Top 10 literary places

Since the medieval bards, Wales has produced many great poets and writers. Visit the homes and landscapes where prominent Welsh writers’ lived, gained inspiration and worked.

  • An archway at Strata Florida Abbey, Ceredigion
    Strata Florida, Ceredigion
    This is the disputed burial place of the great Medieval poet Dafydd ap Gwilym. The elusive 14th century poet is believed to have been born near Aberystwyth and spent some time in Newcastle Emlyn. A charismatic man, he performed poems about love and nature and was very popular due to his ability to make fun of himself. He was buried at Strata Florida Abbey in Ceredigion and there is a memorial in the grounds dedicated to the man considered to be one of Europe’s most important poets of his day.

  • Dinefwr Castle, Carmarthenshire
    Dinefwr Castle, Carmarthenshire

    Dinefwr Castle was the chief seat of the Dinefwr dynasty and Lord Rhys ap Gruffudd, ruler of the 12C kingdom of Deheubarth in South Wales. Lord Rhys held a festival of poetry and music at his court in Cardigan in 1176, which is considered to be the first recorded incarnation of the National Eisteddfod. The National Eisteddfod is the most important of Welsh festivals of literature, music and performance. Today nearby Dinefwr Park holds the annual Dinefwr Literature Festival.

  • Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
    Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

    Strewn across the front of this enormous arts centre are the large bilingual poetic lines by the modern Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis. The Wales Millennium Centre has one large theatre and two smaller stages, for performances of opera, ballet, dance, comedy and musicals. The inscription reads “In These Stones Horizons Sing".

  • Dylan Thomas's Boathouse in Laugharne, Ceredigion
    Dylan Thomas' Boathouse in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire

    Born in Swansea, Dylan Thomas also lived in Ceredigion and Laugharne in West Wales. In Laugharne you can visit his Boat House where he lived for the last few years of his life and wrote one of his most famous pieces of work, Under Milk Wood. The Boat House has been restored and is a heritage centre with original furniture, visual presentations and memorabilia.

  • Bardsey Island, Llyn Peninsula, Snowdonia Coast
    Bardsey Island, Llyn Peninsula

    Bardsey Island has been used as a literary retreat and provided inspiration for novelist, singer-songwriter and musician Fflur Dafydd; the poet Christine Evans and the poet artist Brenda Chamberlain. Bardsey is the legendary island of 20,000 saints positioned at the furthest extremity of the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales. Known for its sweeping views and for its wildlife, with migratory birds and grey seals passing through. Day boat trips to the island run throughout the summer.

  • Sacred stone at Bedd Branwen, Anglesey
    Sacred stone at Bedd Branwen, Anglesey

    Bedd Branwen is the reputed island burial site of the mythical Branwen from the Second Branch of the Mabinogi. The Mabinogion is a collection of eleven stories preserved from Welsh medieval bardic tradition; the 'Four Branches' are the best known and most mythological of these. In the Second Branch, Branwen, daughter of Llŷr and Penarddun, plays a central role in the conflict between her brother, the giant Welsh king Bendigeidfran, and Matholwch, her husband and King of Ireland.

  • Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons
    Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons

    Along the southeastern border with England, the Black Mountains were the childhood home of writers Owen Sheers, Bruce Chatwin, Raymond Williams, Chris Meredith and Horatio Clare. The region has a number of attractive towns close by including Abergavenny and Hay-on-Wye. It's also a popular area for walking and mountain biking.

  • The Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay
    Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay

    Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Cardiff, in 1916 to Norwegian parents and was baptised at the Norwegian Church on Cardiff Bay, which he then attended in his youth. The church today is a cultural venue with a diverse programme of art exhibitions, concerts and events; it also has a wonderful coffee shop with panoramic views over Cardiff Bay. 

  • The kitchen table in Cae'r Gors, the childhood home of Kate Roberts in Gwynedd
    The kitchen of Cae'r Gors, Gwynedd by Rory Francis

    Born in 1891 Kate Roberts is one of the foremost Welsh language writers of the twentieth century. Today you can visit her childhood home Cae’r Gors, which has been restored so you can see what inspired her and learn about Welsh life at the turn of the twentieth century. There’s a multimedia exhibition, an audio guide to the cottage and tradition gardens to explore with wonderful views towards the estuary. 

  • Sarn y Plas, R.S. Thomas's cottage in y Rhiw, Snowdonia

    R.S. Thomas's cottage at Plas yn Rhiw, Snowdonia

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    Sarn y Plas was RS Thomas's retirement cottage, set in y Rhiw, a small village on the Llŷn Peninsula with views of Snowdonia. RS Thomas was one of Wales' most commanding literary figures, with a writing career that spanned five decades and over 20 volumes.