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Castles and Gardens

This part of Wales is rich in history, and the cottages offer an ideal location from which to explore. Below is a taste of some of the castles, historic sites and gardens on offer.

Carreg Cennen Castle

Castles and Historic Sites

Kidwelly Castle
This castle, which stands on a Norman stronghold site dating from 1006, was rebuilt in stone in the 1270s. The castle is remarkably well preserved and stands on a steep bluff overlooking the river Gwendraeth in the town of Kidwelly. Its round corner towers are reminiscent of castles seen on the crusades but perhaps its most striking feature is its great gate house completed in 1422. This fascinating castle gives the visitor a complete insight into the evolution of the medieval fortress and is a 'must see'. About 30 minutes away.

Carreg Cennen Castle
Shrouded in mystery, this castle is a place of myths and legends. Dating from around 1300, it stands dramatically on the edge of a 100m cliff overlooking the remote Black Mountain. Few castles can boast such a dramatic location though little is known of its history. Visitors may also visit a passageway cut into the cliff-face inside the castle which leads to a natural cave which may have been inhabited in pre-historic times. Approx 25 minutes away.

Laugharne Castle and Home of Dylan Thomas
Set in the picturesque town of Laugharne overlooking the water of Carmarthen Bay, the castle's site was probably a stronghold from the 12th century, but as it now stands the castle dates from the late 13th century. During the 13th and 14th centuries it was the home of the de Brian family. Much of this early castle survives, including the gatehouse and two round towers. Sir John Perrot was granted the castle in 1584 by Elizabeth I and transformed it into luxurious living accommodation. It is surrounded by a Georgian and Victorian garden and was the subject of a dramatic watercolour by Turner. About 25 minutes away.

Also in Laugharne is Dylan Thomas' Boat House where he lived with his family during the last four years of his life until 1953 and wrote some of his most famous poetry. The house is a Heritage Centre and houses a fascinating permanent exhibition about his life and work.

Dinefwr CastleDinefwr Park including Dinefwr Castle and Newton House
Situated on top of the hill in Llandeilo, Dinefwr commands a strategic position with fantastic views across the Towy Valley. The castle may have been built originally around 877 and it is known that around 50 years later Dinefwr became the principal court of Hywel Dda ("The Good") who ruled much of South West Wales at that time. The castle as it now stands probably dates from the early 12th century when Rhys ap Gruffydd ruled this part of Wales.
Newton House, also in the Dinefwr Estate, is thought to have been originally built in 1660. The 18th century saw modifications in the form of towers surmounted by cupolas and connected by parapets. In the mid-nineteenth century the house was re-faced with limestone and dressed in the fashionable gothic style. The house was bought by the National Trust in 1990 and has been completely refurbished. The lower floors are open to the public and there is a permanent display of paintings spanning 300 years of history.

The park also includes rare breed cattle, fallow deer and woodland walks. An ideal day out only six miles from the cottages. (Also see Llandeilo town).

Also nearby:

Dryslwyn Castle set in the Towy valley, the Paxton Tower, a folly 2 miles away with stunning views and an amusing history, Talley Abbey, Margam Stones Museum, Weobley Castle and Oxwich Castle on the Gower Peninsula, Castle Coch and many more.

Dryslwyn Castle Paxton Tower

Gardens and Parks

National Botanic Garden of WalesThe National Botanic Garden of Wales   www.gardenofwales.org.uk
Situated not 2 miles away as the crow flies, the National Botanic Garden of Wales is a must for those visiting South West Wales. Opened as part of the millennium project, the focal point of the garden is the Great Glasshouse which is the largest single span glasshouse in the world. Inside the glasshouse is a perfect Mediterranean landscape in miniature. The gardens also boast lakeside walks, a rare double walled garden, a genetic garden, prairie planted fields and much much more. For more information about the National Botanic Garden of Wales visit their website. About 8 minutes away.

Aberglasney GardensAberglasney - a garden lost in time   www.aberglasney.org
Thought to originate in the 1470s, this garden and house have had a chequered past. In the 1600s Bishop Anthony Rudd owned the property and recent archaeological research has confirmed that the cloister garden is an authentic Jacobean survival dating from their ownership. The 18th century saw a grand building and landscaping campaign by the Dyer family until they fell into debt, like the Rudds before them. The 19th century also saw a major building campaign, this time by the Philipps family, however by the beginning of the 20th century the estate began to fall into disrepair. In 1995 the Aberglasney Restoration Trust bought the site and began restoration, as documented by the BBC. Explore the famous yew tunnel, ancient formal garden with its pools, parapets, arcades and arches and wonderful woodland areas of this fascinating garden. About 20 minutes away.

Colby Woodland Gardens
Owned by the National Trust, the Colby Woodland Gardens are set in a tranquil and secluded valley. It sports one of the finest collections of rhododendrons and azaleas in Wales. It is carpeted with daffodils and bluebells in spring and in summer the colour comes from hydrangeas. There are extensive woodland walks with breathtaking views across Carmarthen Bay. There is also a walled garden with gothic style gazebo which is privately owned but open to the public. About 40 minutes away.

Also nearby
Gelli Aur Country Park, around 5 miles away, a 90 acre park including a deer park and 10 acre arboretum; Singleton Park and Clyne Gardens in Swansea, and Victoria Gardens and Gnoll Estate in Neath.

Myrtle Hill, Maesybont, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire SA14 7HD
Tel. 01269-841951     E-Mail info@myrtlehill.co.uk