Castles, Castles Everywhere and Walking in the Footsteps of Dylan Thomas – Visit Wales Part 3

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

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.

Into battle at Kidwelly Castle

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.

Castles of Wales, Kidwelly, visit Wales

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.

Kidwelly Castle, prison, Castles of Wales, visit Wales

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…

deer at Kidwelly castle

She found this, it suits her don’t you think?

Kidwelly Castle, visit wales

We’d been collecting dragons wherever we went and her throne sported a particularly magnificent beastie.

dragons, visit wales

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.

Discovering Dylan Thomas

We found his words

Under Milkwood

and she indulged in a bit of teenage angst and poetic contemplation

writing in the shadow of dylan thomas, visit wales

His writing view was quite something!

dylan thomas view

And then we arrived, I felt like I’d completed a pilgrimage – this was where Under Milkwood was written.

the garage, dylan thomas, visit wales

I gazed through the window at his writing space and grinned.

dylan thomas, visit wales, laugharne

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.

laugharne castle, visit wales, dylan thomas

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?

23 Comments

  1. Love castles in Wales – I was brought up on them as a child – when every family holiday was to Wales. Amazing just how it fires the imagination too!

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  2. Wow it all looks so breathtaking and how lovely that you can see his writing space. I think I need some views like that to inspire me.

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  3. We really enjoyed Wales too. What I liked about it was it was outdoorsy and beautiful like Scotland, yet only two hours away. It really makes a nice weekend getaway.

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  4. I used to listen to that Richard Burton CD to help me sleep during the occasional battle with insomnia. I love it.

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  5. The only castle i ever been to in wales is in cardiff. It was a fantastic experience Laugharne looks nice too! Beautiful pictures!

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  6. It looks wonderful, Chris. Your photographs are beautiful as always x

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  7. The Welsh really do do castles well don’t they?

    And wow to that writing shed. If I had a space and a view like that, I too could be an incredible writer *cough*

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  8. My 6 year old really wants to visit a castle and this looks like it has plenty to keep his interest. Love the dragon.

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  9. Oh Chris,

    It looks beautiful – makes me want to pack my bags and follow in your footsteps x

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  10. *swoons* I love Dylan Thomas. That little writing room is adorable – couldn’t you just move in tomorrow? Lovely post Chris, stunning photos and you make Wales sound like the most perfect holiday destination. xx

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  11. You really bring it alive Chris..what a fabulous trip you had

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  12. When I was gardening with my Dad at the weekend he was telling me BBC Radio had Dylan Thomas day on Monday I think – might be on catch up still? Love seeing wrtiers rooms, this has to be the best yet! Grinning too!

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  13. I agree – all children should explore castles. They just must!

    And as for Dylan Thomas – did you catch the Stuart Maconie programme on BBC Six Music over the weekend celebrating all things Dylan Thomas? If not then worth a listen on iPlayer.

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  14. How did you fit so much into a weekend! It looks fantastic, I’m sold on Wales!

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  15. Wowzers! What an amazing stay and what fabulous photos. That throne! that writing room! The dragons oh so much to see and do.
    We were last in Wales when the girls were tiny, it must be time to go back and revisit now surely?

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  16. Fantastic photos, I’ve not done enough castling (if that’s a word) with my lot and I’m always inspired to when you write about them.

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  17. What a fab post, Chris! We have a castle not too far up the road – you’ve inspired me to go and explore it with the little dude. Am fascinated by the summer house too, the stories those walls must have!

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    • So do I :-)

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  18. Wales just has so much to offer! That castle looks fantastic especially, love the throne! :)

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  19. I grew up not far from these castles. Seeing each brings back memories – you’re right, on parts of Wales there really is a castle around every corner. My favourite is Carreg Cennen. Some lovely shots here.

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  20. I love this post and having recently visited Conwy Castle with the girls I can vouch for you and say castles make such a wonderful part of a family holiday, as you say food for the imagination and soul.

    Thanks so much for linking your post up to #TimeTraveller

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  21. Oh Chris, love, Love, LOVE! Wales and its Castles is something that I never, ever tire of. We went as kids, and have taken ours too now. Kidwelly in particuarly lives fondly in the memory, and your photos capture it so well. So pleased you love them all as much as we do xx

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