What’s on in Carmarthen
Carmarthen, which translates as “Merlin’s fort” is the county town of Carmarthenshire and is a bustling market town. Carmarthen claims to be the oldest town in Wales – the settlements of Old Carmarthen and New Carmarthen became one borough in 1546, and its historical community spirit is still strong.
Carmarthen has a real ‘Welsh-ness’ about it, with many residents speaking the native tongue as their first language. The old part of town is a good example of traditional welsh centres, with plenty of independant shops, cafes, street traders and the recently refurbished, but long standing Carmarthen Market. Be sure to wander around the various stalls selling local cheeses, meats, organic veg, crafts and of course – welsh-cakes, for a real Welsh experience.
As well as being a great spot to take in a traditional town, Carmarthen has remained a popular place due to its ability to keep up with modern day demands. The ‘new’ part of Carmarthen provides a good range of shops such as Debenhams, Topshop, Fat Face, Lush and Mountain Warehouse, as well as toy and gift shops. Carmarthen also has a cinema and various food outlets located nearby.
But! For a real taste of Carmarthen’s culture and a chance to support the local independant community, we recommend eating in one of the many great local-owned restaurants, cafes and eateries.
The Warren is an exciting new restaurant that truly encompasses the sense of community in Carmarthen. It was opened last year as a result of crowdfunding and is dedicated to local, organic produce, most of which comes from their very own polytunnel. They offer a cosy, stylish setting with relaxed dining, seriously good food, regular quiz nights, food events and live music.
Wrights Food Emporium is a little way out of the town itself, in Llanarthney, but is definitely worth the drive if you’re a foodie. The building is an old pub, converted and updated to provide a warm but quirky setting , offering quality local food from an ever changing menu. These guys certainly know what they’re doing.
Alleyway Coffee and Pethau Da are great spots in town for coffee, cakes and light lunches.
Things to do
The National Botanic Gardens of Wales is breathtaking in Spring, but fantastic all year round, and features the magnificent glasshouse designed by Sir Norman Foster that rises out of the surrounding landscape. There’s a tropical butterfly house and 350 acres of grounds with walks and water features which remain form the original estate. Kids and grown-ups alike will wander with awe at this incredible spot.
There are plenty of castles in and around Carmarthen, including Llansteffan Castle (which has a lovely beach) and the impressive Carreg Cennen Castle.
Serious about exploring? Check out nearby town, Laugharne, home to Dylan Thomas’ Boathouse, where the author use to write looking out onto the estuary, a castle, traditional pubs and many great local artists.