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 WalesPontarddulais, Carmarthenshire
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 GardensLlangathen, Carmarthenshire
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 GardenAmroth, Pembrokeshire
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. LlanerchaeronAberaeron, Ceredigion
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 CraftsRoch, Pembrokeshire
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 EstateAberystwyth, Ceredigion
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 GardensHaverfordwest, Pembrokeshire
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 GardensCosheston, Pembrokeshire
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!