Matthew Rhys: my favourite places

The actor Matthew Rhys flits between Los Angeles, New York and his native Cardiff. But his favourite places are the coast and mountains from where his family originally came from in West Wales – and where he gave co-stars Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller a proper Welsh night out…

Matthew Rhys

When we were filming The Edge of Love, I felt really responsible for showing off Wales to the other actors [Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy] and crew. I felt like some sort of tour guide! And they had an amazing time in West Wales, we all did.

I wanted to put on a proper Welsh night for them, so I went on full twee overdrive and found this amazing pub in Aberaeron and I got a Welsh folk band in. I was determined to put on a clichéd Welsh night, and what was so gratifying was how much they loved it. The girls [Knightley and Miller] adored Wales, they were like, ‘Oh my God, we need to move here!’

My father is from Machynlleth and mum’s from Fishguard, so summer holidays were always split between the sea and farm. Which is best? This always creates a great argument in our house. If I say Mid Wales my mother gets upset, and if I says West Wales my father says, “Ah, but they haven’t got the mountains…”

Fishguard Arms, Pembrokeshire

Whenever I get the chance I bomb back to Fishguard for the weekend. I love it down there, and the Fishguard Arms is one of the best pubs in the world. There’s also a lake on top of the farm where my father was raised, in the village of Pennal just outside Machynlleth, which you can walk to if you stay at the Marchlyn farm B&B.

When friends come to Cardiff I always take them to the St Fagans National History Museum. I never tire of going to that place. It’s incredible, and it’s free. I also take them up the Taff Trail to Castell Coch.

St Fagans Celtic Village

Celtic Village at St Fagans Natural History Museum, near Cardiff

There’s something about Cardiff, perhaps because I’ve been away and come back, it never ceases to amaze me. I’m forever thinking, oh my God, look at this! I ask my sister, who still lives here, “What are you doing this weekend?” and she rattles off a long list, and I think, what? When did that happen? It can compete on so many levels now. I met two people from Birmingham yesterday and they told me that they come down to Cardiff very often because as a city it’s got everything, and to hear that makes me so proud. The city continues to emerge and flourish, but it retains things as well: you still feel you can get around it. And Cardiff people still make me crease, as do Welsh people generally.

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