Britain’s Gardens: The gardens of West Wales

Let us take you to West Wales, a region full of wonderful landscapes and beautiful gardens that play a big part in its stunning natural scenery. Let us take you, nature admirer or picnic lover, on a romantic and adventurous journey across West Wales’ most breath-taking gardens.

We will start our journey at Cae Hir Gardens, located in Cardiganshire, which opened to the public in 1989 and is still owned by the Dutch Akkermans family. Will Akkermans personally designed, created and maintained all six acres of the gardens and has made use of both native and exotic plants in its design. Mr. Akkermans and his family have shown true dedication to the gardens, maintaining it for 25 years now without any external financial support. The gardens have proved to be a huge success over the past years and they have been featured numerous times in both national and local newspapers, TV, magazines as well as local radio. If the gardens make you feel peckish, head to the Team Room for home baked cakes and scones, light lunches and drinks. Cae Hir Gardens are open daily from 10am to 5pm (Easter to October). Entrance to the park is £5.00 for adults.

The journey continues to Norwood Gardens, located in Carmarthenshire, right in the heart of the stunning Teifi Valley and a 19 minute drive from Cae Hir Gardens. The gardens consist of seven individually themed gardens, which extend to about three acres and are all set along the central path, the ‘Long Walk’. Each garden has their own character when it comes to landscaping and planting. You can find several individual sculptures and there are seats throughout the gardens. As you walk to the lower part of the gardens, you will find daffodil beds on the left and the sunken Dark & Light Garden on the right (which is still under construction). Furthermore, there is a Tea Room, where you can enjoy a light lunch or tea or coffee with cake. Norwood Gardens are open daily from 10am to 6pm (except on Tuesdays) from mid-March to mid-October. Entrance to the park is £4.50 for adults and £4.00 for over 60s. Entrance to the tearoom is free, which overlooks the gardens and the hills beyond.

The journey ends at Aberglasney Gardens, also located in Carmarthenshire, and a 39 minute drive from Norwood Gardens. The gardens include three walled gardens, a pool garden, a cloister garden and a parapet walk, there is much to explore! Back in 1995, The Aberglasney Restoration Trust purchased the gardens, restored them and opened the gardens to the public in 1999. However, the Aberglasney Gardens history goes way back to 1477 when it was an inspiration to poets. There is a cafe and a shop on site as well as the Aberglasney House. Aberglasney Gardens are open all year round (except on Christmas Day) from 10am to 6pm (April to September) or 10:30am to 4 pm (October to March). Entrance to the park is £7.00 for adults.

You might want to split your visit to the gardens into two days and make it a short break so you can enjoy the gardens at its fullest.

Less than a half an hour drive from Norwood Gardens lies the beautiful Gwesty’r Emlyn Hotel. Dating back 300 years in its former life as a coaching inn, Gwesty’r Emlyn is located in the lovely market town of Newcastle Emlyn, near the border of Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion with all West Wales’ stunning gardens within reach. Gwesty’r Emlyn’s location in the beautiful Teifi Valley makes it ideal for exploring the beautiful scenery of West Wales. Some of UK’s finest beaches are also near the hotel, including Mwnt, Gwbert, Penbryn, Aberporth, Tresaith, Newquay, Poppit and Llangrannog. Just like visiting Wales’ amazing gardens, walking along the valleys and coastal paths is a joy, as are the enchanting market towns and steam railways in the Vale of Rheidol, Teifi Valley and Gwili. Once you have spent your day trip exploring the many great things that West Wales has to offer, head back to Gwesty’r Emlyn Hotel, spend a relaxing evening with a delicious meal at the hotel’s restaurant, and end it with a dip in the Jacuzzi!

Have a wonderful time in the gardens of West Wales!

Cae Hir Gardens image by Bruce Ruston Norwood