West Wales is a playground of natural splendour. It’s also a fantastic area for indoor explorations - from intimate galleries and preserved scenes of literary genius, to museums dedicated to spoons and wool.
Don’t let the word ‘farm’ confuse you; Folly Farm is a spectacular family-friendly zoo with four big attractions under one banner. There’s a farmyard spread across multiple barns, a vintage funfair with nostalgic rides, an indoor and outdoor play area with slides and soft play, and a zoo with rhinos, giraffes, monkeys, capybaras, birds, penguins, lions, and more.
Dylan Thomas Boathouse
This lovely little boathouse and the nearby writing shed are perched above the Taf estuary, just a short stroll from the village of Laugharne. This is where is the Welsh literary giant Dylan Thomas spent his last four years. It’s an oddly magical place, well worth visiting, whatever the weather.
National Wool Museum
The National Wool Museum lets you get a feel for the production centre which once provided Wales's most widespread industry at this former mill in Dre-Fach Felindre, with galleries and plenty of chances to try creating your own warm, woolly masterpiece. Historic, huge spinners and contraptions to untangle ancient yarns feature among an array of once-indispensable machines.
National Waterfront Museum
Known for its eye catching glass exterior, the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea is based in a Grade II listed former warehouse, reflecting the dockside industry of which it tells some of the story. The Waterfront opened in 2005 and has been on the rise ever since. Look out for family fun weekends and special events here.
A mighty Egyptian mummy, first seen in around 200 BC but brought to Swansea during the late 19th century, is a must see exhibit at Swansea Museum. There are also amazing archaeological finds from across the eras in the city – Roman artefacts and industrial mementos among them – alongside regularly changing exhibitions.
Oriel y Parc Gallery
Even though it’s Britain’s smallest city, there’s tons of stuff to do in St Davids - from visiting the splendid cathedral, to enjoying the best locally sourced produce at Cwtch restaurant. Oriel Y Parc is another St Davids attraction, housing works of art such as a fine landscape gallery from the National Museum of Wales. It also offers guidance on places to visit along the 186 miles of National Trail walks when the weather brightens.
The Dylan Thomas Theatre
Programmers for visiting performers from Edinburgh and beyond, as well as frequent recipients of national praise, Swansea's Little Theatre Company have been based in the maritime quarter for 30 years, having originally formed almost a century ago. Pay them a visit for edgy, thoughtful theatre, and hot new theatrical talent.
The Lovespoon Workshop
The symbolism of lovespoons harks back to the 17th century, when these wooden carvings first became heartfelt tokens of hand-crafted affection with a certain ritualism alluding to our paths through life. Visit Thomas the Woodcarver – who originally made one in place of an engagement ring – in his Lovespoon Workshop in Pembrokeshire.
Swansea Grand Theatre
Big band tours, family theatre, comedy, and music, all in front of a huge auditorium in a theatre first opened at the end of the 19th century. Inside a stylish, art deco building, the Grand Theatre is the place to see the Russian State Ballet and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Plantasia is a huge adventure site, and its themed zones and mazes make it a particularly good place to take the kids. Its botanic and animal collections are as good as you’ll find anywhere, and the hothouse is a great place to find out all about the magic of plants.