Days out in West Wales

Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian

An outstanding forest recreation centre in the heart of Mid Wales, and is owned and managed by Forestry Commission Wales on behalf of the National Welsh Assembly. An award winning attraction, the Visitor Centre has been completely re-developed as an ecologically-friendly building with excellent restaruant facilities, a gift shop and superb views.

Nant-yr-Arian is famous for the daily Red Kite feeding, which can be seen from the Visitor Centre or from many places around the lake. There is a video system with a number of cameras around the lake, giving you a close-up view of the birds

For the more athletic, there are a number of Waymarked Walks, one of which is suitable for disabled persons. Excellent Cycle Trails start and end at Nant-yr-Arian, with a bike washing facility at the Visitor Centre.

Ceredigion Museum

Housed in a restored Edwardian Theatre, Ceredigion Museum has been described as ‘one of the most beautiful museum interiors in Britain’.
The museum displays objects of all ages from the county of Ceredigion (Cardiganshire). Most of the displays are of the Victorian period and later.

It is open from Monday to Saturday, 10am – 5pm (closed Good Friday and Christmas Day to New Year’s day inclusive). Admission is free.

Llywernog Silver and Lead Mines

Llywernog is an authentic 18th century silver mine. A visit to Llywernog offers a fascinating insight into life nearly 200 years ago, when the mine employed over 60 people. Today, Llywernog is a fascinating and educational family adventure, and continues to be developed as a major all-weather attraction.

There are friendly and knowledgeable guides, who are always on hand to answer your questions and identify your geological finds, make Llywernog an ideal venue for schools and group visits. It can get very cool in the mine even on the hottest day so warm clothing and stout footwear is a good idea!

National Library of Wales

Beautiful neo-classical building with a fine vista and within walking distance of town centre and sea front. Entrance to the Library is free and open to the public and will give you an invaluable insight into Welsh culture – past and present. Visit Oriel Hengwrt, the Library’s permanent exhibition with some of Wales’ most precious collections. Art exhibitions by Welsh and foreign artists are shown continuously and are also free to the public. As Wales’ only copyright library, the NLW is an invaluable source for research from Welsh genealogy to international politics.

Vale of Rheidol Railway

An unforgettable eleven and three quarter mile journey through the spectacular Rheidol Valley by narrow gauge steam train from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge. The journey takes approximately one hour in each direction as the train overcomes a height difference of over 600 feet with many sharp curves and steep gradients affording superb views of the valley below.

The Vale of Rheidol Railway is one of the Great Little Trains of Wales and was the last steam railway owned by British Rail until it was privatised in 1989. Trains depart from the centre of the resort town of Aberystwyth on the Cambrian coast. The railway is adjacent to the British Rail station and ample car parking is available in our own car park off Park Avenue.

Bro Meigan Gardens

Over six acres of gardens overlooking the Preseli Hills which are perfect for gardeners, artists, photographers, birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. The large range of plants and long seasonal interest will stimulate the senses at any time of year. The Tea Room, which has been awarded the Pembrokeshire Produce Mark, is set in a converted 300 year old barn and offers a selection of home made cakes and scones at pretty tables set with bone china. It has an entry in the prestigious Margaret Thornby’s Tea Rooms of Britain Guide.

The location is a birdwatcher’s paradise and the perfect place to watch and listen. Many of the birds to be found in Britain can be seen here including such rarities as the Water Rail, Peregrine and of course the Red Kite. Various bird boxes including a Barn Owl box have been erected. Swallows annually nest in our barns and house martins under the eaves of the house.

Pembrey Country Park

People visit Pembrey Country Park for many different reasons, some to enjoy the freedom to wander around 202 hectares of glorious parkland and some to take advantage of one of the cleanest beaches in Wales.

Set against the spectacular backdrop of the Gower Peninsula and overlooking the coastal scenery of Carmarthen Bay, the Park had been transformed into one of Wales’s top visitor attractions providing a unique blend of coast and countryside.

Cilgerran Castle

Cilgerran Castle stands on a precipitous, craggy promontory overlooking the River Teifi where it merges with the Plysgog stream. The Teifi here is just at its tidal limit, so the castle was able to control both a natural crossing point and the passage of seagoing ships. We cannot be sure when this strong site was first fortified. It may be the same time as a Norman castle called ‘Cenarth Bychan’ from which we know, Nest, the spirited and beautiful wife of the Norman lord, Gerald of Windsor, ran off with Owain, son of the prince of Powys during a Welsh attack in 1109.

Cilgerran is first mentioned by name in 1164, when the Lord Rhys captured the castle here. It was retaken by William Marshal, earl of Pembroke, in 1204, only to be taken again by the Welsh during Llywelyn the Great’s campaigns in 1215. However, eight years later, William’s son, another William, regained control, and it was probably he who built the imposing masonry castle you can see today.

Felinwynt Rainforest Centre

Felinwynt Rainforest Centre has become one of Ceredigion’s chief attractions with thousands of visitors every year. The highlight of any visit is the mini-rainforest created by owner John Devereux. Wander through a jungle among tropical plants, exotic butterflies, waterfalls, pools and fish, with the soothing sounds of the Peruvian Rainforest. You can watch the leafcutter ants at work.

The gift shop is well stocked with everything from local made preserves to Peruvian jewellery. Gifts for all ages. You can also relax in the cafe with freshly cooked meals and home-made cakes. Felinwynt Rainforest Centre is six miles from Cardigan and 4 miles from Aberporth on the Ferwig/Mwnt road. Follow signs on the A487 from Blaennanerch

Carew Castle and Tidal Mill

A magnificent Norman Castle, which later became an Elizabethan residence with Royal links to Tudors and the setting for the great tournament of 1507. Archaeological evidence of a much earlier settlement.

The Mill is the only restored Tidal Mill in Wales. It contains an introductory slide-tape programme, automatic ‘talking points’ and a special exhibition, ‘The Story of Milling’. The Castle, Mill, Causeway, Millpond, 11th Century Celtic Cross and Medieval Bridge are linked by a round walk.

Aberglasney

Spectacularly set in the beautiful Tywi valley of Carmarthenshire, Aberglasney House features one of the finest gardens in Wales. Aberglasney Gardens have been an inspiration to poets since 1477. The story of Aberglasney spans many centuries, but, the house’s origins are still shrouded in obscurity.

The garden and shop are open Every Day except Christmas Day.

Carmarthenshire County Museum

Carmarthenshire County Museum is housed in a building that is a museum in its own right. The collections are set off by their almost unique setting – an old house which has been in continuous use since about 1290, surrounded by lawns, gardens and trees and bordered by a lake which was formerly part of the River Tywi. It was founded as a college and became the Bishop’s Palace for the diocese of St David’s before taking on a new lease of life as the County Museum about 20 years ago. The historic Bishop’s Palace is a fitting setting for a variety of collections.

The Bishop’s Pleasure Gardens surround the building, with many fine specimen trees and lawns covered with spring bulbs and younger trees, many planted by the Friends over the years.

Gwili Railway

The volunteer run Gwili Steam Railway, is the only steam standard gauge railway operating in South West Wales. The first train ran at Easter 1978 using one coach pulled by a Peckett 0-4-0 called Merlin, Since then it has developed into one of the principle tourist attractions in Carmarthenshire.

The Gwili Railway is a living reminder of a Great Western Railway branch line set in the breathtaking Carmarthenshire hills. The trip down memory lane starts at Bronwydd Arms Station, and the steam train follows the route, originally taken by the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth line to a delightful halt at Danycoed.

Laugharne Castle

Laugharne is perhaps best known for its associations with Dylan Thomas, but for the past 20 years, the picturesque castle, sited on the Taf estuary, has been the subject of painstaking archaeological investigation and gradual restoration. There was probably a Norman castle here by the early 12th century, though the upstanding remains can be traced back no further than the work of the de Brian family in the late 13th century. From the de Brians and their descendants, in 1488 the lordship and castle passed to the earls of Northumberland. In 1584, Elizabeth I granted Laugharne to Sir John Parrott, said to have been the illegitimate son of Henry VIII.

Museum of Welsh Woollen Industry

Re-opened in 2004 following major re-development, this flagship museum is a new and exciting place to visit with something for everyone to enjoy. Visit the sympathetically restored listed mill buildings and historic machinery and see brand new features such as the glass roofed courtyard. A raised walkway gives a unique view of textiles in production at Melin Teifi, the site’s commercial woollen mill, while a new gallery displays aspects of the National Flat Textile Collection for the first time. Families can have fun following the specially designed trail, ‘A Woolly Tale’, and create their own guide to making and using woollen cloth, trying their hand at carding, spinning and sewing along the way. The Museum’s friendly staff are always on hand to give demonstrations and answer questions.

National Botanic Garden of Wales

The National Botanic Garden of Wales is a centre of world significance dedicated to horticulture, conservation, science, education, leisure and the arts. The Garden of Wales is a £43.3 million project that has attracted a £21.7 million investment from the Millennium Commission.

The 568-acre Garden and its centrepiece, the Great Glasshouse, opened fully on May 24, 2000, with its stated vision of a world where we understand, value, use, enjoy and sustain plant life to create a balance of life on earth.

The philosophy is about giving the next generation a say in the sort of world they want to inherit. Today’s generation has a choice – to make or break the environment.

Castell Henllys Iron Age Fort

Castell Henllys is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and one of many prehistoric promontory forts in the National Park dating to around 600BC.

What makes this site particularly important is that archaeologists have been excavating here for over 20 years and thatched Iron Age buildings have been reconstructed on their original foundations.

As a resource for understanding the Iron Age, Castell Henllys is second to none, providing a unique combination of Scheduled Ancient Monument, archaeological excavation and experimental archaeology.

Picton Castle

Picton Castle has been the historic home of the Philipps’ family who are direct descendents of Sir John Wogan who built the Castle over 850 years ago. Open all year round for weddings and corporate events and during the summer, there are guided tours of the castle which still retains much of its original character.

The 40 acres of gardens are open to the public. Part of the Royal Horticultural Society Regional Garden Scheme they are home to a feast of Rhododendrons, Embothrium and Eucryphia.

The Woodland Gardens burst with colour during the spring with blankets of wild flowers blended with beautiful shrubs from all corners of the world. In the summer the restored walled garden with its enchanting fountain and fernery is a haven of tranquillity.

The art gallery is host to a variety of artist exhibitions and the events schedule is a popular feature of the Picton Castle calendar with garden lectures, open air theatre and family days being just some of the fun events on offer.

Scolton Visitor Centre

Victorian Manor House, Museum and award-winning Visitor Centre set in 60 acres of Country Park and woodlands.

Period Rooms, Railway Displays, Farming Exhibition, Costume Gallery, Stable/Rural Crafts, Art Exhibitions, World War II ‘Homefront’ Exhibition, Picnic and Play areas, shop and tearooms. Guided tours available. Open daily except Monday. Park open every day.

Oakwood

Oakwood Theme Park is a top ten UK theme park and with over 30 rides and attractions there’s something for everyone. Thrill seekers can brave Speed, our newest white knuckle ride and the UK’s first rollercoaster with a beyond vertical drop. Or why not try Megafobia, the award winning wooden coaster with character, you’ll get off laughing and be desperate for more. Not afraid of heights? Well, what about The Bounce, a 160ft Shot ‘n Drop Tower coaster which shoots riders into the air at speeds of 70 kph in less than two seconds. Or maybe you fancy cooling off on Hydro, the steepest and wettest ride in Europe!

Folly Farm

Folly Farm, the ‘BIG four-in-1 family day out’, is one of Wales’ largest family attractions and the Welsh Tourist Board’s ‘Top Day Out in Wales’ 2005. With farming fun, a spectacular zoo, indoor vintage funfair and adventure play, there’s something for everyone- whatever the weather

Daily entertainment ensures a fun-packed day for the whole family. Special events take place throughout the season and there is even a theatre to enjoy. Visitors can see, and learn about, many exciting species of exotic animals such as meerkats, ostrich, lemurs, tapir and zebra in the park’s wonderful zoo. There are even a number of endangered species from important European breeding programmes. In the Pet Centre visitors can handle some of the animals and have a go at bottle feeding in the Jolly Farm.

The farm also has formula 2 go-karts and a massive undercover ‘old time’ fun fair with many rides to excite and make you dizzy! There are the 1922 Golden Gallopers, chair-o-planes, ghost train, bumper cars, big wheel and many more!

Carreg Cennen Castle

One of the most spectacularly sited Welsh castles is Carreg Cennen, a few miles south-east of Llandeilo on a minor road off the A483. Spell-binding views are waiting to be experienced from the sharp hilltop upon which the castle sits. Indeed, Carreg Cennen dominates its surroundings, and seems out of place in the mountainous farming terrain which it commands. The hedgerows along the minor approach road initially obscure views of the site, but suddenly the grey stone fortress springs into your line of sight, enticing you to hurry onwards.

The story of Carreg Cennen Castle is a long one, going back at least to the 13th century. There is archaeological evidence, however, that the Romans and prehistoric peoples occupied the craggy hilltop centuries earlier (a cache of Roman coins and four prehistoric skeletons have been unearthed at the site). Although the Welsh Princes of Deheubarth built the first castle at Carreg Cennen, what remains today dates to King Edward I’s momentous period of castle-building in Wales.

Dinefwr Park and Castle

A 12th-century Welsh castle, historic house and 18th-century landscaped park, enclosing a medieval deer park – all in one place.

Home to more than 100 fallow deer and a small herd of White Park Cattle, with a number of scenic walks, including a wooded boardwalk, country house with some rooms dressed in 1912 style, exhibition rooms, tea-room and NT shop.

Exhibition on the first floor of Newton House tells the story of the history and landscape of Dinefwr. NT gift shop and small play/picnic area for families.

National Coracle Museum

A museum and workshop of coracles from around the world set in the grounds of a 17th Century Flour Mill beside the beautiful Cenarth falls famed for its Salmon Leaps and 200 year old bridge over the Teifi River.

The museum, apart from its fine collection of coracles, covers the history of coracles and the techniques and tools for building them. Also a section on the implements and methods used for the equally ancient art of poaching.

The National Coracle Museum houses an international collection of coracles from as far afield as Vietnam, North America, India, Tibet and Iraq to complement the collection of coracles from around our home islands.

Teifi Valley Railway

The Station Tearoom and Gift Shop supplies snacks, hot and cold drinks and ice cream and souvenirs.

Crazy golf and quoits are free although a deposit is required and there are picnic tables throughout the grounds.

Request stops at Forest halt and Pontprenshitw (with a short walk to the waterfall). Total journey lasts about 40 minutes.

Paths run through the woods on one side of the railway as far as Pontprenshitw. You can walk from Henllan or Pontprenshitw platform to view the waterfalls. You can join the train at any intermediate Station by signalling to the driver.

Pembroke Castle

Idyllically set on the banks of the river estuary, this mighty fortress is largely intact, and its endless passages, tunnels and stairways are great fun to explore, plus there are super exhibitions, which tell the tale of its medieval life. Once the seat of a succession of major barons who played leading roles in shaping Britain’s history, this historic showpiece is the birthplace of Henry Tudor, father to the infamous Henry VIII and grandfather of Elizabeth I.

Spend a day, and picnic in the beautifully kept grounds or from St. Anne’s Bastion, enjoy views along the estuary while partaking of refreshments from the snack bar. Visit the Brass Rubbing Centre and quickly and easily, make an attractive souvenir. Complete your visit with a walk around the medieval town walls and millpond, and from the opposite bank of the river, view the castle in all its splendour, surrounded by this peaceful stretch of water.

The Dinosaur Park

The Dinosaur Park is a perfect day out for all the family. Walk with dinosaurs through ancient woodland and over swamps on the boardwalk, meeting 29 prehistoric friends along the way.

Go fossil hunting in the park, and take the fossil home with you as a memory of your fantastic day. Watch puppet shows or go on a treasure hunt using the Dino Clues to help you.

If you like to make things then why not visit the Dino craft, everything you make you can take home. There are so many exciting things to do at the park it is definitely worth a visit, get lost in labyrinth, test your skills in the 18-hole golf course and jump around on the trampoline.

The Welsh Chocolate Farm

Enter a world where everythin is chocolate, where you can smell, taste, drink, see, touch, listen to and absorb the full flavours of fine chocolate at our multi award winning chocolate workshops. The chocolate cafe, chocolate shops and chocolate factory are open from April to October.