I can’t quite believe how much we packed into our weekend in Wales! On Wednesday I told you about our first horse riding experience and our tobogganing, on Friday I wrote about duck racing, rockpooling and pond dipping. Today it’s all about Dylan Thomas and fabulous castles as if I haven’t given you enough reasons already to visit Wales!
Castles of Wales
As well as breathtaking beaches appearing around every corner there seemed to be a castle wherever we looked too! One of my first ever blog posts was written as a result of a Twitter conversation with parents who had never taken their children to explore a castle. I couldn’t believe it! Castles provide so much food for the imagination and the Welsh castles we visited didn’t disappoint!
Kidwelly Castle was such a find, we saw it on an overcast day in all its brooding glory and it was fabulous. He approached it with his umbrella sword, preparing to fight off any attackers and ready to breach the castle walls.
Inside was fascinating. The earliest castle on the site was Norman and was built with earth and wood, as time passed it was rebuilt, extended, and strengthened benefiting each time from the latest in technology. It has the most amazing position and the views took our breath away! There was a lot of climbing and gazing out across the landscape – I love this picture.
We could really feel the history of this castle all around us. We looked at fireplaces and ovens (always my favourite bits) and imagined all the food being cooked for the inhabitants, peered through arrow slits and climbed onto the castle walls. The prison room was fascinating because it, unusually, had a separate high security ‘bottle dungeon’ into which prisoners were lowered. It was very deep and silenced us as we thought about the poor wretches who ended up in there.
There were some lovely surprises inside Kidwelly. As we climbed one of the towers BB looked out and gasped ‘Oh, there’s a deer’, we hushed him so he wouldn’t scare it away while we all scrambled to look…
She found this, it suits her don’t you think?
We’d been collecting dragons wherever we went and her throne sported a particularly magnificent beastie.
Walking With Dylan Thomas
Laugharne has been on my list of ‘must visits’ for as long as I can remember. Mr TS and I saw a fabulous production of Under Milkwood at Bristol Old Vic many, many years ago which has never left me and I have a CD copy of Richard Burton reading it which accompanied me through the long, long nights of breastfeeding.
We walked in the shadow of Laugharne Castle, following the signs leading us to the Boat House and to the garage where he wrote.
We found his words
and she indulged in a bit of teenage angst and poetic contemplation
His writing view was quite something!
And then we arrived, I felt like I’d completed a pilgrimage – this was where Under Milkwood was written.
I gazed through the window at his writing space and grinned.
We climbed back down the steep cliff path and wandered through Laugharne to the castle where Dylan Thomas had also put pen to paper seated in the summerhouse overlooking the sea.
Getting to visit Laugharne in 2014, the year which marks the centenary of his birth, was such a treat – there are lots of events planned throughout the year and I’ll be keeping an eye out to see which ones I can attend. When we got home to Somerset I did a quick search online and, to my delight, found that Under Milkwood is being performed at Bath Theatre Royal this week – guess where I’m off to?!
If you’ve been following our visit Wales reports you have probably realised that we had a fabulous time. A weekend wasn’t enough and I’m desperate to return and see more! Is there a place you have long wished to visit, a personal pilgrimage on your ‘must do’ list?