- Thursday – Saturday – Brunch: 11am – 3pm / Dinner: 6pm – 9:30pm
- Sunday – Brunch: 11am – 3pm
- are the most visited garden in Wales – over 2.5 million visitors so far
- have been recognised as the most influential landscape scheme in Wales over the last 75 years by the Landscape Institute
- have been voted ‘No 1 Garden to Visit in Wales’ by BBC Gardeners’ World
- have been voted the number 1 ‘Wonder of Wales’, ‘Most Romantic Garden’, ‘Best Children’s Garden’ & ‘Best Afternoon Tea’ by the Western Mail
- have been voted ‘Visitors Favourite’ by Carmarthenshire Tourism Association
- have been awarded the 2016 Gold Accolade by Visit Wales
- Promote sustainability and the re-use and recycling of materials.
- Enable pupils to get their creative juices flowing.
- Have fun.
A clear out of tattered board games this Spring has encouraged me to buy some new games which are everyone’s favourites. I decided to ask visitors what they would suggest and their responses gave me lots of food for thought. So this summer its out with the old and in with the new at Old Oak Barn! Thank you to everyone who gave me their ideas.
Below you can see some pictures of the latest purchases!
We have a great selection too of books for children and adults with an especially good collection of books of local interest for example “A Shilling for Carmarthen”, Natural History books about Skomer Island, a selection on the nearby Gardens eg Aberglasney – plus some books about life in St Clears earlier last century written by local residents.
In addition we replace old Dvds with new ones – eg “I Daniel Blake” and “La La Land” were bought in May 2017. The new Sony DVD player is capable of accepting a USB memory stick and nowadays visitors often arrive with their own supply of films in their pocket!!
If you have any good suggestions for new games please let me know and I shall put them on the list for the next upgrade!
The old Caban Y Dderwen has been transformed these past few months and has become, in a very short space of time, one of the best places to eat in Carmarthen! The Warren in Mansel Street which is just off Lammas Street caters especially for those who like freshly prepared wholesome food at great prices. It is owned, managed and run by an enthusiastic and committed team and we think that our visitors staying at Old Oak Barn, just 10 minutes from the county town of Carmarthen, will love it. So visit The Warren in the centre of town if you want to enjoy some really tasty fresh food – we often pop in ourselves for brunch on Sundays and think you will enjoy not only the food but the friendly atmosphere. Their coffee is delicious too. And for those who want to sample a local craft beer there is plenty of choice. The Warren is run by people who clearly have a big passion for getting things right! A lot of what they serve is organic, grown locally and sourced wherever possible very locally too. Some is even grown on the roof of the newly refurbished premises right in the middle of Mansel Street.
Limited opening hours currently but just recently they have announced Wednesday openings too. I bet by the end of the summer it will be open even more! Please visit their website or facebook page for some great photos and more information on their ongoing events.
Opening times at The Warren
Thursday evenings you will find the place full of students and locals enjoying board games night! Either bring your own or borrow whats on site! It is an informal and sociable way to spend an evening whatever the weather while on holiday in this part of Wales.
Its best to phone 01267236079 to reserve a table.
National Botanic Gardens Wales
Situated less than 30 minutes from Old Oak Barn is Carmarthenshire’s pride and joy! We LOVE the gardens and visit often and there is always something new to enjoy. The Gardens of Wales as they are also known will amaze you not only because of the variety of plants to see but also because of the wonderful setting within the natural landscape. Open every day from 10 in the morning. The National Botanic Gardens of Wales are currently working on lots of new restoration projects – please see their website for more details.
Did you know that the National Botanic Gardens Wales :-
This year the needs of the very youngest visitors have been further met with the addition of a straw bale maze, improved play areas plus willow walks and magical woodland play areas. During holiday times there are always extra activities put on for children inside or out. Do take your little ones to the Gardens as they will love it there.
Parc Y Bocs
Parc Y Bocs is a farm shop, a great new children’s play area and lots more too! The fresh veggies are renowned in the area for being tasty and are available all year round. Situated not far from Kidwelly and only about 15 minutes from Carmarthen they are well worth a visit if staying at Old Oak Barn. The cafe serves up simple food every day and you can also buy as takeaway too. There are some wonderful original gifts in the shop some of which are made locally! For many years Burns have been leaders locally in healthy pet food supplies also known as Burns Real Food for Dogs, Cats and Rabbits. The mixes were developed by John Burns himself in 1993 after as a vet he noticed how crucial food was to the recovery and of course the health and well being of pets. He developed simple foods which are intended to allow the body to function naturally. So all the pet foods are made from the highest quality ingredients and without any pharmacologically active supplements. I like the sound of that!
Parc Y Bocs play area is really well designed and is ideal for small children. They even have smaller sized picnic tables. Adjacent is the pond and further down the slope are some wonderful gardens where all sorts of things are grown. I was struck by how neat and tidy everything was and its clear a lot of pride is taken into running the gardens well. The chicken on the right here I bought in the shop – it now stands proud and tall in Old Oak Barn by the french windows! I couldn’t resist it! There are some beautiful chickens at Parc Y Bocs which run towards visitors who want to feed them – just like our chickens here! They too are in a fantastic run with all mod cons! Below you see the old grey fergie which gives lots of children hours of fun. We used to have one 40 years ago when we first moved to Wales and lived in the north of Carmarthenshire near Brechfa Forest! Do go and visit Parc Y Bocs when in the area – the service is always excellent and I think you will love it!
Wrights Food Emporium
For those who like somewhere a little different and who love great tasting food guaranteed to be freshly prepared then we recommend a visit to Wrights Food Emporium which is about half an hour from Old Oak Barn. It is situated in a wonderful old pub in the village of Llanarthne in the Towy Valley and is run by Simon and Maryann Wright who clearly have a wonderful eye for detail in everything they do! We rate it highly! Earlier this year Wrights made it onto the 40-strong list of top restaurants in the whole of the UK, compiled by Observer Food Monthly. There are only 2 other Welsh names on this list! It also has a lovely deli which sells all sorts of goodies. So, it claims to be somewhere a little bit different and a little bit special and we think you will agree it is! The bread there is heavenly. Recently our visitors have eaten there while staying here more than once because it is such a handy stop off if you have been to Dynevor, Aberglasney or The Gardens of Wales and the quality is guaranteed.
A selection of their food! All served with a smile!
Occasionally there is live music in the bar usually on a Sunday. Keep an eye on the website for more details. Coming up soon on Sunday 27th is Scott Davis Harvest Special – 6 courses and a glass of something on arrival: £37.50
Oh yes! They also stock Beavertown Beer brewed in London!
But remember there are interesting opening hours! And you cannot always book in advance. Phone 01558 668929 for more details.
Monday — Tuesday
11am – 7pm
Wednesday — Thursday
9am — 7pm
Friday — Saturday
9am — late
11am — 5pm
Old Oak Barn flowers are much enjoyed!
I have always taken huge pleasure in growing flowers. For over 40 years now I have sown lots of annuals and during our 28 years here at Cwmpalis I have certainly developed my own random gardens which provide variety, colour and interest. For me one of the pleasures is being able to pick them to enjoy inside. Increasingly though I value watching the birds feed on the seeds be it Red Hot Pokers in July or the later flowering sunflowers. Growing winter bird food naturally is something we can all do!All the photos here were taken by myself and all the flowers have been picked and then displayed ready for visitors to the barn. Some of the favourites are of course sweet peas! The other benefit of course to growing plenty of fragrant flowers is that it helps the bees!If flowers are a little scarce or unavailable then I can improvise and use some of the many herbs – the display on the left includes parsley, marjoram, sage, rosemary and fennel.
Old Oak Barn near Carmarthen has 40 acres of woodlands to roam – with lots of tracks and paths which we maintain so that you can wander at leisure.
Towards the middle end of April the bluebells will begin to flower and depending on the weather they will put on an amazing show for up to a month.
In recent year small patches have been clearfelled in the woods as part of our woodland management programme – all felling is undertaken under license. Replanting over the past few years has been very successful and now the woods provide a great variety of habitats for wildlife and birds. We have two small areas which are left undisturbed completely. The small log cabin which has been in the woods for over 25 years is much loved and nearby we have two swings and a good picnic area where you can have BBQs and a real camp fire. We look forward to the holiday season of 2015 when visitors will be able once again to enjoy this semi natural ancient woodland as it is classified. We are confident the bluebells will put on another glorious show!
Click here – Bluebell Woods to see where else you can visit woods throughout the UK which have bluebells.
Folly Farm wins Best Day Out in Wales!
Congratulations to Folly Farm who last night scooped Gold Award in the National Tourism Awards 2015 for the whole of Wales in the category “Best Day Out!” We are not surprised! Visitors to Old Oak Barn almost without exception spend at least one day at the popular Farm Park and Zoo as it is now called. There is just so much to do in a single day. Many locals including our family have a season ticket and enjoy popping in for an afternoon on a regular basis to play with the John Deere tractors and see all the animals! Photo courtesy of and copyright Jeff Gendall who stayed at Old Oak Barn.
We are sure that if you too choose to spend time at this wonderful tourist attraction which is less than half an hour from Old Oak Barn you will not be disappointed! Open all year round although restricted times in the winter months.
Caerphilly Castle is about an hour and a half from Old Oak Barn and sometimes visitors drop in enroute to Carmarthenshire. Or wander by on their way home as it is only 5 minutes off the M4. Built during the reign of Henry 111 it is considered by many to be the finest example of a Medieval Castle in the country. Like the famous cheese, the castle has long been synonymous with Caerphilly. It dominates and hogs the limelight. Think slumbering giant awaiting a call to arms. It’s also a great backdrop for TV and film. It secured a starring role recently in the popular BBC TV series Merlin. Today lots of geese and ducks graze the surrounding grass. Those who have stayed at Old Oak Barn will know that we love especially Greylag Geese which also live on our pond in the Spring and Summer months. Maybe they overwinter beneath the castle!
Children will love visiting the castle which is open all year round. Taking children here is relatively easy as there is so much to see and they can explore the many walkways linking the main parts of the castle together. They will be fascinated by the pigeons living in the towers and enjoy strolling around the banks of the moats. There is also a display of siege machinery on the site with catapults to play with! The great hall is still used for events including weddings and when we visited in December happened to catch sight of a wedding. There are toilets and a gift shop on site, but no food available so make other arrangements for lunch. Visit for more info Kids and Castles. The day we went we popped into a charming tea room in the town for delicious snacks at lunchtime.
Christmas Tree Competition at Garden of Wales
This year’s contest is on Thursday 4th December and the theme is “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” to help mark 100 years since Dylan Thomas’ birth. Schools will be up against the clock to decorate their Christmas tree using reused and recycled materials to create imaginative and colourful decorations based on this year’s theme.
The aims of the event are to:
If you want to get involved, just contact Kay Bailey on firstname.lastname@example.org
Virtual perspectives Film Have a peep at this lovely film of the gardens!