Things to do in Carmarthenshire

Penned on the 6th June 2023

Things to do in Carmarthenshire

If you’re seeking a special staycation destination with stunning natural scenery and plenty to see and do, Carmarthenshire in south west Wales is the perfect place. Whether you’re dreaming of awe-inspiring hikes amongst rolling hills, unforgettable adventures on the wild coast, lazy days exploring picturesque towns or soaking up the area’s rich history and culture, this beautiful Welsh county has something for everyone. Here are some of our favourite year-round things to do in this magnificent part of Wales.



Hike in The Brecon Beacons

Sunsetting over the rugged landscape of the Brecon Beacons in Wales

The Brecon Beacons is an unmissable national park for keen walkers and lovers of the great outdoors. It covers some 520 square miles spread across half the width of Wales, with the most remote section lying in the county of Carmarthenshire. Its undulating hills and valleys make it the perfect place for a wild hike with absolutely breathtaking views – and there are ample walking trails to choose from. One of the most stunning has to be this 4 mile route to Llyn y Fan Fach, a glittering glacial lake at the border of the Black Mountain range in this area (not to be confused with the busier Black Mountains on the eastern side of the park!). Described as moderately challenging, this circular walk will take you to the lake alongside a bustling river and a vast mountain ridge. 


Have a secluded beach day at Llansteffan

View across sandy beach up towards Llansteffan Castle

On the River Tywi Estuary at the mouth of Cardigan Bay you’ll find the charming seaside village of Llansteffan. Despite boasting two golden sandy beaches overlooked by an impressive historic castle, this village isn’t a busy tourist spot, so it’s a great place for those seeking a quiet beach day (on a winter’s day you might even get the place to yourself!). The Green and Scott’s Bay are the two main beach areas here, both with lots of space and hard golden sand, perfect for long strolls along the shore or playing family beach games. Pack a picnic or head to the local deli or fish & chip shop for lunch. And for spectacular views of the village and coastline head up to Llansteffan Castle on the craggy headland, where you can explore the fascinating ruins dating back to the Iron Age. 


Discover Carmarthenshire’s nine castles

A dramatic 13th Century ruin atop a cliff in Carmarthenshire

Wales is renowned for its castles and is, in fact, the country with the most castles per square mile in the world! Nine of them are situated here in Carmarthenshire, so following your visit to Llansteffan there are plenty more to explore. Whether you’re a history-buff, a photography enthusiast or simply a lover of romance and adventure, it’s sure to be a magical experience to wander the ruins and imagine the rich Welsh history that’s happened amongst their stone walls. Each of the county’s castles has a unique story to tell and is set against a different scenic backdrop too, from the Norman Carmarthen Castle in the centre of Carmarthen town, to Carreg Cennen Castle, a dramatic 13th century ruin atop a sheer 300 foot cliff. 


Take a cooking class at Y Sied

Exterior of Y Sied cafe and cookery school

Aspiring foodies will love Y Sied, a modern barn-turned café and cookery school near Carmarthen headed up by highly regarded local chef Lisa Ferne. If you want to expand your horizons in the kitchen, there are classes on offer for all sorts of culinary tastes, ages and experience levels, from adult bakery sessions to children’s cooking and gardening workshops. Adventurous families can even book a bespoke private family cookery class for up to six people. 

Or, if you’d rather have your food prepared for you, Y Sied is also a lovely spot to stop for a delicious home-cooked lunch. You’ll find traditional Welsh dishes like Cawl (a hearty stew) on the menu, as well as soups, platters and salads.


Explore the National Botanic Garden of Wales

Vibrant flowers line the path at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

The National Botanic Garden of Wales in Llanarthne is a horticulture-lover’s dream – and there’s plenty to see and explore at this remarkable venue so you’ll want to make a day of it. It’s home to the iconic Great Glasshouse, the world’s largest single span glasshouse filled with endangered plants from all over the world, as well as a tropical butterfly house, an 18th century double walled garden, the Apothecary's Garden, the Arboretum and much more. The attraction also serves as a hub for research and the conservation of biodiversity and sustainability in Wales and beyond – so your visit will be supporting this great work too. 

Once you’ve worked up an appetite wandering the beautiful gardens, take a pit-stop at the on-site Caffe Botanica for a wholesome meal or snack made with organic, locally-grown ingredients.


Watch the flying displays at The British Birds Of Prey Centre

Owl flying at The British Birds Of Prey Centre

Nature-enthusiasts will love The British Bird of Prey Centre in Llanarthne, also based in the National Botanic Garden of Wales. This sanctuary is a wonderful place to learn about the birds and experience their mesmerising beauty and agility up-close. On your visit you can enjoy fascinating talks from the centre’s expert handlers, as well as multiple flying displays where you can marvel at the magnificent owls, eagles, kites, buzzards, kestrels and more. You’ll even get the opportunity to fly the birds yourself in the group sessions, if you wish – with the option to have a photographer capture the moment!


Take a peek into Dylan Thomas’s boathouse and writing shed

Dylan Thomas boathouse overlooking the Taf Estuary

The small town of Laugharne on the coast of Carmarthenshire is famous for being home to the iconic Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. Literary fans can visit his writing shed and boathouse perched on the banks overlooking the Taf Estuary, where he wrote some of his most iconic work, like ‘Under Milkwood’ and ‘Do Not Go Gentle’. The charming buildings are now museums dedicated to his remarkable life and works – and the original furnishings, paintings, prints and photographs on display give a captivating insight into how day-to-day life would have been for one of Wales’s greatest writers.

After you’ve got your literary fix, pop into the onsite tearoom for coffee, homemade Welsh cakes and wonderful views of the estuary towards the Gower and beyond. 


Have an outdoor adventure at Pembrey Country Park

Arial view of country park with woodland and beach activities in Carmarthenshire

For the ultimate family-friendly adventure day, head to Pembrey Country Park. This huge park is one of Wales’s top visitor attractions and offers a unique blend of countryside and coast, as well as plenty of entertaining outdoor activities for people of all ages. You could build sandcastles at the beach, wander the woodlands on a nature trail, cycle the off-road track, fly down the dry ski slope or toboggan run, take a train ride, go horse riding, challenge each other to pitch and putt, and let loose on the adventure playground – all in one day, if you’ve got the energy for it! Hungry visitors will have plenty of choices for lunch, including the Yr Osaf restaurant and bar, the Ski Café and the Beach Kiosk. And to top it off, everything’s set against the stunning backdrop of the Gower Peninsula too. 


Step back in time on the Gwili Railway

Gwili Railway going across a bridge through woodland

If you’re looking for something relaxing and picturesque to do in Carmarthenshire, take the vintage steam train from Gwili Railway. Climb aboard the gorgeous locomotive, sit back and enjoy the scenic journey through the Gwili Valley alongside green fields and over sparkling rivers, with abundant wildlife to keep an eye out for along the way. The Vintage Train Trip is the most popular ticket option – but there are several other experiences to choose from too, including Cream Tea & Steam, Steam Train and Welsh Elevenses and, occasionally, Murder Mystery evenings!


Shop independent in Llandeilo 

Misty day and colourful houses over the bridge at Llandeilo

The colourful market town of Llandeilo is a quaint, picturesque place to enjoy a spot of shopping in Carmarthenshire – and with a wonderful array of independent fashion boutiques, interiors shops, art galleries, jewellers, chocolatiers, antique centres and more, it might even be one of the best places to shop small in the whole of Wales. Once you’re all shopped out, head to Diod to refuel with an excellent coffee (or a glass of wine, if the mood takes you!). Or if you’re looking for a hearty lunch try The White Horse, a popular pub in one of Llandeilo’s oldest buildings, a grade II-listed 16th century coaching inn. There’s often live music playing on Sundays too, if you fancy hanging out with the locals for a while.  


Learn something new at the National Wool Museum

An array of colourful wool at the National Wool Museum

Wool was historically one of Wales’s most important and widespread industries – and you can learn all about it at the National Wool Museum located in the former Cambrian Mills, where shirts, shawls, blankets, socks and more were all made and exported to the rest of the world. On your visit you can trace the wool’s journey from sheep’s fleece to final fabrics, discovering traditional weaving techniques, historic machinery and interesting exhibitions as you go. If you fancy having a go yourself, you can try your hand at carding, spinning and sewing with guidance from the friendly staff. Plus there’s a café serving snacks and hot and cold drinks, as well as a museum shop if you’d like to pick up a beautiful woollen souvenir for your home or wardrobe.


Visit Aberglasney Gardens

Pretty purple flowers and lush greenery lining the path at Aberglasney Gardens

Aberglasney in the Tywi Valley is renowned as one of Wales’s finest gardens, made famous by the BBC television series ‘A Garden Lost in Time’ which followed its incredible restoration. You could spend hours blissfully wandering through its beautiful 10 acres of plant life and discovering the great variety that’s being expertly cared for and displayed here. From sub-tropical and woodland areas to formal and modern gardens, there’s something for all garden-lovers' tastes. And the idyllic tearoom is a must-visit for a quintessentially British afternoon tea overlooking the stunning Pool Garden. Aberglasney also hosts several events and exhibitions throughout the year, from arts & crafts to live music – you can find out what’s on during your visit here


Cycle the Millennium Coastal Path

the pictyuresque coastline and sand dunes of the Millennium coastal path

The Millennium Coastal Path is a tranquil 13 mile walkway and cycleway that follows the south coast of Carmarthenshire. It’s traffic-free and mostly flat, making it perfect for a fun family bike ride. The path travels from Bynea in the east to Pembrey Country Park in the west, passing picturesque woodland and coastline, one of Britain’s rare sand dune forests, Sandy Water Park (a beautiful lake) and the Wetlands Centre, a bird sanctuary where you can learn about the local birdlife – and see their flock of pink flamingos! With so much to see on the route, you’ll definitely want to allow for stops and make a whole day of it. If you don’t fancy carrying your lunch with you, there are plenty of cafés and tearooms to stop for some well-deserved refreshments along the way.


Go coastal foraging

An array of foraged shells and food from the coast of Carmarthenshire

Renowned Coastal Forager Craig Evans offers courses in Carmarthenshire, where he shares his passion and expertise and will guide you to seek out your own wild edible delicacies from Wales’s rocky shorelines and other coastal environments. If circumstances allow, he’ll teach you how to cook some of your foraged delights too, so you can appreciate the coastal flavours in the freshest way possible! There are a range of courses available for different budgets, interests and experience levels – all of which will teach you life long foraging skills. And these wonderful immersive activities are made all the more wholesome by Llew, Craig’s faithful Golden Retriever companion who’s usually in tow. 


Where to stay

The gorgeous interiors at The Cabin, Powys

Take a look at our collection of heavenly hideaways across Wales. From the coast of Pembrokeshire to the mountainous landscape of Ceredigion, our hideaways range from cosy cabins to coastal hideouts. 


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