Look out for the Good Journey Mark – where car-free visitors are welcome and enjoy a discount
Car-free adventures nearCarmarthenCarmarthenshire
Walk in the footsteps of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, visit atmospheric castles and long sandy beaches. See the world's largest single-span greenhouse, when you take the bus to the National Botanic Garden of Wales, blooming in Carmarthenshire all year round. Ride the waterside railway from Carmarthen towards Swansea and find places to cycle, ski, toboggan, catch a ferry or hike the Wales Coast Path.
1. Botanic Garden by bus
A huge and colourful collection, spread over nearly 600 acres of Carmarthenshire countryside, opened in May 2000 incorporating the grounds of an 18th century mansion. The National Botanic Garden of Wales, home to thousands of different plants and the on-site British Bird of Prey Centre with twenty species of raptor, this is a destination worth travelling for. The Great Glasshouse, largest of its kind in the world, contains a King Protea, an exotic orange sunburst of a flower from South Africa.
- There are a couple of ways to get there by public transport.
- On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, bus 279 sets off at 11.08am from outside Carmarthen railway station.
- A twenty-minute bus ride, along and over the River Towy, brings you to the garden where you can get 50% off when you show your bus ticket.
2. Dylan Thomas in Laugharne
“It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
In the lovely village of Laugharne, you can recreate the poetic ramblings of Dylan Thomas, whose house is five minutes from the bus stop. The old harbour, now just a little muddy river, the nearby woods, the saltmarshes and herons, the castle “brown as owls” and the hilly paths above them are all still there for visitors to match to the original verses of the Poem in October, written on the poet’s thirtieth birthday.
- Local farmer, Bob Stevens has constructed a wonderful walk that traces the scenes Dylan Thomas saw back in the 1940s as he pondered the nature of mortality and the shifting landscapes of Laugharne.
- Bus 222 sets off from Carmarthen bus station, just over the river from the railway, every couple of hours Monday to Saturday.
- The bus takes half an hour to reach the village. Get off at Brown’s Hotel or the Grist and head for the Castle to walk the “birthday walk”. Follow the signs (and coast path way marks) from the little bridge near the castle, along the river and up into the woods along a primrose-fringed path.
- Returning to the castle, turn right along the Cliff Road to visit the writing shed where Dylan Thomas wrote Under Milk Wood and the boathouse, where he lived.
- If you happen to be in Laugharne for a special occasion or you just feel like a treat, don’t miss the food at Penderyn restaurant: stylish, local and delicious, from the duck cooked in whisky to the sticky toffee pud
- Bob Stevens suggests that visitors come back on their own birthdays to do the walk so they can hope, as Dylan Thomas did: “O may my heart’s truth/Still be sung/On this high hill in a year’s turning.”