We are very fortunate to be less than 20 minutes away from the fantastic Gardens of Wales – Carmarthenshire’s main attraction and somewhere we love to go.
When staying at Old Oak Barn you too can pop along to see the imaginative displays of plants, flowers, trees and vegetables. The huge glasshouse is packed full of interesting and rare plants from across the globe. Visit our Local Attractions page for more details.
This Spring there is even more going on including lots of day courses on for example sustainable vegetable gardening or basket weaving. Welly Wednesdays are popular for small children – its best to book in advance.
Gardens of Wales
Opening times and entry costs are as below
|1 April – 31 October||10:00am – 6:00pm|
|1 November – 31 March||10:00am – 4:30pm|
|Families (2 Adults & up to 4 children)|
Gift Aid Price: £30.00 (Standard Price: £27.27)
Gift Aid Price: £5.00 (Standard Price: £4.55)
|Concessions: Seniors/ Disabled/ Students|
Gift Aid Price: £9.00 (Standard Price: £8.18)
Gift Aid Price: £11.00 (Standard Price: £10)
|Single Parent Family (1 Adult & up to 4 children)|
Gift Aid Price: £20.00 (Standard Price: £18.18)
The Towy Valley is one of the most beautiful in the whole of Wales; the River Towy itself is the longest flowing river which is just in Wales, at well over 70 miles. In the distance of the picture above you can see Dryslwyn Castle a famous landmark in the locally. But there are several castles in the Towy Valley.
The river rises in the Cambrian Mountains of Mid Wales and flows into Llyn Brianne a lake created in the late 1960s to control the flow of the river to provide water extraction further down the valley. This lake ran very low this summer 2018 when there was a shortage of rainfall and the flooded buildings were exposed once again. I remember well when they were last exposed back in the early 1980s.
From the wilds of Mid Wales the Towy flows past the many pretty but small market towns in the county, These include Llandovery, Llandeilo and Carmarthen and then past Llanstefan into Carmarthen Bay. As it enters the sea, the Towy is joined by the Rivers Gwendraeth and Taf. It is the Taf which comes out at Laugharne to which many of our visitors go and are astounded at the tranquil beauty of the estuary. The Towy Valley has lots of birdlife including dippers, grey wagtails and cormorants and is famous for salmon and sewin and more recently otters too. If you go to Paxtons Tower near Llanarthne you will get wonderful views of the valley.
In recent years Carmarthenshire and the Towy Valley in particular have become one of the most popular cycling destinations in the UK.
Visit this link here here if you are keen to find out about the many cycle trails which have been developed in the valley. Or click here to see our previous blog. If you would like to bring your bikes when staying at Old Oak Barn we have safe and secure storage available.
The youtube link below says it all!
Photos courtesy of Discover Carmarthenshire – thank you.
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.
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!
National Botanic Gardens Wales
These short clips of the National Botanic Gardens Wales near Carmarthenshire say it all! We really love the wonderful gardens which are less than half an hour from Old Oak Barn. Excellent value throughout the year, there is always something going on at weekends too. Admission prices can be found here.
Visitors always speak positively of the attraction and during the holidays there are extra events put on for children which are always popular. The recent upgrading of the playground has especially been appreciated and the Butterfly House too of course is a fantastic addition. Read some recent reviews here.
The big thing at the moment of course are the fabulous displays of snowdrops which are worth a visit this month. Next weekend is infact Snowdrop Weekend and it is expected that they will be at their best. However, here at Old Oak Barn we are now fully booked until 10 February when we do have a short weekend break available. If interested please contact me for more details.
In Narberth at this time of year there is a hive of activity with lots of Christmas events and Christmas shopping going on! It is a mecca for independent shops and in particular craft shops and art galleries. Perhaps the most popular is the well established Susie’s Uggs workshop owned, managed and run by the very experienced and effervescent Susie! At this time of year she and her merry crew work long into the night making sure Christmas orders are met. This I am told can be challenging but customers know they can rely on a great service and hundreds of parcels are sent off in time for Christmas.
The boots have a unique design and a very wide range of colour combinations. The boots and slippers have a warm and cosy feeling and are so comfortable to wear! I say this from experience! Phone Susie on 01834 861047 for a real person and great customer service. Our visitors to Old Oak Barn often drop by and go back year after year because they know they get wonderful original hand made footwear which will last and last. Photos 3 and 4 courtesy of Susie’s website and Owen but the rest I took!
Susie also does bags and hats and other goodies. Check out their website which now has an online shop too!
Llyn Y Fan Fach
This is one of Carmarthenshire’s most beautiful walks and I’m not surprised it features in Lonely Planets top 1000 must see sites across the whole world! We walked it on a beautiful September day with a little cloud cover coming and going which made the shadows and light all the more fantastic to see! The 5K walk starts at the car park with a gentle stroll initially along a firm track. Be warned though – the road from Llandeusant to the car park is full of potholes! For those staying at Old Oak Barn we can provide extra information on how to get there and what to expect!
Heading towards the little trout farm you are flanked by gushing mountain streams and some great views of the distant peak of Pen Y Fan. You will reach Llyn Y Fan Fach in about half an hour – the walk is suitable for most people but if you want to ascend further to the top then allow about 5 hours and suitable clothing and footwear. It is here at the lake that as ancient legend has it a beautiful lady still lives! The story goes that back in the 13th century a farmer grazing cattle nearby spotted the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. She agreed to marry him on one proviso – that he must not hit her more than twice. You can guess what happened! In time, yes .. the inevitable happened – three strikes, and the otherworldly wife disappeared back into the lake, taking her magic cows with her. The valley, the guide adds, is rich in medicinal herbs and bog plants, suggesting this may be the mistreated fairy maiden’s healing legacy. It is also linked to story of the Physicians of Myddfai.
Today it is grazed by hundreds of sheep who do a good job at putting up with walkers! The views north from the lake are amazing. We ran out of time to continue to walk to the very top but spoke to some who had who were delighted with their efforts! The spot is actually in Carmarthenshire and in the Black Mountains too which itself is part of the Brecon Beacons National Park. You can read more about the lake – its history and geology if you visit here.
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.
Established just a few years now “The Spooky Magic Carmarthen” tour entertains visitors with a look at the creepy past and includes some grissly stories from centuries ago. You will also take part in some unusual magical experiments involving ghosts, murder weapons, antique photographs and a witch trial. We recommend this attraction and think you too will be highly intrigued at some of the stories even though they often look at rather unsavoury characters. Nick is obviously a gifted raconteur!
Creepy Carmarthen tours continue every Wednesday evening from now until the end of September – the next one takes place on Wednesday 2nd September at 7pm. To book please call 01267 231557. Adult tickets are £7.50 each, children & OAPs are £5 and a family ticket is available for two adults and up to three children for £23. All walks depart from Carmarthen Guildhall.
Highly recommended by Trip Advisor, winner of the “Visitor Experience of the Year” at the Carmarthenshire Tourism Awards in 2013 – the walk is a must for both visitors and locals alike. Have a read of the reviews to learn more!
If staying at Old Oak Barn then we can organise your evening out for you!
Easter Holidays in Wales
Old Oak Barn is at the moment available from Friday 10 April in Wales in 2015. Please ask for the latest price! We are very child friendly!
There is lots to do this Easter in this part of Wales. Apart from exploring the wonderful countryside and coastline Folly Farm is open every day during the holiday season. Have you met the lions yet? Did you know that Folly Farm is rated the fourth best zoo in the country. What started off as a small farm playground 25 years ago has grown and grown and is now one of Wales’s best attractions and it is only 25 minutes from Old Oak Barn! Quite often they have Peppa Pig or some other children’s favourites attending during half terms and holidays – so keep an eye out for more details!
Please get in touch if you would like more details of a break at Old Oak Barn this Easter. We often have glorious weather in April and in the past visitors have even been known to go for an early dip in the sea. It is often fine enough for a camp fire in the woods here or a BBQ on the patio in the late afternoon.
Birdsong is at its best too with over 50 species spotted at this time of year!