48 hours in Carmarthenshire

Sandwiched between the crowd-pulling national parks of Pembrokeshire to the west and the Brecon Beacons to the east, Carmarthenshire tends to get overlooked. Dare to leave the A40, says Dianne Spencer, and you’ll find Wales’ hidden gem.

Think crumbling castles, sweeping estuary views and a wealth of local produce, from natural wines and quality coffee to artisanal cheese and silky air-dried ham. Oh, and did we mention the pies? Read on for our foodie guide to 48 hours in this special part of Wales…

48 hours in Carmarthenshire

Where to eat and drink in Carmarthen

Start your trip in the ancient county town of Carmarthen at the indoor market. Sample award-winning organic local cheeses at Caws Teifi, then head to Albert Rees, where muslin-wrapped hams hang curing overhead. Their air-dried ‘Carma’ ham is as good as any from Parma.

Blasus Delicatessen on King Street is the place to pick up a gourmet picnic. But on chillier days, take a seat in The Warren in Mansel Street, for veg-centric
fare. Or stroll to Y Sied on St Catherine’s Walk for a steaming bowl of ham cawl (stew). Learn the secret to making this and other Welsh classics on one of owner Lisa Fearn’s cookery classes (from £200 for two people).

Ham Cawl

The best tea and coffee spots in Carmarthenshire

In Guildhall Square, Tea Traders offers more than 100 smartly packaged loose-leaf teas from around the world. Try Oriental Beauty, a floral whitetipped oolong, or Ivan Tea, a locally made infusion of rosebay willowherb. Can’t decide? With a Tea Tasting Experience you can try any three for just £9.60.

For coffee with a conscience, drive east to Ammanford, where B Corp certified Coaltown Coffee is bringing a greener industry to this former mining town. The roastery runs on renewable energy and a tie-in with the local Llaeth Beynon Dairy  means milk comes in steel churns (no plastic). Check out the milk vending machine in the carpark, then recharge with a cup of Black Gold, the roastery’s house blend.

Where to try local produce in Carmarthenshire

Local sourcing is big in these parts. It’s the basis for the beautifully balanced menus at Y Polyn , Mark and Sue Manson’s refreshingly unstuffy restaurant in the village of Capel Dewi. Starring saltmarsh lamb, fine Welsh beef and creative veggie choices, the menu is a winner – and there’s a great wine list.

Just up the road in Llanarthne is Wright’s Independent Food Emporium, the brainchild of Maryann and Simon Wright. People travel miles to stock up their larders, pick up a supper kit or tuck into Maryann’s legendary Cubano sandwich: roast pork belly, Myrddin Heritage ham, hafod cheddar, pickles and sriracha mayo on home-baked ciabatta.


Meet the makers from Carmarthenshire

Welsh wines are nothing new, but at Hebron Vineyard, in the Preseli foothills, Jenna Vickers and Paul Rolt are pushing the boundaries, making zero-intervention natural wines “right on the limits of viable viticulture”. The £30 tour and tasting (booking essential) includes local cheeses, homemade bread and Jenna’s luscious chutneys.

If you fancy something stronger, book a free gin tasting at Jin Talog, Anthony Rees and David Thomas’s ‘nano distillery’ on their picturesque former dairy farm. Hand crafted in small batches, their award-winning signature pour is an organic London Dry gin with a big hit of wild Uzbekistan juniper (said to be the best in the world). Additional aromatics, including the farm’s own bay and lemon verbena, flavour their seasonal twin-botanical gins.

For more meaty fare, head south to St Clears. At Eynon’s (eynons.co.uk), pick up prime Welsh beef and dry-cured bacon, expertly matured in their Himalayan salt chamber. Then cross the road to Deri Page Butcher’s for a truly champion meat pie. Pubs, chippies and plenty of fellow butchers across the county agree they’re the best.

In the pretty market town of Llandeilo, the hilly streets offer a treasure trove of foodie finds, from artisan chocolate and ice cream at Heavenly on Rhosmaen Street, to spectacular giant sharing doughnuts at The Duffnuts Co on Carmarthen Street.

The best sights and hikes in Carmarthenshire

Hike the glorious seven-mile stretch of Pendine Sands or take the blustery coastal path to the romantic ruins of Llansteffan Castle and secluded Scotts Bay.

Gawp at the glazed expanse of Norman Foster’s Great Glasshouse dome at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, home to one of the world’s foremost
Mediterranean plant collections.

Discover an eclectic selection of gorgeous homeware at Davies & Co in Llandeilo: the soft, woolly Welsh blankets are a real find.

Where to stay in Carmarthenshire

Mansion House

A stately late-Victorian residence with smart bedrooms and sweeping views over the Towy estuary. A visit to Moryd, their two AA rosette restaurant, is unmissable. Doubles from £175 B&B;  mansionhousellansteffan.co.uk

Llwynhelig Manor

In strolling distance of Llandeilo, dog-friendly Llwynhelig Manor offers stylish B&B rooms and continental breakfasts in the beautifully restored Georgian house. Self-catering options, including the bijou Gardener’s Cwtch studio, are in converted outbuildings. Doubles from £135; llwynheligmanor.co.uk

More to discover

Subscribe to our magazine

Food stories, skills and tested recipes, straight to your door... Enjoy 5 issues for just £5 with our special introductory offer.


Unleash your inner chef

Looking for inspiration? Receive the latest recipes with our newsletter

We treat your data with care. See our privacy policy. By signing up, you are agreeing to delicious.’ terms and conditions. Unsubscribe at any time.