Carmarthen is the principal county town of Carmarthenshire and oldest town in Wales, located on the banks of the River Towy.
Carmarthen has a gladiatorial heritage as can be seen by the sturdy Roman defences which still stand today. There is also an Amphitheatre near Priory Street and ruins of a 12th-century castle on Notts Square. Not only this Carmarthen is thought to be the birthplace of Merlin the Wizard, whose statue can be seen along Merlin’s Walk. The Welsh name for the town of Carmarthen is Caerfyrddin. The term ‘Caer’ translates to ‘Fort’ and ‘Myrddin’- the English version of which is Merlin.
The free Carmarthenshire County museum celebrates the town’s rich history and is packed with plenty of treasures including what is thought to be the last piece of Merlin’s Oak, mammoth bones, Roman gold, and Egyptian artifacts. Additionally, you can visit the old jailhouse which dates back to the 1530s. Pop in its cells to discover the stories of prisoners and the reasons for their arrest.
Carmarthen is a great place for foodies, especially when staying in self-catering accommodation. There are lots of independent shops from which you can pick up your supplies such as the Zero Waste shop, as well as the 800-year-old market which is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This, along with the farmers market which pops up on the 1st Friday of the month means there is some of the best local produce in Wales to be sampled during your stay in Carmarthen. There are plenty of delicious restaurants and cafes in town too which will suit a range of budgets. For cakes and lunches try Café at No 4, Karm’en Kafe or Pethau Da. If you’re looking for somewhere for supper, then head to The Warren, The Waverley Vegetarian Restaurant or Frankie and Benny’s. Additionally, if you have something to celebrate or would like to treat yourselves then The New Curiosity worth going to.
If you’re looking for a good choice of shops, then Carmarthen is the town to stay in. There are two shopping areas, St Catherine’s Walk and Merlin’s Walk, both of which are popular with day-trippers and shoppers.
Carmarthenshire is renowned for its excellent off and on-road cycling and boasts the very first velodrome built in Wales, Carmarthen Park. It has not long been renovated and is open to riders.