Laugharne is a small town set on the Tâf estuary on Carmarthen Bay. It is best known for being the home of Wales’ most famous English-language poet, Dylan Thomas, for its Norman Castle and for its annual arts festival, Laugharne Weekend. A warmly welcoming town, this is the place where Dylan Thomas “got off the bus and forgot to get back on”.
Laugharne's Most Famous Resident
Dylan Thomas lived on and off in Laugharne for most of his life and wrote much of his greatest work in The Boathouse where he lived with Caitlin and their children from 1949 to 1953. It is thought that Laugharne was the inspiration, along with New Quay in Ceredigion, for the fictional town of Llareggub in Under Milk Wood. Dylan also lived in "Eros" in Gosport Street, then moved to "Sea View" until 1940.
The Boathouse, set in a cliff overlooking the Tâf Estuary, is now a heritage centre containing audio visual presentations, original furnishings and memorabilia, a themed bookshop, tea room, viewing platform and terrace.
Dylan and Caitlin are buried together in St. Martin’s new church yard; the grave is marked with a plain white cross.
Each year in the spring, Laugharne hosts an increasingly popular three day arts festival: the Laugharne Weekend.
A bit of History
The cockle industry was once a significant part of the Laugharne economy and the well-established pickling firm Parsons have their origins in the town. Prior to this, fishing in Carmarthen Bay was of great importance.
Buildings in the town
Laugharne’s buildings are a mixture of small cottages and fine large Georgian houses including the Great House and Castle House, which was remodelled during the Regency Period. Sadly, neither are open to the public.
The town hall is topped by an Italianate bell tower which once served as a single-cell prison.
The ruins of the 12th century Norman Castle overlook the estuary, the two towers dominating the scene. The main garden was restored and replanted by CADW (the Welsh Heritage organisation) in the early 1990s, preserving its early-19th century layout.
Birds on the Estuary
Laugharne’s position on the estuary makes it perfect for bird watching with a wide variety of resident and migrating birds to be seen. In winter there are flocks of interesting wading birds feeding on the mud flats such as the Golden Plover seen in this picture.
Shops and Refreshments
The town has a good selection of shops and places to eat and drink including Brown's Hotel where Dylan Thomas was known to have a pint.......or two
Not far away
Nearby is Pendine Sands where the world land speed record was set five times between 1924 and 1927 by Malcolm Campbell and J.G. Parry-Thomas. Enjoy the straight, sandy beach at Pendine from Gilman Point in the west to Laugharne Sands in the east.
Our favourite things to do in the Laugharne area:
Visiting Pendine Sands
Enjoying a drink in Brown's Hotel
Bird watching along the Taf Estuary
Looking at the ruins of the castle
Visiting Dylan Thomas' boathouse heritage centre