*Featuring lovely little towns that might be small, but they are mighty in history and personality and a must-visit while in Carmarthenshire.
Carmarthenshire is one of Wales’ most beautiful counties. Its landscape is full of contrasts – deep valleys and rolling hills, lush rivers, and pretty valleys. Here in this fertile land, you will find some of the oldest towns in Wales.
This dog-friendly guide has everything you need to plan the perfect trip. Grab a cuppa and malted milk and let me guide you to the best places to stay, eat, drink and shop in the beautiful county of Carmarthenshire.
Ammanford / Rhydaman
Ammanford is a small market town in Carmarthenshire, Wales. Situated about 20 minutes from Swansea, Ammanford has charm and history but is small enough to easily walk around and explore. There are shops, restaurants, and pubs to enjoy a meal or a drink. It's worth checking out their local market on a Friday, this is slap bang in the middle of the town. Worth a look as well as having a snoop around the charity shops. They were great. Found some lovely old Welsh pottery jugs, for a bargain.
The Poison apple bar
Let's start with the hard stuff - The Poison apple is a dog-friendly cocktail bar in the heart of Ammanford town, Emma *the owner, and the team, are well traveled and their menu reflects that. It's such a hard life, drinking cocktails in Jamaica, and Bali and bringing all their knowledge back to the Amman. Their flavors are punchy and I can imagine, spending hours at the Poison apple, making friends, dancing to some jazz and funk till the last bell sings. The decor in here is bonkers, from a fish tank in an old dresser to a naked manakin outside. It's strange but kinda works. You will step into this bar and forget the world and its problems and leave with memories that will make you chuckle for years.
Dog friendly: Derek had so many cwtches, they supplied some snacks for him and they provided a water bowl.
Tip: Ask to try the orange rum they have. I can't remember, what it's called. It's delicious on the rocks.
Another tip: Don't plan to pop in for one. That will never happen.
Information: Poison Apple Facebook page
An industrial restaurant that is a firm favorite with the locals, offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, wine, and more.
This restaurant used to be an old-school chippy, the transformation from then to now, is outstanding. Blood, sweat and tears, and a lot of determination have gone into completing this huge project. Fast service, exceptional food, and perfect for a casual supper. I couldn't fault it.
Dog friendly: They had a little dog watering station, plenty of outdoor area for Der, and a park next door.
Tip: This place is popular. I highly recommend booking a table.
Another tip: Highly recommend the Beef Short Rib
If you like coffee, then this is for you. I am a super fan of Coaltown coffee and this is why - Their roastery was set up with one ambition, to bring the industry back to their hometown. All of their coffee is roasted and packed in Ammanford, where they employ local people to bring them into the world of third-wave coffee.
Their ethos is to buy the best coffee from the most remote locations * these locations and the people looking after them are treated with the respect they deserve. That's why they only source coffee from high-quality growers that not only pride themselves on the quality of their crop but practice sustainable farming methods that respect the environment and wildlife around them. Their coffee is a roasted and brewed in the same location, this means that It's fresh, full of flavor and that's it, I can't rave any more about Coaltown, you will have to experience it for yourself.
Dog friendly: They love dogs and Derek loves the smell of coffee, so it's a good combo.
Tip: The close at 4, so get your skates on
Vive la Crepe
This crepe cafe is a hidden gem in the area. The crepes are delicious and the staff is always friendly. They have a wide range of flavors from Goat cheese and Garlic Mushrooms to sweet treats of Nutella, Strawberry, and Cream to Banana and chocolate. This place is a firm favorite with small kids and big ones.
Dog friendly: They welcome dogs inside and out and offer Doggy Ice cream.
Tip: Check out their beautiful Spanish-inspired garden
Information : Vive La Crêpe | Facebook
If you plan to stay in a self-catering property, You must order a breakfast box from Gilfach Gower farm.
Sarah Gealy, a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, and her partner Fed Pereira fell in love with the charm of the Gilfach Gower farm and became its custodians. For 8 years they’ve tended the land and restored it to a sustainable livestock farm with a small fold of Highland cattle, sheep, pygmy goats, rare breed pigs, and chickens, You can now order meat boxes from the farm as well as stay in their luxury yurt.
Information : https://gilfachgower.com/
Carmarthen / Caerfyrddin
The history of Carmarthen town is a very interesting one, indeed. The town is one of the oldest in Wales with its origins dating back to around the 6th – 7th Century when Romans built a fort at what was to become Carmarthen.
Rob Lea's tours
Rob met us outside Carmarthen Castle for a tour through the history of not only the Castle but meandering through the streets that pre-dated the Romans.
For extra authenticity, depending on the weather, Rob dresses up in a full Roman military uniform. Sadly for us, the weather wasn't permitting, but Rob was no less knowledgeable on some of Carmarthen's most noble people through the ages.
We got up close and personal with some of the most well-known and the less well-known points of interest, from the 1000+-year-old church to the Cold War-era bunker hidden under a car park.
Doggy tip: make sure you bring treats and water, as the trip can last up to 2 hours depending on how much time you have.
Looking at some earlier info about Sloppy Joe's we thought they were still trading out of a food trailer by the market, but they've taken over a whole building during lockdown, spread out over two floors, with outside seating in a lovely little courtyard, behind the main thoroughfare.
If I could sum up the food at Sloppy Joe's in two words, it would be "Absolute filth!"
From the burger cooked Oklahoma style with two beef patties smashed with onions on a griddle, layered in a pretzel bun with oozing cheese and a healthy ladle of gravy, to the ginormous wings, coated in a batter and sticky from either the chocolate chipotle, hot Peach jam or Mr's G's hot sauce. Did I mention the choice of fried potato eating devices, armed with your choice of filthy toppings?
We had curly fries with cheese and slathered in Katsu curry.
Also on the menu are cheese toasties and hot dogs, with some very naughty toppings and house-made doughnuts. Of which we had one to take away, but didn't walk even 5 meters from Sloppy Joe's without succumbing to the temptation to devour the white chocolate and galaxy caramelly fried dough.
Doggy tip: get the doggy ice cream
Information: Sloppy Joes Streetfood Hq | Facebook
Famed as Carmarthen's fine dining choice in the town center, the menu features seasonal and Welsh produce from Welsh coast muscles, in white wine, garlic, and leeks, to belly pork with Welsh cider and honey, and a pan-roasted salmon with a leek, cream and cockle veloute.
Being a dog-friendly tour and it is a very well presented restaurant, dogs aren't actually able to dine with you at the restaurant, but don't let this put you off, as they also have a takeaway special menu available too, which we took full advantage of.
We pre-booked and picked up our takeaway meal before heading back to our accommodation, which included a starter of chicken liver parfait, the duo of chutneys and olive oil crostini, mains of Asian glazed pork belly with stir-fried veggies and spring onion rice, a seabass dish with buttered greens, sautéed potatoes, and white wine and cream sauce.
For desserts we had a strawberry, apple and peach crumble with vanilla custard and a vanilla cheesecake with strawberry, honey, and elderflower compote.
Doggy tip: although you can't dine at the restaurant with dogs, if you're staying too far from town, you can pick up restaurant-quality food to take away and eat or warm up wherever you decide to dine. That could be a local park, beach or back at your accommodation.
Information: The New Curiosity - Fine dining family-run restaurant in Carmarthen
Tea traders wales Located in Guildhall Square you have a choice of over 100 specialty teas to choose from. If you can't quite decide, then do what we did and have a tea-tasting flight. We chose 3 teas, with advice from the very knowledgeable staff on what we like and he tried to find the best options for you. We started with a delicate oolong, followed by a more mature and woody offering in the fermented Chinese leaf, then a curveball surprise of matcha and toasted rice. Obviously, you can't have tea without cake, and Tea traders have you covered with that too. We had a honey ginger cake, which was plenty big enough to cut in two and share. Doggy tip: Dog friendly inside and outside.
Baileys Coffee shop
We were recommended this by Sloppy Joe's, as they hadn't even been open a week.
Baileys is a pet-first cafe, with your four-legged friend being more than welcome to pass through the doors and being pampered in the process.
With a host of dog-friendly treats on the menu and some snoozing spots with blankets, humans are also welcome to join them with some really good coffee and cakes on show.
Doggy tip: get the doggy afternoon tea for your pooch, which includes a puppacino (with almond milk) and a trio of dog biscuits from jammy dodgers, a Bourbon biscuit, and custard cream.
Information: Baileys Coffee Bar | Facebook
Llanelli town is a vibrant and interesting place to visit, with plenty of shops and restaurants. there are also some excellent beaches along the Llanelli waterfront, so if you're after a day at the seaside, then you'll find what you need in the town. with easy access to all major routes, Llanelli is easily accessible from across south Wales and west England.
This café/bar/restaurant is the hottest new place in Llanelli, unexpected some might say, It stands out amongst the norm of the town center shops and cafes. It's fresh. retro, the place to go for brunch, cocktails, and dinner, from baked eggs to lamb rump, salsa verde & Pedro Ximenez lamb jus. Drooling? It's a wonderful cafe, I am so glad that they have revived the town of Llanelli and built a beautiful, welcoming business.
You must go, I have been 3 times within the week and I live 60 miles away. If that's not a sign, then I hand my tool up. :)
Dog friendly: They welcome dogs inside and out and offer a lot of cuddles
Tip: Add a cocktail to every meal
Information: Their Instagram is delish https://www.instagram.com/hwylllanelli
Said to be one of the finest examples of early Georgian architecture, Llanelly House is a “Welsh Georgian Gem” - the heartbeat of Llanelli's town center. A magnificent restoration program completed in 2013 has created a wonderful salute to its past while reimagining the interior as a unique Bistro, Event Space, and Wedding Venue.
Within these historic walls, glimpse the rich history and scandalous secrets of Llanelli in the 18th and 19th Centuries on the House Tour.
Dog friendly: They don't welcome dogs, but we decided to go in one by one, just because this Georgian house is worth a snoop.
Tip: Good place to go when you're pooch is on holiday with their grandparents
Burry Port / Porth Tywyn
Burry Port is a small town with a big history.
The town's name is a corruption of the Welsh phrase "bwr y port" meaning the gate to the market. The town once had the second largest port on the south coast of Wales and was a thriving center for coal export with more than 300 ships sailing from its docks each year.
Caffi Lolfa has created a place where people can come together in friendship and conversation to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, brunch that really packs a punch, some freshly prepared cakes and tasty light lunches.
Brunch menus include Dirty Diana, Hip to be square and I want it all... and to be honest, I did want it all and the donut on top.
Dog friendly: They welcome dogs inside and out
Tip: Try their sweet treats, they are delicious.
Information : https://www.facebook.com/caffilolfa
After a stroll down the beach, you can grab a cup of tea and a Crepe at Crazie Crepes. You can't miss this place, It's pink and it stands out in the middle of the green land around the harbor. They offer indoor and outdoor seating and it's your stop for something sweet. I went for the traditional crepe with sugar and lemon and Nicky went for the Toffee apple crepe. But, if you don't fancy a crepe they also serve hot dogs, chips and more. I can imagine, this place being rammed in the summer. Perfect location. Lovely staff and delicious crepes.
Dog friendly: They welcome dogs outside, Der was also offered some doggy ice cream. which he never refuses.
Tip: Their milkshakes are beautiful.
Information: Crazie Crepes Cafe | Facebook
Burry Port beach & RNLI centre
All year dog-friendly beach with soft sand, blue sea water, and an extraordinary view of a beautiful lighthouse. This beach is slap bang in the middle of Burry Port . Next to the beach is the RNLI center, You can explore the boats and history as well as grab quality gifts, cards, books, puzzles, homewares
Burry Port RNLI Shop
Discover Burry port with Brompton Bike Hire. 24-hour Bike Hire for just £5 a day. The dock is located inside the short stay car park below Seaview terrace road. The Brompton dock at Carmarthen Burry Port was launched in partnership with Carmarthenshire Council. There's a glorious cycle route for you to explore.
Dog friendly: You can buy a doggy backpack for your furry friend to enjoy the ride with you.
Tip: Take the whole family, it's a great experience.
We stayed at the The Collier Arms, Pwll. Wonderfully located in a stunning setting, this cosy apartment has stunning views of the sea. Rustic and homely with wooden beams, it is incredibly dog friendly, with seafront walks for Der to stretch his legs and sniff some grass in the morning. The Colllier also includes local brews from friendly pub down stairs. Perfect place to relax after a full day of exploring