants don’t live very long. However, they self-seed very effectively. If you want to cultivate them, it’s best to sow seed in pots (see specialist advice for the best way of doing this). Then let the mature plants spread seed into the surrounding earth. Next season you will have seedlings come up which will be best left to grow on without transplanting as the tap roots are fragile and do not much like to be dug up and moved. They will also be stronger than their pot-grown parents.

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Colours of West Wales

All the colours of the rainbow await you on a holiday in West Wales.

Pastel coloured seaside houses can be found in many of the villages and towns along the West Wales coast.  The historic town of Tenby is famous for its harbour and painted buildings.

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The pretty harbour at Aberaeron in Ceredigion is surrounded by pastel painted Georgian buildings.

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The Brecon Beacons National Park is a patchwork of  open fields, heather clad mountains and green forests.

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Golden sands and crystal blue seas can be found along the coast of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

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In Spring the lush pastures and hills of the West Wales countryside positively glow with every imaginable shade of green.

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Find your perfect country cottage and experience the colours of West Wales for yourself…….

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