Diablos Queen Street Carmarthen
This summer Diablos Queen Street opened in Carmarthen. Under the same ownership as the lovely Diablos on the Quay where many of our visitors dine while staying here at Old Oak Barn, we are sure you will be impressed by the thought that has gone into this new venture. Right in the centre of town parking is easy and in the evening free parking at County Hall is recommended as its only a minute away.
Alex Luck the owner is well known in Carmarthen for his high standards of cuisine and of customer care. I have been twice now to the new Diablos on Queen Street and both times was really impressed with the service. The new assistant manager is I know determined to make sure customers are always more than satisfied – she too is well known in Carmarthen. Together with the cheery bar staff the team already in place is bound to to be a success!
We chose food off the specials board which included vegetarian tacos with salad and sweet potato fries ….. mmmmm ….. great value too at less than £7.
We were thrilled to supply some of the old timbers used in the renovation in particular the bar area. Overhead and cleverly supporting the light fittings are some wonderful pieces of elm which were felled in Carmarthenshire many years ago and have been seasoning under cover here near St Clears for years! The two boards roughly 10 ft long and a foot wide make a great feature on entering Diablos. The electrician tells me they were perfect for the job!
Diablos can be reached on 01267232755
Live Music every Friday and Saturday!
Booking advisable at weekends. If you are staying with us and would like us to book you a table that can be arranged! You can check availability here!
Closed Mondays only.
Xcel Bowl Carmarthen
15 minutes from Old Oak Barn is the popular Xcel Bowl Carmarthen centre where you can spend an entertaining time playing bowls in the recently refurbished space. The soft play area is perfect for little ones and I myself have spent many hours with my grandchildren and friends and happily recommend it for families. Children love the techy aspects of the 10 pin bowling set up where players for example can take photos to display temporarily on personal scoring screens above the alley. Food for sale in the cafe is freshly prepared and very tasty.
Earlier this year Xcel Bowl Carmarthen which is a registered charity as well as a social enterprise was awarded Gold in the Community Tourism Awards by The Carmarthenshire Tourism Association who recognised the brilliant facilities and great attention given to customer care plus of course the huge part the project plays in supporting its local community.
Xcel Bowl is part of the Xcel Project and The Xcel Project was founded by Towy Community Church. Open now for five years all the profits go towards supporting local people in need through Carmarthen Foodbank, Xcel Community Shop and Xcel Furniture. Over 40 people are employed within the project which is a fantastic achievement in such a short time.
Xcel Bowl Carmarthen is open 7 days a week from 10.00 in the morning until 10pm except for Sundays when it closes at 6pm.
If you would like to know a little more about the project please watch this short film which is very informative.
So …. we have learnt that the profits from Xcel Bowl go into supporting local residents within Carmarthenshire some of whom face crisis times in their lives – through the Foodbank, the Furniture Store and the Charity Shop all of which are on the same site. I hope you agree after you have been bowling what a great project we have on our doorstep!
If you would like to check availability of Old Oak Barn click here!
Tea Traders Carmarthen
Tea Traders Carmarthen is a speciality tea shop located in the very centre of our local market town. Recently the small independent company has won awards for its great customer service and for being one of the most exciting new tourism businesses in the county. Congratulations! While you are staying at Old Oak Barn we can recommend this lovely new establishment for an amazing choice of tea but also some great tasty fresh food. They also sell the finest loose leaf teas and beautiful gifts for the home some of which have been locally made by popular craftsmen.
I popped in the other day and was given a warm Welsh welcome by Nick and Paul. They opened Tea Traders towards the end of 2017 and already have proved a very popular addition to the town.
We sat outside in lovely sunshine and enjoyed a delicious snack. The lemon drizzle cake and the Ginger loaf were very fresh and beautifully made.
A customer has kindly made them some knitted cakes some of which are on display – I don’t think they are for sale though! But recently they have started stocking a small range of locally made crafts – all original from local craftspeople.
15 Guildhall Square,
Carmarthen, SA31 1PR
Tel: 01267 237101
Open every day except Sundays from 9.00. a.m.
Shoreline Cafe Saundersfoot
Renovated in the past couple of years you will find the cafe overlooking the beach with access from the street which leads to the tunnels. The balcony is only small but if you are lucky enough to get there before others you can sit with a wonderful view across the bay and imagine you are on the Med. If you park in Wisemans Bridge, as many do, and take the short walk across the beach if the tide is well out or through the tunnels if the tide is in, it will be one of the first cafes you come to. While reviews are a little mixed online we loved our coffee and tea cakes!
The picture below is of the harbour at the southern side of Saundersfoot – currently Phase 2 of the Harbour development is taking place in the small town which may well see a boost to tourism in the area generally ……. you can read about it …. here!
The plans are impressive and intend to :-
- Establish a base for maritime engineering
- Develop a Pan Wales Marine Tourism Centre in partnership with maritime organisations and Governing bodies, creating a single point of contact for all maritime leisure activities along the Welsh coastline.
- establish a RYA academy for sail and power
Support facilities and teaching base for sea rowing / sea kayaking / diving and paddle boarding
- develop food, retail and short stay accommodation in the town.
Carmarthen Food Assembly
While you are staying at Old Oak Barn why not start your holiday with a locally sourced organic veg box? If you are staying for a week this summer and would like to buy some organic veggies grown in the local area then please get in touch with me and I shall arrange to buy this for you through the Carmarthen Food Assembly.
These days many people care deeply where they can best source their food and although we have always recycled plastic waste here at Old Oak Barn it is still very satisfying to collect products which have limited packaging and zero plastic.
Currently there are 18 producers who live on average 16 Miles from Carmarthen selling 516 local products.
I cannot organise a big shop for you but I am quite happy to source their veg box which I would pick up from Carmarthen on Thursday evening ready for your stay which would begin on the Friday. I need to order this by the Monday before your arrival and can only offer this service to visitors staying for a week or longer at the moment.
An organic, fresh and delicious selection of seasonal Welsh produce. The boxed selection will feed a family of 2 or 4 for a week. All items are grown on Blaencamel Organic Farm which is carbon neutral and award winning! It is north of Carmarthen near Aberaeron and has long been established as a leader in the growing of organic fruit, vegetable and herbs too. Funnily enough we used to visit the farm back in 1975 when it was just getting going!
The contents will vary throughout the year depending on which crops are in season which ensures you get the freshest seasonal produce and eat a varied diet throughout your stay. Ordering this veg selection removes the sometimes tricky decision about what to order and you can create your meals around the veg you receive!
At the moment the selection typically includes new carrots, new potatoes, strawberries, a mixed salad pack, spinach, baking/roasting potatoes, green garlic, parsley and more!
7kg – 9kg for a family of 4 will cost approx £15.50
4kg – 5.5kg for 2 people will cost approx £11.50
The Assembly here in Carmarthen has been up and running for just over a year now and is surely a good way to think about how and where to buy your food. If I have extra in my organic vegetable plot I always offer visitors something fresh to try. There is usually a glut of tomatoes and cucumbers in the summer and sometimes lettuce and spinach leaves too. All these photos below were taken in my veg garden in June 2018. Everything growing well in the hot weather during May.
Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2018
We heard today we have been awarded for the fourth consecutive year the Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor. Hooray!
Thank you to everyone who chooses to come and stay here at Old Oak Barn and then leaves a review too! We are always very appreciative when visitors take the time and trouble to post a few words of their holiday.
Here are a few snippets of recent comments in the last few weeks.
“Our girls loved exploring the forest, and finding the fairy door, as well as talking to the chickens! Charlotte was very welcoming, and gave us great advice for …
“Had the most perfect two night stay in this beautiful barn conversation. Long peaceful walk in the surrounding woodlands. Comfy bed, big mugs for morning tea on the patio whilst wrapped in a blanket (thoughtfully provided) Evening spent in front of a chiminea fire watching ….
“Our March 2018 stay at Old Oak Barn was absolutely perfect in every way. Heavy snow thwarted our journey down from NW England but Charlotte kindly allowed us to postpone our 5-night holiday by a week, so we got there in the end …..
“Best place to stay. I have been to a lot of places but found this one the best of the best……
“Charlotte was a lovely hostess who showed us around the house and told us about the places to visit. It was like being in dream ….
“The Barn is lovely and warm with its underfloor heating and the stay was as comfortable as always. This feels like a second home and we settle in very quickly…….
I think if we are awarded for a fifth consecutive year there may be a special award! Lets wait and see what happens!!!
Green Heron Pembrokeshire
A very rare visitor to this country arrived here last Saturday 28th April. It seems to have set up camp in the grounds of our local MP. It is less than 30 minutes from Old Oak Barn!
I am off to see if I can see it shortly. Maybe our visitors at Old Oak Barn will want to see it too!
And this is a picture I took whilst there. That Thursday afternoon when I went along it was cloudy but the views of the bird were brilliant. I have no fancy camera as you can see but if you go onto twitter you will see hundreds of fantastic shots of this wonderful bird. When I went there were only about 8 people who had come from Yorkshire, Staffs, Shropshire, London, Pembs and one other person from near St Clears. It was well worth the visit.
Folly Farm Accommodation – If you are planning to visit Folly Farm this summer why not choose a holiday cottage within an easy drive from this great Welsh attraction! Visitors staying with us here at Old Oak Barn especially if they have children nearly always go to the Park – many take advantage of the “boomerang” voucher paying only half price entry fee if returning for a second visit within a week.
Opening Hours at Folly Farm
- 0 February – 04 November, 10am – 5pm, every day (during our local Easter, Whitsun and Summer school holidays we stay open until 5.30pm for even more fun!)
- 10 November – 23 December, 10am – 4pm, Saturdays and Sundays only
- We’re closed completely from 24 December 2018 until 05 January 2019
Take a look at the map below which will give you a great idea of the huge range of attractions and activities now open at Folly Farm.
2018 prices are valid until 15 February 2019. This year, there has been an increase in the online discount so you can now save 15% by buying our day entry tickets online. Annual pass prices again.
|Gate price||Online price||Annual pass|
|Child (3-15 years)||£13.50||£11.48||£40.00|
|Toddler (aged 2)||£6.50||£5.53||£15.00|
These photos were taken by visitors staying here. The giraffes are always popular but our favourite has to be the little penguins! You cannot fail but be entertained by them as they swoop in and out of the water.
We are nearly full this summer here at Old Oak Barn but we do have one week in July and one week in August still available – you can check out availability by clicking above on the Booking and Availability tab.
Chalara disease also known as Ash dieback was first reported officially in the immediate area surrounding Old Oak Barn in 2015. Today there is a very wide range of healthy trees in the woods. Sadly we, like many woodland owners, are now dealing with what will almost certainly turn out to be a significant tree disease of this century – Ash Dieback. Hymenoscyphus fraxineus is an Ascomycete fungus that causes ash dieback, a chronic fungal disease of ash trees in Europe characterised by leaf loss and crown dieback in infected trees. This winter we have begun taking out infected trees many of which we planted here in 1998. Initially they grew very well but in the last two or three years it has become obvious they are diseased. Infact there is hardly a single Ash tree in this part of the world that is not affected. The picture below shows some of the felled ash in March 2018.
You can read more about this threatening disease here!
What other trees grow in Cwmpalis Woods?
The woods here are predominantly hardwood. It was almost certainly clearfelled during the first world war 1914-1918 so there are very few trees which are over 100 years old. Subsequent plantings have been undertaken in 1998 and in 2005 covering approximately 5 to 6 acres in total. They have been very sensitively managed since we arrived here in 1988 and indeed one of the main factors in helping us decide to buy the farm was the presence of the lovely 40 acre Semi Natural Ancient Woodland. It is quite a landmark in the locality and is easily visible from the A40 as you begin to drop down into St Clears from the east. We are fortunate to have mainly south facing land. The woods of course are managed under strict National Assembly for Wales regulations with licenses running and sometimes work is undertaken under specific grant aided schemes.
The list includes:-
Small Leaf Lime
We encourage all our visitors to wander in the woods on the many woodland trails and weather permitting we offer a 4 by 4 trip in the truck also which is very popular. However this winter has been one of the wettest on record and the land is far too wet still to go far around the circuit.
This photo below shows Old Oak Barn in the foreground with the main woods clearly visible behind.
National Botanic Garden Carmarthenshire Discount Vouchers
We’ve got National Botanic Garden discount vouchers for all Old Oak Barn visitors.
Less than half an hour from Old Oak Barn you will find the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, one of Carmarthenshire county’s premier attractions and highly recommended for a very interesting day out. If you would like to visit we can give you this voucher which will get two adults in for only £11.
There are lots of wonderful events planned for 2018! If you would like us to post the Garden’s new events brochure for this Spring 2018 please ask and we will happily send one on.
One treat for little ones will be the planned Disney film “Jungle Book” at the open air cinema on Saturday 30 June! That date is already in my diary!
Click on this Map to see the exact location of the gardens.
Boat House Laugharne
When staying with us here at Old Oak Barn it is very likely you will pop down to Laugharne and visit the Boat House where Dylan Thomas once lived with his young family. The writing shed is on the footpath going to the Boathouse and you will enjoy peering through the window to see where Dylan Thomas penned some of his works for example “Over Sir John’s Hill”
The tea room is open all year round and when the sun shines it is a treat to sit on the terrace overlooking the estuary and enjoy some freshly prepared soup or even a cream tea. Almost everything is prepared and cooked on site in the tiny kitchen. You will probably see or hear lapwings, egrets, ducks, redshanks, herons, oystercatchers and even barn owls. The terrace has breathtaking views of the Taf estuary and the Gower beyond. On a clear day you can see for miles.
As well as the tearoom, there is a furnished front parlour, an upstairs exhibition area showing a 24 minute film, a shop and toilet facilities. The Boat House Laugharne is closely associated with Dylan Thomas and it is where he enjoyed some relative stability with his family and he was of course very creative in his writing. There are people sill in the village today who remember him even though he died many years ago in 1953.
The Boat House is open every day of the year except Christmas – please check for exact opening hours which although daily are reduced in the winter months. Note – the walkway from the free car park is very accessible including for those with pushchairs BUT it ends in a steep flight of steps or a scramble over rocks so do take care if visiting especially wehen it is wet.
Pethau Olyv – A new fashion accessories shop has recently opened in St Clears! The owners come from Ystradgynlais and Trelech being OLive and YVonne hence the name Olyv. I popped in this week looking for a gift and was really impressed with the range of things on display. Both Olive and Yvonne used to work as psychiatric nurses in Carmarthen when they met many years ago and have now it seems taken a career change! I hope the business is a success!
When staying at Old Oak Barn we often have visitors who like this sort of shop and I can imagine that after a visit to our lovely local charity shop known locally as The Cat Shop they will find themselves next door in Pethau Olyv too.
What does pethau mean? You can find out here!
Yvonne was there the day I called and told me their opening hours are Monday to Friday 10 – 5pm and Saturdays 10 – 1pm.
Visit Pethau Olyv for more information!
Mermaid Buildings, Pentre Road, San Cler, SA33 4LR
We wish Yvonne and Olive good luck with their new shop!
Melin Tregwynt Pembrokeshire
This amazing mill has been in the same family for many generations and since 1912 and continues to produce the most beautiful items which are now sold around the world. On a recent visit to Melin Tregwynt Pembrokeshire we also enjoyed a bowl of soup in the cafe. It is tucked away on the north coast of Pembrokeshire and I am sure you will enjoy a visit there too. Last year visitors to Old Oak Barn took back to New Zealand some blankets and a tailored woollen jacket which I am sure they will have for years.
I’m not too sure who is in this picture but it must be one of the original owners of the mill – (copywright Tregwynt)
The colours as you can see are wondefrful!
Melin Tregwynt Pembrokeshire is to be found off the A487 Fishguard to St. David’s road at:-
Tregwynt Mill, Castlemorris
Haverfordwest, SA62 5UX
Visitors can see the mill working from 9.00am – 4.30pm Mon-Friday. Today it employs about 30 people some of whom have worked there all their lives.
Shop/Café opening hours are:
Monday to Friday 9.30 – 5.00
Saturday… 10.00 – 5.00
Sunday…… 11.00 – 4.30
You may wonder if all the wool used is locally sourced – well sadly not but there are plans to reverse this trend. The tradition of weaving in Wales goes way back to the middle ages. The hills and lowland pastures make for great sheep country and fast running streams provided the power needed in the pre-industrial age. In the early 20th century most small rural mills worked with their local farming communities, processing the raw fleeces, carding and spinning yarn for weaving and knitting and also weaving fabric for everyday clothing (tweed/flannel) or weaving blankets, rugs and the signature Carthenni double weaves for household use. But with the setting up of the British Wool Marketing Board all wool was sold centrally and most ended up in a blended yarn for carpets. Today in a global market wool is sourced worldwide and much of the softer lambswool comes from Australia or New Zealand. However, the Cambrian wool initiative
Its good to know that after several years of hard work, the Cambrian wool initiative is making big steps to use local wool a lot more. And with Melin Tregwynt being a prime partner things look set to change in the future.
Melin Tregwynt Pembrokeshire also make some truly beautiful cushions!
Best places to eat in Carmarthenshire
– according to Trip Advisor!
Click here to find out where the best places to eat in Carmarthenshire are with the latest reviews as recommended from Trip Advisor!
We think there are a couple missing namely Inn at the Sticks in Llansteffan and Waverleys in Carmarthen plus The Plough in Rhosmaen! And one of our favourites – The Ferryman deli in Laugharne! But congratulations to all those on the list!
It is widely recognised now that within the county of Carmarthenshire we have plenty of good choices for eating out. Be it a friendly cafe or fine dining! If you stay at Old Oak Barn we can certainly help you decide what may suit you best!
Further afield in Pembrokeshire you will be equally tempted with the huge range of establishments many of which are open all year round but one or two open specially for the summer holiday season! It need not cost a fortune to sample the delicious fresh fish and food we have right on our doorstep! All the photos below were taken of food we had the pleasure of eating!!
Carmarthen Food Fair
The Food Fair is being held at The National Botanical Gardens of Wales today and tomorrow! With tasty treats and plenty to cheer up the long, cold month of January.
The event takes place in the stunning surrounds of Lord Foster’s Great Glasshouse on January 20-21 and offers a mouth-watering array of delicious local produce – and entry to the Garden is just £4 per person.
Event organiser David Hardy said: “This is your chance to try and buy anything and everything from raw chocolate to rare breed meat, chilli sauce and cheese; special gin, Spanish tapas, muffins, marshmallows, fruit vinegars and faggots. And there will be plenty of fresh, warm Welsh cakes, too. What’s not to like?!”
While at The Gardens which are less than half an hour from Old Oak Barn you can also of course visit the lovely (and tropical!) Butterfly House which is a must-see, boasting as it does hundreds of exotic, rainforest butterflies from all over the world.
Gates open at 10am and close again at 4.30pm (last entry 3.30pm). There’s no additional charge for the Food Fair and there is plenty of free parking for everyone.
Don’t forget: admission to the Garden is FREE on weekdays in January – perfect for a winter stroll in the wonderful Carmarthenshire countryside.