Dylan Thomas Boathouse

The pretty town of Laugharne, on the estuary of the River Taf, was home to one of our most famous writers, Dylan Thomas. Laugharne was thought to be the inspiration for his best known play, Under Milk Wood. There are lots of sites associated with him here.

He wrote his work Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog in the castle summerhouse with its sweeping views across the Taf estuary. And the Boathouse, where he lived with his wife Caitlin and their children has been left almost untouched and his writing shed in the garden still has his notes scattered on the desk. You really get the feeling he's just stepped out for a drink at Brown's Hotel, his favourite drinking haunt, just a short walk away in the village.

Read more: Take a tour of Dylan Thomas' Laugharne

Outside Brown's Hotel, with a group of people.
White cottage and garden near the sea.

Brown's Hotel and The Boathouse in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, West Wales

Plas Llanelly House

A handsome example of a Georgian-era mansion, Plas Llanelly House is situated right in the centre of Llanelli. Delve into the past on a guided tour; many rooms are furnished just as they would have been centuries ago. You'll learn about the lives of Sir Thomas and Lady Stepney who lived here in the 18th century, and then continue on to the Victorian era. There are tales of scandal and of spooky encounters aplenty.

Once you've taken in the architecture, interiors and atmosphere, treat yourself to a bite or a cuppa in the café. For something more substantial, the restaurant serves locally sourced and Welsh inspired dishes.

The National Wool Museum

Wool was historically the most important and widespread of Welsh industries and the craftsmanship associated with shawls, blankets and bedcovers manufactured in Wales is known the world over. The National Wool Museum is located in the former Cambrian Mills which made woollen clothes and furnishings that were exported all over the world.

A visit to the museum allows you to trace the wool's journey from fleece to fabric in these attractively restored listed mill buildings. The museum houses all sorts of historic machinery used in the woollen mills and a raised walkway gives you a great view of textiles still in production at Melin Teifi, the site's commercial woollen mill.

Read more: Carmarthenshire with kids

man using large wool machine.
boy and girl holding up wool with large amount of wool in front of them.
man using weaving machine.

Learning all about weaving at the National Wool Museum, Carmarthenshire, West Wales

Dolaucothi Gold Mines

The Romans discovered there was gold in the rocks here some 2,000 years ago and mining for this most precious of metals continued until the 1930s. The Dolaucothi Gold Mines tour traces the evolution of mining in Carmarthenshire down the centuries from those simple early Roman digs and leads you through the underground mines in the process. You wear a hard hat and there are some sections of quite steep steps to negotiate. Once you've finished you can try panning for gold yourself. Whilst there isn't a café here, there is a nice picnic area so why not bring a packed lunch?

Read more: Exploring the underground secrets of Wales

Dinefwr Park, House and Castle

You can travel back in time to 1912 at National Trust Dinefwr. Grade II* Newton House is an ornate feast of arched Gothic windows and columns, with spiky towers sprouting at each corner. The displays inside tell the history of Dinefwr and there are guided tours if you want to learn more.

You can also explore the diverse habitats across the 800 acre estate, with wildlife including the park's rare-breed White Park cattle, fallow deer, birds, butterflies and trees - some of which are 700 years old! Alongside, the moody ruins of Castell Dinefwr (Dinefwr Castle) sit up on a hill overlooking the River Tywi. It features ditches cut from solid rock to form its moat, a massy round tower and walkways along the tops of short sections of wall.

Read more: Top walks in Carmarthenshire

A large manor house with its towers covered in creeping ivy viewed from a seating bench.

Newton House at Dinefwr Estate, Carmarthenshire, West Wales

National Botanic Garden of Wales

This picturesque location in the Tywi Valley, houses the biggest single-span glasshouse in the world, a soaring space of shimmering light. The National Botanic Gardens is packed with all sorts of unique plants and multi-hued flowers and it's a great place for kids to explore and for adults of all ages to stroll.

There's lots more garden outside too with themed guided trails allowing you to learn about the different natural highlights throughout the year. Along with the gardens, there's the Aqualab where you can look at the pond-life close-up, the apothecary gardens with healing herbs and fragrant flowers, the children's play area, tasty café and craft shop and a gallery.

The British Bird of Prey Centre is home to raptors and owls of all sorts, including a White-tailed eagle, falcons, kestrels and snowy owls. You can wander round and see the captive-bred birds in their aviaries, and watch the incredible live bird shows. 'Flying Experiences' are available as well, suitable for all ages and abilities to get up close and learn more about these beautiful creatures. 

Read more: Lose yourself in one of our gardens

Interior view of large glasshouse with plants.
People around a table in a botanical room making gin.

The Great Glasshouse and the Botanical Room at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire, West Wales

Castles in Carmarthenshire

With over 400 castles, wherever you go on holiday in Wales, you won't be too far from one to visit. So it will come as no surprise that Carmarthenshire has ruins aplenty.

Carreg Cennen

Another set of splendid ruins on top of a massive lump of granite, Carreg Cennen is often photographed from afar with wisps of mist in the valleys surrounding it. As well as ancient ruins to explore here, there's a remarkable underground cave deep down in the rock under the castle. Make sure to take a torch and take care on the slippery steps!

Children exploring the walls inside an ancient castle
Bachgen a merch yn cerdded drwy ddrws bwaog i archwilio adfeilion castell.

Exploring the walls and corridors at Carreg Cennen, Carmarthenshire, West Wales

Kidwelly Castle

Kidwelly Castle in the pretty town of the same name is one of the best preserved castles in Carmarthenshire. The original Norman castle of earth and wood dates back to the 12th century whilst the impressive stone structure still standing is just 600 or so years old! Film buffs may recognise Kidwelly from a fleeting appearance at the beginning of Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

Castell Llansteffan (Llansteffan Castle)

The location of Castell Llansteffan (Llansteffan Castle is perfect. You'll be wowed by the amazing views across Carmarthen Bay and the Tywi Estuary, as well as the surrounding rolling farmlands. A winding climb uphill brings you to the gatehouse with its imposing archway, mighty towers and extensive remains of the craggy walls. Climb up inside for the best views.

The ruins of Castell Llansteffan from above, with the River Tywi estuary in the background.

Castell Llansteffan (Llansteffan Castle) occupies the perfect vantage point, Carmarthenshire, West Wales

Carmarthen Castle

Carmarthen Castle was once one of the largest castles in Wales, built by Norman King Henry I. These days the massy gatehouse and parts of two towers and walls remain. Take a wander around the walls and climb up inside for views across the town and the river Tywi.

Castell Dryslwyn (Dryslwyn Castle)

The moody ruins of Castell Dryslwyn (Dryslwyn Castle) sit on top of an abrupt rocky outcrop overlooking the Tywi valley. The fortifications here owe their origins to one of the Welsh princes of Deheubarth, the kingdom in south-west Wales. Today a small section of the middle and outer walls remain, but the views after the steep climb up are what make the trip really worthwhile.

Read more: Things to do in Carmarthenshire

Distant view of castle ruins on a hilltop shrouded in low cloud

Castell Dryslwyn (Dryslwyn Castle) in the mists of early morning, Carmarthenshire, West Wales

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