Wales' Premier Independent Travel Magazine

Ten Cosy Reasons To Visit Carmarthenshire This Winter

You've possibly heard of the Scandinavian term ‘hygge’ a Danish word for a quality of cosiness (feeling warm, comfortable, and safe).
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How about an authentic Welsh cwtch (pronounced ‘kutch’, kind of rhymes with ‘butch)? ‘Cwtch’ has no literal English translation, however it is best described as a significant embrace, a cuddle, or the second meaning is a cubbyhole where you store things for safekeeping. So, combine these meanings and we come up a word which evokes a lovely sense of cosiness.

A value cwtch

Cosy comes at great value at Caban where the rooms are less than £100 a night and they welcome everyone. That means friends, solos, families and dogs, as well as offering accessible rooms in the coastal village of Pendine. There’s a café, restaurant and lots of wonderful events. It overlooks the 7-mile beach of Pendine and the Wales Coast Path is on your doorstep making this is a great car-free option. There’s tons to do in Carmarthenshire including free activities such as visiting the National Wool Museum or Carmarthenshire Museum or simply enjoying a winter picnic at Paxton Tower or a short walk up Dryslwn Castle for incredible views over the Tywi Valley.

Embrace the wild cwtch

Embrace the long nights on an adventure with a difference by joining a guided ‘Moon Walk’ with Lisa Denison of Quiet Walks. It’s a 90-minute walk up around an iron age hill fort taking place once a month to coincide with the full moon. Or, embrace some Scandinavian exercise with Nordic Walking which exercises 90% of the body and is great for all levels of fitness by joining NordicCymru who offer beginners workshops in various places in the county including Llyn Llech Owain Country Park and The National Botanic Gardens. For extra muddy winter fun there’s always mountain biking, or how about touring a few cosy pubs on an e-bike. Getting cosy in a remote cabin or yurt can be extra magical so don’t overlook winter glamping with yurts at Embrace the Space or a cabin at Under Starry Skies which is the perfect base for the Quiet Walks programme. If a luxury B&B is more your thing then check into Glangwili Mansion and book into their ‘Stargazer Log Cabin’ for a private meal and some star gazing. Or visit Y Plough Felingwm for their Asado nights and enjoy flame-cooked feast cooked in a custom-built outdoor kitchen.

Coastal cwtch

You can feel at one with the rugged beauty and edible delicacies of the Carmarthenshire coast at Pendine by joining Craig Evans, master of all things coastal foraging as he hunts for clams, cockles, sea vegetables and more on one of his wild-food courses. At the end, he will cook up your finds over a handmade candle stove on the beach taking shelter in one of the many caves. Check in for the night at Brown’s Hotel in Laugharne, the favourite watering hole of Wales’s favourite poet Dylan Thomas where you can enjoy rare-breed heritage Welsh beef at Dexters at Brown’s, or spend a few nights in a luxury lodge at Dylan Coastal Resort with hot tubs and views of the Taf estuary. The next day, explore the haunting ruins of Laugharne Castle, tuck into tapas at The Ferryman Deli or mouth-watering pub grub at the New Three Mariners and walk a section of the Wales Coast Path, stopping along the way for waterside afternoon tea at the Dylan Thomas Boathouse.

Cultural cwtch
Take your pick from exploring ghostly manor houses, visiting traditional art-deco theatres, discovering sporting records and more. The town of Llanelli has a fascinating past that must be explored. A visit to a Georgian-era mansion, Plas Llanelly House, situated right in the centre of Llanelli is a must. Delve into the past on a guided tour. Parc Howard situated in 24 acres of parkland, north of the Llanelli town centre has the largest public collection of Llanelly Pottery. New display will look at the lives of the people who made and used the famous brand. 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. To learn more a guided tour is recommended. Situated in the coastal village of Pendine. The brand-new Museum of Land Speed tells the iconic story of Pendine Sands and the renowned sporting records set here, in an interactive and experiential way. A visit to one of the three theatres in Carmarthenshire, all unique in their cultural offering.

Creative cwtch
The craft scene in Carmarthenshire is thriving meaning there are wonderful winter woollens and blankets to buy from Davies & Co or Jen Jones as well as superb makers to visit such as Tim Lake Ceramics , Rural Kind and traditional brush maker, Rosa Harradine who even offer full and half day workshops. Combining a pottery course with their own accommodation Siramik hold weekend courses every month and Small Holding Secrets, near Kidwelly offer Peg Loom Weaving. The Forest Arms at Brechfa (rooms and food) is a short drive from West Wales Willows who offer Willow weaving courses (baskets, bags, trugs and plant supports) for a day or two. Or to combine a felting workshop with a hideaway cottage stay on the edge of the Cambrian Mountains book into Cambrian Escapes in the same village, where a woodfired hot tub is perfect for making the most of the dark skies.

Cookery, cockles and cawl cwtch

Comfort and warmth are often winter cravings best satisfied with steaming hot food and buttery bakes. Quite literally comfort in a bowl is Cawl, a traditional Welsh hearty soup made with either lamb or beef and crammed full of root vegetables and leeks. The White Hart Inn offers Cawl on its menu as well as roaring fires and is one stop on the Cawl Crawl, a trail highlighting all of the best places to feast on this delicious warming stew. Or sign your little ones up to cook Welsh dishes in Cookery Workshops at Y Sied Cookery school, where they can learn to cook Welsh Cakes, a perfect way to celebrate St David’s Day! Alternatively start the day in a truly Welsh way head to Flows on Market Street in Llandeilo for a breakfast of cockles, laverbread and spinach topped with a fried egg. After all that cake, cockles and cawl, rest your head at Picton House, a small hotel and restaurant near St Clears.

A botanical cwtch
Chilly winter weather is the perfect excuse for focus on some self-care. Head over to Myddfai Trading in Llandovery where you can purchase luxury toiletries and gifts. Come back laden with homemade soaps, diffusers, bath bombs, creams, balms and more to your roll-top tub at rustic-chic farmhouse Ardderfin. Just ten minutes from Llansteffan, this little slice of heaven sleeps eight so you could even gather a group of friends for a pampering break, dining around the fire. Or, for a fine dining restaurant with rooms book into Mansion House Llansteffan for local seafood and sea views at their Moryd Restaurant. A lunch treat not to be missed is within half an hour’s drive at Y Polyn where saltmarsh lamb, Dinefwr venison and other local ingredients await, a cwtch on a plate if ever there was one. The next day, discover botanicals of a different kind at nano distillery Jin Talog (pre-booked visits only), where Anthony and David will show you their secret award-winning gin formula, home-grown herbs and Welsh spring water.

Canine cwtch

A cwtch with your pooch in tow is easy and fun, whether you head for the beaches or hills with lots of dog friendly cafes, attractions and walks. In the shadow of the Brecon Beacons, Basel Cottage is a great base for dogs and their owners who like to self-cater. Dogs stay free, there are enclosed gardens, wood burning stoves, walks from the cottage and a dog sitting service. Most local beaches and attractions are pup-friendly, so a race along the pristine sands of Pendine or Cefn Sidan is definitely in order, two of Wales’s longest beaches. And, if you have any energy in reserve a walk through the woods at Pembrey Country Park is a much as well as making the most of the National Botanic Garden of Wales’ regular ‘Doggy Days’ a short drive away or take in some history at Llansteffan Castle. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, tasty treats and crackling fires await you at the Inn at the Sticks on the coast.

A forest cwtch

Let the forest give you a hug with some time spent forest-bathing in Brechfa Forest, where conifers and pines mean you can soak up year-round greenery. It’s bewitching on a cold winter’s day when mist entwines the trees and beams of sunshine filter through the canopy to the mossy ground below. Hike or mountain bike along the waymarked trails and visit the Forest Garden to see giant redwoods and firs. Stop for a flask of coffee at the woodland picnic site in Abergorlech, where the Gorlech and Cothi rivers meet, then warm up over a fireside lunch at the Black Lion. Located on the river in Abergorlech, the welcome here is warm, the ciders and ales are from local breweries and the beef from surrounding farms. Or, head over to the British Bird of Prey Centre, take a Woodland Walk through the forest at National Botanic Garden of Wales with an owl or falcon flying alongside you, coming to your glove as you stroll through the trees. Winter forest bathers will be right at home at Tŷ Mawr Country Hotel where the owners provide mapped walks for those who want to give it a go. With Brechfa’s 16,000 acres of forest on the doorstep it is the perfect place to practice and experience forest bathing and then retreat to the hotel for fires and tasty food with local ingredients.

Heritage cwtch
Basing yourself in the market town of Llandovery on the edge of the Brecon Beacons positions you perfectly to head off on a cobweb-expelling walk in the footsteps of the drovers from bygone times who made the town famous. Or, if you prefer to tour by car then spend a few days exploring the new scenic route – the Wild Drovers Way. When it comes to dining in Llandovery choose between cocktails, burgers and Asian veggie food at the Bear Inn, and game pie or a ‘Drover’s Lunch’ (ham-hock terrine, Scotch egg, Welsh Cheddar and chutney) at the Castle Hotel. Once you’ve had your fill, rest your head in Jacobean elegance at 17th-century guesthouse The Drovers B&B, and wake to delicious breakfast treats such as Carmarthenshire cheese and leek cakes lovingly home-cooked by owner Jill. Make sure you pop into La Patisserie for a sweet or savoury treat and for top notch coffee go to Penygawse Tea Rooms For an epic walk head to Llyn-y-Fan, a lake, which lies in the shadows of Fan Brycheinog and Bannau Sir Gâr and learn about the legend of the Lady of the Lake, who married a local farmer’s son and whose children became the famous physicians of Myddfai.

A Carmarthenshire Cwtch is just a click away…
You can find out more about Carmarthenshire by clicking here.

This tourism initiative is jointly funded by UK Government Levelling Up Fund and Carmarthenshire County Council.

Useful links…
National Wool Museum
National Botanic Garden of Wales
Jin Talog

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