The town is admirably located for exploring west Wales, with routes leading to Pembrokeshire and the Irish Ferries, Ceredigion, Breconshire and Swansea. The Tourist Information Centre in Lammas Street has leaflets for most attractions. Within a short distance of the town, the Tywi Valley (A40 eastbound) offers a wonderful collection of historic parks and gardens as well as the National Botanic Garden of Wales, off the A48 at Middleton Hall. A tour up the valley to Llandeilo can take in such gems as Aberglasney Historic Gardens, Dinefwr Park and Newton House(National Trust), Dinefwr Castle (Cadw), the Golden Grove Arboretum and Dryslwyn Castle, all within a 35 mile round trip.
Even closer at hand is the Gwili Steam Railway, which follows the route of the former Great Western Railway as it meanders up the beautiful wooded Gwili Valley. Trains run to and from the Bronwydd Arms Station (3 miles north east on the A484) between May and September with special events such as ‘Santa Specials’ and ‘Thomas the Tank’ days. The railway has ambitious plans to extend its operations southwards to the A40 on the outskirts of town.
At Abergwili (2 miles east on the A40) is the County Museum in the Old Bishop’s Palace. This building was originally a collegiate church founded in 1283, but was converted to a Bishop’s Palace during the Reformation. The present Bishop’s residence is still in Abergwili. The museum contains extensive displays of Roman and medieval material and a collection of early Christian memorials. There are also comprehensive displays of later material.
Pembrey Country Park (12 miles south on the A484) and Cefn Sidan Beach. Attractions in the park include a ski slope, miniature railway, a complex of footpaths and cycleways which run through the park and Pembrey Forest linking to the Millennium Coast Path. Cycles can be hired at the ski slope. On the way, you pass the Pembrey Motor Sports Centre, and can take in Kidwelly Castle and the Industrial Museum with its steam-powered machinery.
Seven miles south west of Carmarthen (B4312) is the village of Llansteffan with its beach and 18th and 19th century houses. Llansteffan Castle, which stands within an Iron Age hillfort, commands extensive views of Carmarthen Bay and Gower. The walk to Wharley Point will repay you with views of Carmarthenshire’s breathtaking coastal scenery.
Laugharne (13 miles south west along the A40 and A4066) is a pretty township with a bold castle and some good 18th century buildings. It was once a resort for half-pay sea captains and a fishing village. Here Dylan Thomas lived and wrote at the Boathouse, now open to the public, which is superbly sited over the River Tâf. Laugharne Castle has been restored by Cadw and is open to the public. A few miles further on is Pendine Sands with its 7-mile beach famed for early world land-speed records and where the Museum of Speed has exhibits and displays about these record-breaking events.