The area boasts some of the best Blue Flag beaches in the UK. The closest and one of the very best being the sheltered cove of Mwnt – a particular favourite with dolphin spotters and expert dam builders. Head north to explore the wider sandy beaches of Tresaith, Penbryn and Llangranog or south, via Cardigan, to the dog-friendly stretch of Poppit sands on the opposite side of the estuary.
There are many historical attractions in the area. Travel south and you can visit the Benedictine monastery remains in St. Dogmaels, Cilgerran Castle (pictured), – an archaeological reconstruction of an Iron Age settlement – and the prehistoric burial monuments at Pentre Ifan. Travel north where a 14th Century church can be found overlooking the nearby beach of Mwnt and further afield, the National Trust’s 18th Century Welsh gentry estate and walled garden at Llanacheron and inland to the impressive remains of the 12th Century Strata Florida Abbey, founded by the Cistercian monks.
Lovers of seabirds, grey seals and bottle-nosed dolphins can enjoy regular sightings all along the Wales Coast Path, which passes just a few yards from the cottage. Just outside Cardigan and accessible by a traffic-free foot and cycle path from the town is the impressive Welsh Wildlife Centre. The centre runs regular events, especially during holiday periods and features several nature trails, an information centre and café and children’s play area. Visitors can pre-book canoe trips from the Forest. The Welsh Bird of Prey Centre is also a short drive away, and guests can walk to the nearby Cardigan Coastal Farm Park, with its unrivalled views of Cardigan Island.
Great fun days out for the whole family are also close at hand. Head south to seek out Folly Farm Adventure Park, Oakwood (Wales’ Largest Theme Park, pictured), Pemberton’s Chocolate Factory and the Blue Lagoon Water Park and indoor play centre. In Cardigan itself, the town’s Leisure Centre has a good swimming pool and gym facilities, while the popular Theatre Mwldan offers a 2-screen cinema showing many of the latest releases as well as a regular programme of visual and performing arts productions.
One of the best ways to see the spectacular coastline of southern Ceredigion and North Pembrokeshire is from the sea and you are quite likely to enjoy the added bonus of a close encounter with some of the region’s best-loved visitors. Cardigan Bay is home to one of Europe’s largest populations of bottle-nosed dolphins and sightings are made on a daily basis. Atlantic Grey Seals are another favourite, along with a myriad of sea birds.
For those who don’t mind a bit of wind in their hair then we recommend booking a trip with local, family-run business A Bay to Remember. With trips of varying lengths setting off from the pontoon in Gwbert itself, the friendly and experienced crew guarantee a safe and exhilarating sea safari experience that you won’t forget in a hurry. A somewhat more pedestrian trip can be booked with New Quay Boat Trips which also offers 2, 4 and 8-hour fishing trips.
Food and Drink
Visitors looking to take a break from the washing up and enjoy a relaxed meal in informal surroundings need to look no further than the Flat Rock Bistro at the nearby Gwbert Hotel (a 2-minute walk from the cottage). A varied a la carte menu, along with daily specials and satisfying bar snacks are complimented by the spectacular view of the estuary (pictured left), with many Flat Rock diners opting to eat al fresco in the summer months (pre-booking is often advised!) A hundred yards further on, the Cliff Hotel & Spa also has a large restaurant offering home cooked food and similarly impressive views over Cardigan Island, while nearby Cardigan Golf Club can also cater for parties of various sizes.
In Cardigan itself, foodies are encouraged to sample the finest local produce at the Food for Thought cafe, the steakhouse at the Angel Hotel on St Mary’s Street and the Ferry Inn in nearby St Dogmaels. For an al fresco experience try the authentic wood-fired pizza and local craft beers at Pizza Tipi (check online or opening hours). For two other eateries with impressive reputations, head north to the Harbourmaster in Aberaeron or south to Newport’s Llys Meddyg.
Sport and Leisure
For golfers, a challenging 18-hole championship course (Cardigan Golf Club) runs just behind the cottage in Gwbert and offers a fine range of bar snacks and full meals at its 19th hole. The nearby Cliff Hotel & Spa also features a 9-hole course within its grounds, as well as offering spa packages lasting between 2-6 hours. It is also only a short drive across to another 18-hole links course at Newport (Pembs), where a number of interesting boutiques and quaint cafes provide a welcome distraction for golfing widows.
Sailing and watersports fans are also well catered for, with the slipway at Teifi Boating Club less than 2 miles away and boat hire available from Cardigan Boat Charters. Ceredigion’s challenging freshwater and sea-angling locations attract many fishing enthusiasts but coarse angling is also popular, with rods available at various locations across the region.
For the active visitor, the sheer variety of coastal and inland walks is sure to provide something for everyone, including some of the most breathtaking stretches of the Wales Coastal Path, the Preseli Hills and riverside trails along the banks of the Teifi. There are several good horse riding schools in the vicinity, including Dyfed Riding Centre at Bridell, near Cardigan and the Crosswell Horse Agency and local bike hire is available from £18 per day at New Image Bikes in Cardigan.
Other sporting activities available locally include whitewater canoeing on the river Teifi, dry slope skiing at Llangranog, some fantastic surfing along the Pembrokeshire coast and, of course, the celebrated west Wales pursuit of Coasteering (if you’ve never heard of try Google!).