The weekend has arrived, and if ever you’ve needed an excuse to dust off your adventure hat or just pretend you’re Indiana Jones for the day, this is it! You don’t have to be an adrenaline-fuelled junkie to have fun in West Wales, there is something for everyone. Try a new sport, sit back and relax to new live music or become an Iron Age villager for the day! There are a host of new things you could try whilst visiting Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire and this region offers some of the best locations for fun in West Wales.
Cycle the Celtic Trail
The Celtic Trail is a 245 mile long road cycling challenge stretches from Chepstow to Fishguard. Not for the novice cyclist, it is a perfect way to take in the variety of scenes that is West and South Wales. The Challenge has coastal and inland options and is split into eastern and western legs, stopping at Carmarthen on the latter. The coastal section is recommended for spectacular views and is suitable for hybrid or road bikes.
The alternative high-level inland route is more suited to a mountain bike, especially in places. Much of either route is away from traffic, with a lot of hill climbs to take in. There is so much to see along the way, and so many pubs to refresh yourself!
Wild Food Foraging
The trend for foraging for your own food has been growing for a while now! Whether it be blackberrying or collecting samphire, there is a cornucopia out there waiting for you all year round. Wales also has some great sites for wild mushrooms, but only eat those that have been expertly identified.
Trehale Farm takes you coastal foraging at Abermawr Beach. Wild About Pembrokeshire is an informative website on the rules of wild foraging and offers courses for beginners, hedgerow foraging, seashore foraging and wild cooking.
Either take a lovely coastal walk and be lucky enough to spot a dolphin – or a whole pod of dolphins! – or take a boat trip out into the bay, where the dolphins are likely to come and find you! June to September is the best time to see them.
The biggest pod of dolphins in the UK can be found in Cardigan Bay. You are most likely to see dolphins between Cardigan Island and Aberporth, with key siting points at Mwnt, the promontory of Ynys Lochtyn, Newquay, Aberaeron and Poppit Sands. You may also see porpoise, seals, whales, orcas and basking sharks.
There are a range of tours available, departing from Gwbert, Poppit Sands, St Dogmaels, Cardigan, Newquay, St Justinians and Milford Haven. A Bay To Remember,
Newquay Boat Trips and Blue Ocean Adventures are all fantastic boat trips to take you dolphin spotting.
Experience the beautiful Welsh coastline in a whole new way with this adrenalin-filled sport. A combination of sea swimming, cliff walking, rock scrambling and cliff jumping allows you to explore secret beaches, caves, sea stacks and reefs which would otherwise be inaccessible.
Experiences range in length and are tailored to your needs and experience. Trained professionals ensure your safety and provide you with the necessary equipment to ensure you enjoy your day. Fun for all, whether water-confident adrenalin junkies or complete beginners!
For a weekend of great live music, why not visit one of the many local music festivals in West Wales? There are a variety of different festivals, ranging in genre and scale.
The Fire In The Mountain Festival is in Aberystwyth. Perfect for lovers of bluegrass, country and folk music, with a huge number of bands from the US, Scotland and Wales. With well-known performers alongside local talent, Fishguard Folk Festival consists of concerts and ceilidhs as well as workshops and family events.
High in the Cambrian Mountains and in sight of Cardigan Bay, Bwlch Nant yr Arian is the perfect place for mountain biking in the beautiful Welsh countryside. Whether a beginner, or an experienced biker keen to try your mettle, this is one of the best mountain biking locations in West Wales.
There are a variety of grades of trail, including three of the best in Wales. They range from 5 to 35km in length, for different levels of experience, all of them signposted. Disabled access includes the vicinity of the Centre and one trail winding around the beautiful lake.
The site has an award-winning Visitor Centre, two play areas, Shop and Cafe with great food, located nine miles east of Aberystwyth. The Visitor Centre is open all week 10am – 5pm. No bike hire available on site.
Iron Age Villager
Castell Henllys near Cardigan is great fun for families and as close to time travel as you can get, set in beautiful Welsh countryside. Reconstructed roundhouses, Iron Age livestock and a host of things to do, set high up in 30 acres of woodland and pasture, take you back into prehistory.
Once part of the Demetae tribe, with a community of up to 100 people, this village is set EXACTLY where it once stood over 2000 years ago. Practice being an Iron Age warrior and learn the art of warfare, meet a villager and hear about her daily life, and hear stories of the past around the campfire.
Facilities include a picnic site, childrens’ play area, maze, and a Visitor Centre with shop, cafe and exhibitions. The hillfort is accessed up a steep track from the Centre.
West Wales offers some of the best unpolluted night skies in the UK. If you can access a telescope or even pair of binoculars then even better! Jupiter’s moons and the Orion nebula are both visible through a large pair of binoculars but there is plenty to spot without one. Or, if lucky, spot the International Space Station pass overhead, best seen at dusk.
Some of the best stargazing sites (identified by the UK Dark Sky Discovery Partnership) include the National Botanical Gardens of Wales and Broadhaven South car park (which host events), Kete and Martins Haven National Trust car parks, and Newgale, Penbryn and Poppit Sands beaches.
Take a ride into the past on Gwili Railway, once part of the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth line, up through pretty steep-sided valleys, past historical features showing the industrial history of rural Wales. Industrial and wartime rolling stock paint a picture of life when the trains ran passengers and goods regularly up and down the track.
The railway now twists and turns over and alongside the bubbling River Gwili for 4 miles, from Bronwydd up towards Danycoed. Enjoy riverside picnic spots, woodland walks, and wildlife along the way.
At Llywfan Cerrig there is a Miniature Railway, a weir and a platform where quarried stone was once loaded onto the train. The final halt at Bronwydd Arms has a Museum, Shop, the Gwili Tea Rooms and Signal Box. Special events and train times are listed on their website.