Stay at Cardigan Castle as featured in Channel 4’s Great British Buildings: Restoration of the Year

Book your stay in Cardigan Castle, Georgian Restoration of the Year! For a unique holiday, stay in one of the luxury heritage apartments in the grounds of this 900 year old Welsh castle. 

Cardigan Castle from across the river

Cardigan Castle (Castell Aberteifi) stands on the border between Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire in West Wales. It is believed to be the first stone castle ever built by a Welshman and holds a unique place in Welsh culture as the site of the first Eisteddfod.

Following a £14 million restoration project, Cardigan Castle won the Georgian category of the RICS Awards and in March 2017, it was featured in the Channel 4 programme ‘Great British Buildings: Restoration of the Year’, presented by Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs) with historian Dr Anna Keay, Director of the Landmark Trust (Restoring Britain’s Landmarks).

Cardigan Castle will feature once again in Thursday night’s episode of Great British Buildings when it goes head to head with the other category winners for the overall Restoration of the Year title.

The luxurious accommodation on offer at Cardigan Castle is in great demand – even more so since it was showcased in the TV programme. Here are the beautiful self-catering options for you to choose from, each affords complimentary access to the grounds during your stay.

Gardener’s Cottage (sleeps 2)
Self catering holiday cottage at Cardigan Castle - Gardener;'s Cottage










Gardener’s Cottage is a ‘topsy turvy’ luxury holiday cottage for 2 at Cardigan Castle. It has been designed with the bedroom downstairs and living space upstairs to make the most of the wonderful view of the garden and grounds. This is a great choice for an exclusive romantic break in a dramatic setting.

East Wing (sleeps 8)

large self catering holiday cottage at Cardigan Castle - East Wing










East Wing sleeps 8 in four double en suite bedrooms and it is truly luxurious. This is a fantastic large self-catering holiday cottage which is just perfect for reunions or getting together with friends. The flagstone floors add to its charm and remind you of your historic surroundings.

The Coach House (sleeps 2, accessible)

Self-catering disabled access holiday cottage Cardigan Castle










The Coach House is an accessible, wheelchair-friendly holiday cottage for 2 set in the grounds of Cardigan Castle. The former coach house has been beautifully converted for you to enjoy a relaxing holiday in spectacular surroundings, with an enclosed patio garden.

Y Goron (sleeps 4)










Y Goron is part of the Cardigan Castle family but is positioned just outside of the castle walls. It is a two-storey apartment on the upper floors of Ty Cadwgan and enjoys lovely views of the castle grounds and the river. Although you are not within the castle itself, this is a superb, central location from where you can conveniently explore the town and surrounding areas.

Good luck to Cardigan Castle in the next phase of the process and we hope they will go forward to win the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ Restoration of the Year award! In the meantime, the castle awaits your arrival so you can immerse yourself in the history and learn all about the developments of the site.

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Merlin’s Carmarthenshire

Merlin, or Myrddin, the magician and foreteller of prophesies, has tales about him from across West Wales, linking him with Arthurian legend and prominent sites in the landscape. There are a variety of sites to visit where you can explore his myths yourself!A person dressed up as Merlin the wizzard

Gerald of Wales wrote about Merlin in the 12th century, who is thought to have been born in Carmarthen. Another written history is the Black Book of Carmarthen, created in St John’s Priory, the religious house which was formed in the ruins of the former Roman town.

The Black Book incorporates legends of the Mabinogion with tales of Merlin and Arthur. The Welsh name for Carmarthen – Caerfyrddin – means “Merlin’s Fort”, although it is thought that the name Myrddin derives from Caerfyrddin rather than vice versa.

Carmarthen as a focus for stories of Merlin includes Merlin’s Hill, an Iron Age hillfort with a cave where he might once have lived under enchantment, and was entombed. Some say they can hear his chains clankings still! The nearby Merlin’s Stone was prophesied to be the location of his treasure, and where a raven would drink the blood of a man.

In Carmarthen is Merlin’s Tree – the Priory Oak. This is linked to the saying “when Myrddin’s Tree shall tumble down, Then shall fall Carmarthen Town”. The tree was kept braced upright even after it died before parts were preserved in the local museum and later the civic hall.

The legend of the killing of the last Welsh dragon, amongst the annual fair, on the banks of the River Teifi, is set in Newcastle Emlyn. It is thought to originate from Merlin’s prophecy of the red dragon rising up against the white dragon of the east, and the use of a gold-red dragon in Prince Owain Glyndwr’s flag during the 1403 battle at Newcastle Emlyn Castle.

Finally, whether you are on a quest of your own to visit Merlin’s sites of legend or not, Carmarthen is a great place to explore this year. Merlin’s Festival is a well-known celebration in Carmarthen which will be making a comeback this year and is well worth a visit, featuring magic, a sculpture trail and other street entertainment as well as a mouth-watering local produce market! The Festival will take place in the town centre, on Friday and Saturday 24-25 March from 10 am to 4pm each day, and entry is free.

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Celebrate Disabled Access Day at Trehyddion Barns!

Disabled Access Day is taking place this weekend from 10 – 12 March and to mark the event, Gail and Rob Clayton, the owners of Trehyddion Barns, invite you to an Open Afternoon at Trehyddion Longbarn, their accessible holiday cottage near Llansteffan in Carmarthenshire.

Gail and Rob provide self-catering holidays in their two cottages and have just started their 7th season. They said: “We love being able to offer quality accommodation for all.”

It all started when their stone and slate farm buildings became outdated for their herd of pedigree Welsh Black cattle, horses and poultry. It seemed to be a perfect opportunity to convert them to holiday accommodation which had been a dream of theirs for many years.

One part of the range of buildings was single storey and lent itself to level-access accommodation. This is now Trehyddion Longbarn, a dog friendly and easy-access holiday cottage for 6 set in peaceful surroundings in Carmarthenshire.

With Gail working as an occupational therapist, creating accessible holiday accommodation seemed a great idea. From her work, Gail had experience of the limited availability of level-access accommodation and a barn with lots of rural character seemed the great combination.

Trehyddion Longbarn easy access holoday cottage in West Wales with stone exterior and the property name overlaid, a photo of the living room with a red sofa and wood burner with exposed brick walls., a character kitchen with dining table and chairs, Disabled Access Day logo and West Wales Holiday Cottages logo

“Our location is also perfect: Llansteffan beach and castle are only 2 miles away and with easy drives to explore the three counties of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion there is something for everyone. We are also close to the Gower.

“We have tried to provide facilities and equipment for people with a variety of needs, and often have families visiting with a relative, for example, who can’t use stairs or is wheelchair dependent. The access is ramped and there’s a patio so breakfast in the sunshine, or a BBQ are a lovely way to relax.

“Our visitors can look after the chickens for the week, feed them and collect the eggs too. This year we are hoping for goat kids in June, and our horses are super friendly when offered carrots!

“Ben, our collie, welcomes all our visitors, and everyone wants to take him home with them! We love our visitors to bring their own dogs on holiday with them and they are safe in the enclosed garden.two images, one of a Ben, the collie at Trehyddion Longbarn on the left and 3 of the resident ducks in an image on the right

The event

Gail and Rob are great supporters of Disabled Access Day and believe it is gathering momentum each year.

To mark this day of awareness, an they are holding an open afternoon with tea and brownies at Trehyddion Barns so anyone can go along and have a look around the holiday accommodation.
“We will be opening our doors from 2-5pm on Saturday 11 March, all welcome”, said Gail.

The address for this event is Trehyddion Barns, Llanybri, Carmarthenshire, SA33 5AN.

If you’d like to book a holiday in Trehyddion Longbarn, you can book direct with Rob and Gail via our website.

Trehyddion Longbarn can be booked together with its adjoining property, Trehyddion Haybarn which also sleeps 6 (please note that Trehyddion Haybarn is not an easy access property).

We hope you get the opportunity to experience something new this Disabled Access Day. If you’d like to browse alternative accessible holiday accommodation, take a look at our disabled access cottages. If you’d like any assistance we’ll be happy to help you with finding a perfect place to base your holiday.

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St David: A Welsh legend!

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus i bawb! That’s Welsh for Happy St David’s Day to all! To celebrate, we want to tell you the story of St David.A collage of St David, a daffodil and St David's Cathedral

Said to have been born around 520, St David is the patron saint of Wales.

It is said that St David was born in a wild thunderstorm on the cliffs of St David, the small city in Pembrokeshire which was later named after him. His parents have been said to be the king of Ceredigion, Sanctus and a nun called Nonnita (Non).

Around about 550, he founded a monastery close to his birthplace where he and his fellow monks lived a simple life, drinking water and eating only herbs and bread. David became known as Dewi Dyrfwr (David the water drinker) as meat and beer were forbidden.

Although the monks farmed the surrounding land, David insisted that they did not use animals to carry their tools, they were to carry them. None of the monks were allowed any personal possessions and they spent evenings praying, reading and writing.

David was allegedly preaching to a large crowd in the village of Llanddewi Brefi. Some people had difficulty hearing him and a white dove landed on David’s shoulder, and as it did, the ground on which he stood rose up to form a hill, making it possible for everyone to see and hear him where a church now stands. The dove became his emblem.

More than 60 churches in Wales had been dedicated to David by the 12th Century and many pilgrims visited his monastery in St Davids.

You will find churches and chapels dedicated to David in south-west England and Brittany, as well as Wales. His influence also reached Ireland, where the Irish embrace his beliefs about caring for the natural world.

St David is believed to have died on 1 March 589.

Why the leek and daffodil?

When the Welsh were in battle with the Saxons, it is said that their clothes were so similar it was difficult to tell them apart. St David suggested that the Welsh men should wear a leek in their helmet to identify them and that is what they did. The Welsh won the battle and the leek was then adopted as the emblem of Wales.

Wearing a daffodil is a more modern tradition which was publicised by David Lloyd George. A suggestion is that the daffodil is used simply because it grows in the spring (around the time of St David’s Day on March 1).

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Nominate your ‘best dog friendly holiday accommodation’ in Pembrokeshire!

West Wales Holiday Cottages is the proud sponsor of the Best Dog Friendly Accommodation category in the first ever Pembrokeshire Tourism Dog Friendly Awards. We would love for you to nominate your favourite dog friendly holiday accommodation in Pembrokeshire.

All you have to do is nominate a property that has really stood out for you and your dog. You need to do it before Monday 27 February 2017, as nominations after that date will not be counted. Please fill in the nomination form on the Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards website. dog on a beach with stick in its mouth and company logos at the bottomBurns Pet Nutrition is the main sponsor of the awards and they are running the ‘Burns by your Side’ scheme which is aimed at children who could benefit from improving their reading and communication skills. The concept supports children in a variety of settings to build confidence in reading and vocabulary by reading to a dog. Specially trained volunteers and their dogs visit schools to hear children read. We think this is a fantastic scheme and we wish everyone involved all the very best with their journey – children, volunteers and of course, the dogs themselves!Burns by your side scheme logo

Here are some of the benefits of the scheme:

  • Reading with a dog can motivate a child to read independently
  • Reading with a dog can help build self-confidence and self esteem
  • A companion dog can improve reading fluency
  • A dog doesn’t judge and makes a child feel less stressed and anxious
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Wildlife in West Wales is soon to spring up!

It has been a chilly February so far but with Spring on the horizon, it has turned my thoughts to what we have to look forward to.

Here is a collection of just some of the wildlife we can expect to see in West Wales over the coming months. The lambs will start to enter our world, the puffins will land on Skomer Island and we will see more of our magical dolphin friends jumping around the coast.a collection of wildlife in West Wales: puffin, two lambs and a dolphin

Spring is such a beautiful time of year, a sign of new life and brighter days. Less than 6 weeks to go, can’t wait!

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West Wales holiday cottages with a real fire

It may be cold outside, but here in West Wales, we love nothing more than wrapping up warm and getting some crisp fresh air before returning home to snuggle up in front of a roaring fire.

If you’d love to spend some time on the coast at this time of year, you will not be disappointed when you come to stay in a holiday cottage in West Wales.

Here is a selection of cottages with a real fire, all perfect for a cosy break at this time of year.

1. Y Cartws  – Sleeps 2 + cot

a dog laid infornt of a fire

2. Stable Cottage – Sleeps 4 + cot

The living room at Stable Cottage with a real fire3. Cryngae Farmhouse – Sleeps 12 + cot

two glasses of red wine beside a bottle infront of a roaring fire at Cryngae Farmhouse4. The Workshop – Sleeps 2 + cot

Living room at The Workshop with fire5. Y Storws – Sleeps 2 + cot

Y Storws living room with real fire sleeps 2

There are so many more to choose from on our website. Follow this link to browse our selection of self-catering holiday cottages with a real fire in West Wales.

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West Wales in February

What’s West Wales like in February and what can you do there, I hear you ask? The sun still shines in February and although it is much colder than summer, you can still have a magical holiday.

We thought we’d show you some examples of what we locals might get up to.

a collage of images fish and chips hot tub walking on the beach

I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t like fish and chips (veggies aside). It’s great at any time of year and widely available. Finding some great spots to stop and eat them is one of my favourite things to do here. Read my recent blog post to see some of my favourite spots to eat fish and chips.

You may or may not know that Wales has more castles per square mile than any other place in the world! West Wales is so rich in heritage, you could spend hours exploring just one.

Cardigan Castle is somewhere I like to go a lot. The 1176 restaurant does a great scone with jam and cream and a cracking cup of tea. You can literally spend a couple of hours just wandering the grounds and exploring the history. Don’t forget to get a photo in the famous Eisteddfod chair!

You can even stay at Cardigan Castle. Choose from 3 self-catering holiday cottages there: East Wing, Gardener’s Cottage and The Coach-House

There are some fabulous beaches here in West Wales and this time of year they are beautifully dramatic. What better way to explore them than with your dog?

Take the children to Castell Henllys this February Half Term where they can go back in time and experience life in an Iron Age fort. Read all about it in our blog post featuring five fact-filled days out.

There is always something to do here and you’re almost guaranteed to see something out of the ordinary during your stay. The funniest is watching someone attempt the coast path in flip flops… yes, it does happen!

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Santes Dwynwen – The patron saint of love

Did you know that 2017 is Wales’ official year of legends? Throughout this year we are going to tell you stories about the legends and myths of Wales that are guaranteed to leave you feeling enchanted.

West Wales has many interesting legends from basking mermaids along the Ceredigion coast to the fascinating stories that surround the legend of Merlin.

You may not know that Wales has its own equivalent of Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated on January 25 every year and this brings us to tell you about St Dwynwen in the lead up to Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St Dwynwen’s Day).

The legend of Santes Dwynwenst-dwynwen_2

Dwynwen was a princess who fell in love with prince Maelon in the 5th century. Her father had already arranged her marriage to someone else so in her grief she fled to the woods where she begged God that she would forget about Maelon. An angel visited her and brought a sweet potion which erased all memory of the prince and turned him into a block of ice.

Dwynwen was granted 3 wishes by God: her first wish was for Maelon to be thawed, the second wish was that all hopes and dreams and lovers would be fulfilled and her third wish was that she should never marry. Dwynwen was so grateful to God, she decided to devote her life to his service by becoming a nun. She founded a convent at Llandwyn, on an island just off Anglesey, where a spring, Ffynnon Dwynwen,  has become a place of pilgrimage.

Today St Dwynwen’s Day is celebrated by lovers in many parts of Wales in a similar way to St Valentine’s Day with expressions of love through greeting cards and gifts.

If you’re looking for inspiration for a way to treat your special someone on St Dwynwen’s Day, book a romantic cottage break. It’s easy to find a cosy cottage at excellent value at this time of year and it’s the perfect time to explore uncrowded West Wales. So if you like the idea of taking long walks hand in hand or snuggling up on the sofa in front of a roaring fire, take a look at our selection of romantic cottages.

A likely gift


Love spoons were originally made by young men during the winter or by men on sea voyages who wished to show their interest to court a particular girl. A girl may have received several spoons from different suitors and they would be displayed on a wall at her home.

Today Welsh love spoons are used to declare a suitor’s intent, to commemorate a celebration such as a wedding or engagement, a birth, christening and to express the feeling of love on St Dwynwen’s Day.

Wood carvers have traditionally used a range of timbers in their work, usually those readily available and easily worked such as softwoods like sycamore and lime.

A few facts you probably didn’t know

Dwynwen means ‘she who leads a blessed life’

St Dwynwen is Wales’ very own patron saint of love

St Dwynwen is also considered the patroness of farmers’ beasts

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Win a £250 holiday voucher!

Make sure you don’t miss out on your chance of winning £250 towards a holiday booked through West Wales Holiday Cottages!West Wales Holiday Cottages homepage graphic with text displaying WIN A £250 HOLIDAY VOUCHER Enter our free prize draw for your chance to win! GOOD LUCK! Closing date: 31 January 2017




















All you have to do to enter this free prize draw is fill in the entry form on our website.  On 1 February 2017 we will draw the winning entry at random and the lucky winner will be notified by email.

We have over 700 self-catering holiday cottages across West Wales on our website from a restored Romany wagon, a double decker bus to holiday cottages with a hot tub or perhaps you’d prefer a swimming pool! You’re guaranteed to find the perfect place to base your holiday in West Wales.

Only one entry per person, you must be 18 or over at the time of the holiday. Closing date for entries is 31 January 2017. See full terms and conditions of the draw.

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