Searching for a UK break filled with history, nature, and stunning scenery? You need to visit Carmarthen, the beautiful town in South Wales.
With plenty to offer visitors from far and wide, we’re breaking down the top 10 things to do in Carmarthen, so that you can plan the perfect trip, without the faff.
10. The Oriel King Street Gallery
Described by visitors as a ‘hidden gem’, this artist led, not-for-profit gallery promotes high quality art. The Gallery incorporates a range of artistic styles; from contemporary fine art to ceramics, photography to textiles.
There’s even the chance to meet artists at opening launches.
9: Don’t mind a bit of a drive? Then check out Paxton’s Tower!
Around a 20 minute drive from the town centre, this architecturally stunning tower comes in at a height of 36 feet – even with a banqueting hall on the first floor! Although you may not be able to dine in *quite* as much style as those who feasted in the tower, having a feast of your own is not off the cards with a nearby food emporium available!
Erected over 200 years ago, the tower was, as deemed by the National Trust, a ‘folly’ to not only commemorate Nelson, but also to impress the people of the valley who had not voted for Paxton as an MP in local elections. With his promise of a bridge to be constructed over the River Towy if he were elected, this building stands as a reminder of what the people could’ve had if they had voted in his favour.
Originally, there were inscriptions on the tower on three sides, in English, Welsh and Latin. Although you can’t see them any more, the tower remains to be worth the trip – especially as you can combine it with an exploration of the National Botanical Garden of Wales.
8. If you’re not a lover of the outdoors, then try Theatrau Sir Gâr
A collective of theatres in Carmarthenshire, Theatrau Sir Gâr offers a variety of both English and Welsh-language entertainment for the whole family. The pantomimes, in particular, are cause for stellar reviews every year.
7. Llyn Brianne Dam and Reservoir
Well worth the visit is the Llyn Brianne Dam and Reservoir in Nantgaredig. Although more Carmarthenshire than Carmarthen, this stunning destination deserves its spot on the list if only for the view. This spectacular reservoir sits at almost 300m above sea level, holding 64 million cubic metres of water. This water is contained by a 91m stone-built dam, which is the largest of its kind in Europe.
South Wales’ largest lake, this location offers much more than just practical use. Popular activities around the area include fishing, bird watching, mountain biking and walking – made even more popular by the car park being perfectly placed for both a walk around the lake and through the NRW forestry on the other side.
Fishing, boating and swimming in Llyn Brianne reservoir is strictly prohibited. However, Llyn Brianne has a lot to offer in the way of stargazing.
The reservoir was awarded Dark Sky Discovery Site status in October 2019, and is the first site to receive this accolade in the Cambrian mountains.
6. Carmarthen Market
A staple for visiting most small towns is a visit to their local markets. And, in Carmarthen’s case, number 6 on our top 10 provides you an opportunity to save some fuel and stay right in the town centre.
A haven for local produce and craft, the Carmarthen Market has been around for more than 800 years – now known as the ‘Heart of the town’! Dating back to the Roman times, these markets are not stuck in the past – available to shop at your leisure in a modern indoor hall.
With plenty to shop – from arts and craft to locally produced fruit and veg – it’s a great place to find something unique to remember your visit with.
5. Carmarthenshire Museum
If you’ve got an appreciation for history and heritage, then the Carmarthenshire Museum is a must during your stay.
In the very building which now serves the museum, the New Testament was translated into Welsh in 1567 for the first time – once being the palace of the Bishops of St. David’s. The tranquil, private chapel used by the bishops can still be seen by visitors to this day.
Displays at the museum include local archaeology, Egyptology, pottery, portraits, landscape paintings, Welsh furniture, costume, a Victorian schoolroom, and World War 2; so visitors can expect to acquire a lot of knowledge about the town during their visit.
4. Carmarthen Castle
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, an interesting bit of Welsh trivia is that Wales has more castles per square mile than any other country in Europe, with over 600 castles in total. So, it doesn’t feel right to not have a castle (or two!) on this list.
A ruined castle, it was first built in the 1100s and went on to be captured and destroyed on several occasions before being rebuilt in the 1190s.
Although there isn’t much left of the castle, a trip to the site is free of charge and a nice stop off for lunch while you explore Carmarthen.
3. Laugharne Castle
If you just want a bit more… castle, then Laugharne is a great option.
After being initially established in 1116, it was rebuilt as a Norman stronghold. Of many changes that have been witnessed since then, one of the most notable was the castle being transformed into a Tudor fortified manor house in the sixteenth century. A medieval site, Tudor manor house and poet’s hideout – Laugharne castle definitely has a story to tell.
2. The British Bird of Prey Centre
Frequently ranked top of the list of things to do in Carmarthen is the British Bird of Prey Centre.
Housing 20 native and migrant British species, the centre offers two flying displays each day – with an aim of conservation through education and public engagement.
How can you turn that down?
1. Clogau Carmarthen
Okay, we may be *slightly* biased, but a trip to the beautiful Clogau store in Carmarthen is the perfect thing to top off our list.
As a boutique store, it’s full of best sellers, Clogau classics, and all of the latest releases. The nearby St Catherine’s Walk Shopping Centre car park provides secure parking, 24 hours a day.
Find out about our Carmarthen store here.
With such stunning pieces on display in the store, why not pop in and say hello on your visit? Or, if you just can’t wait, shop online now.
So, there you to – 10 amazing experiences available to you on your visit to Carmarthen. We hope to see you in store soon!