Things to do and see when on holiday in Wales
West Wales Holiday Cottages
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Things to do in West Wales


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Picton Castle

half fully developed medieval castle. From the outside with its four symmetrically spaced half round towers and gatehouse entrance flanked by two narrower towers it looks like a miniature version of a great Edwardian Castle such as Conwy in North Wales. However as soon as one enters inside it is revealed not to have an inner courtyard and keep but rather a series of finely planned rooms typical of the grand country house that it is. There is no other building quite like it in Britain. The woodland walks hold some of the largest and oldest trees in West Wales along with magnificent Rhododendrons, Camellias and Magnolias. Unique to Picton are the Rhododendrons, raised over the years by our own head gardeners and include rare species including Myrtles, Embrothium and Eucryphia. You will discover abundant feasts of wild flowers that blend with unusual woodland shrubs from all corners of the world. The Walled Garden is an enchanting riot of colour in the summer months with its elegant fountain, rose strewn arches and medicinal herbs all labelled with their remedies. Seek out the door that leads to the fernery, a tranquil and fascinating habitat for less hardy fern species. It’s worth a visit to Picton just to have lunch in Maria’s! Mediterranean salads, Spanish style meals with a glass or two of wine or beer, followed by a selection of indulgent home made cakes and delicious coffee are a great reward after a brisk woodland walk. Picton is a very special place at any time of year. Please check website to confirm opening hours. Please note Gardens maybe closed in high winds or adverse weather conditions to all visitors to ensure visitor safety. Please note that castle tours are restricted when wedding ceremonies take place in the Great Hall; Please phone to confirm tour times. Winter: Please see our Events Listing page for details of February and October Half Term Openings and the programme of Weekend Openings in Autumn and Winter. Dogs admitted only on leads.

Dryslwyn Castle

first known castle consisted of a round tower, ward, curtain wall, and great hall later known as the King’s Hall. Rhys ap Maredudd added to the castle during his occupation, before being executed by the English for treason, and the castle fell into disuse around the fifteenth century. Free admission. Open all year apart from Christmas and New Year, 10.00am-4.00pm. Under-16s should be accompanied by an adult. Guide dogs only, no smoking. Difficult disabled access, with access through steep, uneven farmland. Public car park 800m from castle (no designated disabled spaces).

Gwili Steam Railway

u can ride on a heritage steam railway 5 miles (there and back) alongside the picturesque Gwili River as it meanders through a steep sided valley in the heart of Carmarthenshire. Allow at least an hour and a half for your visit, though your ticket is valid all day. It’s much more than just a train ride. Take a look:- • Free parking at Bronwydd Arms Station • Tour the signal box • Visit the Victorian Tea Rooms for yummy home-made cakes • Visit the museum • Disabled access facilities (including onto the train) • Ride on the only standard gauge steam train in West Wales • Watch the steam locomotive uncouple and run round at Danycoed Halt – good place for photos • Alight at Llwyfan Cerrig Station where the steam train waits for 20 minutes. • Purchase hot food at Quarry Kitchen • Visit the 1950s waiting room complete with ticket office • Climb aboard a Victorian steam locomotive on display with Victorian carriages • Ride on the miniature railway • Visit the Travelling Post Office restored inside as it would have been in the 1960s. • Return to Bronwydd Arms Station Buy tickets on the day. Train times: 10.30; 11:50; 13:20: 14:50 Photos © All rights reserved

Manorbier Castle

ith the impressive façade of the gatehouse and curtain walls. Enjoy seasonal events from July to November for all the family - learn about falconry, visit the various fêtes, be entertained by the Theatre, listen to music in the perfect setting, or meet dragons! Details are on their website. The castle features a great hall, chapel and turrets, with its inner courtyard surrounding beautiful gardens and well-manicured lawns. The roofed chapel now hosts civil ceremonies and wedding receptions for modern-day guests. History: Manorbier Castle is the birthplace of Gerald of Wales in 1146, grandson of the Welsh princess Nest. The present structure largely dates to the 12th century rebuilt by William de Barri on the site of an earlier, 11th century, earth and timber motte and bailey, on lands granted for his father Odo’s loyalty during the Norman Conquest. Notable features include the huge interior chimneys of possible industrial nature, and the Watergate, in use when the waters of the bay once reached the castle walls. The preservation of the castle is due largely to its relatively uneventful military life as well as 19th-century restorations. The Norman church sits on the opposing hillside. Facilities The former guardroom houses the gift shop, and a café sells locally made ice creams and cakes, coffee and soup. Car parking is available at the local beach car park. Dogs are allowed on the lead. The site is open every day 10-5, dependant on special events. Location: Located 2km south of Manorbier Station, with good bus links from Tenby. Alternatively take the A4139 west from Tenby and then the B4585 south.

Carmarthen Castle

The ruins include a 14th-century gatehouse, corner towers, 13th and 15th-century town walls, and the early motte. Information boards near the curtain walls tell its history, as does the on-site tourist information centre. The castle’s early importance is reflected in its adoption by the crown. Its history includes use as a 12th-century administrative centre, wars between the Welsh and English, ownership in the 15th century by Edmund Tewdwr and occupation during the Civil War where it gained earthen ramparts. It was later used as a prison in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Colby Woodland Garden

e is a walled garden, a shop, a gallery and a tea room. Check the website for special events including guided walks and lunch with the Head Gardener, guided history tours, family fun days, Easter trails and art days.
©NTPL/Andrew Butler

Upton Castle Gardens and Medieval Chapel

tuary. The 13th century chapel situated in its own small walled garden contains unique effigies of former knights of Upton. The castle remains a private residence. Open from Easter to October to 4.30 pm. Closed on Mondays except Bank Holidays Dogs on leads welcome.

Brecon Mountain Railway

e most popular Railways in Wales. The whole trip takes sixty five minutes, including a twenty minute stop at Pontsticill, where you can picnic, walk or visit our lakeside snack cafe. You can stay longer at Pontsticill if you wish returning to Pant by a later train, but please make sure that you do not miss the last train back! On your return to Pant, visit our workshops where old steam locomotives are restored and new ones built - follow the footpath to a picnic site which has an amazing panoramic view of the valley. Visit our licensed tea rooms and buy a souvenir of your visit in our and sandwiches. We have excellent facilities for disabled persons including ramps, toilet and a carriage especially designed to carry wheelchairs. Our licensed Tea Rooms at Pant Station serve morning coffee, a full meal, a light snack or afternoon tea, and at Pontsticill station our Lakeside Café serves ice cream, hot and cold drinks, homemade cakes.

Museum of Internal Fire

lavour of the past. It is fascinating to learn about their function and the skill required for their maintenance.

Cilgerran Castle

he Teifi Gorge and the smaller but still precipitous gorge of the Plysgog stream. It has an obscure early history, probably a Norman foundation after 1100, it fell to the Lord Rhys, Prince of South Wales, in 1165, was retaken by the Earl of Pembroke in 1204 and contested until 1223 when the next Earl of Pembroke recaptured it. It was then rebuilt, beginning with the two towers, in front of which a ditch was hacked out of the bedrock of the promontory. A high wall runs out from the eastern tower to the edge of the gorge. Throughout the year events are held at the Castle including the annual Medieval Festival and live performances in the summer organised by Theatre Mwldan usually including Shakespeare and a performance for children. Cilgerran Castle is in the guardianship of Cadw – The Welsh Assembly Government's historic environment service. Closed 1 January and 24 to 26 December. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing. Please check opening times with Cadw. Location Cilgerran Castle is in the village of Cilgerran, near Cardigan, Pembrokeshire SA43 2SF. Leave Cardigan on A478 or A484, Cilgerran is signposted. OS map 145: SN 195431 Facilities Toilets, disabled toilets and guidebooks are available, there is an on-site gift shop. An induction loop is also available. Admission is charged Dogs on leads are allowed.

St Non's Chapel

ovely walk along the coastline, throw a penny in the well for luck, or have a swim at nearby Caerfai Beach! The Chapel and its Holy Well and spring are thought to mark the spot where St Non gave birth to St David. The waters of the spring are rumoured to have healing powers and sprung up during a thunderstorm upon the birth of St David. The Chapel ruins are a short distance from St Davids, and sit on the pretty Pembrokeshire coast path. Nearby is an incised cross which dates to the 7th-9th centuries, and was probably an altar stone or grave slab. Several prehistoric standing stones in the vicinity suggest earlier activity. St Non is thought to have been born in AD 475, the daughter of Lord Cynyr Ceinfarfog, and the Chapel itself is thought to be on the site of St Non’s house, where she lived after her education. The earliest documented evidence for it dates from AD 1335. Excavations in antiquity told of stone coffins or slab-lined burials (cists), probably related to the Chapel, which eventually went out of use after the Reformation. However, the Holy Well, seen to be one of the most sacred wells in the country, continued in use and was well-known for its healing properties. There is also a modern Retreat House nearby, with the Chapel of Our Lady and St Non. It has a stained glass window featuring St Non, and was built in 1934 in the style of the earliest medieval chapels. The old chapel is managed by CADW.
© Thruxton CC-BY-3.0

Dylan Thomas Boathouse, Laugharne

hed where Thomas worked, creating “Over Sir John’s Hill”, about the local areas he could see. The tearoom has lovely home cooked food to offer, from locally sourced ingredients, and the house incorporates an art gallery. Teachers’ packs are also available. Summer opening hours are 10.00am - 5.30pm, seven days a week. Please check website for seasonal opening hours. Charges for admission, concessions available. Dogs should be kept on a lead in exterior areas, guide dogs only in the house. No parking available.

Camera Obscura, Aberystwyth

A 1980s recreation of a pre-1920s tourist attraction on Constitution Hill, the first camera in Aberystwyth was built nearby in 1880. Visitors can also learn the history of the hill and take a ride on the cliff railway. Facilities include y Consti Restaurant, which has its own beautiful views and is open all year round. There is also a games room with coin operated attractions including air hockey and ten pin bowling. Admission for the camera is £1 and it is closed November to March.

Strata Florida Abbey

e is a small museum about the remains and monastic life in Wales. To this day the churchyard continues to be a place of pilgrimage for the Welsh and this is the traditional burial place of Dafydd ap Gwilym, one of the great poets of medieval Wales.
Cadw. Crown Copyright.

Tenby Museum and Art Gallery

builder at the cost of £44.12s.4d. It has naturally seen some changes since its instigation with numerous facilities and services to offer including family history research, educational programmes, events, talks and workshops. The notion of a collection representing the locality still applies. There are also two art galleries, one which houses the permanent exhibition of works by artists with a local connection including Augustus and Gwen John, Nina Hamnett, David Jones, John Piper, Arthur Giardelli, John Knapp-Fisher and EJ Head. The other has many changing exhibitions throughout the year, many of which are sales exhibitions. The museum has access for disabled visitors including two lifts. There is a hearing loop available at the reception desk and large print texts in two of the galleries. Why not also enjoy a nice cup of coffee and a biscuit in the museum's café area whilst taking in the breathtaking views of Caldey Island and the Carmarthen Bay?

The Creepy Carmarthen Tour

murder weapons, antique photographs and a witch trial. Winner of Carmarthenshire Tourism Association's "Visitors Experience of the Year" the Creepy Carmarthen Tour is a unique introduction to the weird and wonderful history of the oldest town in Wales. From the ancient Romans through to modern times the darker side has left its scars and marks on the town which are all explored in this illustrated ramble around the oldest and spookiest parts. Starting on the steps of the historic Guildhall, during this two-hour long walk around the centre of Carmarthen you will hear unsettling stories from the past and visit the very place where a medieval bishop was burnt to death, stand where crowds watched public executions and sample life in the cells where murderers were held before the death sentence was passed. The Spooky Town Tour includes a visit the building which housed the town's original Victorian Police Station set within the walls of the ancient Castle. The setting for dozens of overnight "ghost watches" the building has its own unique night-time atmosphere which you can share. Suitable for the whole family, and wheel-chair friendly, the public tours run most Wednesday nights from Easter to the end of September. Private tours are available all year round.

Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber

perched on three uprights which together are the remains of a dolmen type chambered tomb which would have been used for communal burials.

St Dogmaels Abbey and Coach House

, Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica, now in St John’s College, Cambridge. St Dogmael was a 6th century saint, and thought to be the cousin of St David. The abbey was first founded as a priory between 1113-1115 for a prior and monks of the Tironensian Order, but became an abbey in 1120 at the request of Robert fitz Martin and his wife, Maude Peverel. It was the only Tironensian abbey in England and Wales, although it had daughter-houses. Renowned guests once included the Archbishop of Canterbury and Gerald of Wales. Surviving remains include arches, doorways, the crypt, and the west and north walls of the church, with standing remains surviving to roof height. Floor tiles found along the nave amongst the abbey ruins are 15th century in date. The abbey itself was enlarged throughout the centuries, including a new infirmary and chapter house. These additions continued into the 16th century and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, after which it became a private house. Medieval architectural remains discovered around the abbey are on display in the museum and visitor centre, together with some early Christian stones. Facilities include a cafe in the Coach House selling freshly prepared snacks using local ingredients, and fairtrade tea and coffee. Admission is free, with a small fee to enter the stones collection. Open daily 10am - 4pm. No smoking. Dogs are welcome on a lead. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Cardigan Castle

festivals that continues today. Castle Green House was added in 1808. In 2003 after years of neglect, Ceredigion County Council bought the castle and the campaign to raise funds for renovation began. In 2015 Cardigan Castle, Castle Green House, the grounds and the new restaurant opened to the public. Visit the beautifully restored Regency gardens, classic Georgian architecture and imposing Medieval defences and enjoy the 21st Century luxury in a site that spans the ages. The castle is open daily but please visit the website to see the list of events taking place throughout the year. Fancy staying at Cardigan Castle? Gardener's Cottage and The Coach House sleep 2 and East wing sleeps 8, which are all bookable on this website.

Centre for Alternative Technology

entre overlooks the Snowdonia National Park, renowned for its stunning scenery and outdoor activities. CAT is a great place for a family day out. Built in 1973 on an abandoned slate quarry, CAT was originally a community dedicated to eco-friendly principles and was used as a 'test bed' for new ideas and technologies. The Centre generated so much interest that within two years it was opened to the public as a permanent visitor centre dedicated to renewable energy and sustainable lifestyles. Over the school holidays they offer special guided tours, workshops and children’s activities, so if you’re not sure what to do with your break, CAT is a great place to go for inspiration and fun. And if you go through Machynlleth, renowned for its market, remember to stop for some delicious food at the Quarry Café. As part of CAT, they offer a range of delicious vegetarian meals and cakes using local, organic and fair-trade ingredients. Best loved organic café in the town! Visitor feedback: “A really wonderful place, we’ll take lots of ideas home and will definitely encourage our friends to visit. Thank you for a truly lovely experience.” Magnus, Pollyanne and Oliver, Scotland. How to find CAT: 3 miles north of Machynlleth on the A487.
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