We meet at Carmarthen Station early afternoon and transfer to The Ivy Bush Hotel – check in – time allowing, then set off on our local afternoon excursion in the scenic Gwili Valley. The long awaited extension on the Gwili Steam Railway opened a couple of years ago and we will travel on this during our first steam train ride of the holiday. Later, we will drive down to lovely Laugharne to see the views that inspired Dylan Thomas.
A terrific circular tour begins with a short coach journey to Llanelli, where we connect with the Heart of Wales Line, for a delightful rural rail journey through rolling hills and rustic farmland to Llandrindod Wells. From here we take a scenic drive across the mountains to Cardigan Bay and the seaside town of Aberystwyth before enjoying the dramatic steam train ride up to Devil’s Bridge, with the Vale of Rheidol Railway. A relaxed journey back to Carmarthen combines coastal and rural scenery and may even include a stop for a paddle!
Wizardry! – that’s what today is, featuring Pembrokeshire branch lines and the upstairs/ downstairs life of Scolton Manor near Bethlehem (!). Into the afternoon and we drive through Newcastle Emlyn and Cenarth, with waterfall views, to the Teifi Valley Railway – a real gem. In the middle of nowhere, a resurgent railway, miniature line as well, and homely tea-room. A memorable end to a splendid, and varied, day out!
In South Wales the most impressive landscapes are in and around the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons. So, for our last day we set off on a scenic drive via Llangadog to the Brecon National Park Centre. We’ll taste morning Welsh Cakes, and enjoy the fine views, before heading on to the Brecon Mountain Railway, our holiday finale. Here, without doubt, is the steam highlight of the holiday, which we will enjoy to the full until the short transfer to Merthyr Tydfil Station. Now, a “taste” of the valleys, as we rail in to Cardiff for homeward bound trains.
Carmarthen is a delightful place to stay. It is an ancient town with Roman roots, an amphitheatre, castle, and is associated with the Welsh wizard Merlin. Our hotel is of a good standard with all the usual facilities one would expect and with the advantage of a town centre location. The well-appointed bar and restaurant areas even extend to a south facing terrace.