CARMARTHENSHIRE is vying to take up the mantle as the ‘capital of cosy’ this winter with the new ‘Cwtch up in Carmarthenshire guide’ featuring tips for visitors on how to enjoy the best winter feel-good breaks in the county.
The county’s tourism campaign is hoping to popularise the term ‘cwtch’ both inside and outside Wales which has a similar sentiment to the Danish lifestyle trend ‘hygge’ which shot to fame a few years ago and became synonymous with all things cosy and comforting in winter months.
Although it has no literal English translation, cwtch is best described as a cuddle, or a cubbyhole where you store things safely and Carmarthenshire is widely adopting it as a warming Welsh hug for the soul, perfect for the winter months presenting a the ‘cwtch up ‘ guide as 10 cosy mini breaks.
Think warming open fires, hearty mountain hikes snuggling down under Welsh blankets with a steaming hot bowl of cawl.
“You’ve probably heard the Scandinavians making a lot of ‘how to hygge’, however we also know a thing or two about how to find warmth and cosiness here in Carmarthenshire so we thought it would be perfect to use for a winter tourism campaign,” comments Marlene Davies, Ambassador for the campaign for Discover Carmarthenshire as well as running Davies & Co, an interiors shop and café in Llandeilo which is also featured in the new guide.
“The Danes certainly managed to use the term ‘hygge’ to develop a lifestyle trend and generate a huge awareness for the destination. There’s no reason why ‘cwtch’ can’t do the same for Carmarthenshire and Wales as a whole and help attract more visitors to the county for off season breaks.
“Each curated break showcases how wholesome outdoor pursuits combined with hunkering down in cosy accommodation and visiting lovely cafes and shops on the high streets of our market towns is the ultimate way to enjoy a winter staycation as well as popularises the ‘cwtch’ term generally,” Davies added.
So, grab your woollies and embrace the elements to find your cwtch in Carmarthenshire with the new guide now live to make the most of the colder season and encourage visitors to combine some nourishing winter activities in the great outdoors as well as enjoying some great places to hibernate and embrace the darker days. Use #cwtchupcarmarthenshire to follow the conversation on social.
There are ten themed breaks which include places to stay, eat and explore and range from stargazing in the Cambrian Mountains to artisanal cheese and Welsh blankets in the Teifi Valley.
Accommodation ranges from remote cottages to woodland cabins and community run hostelries and small hotels; places to eat from cool cafes and tearooms and award winning restaurants as well as experiences such as gin tasting at a nano distillery to joining Craig Evans, master of all things coastal foraging as he cooks up wild food (including cockles) on the beach.
“We are thrilled to be part of this new winter tourism campaign which leans itself so well to what we and many other businesses offer visitors to the county, a truly warm welcome, somewhere to hibernate and relax and nourish the soul, with our tasty local produce as well as taking in our incredible landscapes,” commented George Reid who runs Glangwili Mansion, another business featured.
For the full line up of Cwtch up in Carmarthenshire breaks go to: https://www.discovercarmarthenshire.com/explore/cwtch-up-in-carmarthenshire/
Here are a few ‘cwtch up’ breaks from the guide:
A cwtch under the stars
Embrace the long nights on a magical stargazing break in the Cambrian Mountains – home to some of the darkest skies in the UK. Hit the road by night to take in the 50-mile Astro Driving Trail which tours the very best Dark Sky Discovery Sites such as the breathtaking Llyn Brianne Reservoir.
Your nearby base is Brynglas Cottage in the village of Rhandirmwyn, as cute a button 19th century stone cottage full of period charm and a roaring fire to warm up in front of after your explorations.
By day, walk to the waterfall at Cwm Rhaeadr then linger over steaming cawl (a cwtch in a bowl!) at the nearby Neuadd Arms, or sample some Welsh ales and cider at your local, The Royal Oak Inn.
A coastal cwtch
You can feel at one with the rugged beauty and edible delicacies of the Carmarthenshire coast at Pendine by joining Craig Evans, master of all things coastal foraging as he hunts for clams, cockles, sea vegetables and more on one of his wild-food courses.
At the end, he will cook up your finds over a handmade candle stove on the beach taking shelter in one of the many caves.
Check in for the night at Brown’s Hotel in Laugharne, the favourite watering hole of Wales’s favourite poet Dylan Thomas, where you can enjoy hand-reared rare-breed beef at Dexters Steak House & Grill before snuggling up in your Welsh wool bed.
The next day, explore the haunting ruins of Laugharne Castle, tuck into tapas at The Ferryman Deli and walk a section of the Wales Coast Path, stopping along the way for waterside afternoon tea at the Dylan Thomas Boathouse.
An artisanal cwtch
It may be winter, but the Teifi Valley will bring green to the colour palette of this mini break where you can experience the crafts and traditions that make Carmarthenshire so special.
Learn about textile-making and buy Welsh blankets at the National Wool Museum, then head into Newcastle Emlyn to browse its antiques and bric-a-brac shops. From there, it’s a 3.5-mile wander up the river, past deep pools and weeping willows, to the cascading Cenarth Falls.
Treat yourself to cream tea at Tŷ Te Cenarth and book ahead so you can visit the Coracle Centre to find out about another local practice, moonlight salmon fishing in handmade boats, before your return walk.
Nantgronw Cottage makes the perfect cocooning retreat nearby, but make sure you take a short detour to Caws Cenarth for their famous artisan cheeses to enjoy by the wood-burner.
A botanical cwtch
Chilly winter weather is the perfect excuse for focusing on some self-care. Head over to Eden Soap School in Carmarthen where you can learn how to make your very own treats using natural botanicals and essential oils.
Come back laden with homemade soaps, diffusers, bath bombs, balms and more to add to a soak in your roll-top tub at rustic-chic farmhouse Ardderfin.
Just ten minutes from Llansteffan, this little slice of heaven sleeps eight so you could even gather a group of friends for a pampering break, dining around the fire or walking out to Moryd Restaurant.
A lunch treat not to be missed is within half an hour’s drive at Y Polyn where salt marsh lamb, Dinefwr venison and other local ingredients await, a cwtch on a plate if ever there was one.
The next day, discover botanicals of a different kind at nano distillery Jin Talog (pre-booked visits only), where Anthony and David will show you their secret award winning gin formula, home-grown herbs and Welsh spring water.
Other suggestions for places to stay
Forest Arms, Brechfa
This cosy pub is geared up for small groups of winter adventure-seekers. As well as hearty homemade food and open fires the linked-room accommodation for up to seven has its own entrance for storing muddy boots and secure bike storage and washing facilities.
From £45 per person per night based on up to seven staying on a B&B basis. Or take the place for fewer with a minimum spend of £180.
Glangwilli Mansion, Llanllawddog
This is five-star B&B has two spacious suites and is the most peaceful rural seeing imaginable. There is a new Stargazing Cabin to make the most of the dark skies here while enjoying a private dining experience. A 2 night stay from £125pp based on two sharing and on a B&B basis. www.glangwilimansion.co.uk
Royal Oak, Rhandirmwyn
Located near Cwm Rhaeadr for winterly woodland walks and waterfalls, this 16th-century hunting lodge offers a warm welcome and a friendly place to drink, dine and stay over. A 2 night stay from £158, based on two sharing on a B&B basis.