City Guide to Carmarthen

Carmarthen is said to be the oldest town in Wales, and has an incredibly rich history, dating back to pre-Roman times. The county town of Carmarthenshire, it sits on the River Towy, eight miles north of beautiful Carmarthen Bay and its famous beaches. With an abundance of historical sites, an extremely diverse shopping experience, and pubs and restaurants galore, Carmarthen is a place you will remember for a long time after your visit.

Sport in Carmarthen

Typical of many Welsh towns, Carmarthen has a strong sporting tradition, with two rugby union teams, Carmarthen Quins and Carmarthen Athletic, and a rugby league team, CPC Bears. The town also boasts its own football team, Carmarthen Town FC, and an athletic team, Carmarthen Harriers. There are two golf courses in the town, while Carmarthen Leisure Centre offers facilities for a wide range of sports, including swimming, tennis, squash, gymnastics and martial arts. Carmarthen Park also offers sporting facilities, most notably a cycling velodrome that has been in continuous use since its opening in 1900.

Shopping in Carmarthen

From small independent traders to major high street chains, cobbled medieval streets to modern shopping centres, Carmarthen offers an enticing mix of old and new. Take your time to explore the winding lanes and alleys of the old town and its character-filled selection of independent shops, or visit St. Catherine’s Walk and Merlin’s Walk for a more contemporary shopping experience. In the town centre, Guildhall Square, Red and Blue Streets, Lammas Street and Dark Gate are all brimming with shops and cafes nestled in amongst historical buildings.

Food and Drink in Carmarthen

Carmarthen has a restaurant or cafe to please every palate, from traditional Welsh cooking to the most exotic international cuisine. For traditional fare little can beat enjoying tasty dishes in the local pubs whilst sampling a selection of locally brewed beers. You should make a point of visiting Carmarthen Market, which dates to Roman times, and offers an excellent selection of local produce.

Things to See and do in Carmarthen

At one time a Roman fort, named Moridunum, the town today has one of the few remaining Roman amphitheatres. Carmarthen Castle was built on the site of a Norman castle that was  destroyed in 1215.

Carmarthen was one of the first medieval walled towns in Wales, and features many other historic buildings and monuments, such as the Guildhall, Picton Monument, St. Peters Church, Carmarthen Bridge and Pont King Morgan bridge.

You can learn about Carmarthen’s fascinating history at the Carmarthenshire County Museum in Abergwili, a short drive or bus ride from the town centre. Set in beautiful gardens, and featuring artefacts from every time period, from mammoth bones to Roman coins, Welsh dressers and local pottery, it is well worth a visit.

If you follow the river a few miles to the south to Carmarthen Bay you will find several famous beaches to explore, such as Pendine Sands and Cefn Sidan, and also come across the superbly preserved Norman castle at Kidwelly.

Visit Carmarthen

With a heritage to rival anything in Wales, a huge variety of shops, restaurants and pubs, and an idyllic surrounding countryside, this medieval town offers an unforgettable experience.

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