After a six hour journey from Norfolk we arrived at our holiday cottage .Castle Ely Mill
Red Roses, Carmarthen , South Wales. May cottage is on a long standing hire with our previous employer and as retired members are entitled to access it via an annual ballot.The cottage is one of three nestled together at the foot of a small hill and overlooking a beautiful , if compact,lake.Bring your fishing rods as free fishing is permitted although you are not guaranteed to catch any fish.The friendly otter uses the lake as his breakfast bar.
Our host Andy had left a supply of Jam and Welsh cakes which were demolished along with a pot of tea.The cottages here are all well furnished and you can just settle down in a squishy sofa and watch a flat screen telly. There is a breakfast bar which I dislike as find them so uncomfortable and difficult to get in and out of.Much prefer a table and chairs where you can just sit and natter for hours.The beds are comfortable and all linen is provided.This could be the perfect writers retreat with a few adjustments.
The weather was chilly but the sun shone and we wrapped up and headed out every day to fill our tourist boots.South Wales does not disappoint. The South Pembrokeshire Coast is stunning. Tenby is a short drive away and we visited the museum where I swapped travel tips with the Receptionist Mary. We walked the beach , shopped the charity shops and ate Fish and Chips in Fecci’s, an award winning restaurant which truly deserves the accolades on display. Tenby is a wi-fi town so I sat on a bench catching up with family news and my competition wins.
We visited Newgale beach but found it very hard to clamber over the rock defences to access the beach .
As National Trust members we visited Stackpole Quay and parked.Non members will pay £5 all day,or £2 after 2pm.We walked the half mile over the headland and down very steep steps to Barafundle Beach.A beautiful spot with golden sand and yes the water was azure, I thought I had been transported to the Mediterranean .Just a few families having fun in this safe haven.
Another day we took a short drive to Wisemans Bridge ,parked for free and walked to Saundersfoot one and half miles distance ,all on the flat. There are two tunnels to negotiate though!. Coffee and scones in this pretty resort and we were refreshed for the return journey.You could also take the three mile walk to Kilgetty which we will complete next time.
We visited Whitesands beach to have a picnic.A small beach which I understand Countryfile gave an award to.Car parking is £4 all day take it or leave it.This is great value if you want to spend the day trekking the Pembrokeshire trail which you access here, or surf your boards out.We had our picnic and left.
The Botanical Garden Wales is a must for us to visit anytime we are in the area.Using our two for one BBC Gardeners World card we got in for £10 and as the ticket they issued was valid for a week we made a return visit.It does not have the splendour of Wisley but has its own unique charm.I would love to return in Summer when it is at its best.Step back in time with a visit to the Chemist and take away a pot of local honey from the gift shop.Have a coffee under the largest single span glass house on the Planet and once more enjoy the free wifi to send pictures to family.So much cheaper than post cards.
We visited Haverfordwest , Carmarthen, St David’s and on our trips engaged with the local shop keepers on diverse topics from politics to car parking.We found them all to be friendly and interested to find out where we came from.A popular topic is the cost of car parking which they believe will drive tourists away.I have to agree.We found ways around it.Tenby long stay car park is five hours for £1.50, as a result we made two visits.Botanical gardens free parking and ticketing deal the same. We will certainly return next year if not sooner.Whenever you choose to visit you will find a very warm welcome awaits you in this Welsh Coast Paradise.