• 16th February 2016

Stepping back in time at Bryn Eglur self-catering cottage in rural Carmarthenshire

GO & STAY

It was dark when we arrived at Bryn Eglur; the silent, pitch-black dark of the coun-tryside. Tumbling out of the car, we were guided by the bright glow of a window and when we opened the door of Bryn Eglur, we stepped not in, but back. Back, to a simpler, quieter time. Back to lime-washed walls and elegant wooden furniture, to Welsh blankets and Welshcakes, to a small parlour warmed by a fire.

Inside Bryn Eglur, the past and the present are easy companions. The cottage has been painstakingly restored by owner Dorian Bowen: tradition and comfort co-exist here in per-fect harmony. We found freshly-picked flowers from the cutting garden on the table, a cherry-red Rayburn and blankets to match, wooden stick-backed chairs made by Dorian’s own hand.

Awakening there on our first morning – the children in the traditional wooden box bed, us under a tumble of soft, white linen – the dawn light glowed outside. The boys and I tiptoed out into the dewy garden to watch the sun come up over the adjacent field.

I fell head-over-heels for the house, not least for its utterly perfect light, which streamed through each window. As I sat at the kitchen table, coffee in hand, listening to the chil-dren’s voices echo across the lawn, I felt more peaceful than I have for far too long.

SEE & DO

Tearing ourselves away from the house wasn’t easy, but the siren call of the sea drew us to the coast for a beach adventure at Barafundle Bay. This wild and secret cove is reached by a ramble along the cliff top where the coconut scent of golden gorse drifts. The children clattered down the long flight of steps to the sand, running headlong into the breeze.

At the end of the day, windswept and happy, we drove along the coast to the pretty walled town of Tenby. On Castle Beach, overlooking the iconic fort on St. Catherine’s Island, we ate fish and chips and watched the sun dip below the water.

Inspired by the stunning Welsh blankets that adorn Bryn Eglur, we also took a trip to the National Wool Museum in Drefach Felindre. Housed in a beautiful old stone mill, the mu-seum was heaven for this fibre-loving knitter while the rest of the family were well occupied by the fascinating looms and great kids’ trail. There’s a cafe, and a shop that’s filled with temptation, including blankets, scarves and cushions made at the adjoining Melin Teifi. The discerning blanket collector may also wish to visit Jane Beck, who boasts the largest collection of Welsh blankets anywhere in the world, housed near Tregaron in a character-ful shop made from tin.

On our final day, we visited Laugharne, home to the poet Dylan Thomas. As an utter bib-liophile, I felt pangs of heart-skippy anticipation, and I wasn’t disappointed. Laugharne is a misty, mystical spot, with its compelling literary connection and a castle on the edge of the sea. We made our pilgrimage to the white Boathouse perched on the cliff edge, which was once Dylan Thomas’s home, but it was his writing shed that I truly fell for; preserved as if he had just stepped out for a moment, teacup on the desk, crumpled paper on the floor, complete with gorgeous sea views.

As a Toast devotee, I was slightly aghast that time ran away with us before I could man-age a trip to the outlet store in Llandeilo. Just one of the many reasons why we will assur-edly be returning to this corner of Wales.

EAT & DRINK

The lovely town of Narbeth is a little foodie haven. Here we stocked up on treats from Ul-tracomida, the Spanish delicatessen, filled bags with fruit from Wisebuys the greengrocers (both on the High Street) and headed to the ruined Narbeth Castle for a picnic. It’s free to enter, and my husband and I spread a blanket on a high vantage point, settling down to lunch whilst the children enacted battles and explored the ruins.

The fish and chips from Fecci’s on Lower Frog Street in Tenby were delicious, while Wrights Emporium was the perfect place to stop for lunch on the way home from Laugharne. This welcoming cafe is elegantly furnished, with a well-priced menu of classics with a twist. We also loved the adjoining shop, and stocked up on wine and cider, char-cuterie and cheeses, to see us through the days of post-holiday blues.

Images by Laura Pashby

About the Author

Meet Laura

This was kindly shared by Laura Pashby, a freelance writer, editor and photographer. Laura loves long golden evenings, hand-picked posies, and nice cups of tea. She lives in Gloucestershire, in a house full of boys, and blogs here, where she weaves together the words that make up her world and illustrates them with her photographs.

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