If you can’t beat them, join them. Carmarthenshire in South-West Wales has launched a Winter Picnic Guide that will help you turn those winter blues into the delight of eating outdoors regardless of the weather.
The guide features a list of the top ten best winter picnicking spots in the county; from mountain top and castle to forest and beach, as well as tips on how to fully embrace the colder season and follow in the footsteps of the Scandinavians who, despite having a much colder climate to ours, still have a hugely popular outdoor eating culture.
Even though temperatures have dipped, the guide aims to encourage visitors and locals alike to make the most of the shorter daylight hours and walk or cycle to these picnicking spots, enjoying them in a different way than they have done before. Locations include Scotts Bay at Llansteffan beach, Paxton’s Tower, Brechfa Forest and the banks of the River Teifi at Cenarth.
Can’t get enough of Wales? Explore the Pembrokeshire Coast Path on foot.
A number of well-known delis in the area are supporting the campaign by introducing special ‘winter hampers’ to tempt picnic goers. Apart from one – if you’re a couple – is there a better way to keep warm than rolling out a cosy picnic blanket and popping open a steaming flask of coffee, soup or Welsh cawl?
Here are three of our favourite spots:
Grab a picnic from Wrights Food Emporium – including delicious Teifi cheese and crackers, homemade sausage rolls and charcuterie, Welsh apple juice, a flask of seasonal soup and a bar of locally-made Nonnom granola chocolate – and head to Paxton’s Tower near Llanarthney for glorious views of the Towy Valley, the National Botanic Gardens of Wales and the neo-gothic tower itself. Next, head towards the boutique town of Llandeilo for more foodie finds including the pretty cool Ginhaus Deli with an impressive variety of artisan produce and over 240 different types of gin. You can sleep all of that off in The Cawdor, a grade II listed Georgian building with 23 individual rooms and a buzzing bar.
The winter hamper from Blasus Delicatessen includes a warming flask of hot chocolate, homemade sandwiches and sausage rolls, local Welsh cheese and crackers, and that made-in-Carmarthenshire bar of Nonnom granola chocolate. The hidden cove of Scotts Bay is only a 15-minute drive away. Located a short half mile walk around the headland from Llansteffan’s main beach, the sheltered bay makes for a perfect picnic spot. In the Winter months visitors will likely find themselves alone, enjoying views of the beachside castle as the sun sets. Afterwards, Mansion House hotel, just minutes away above the beach, offers comfortable accommodation and dining (their restaurant has got an enormous open fire), and incredible views over the Towy estuary.
Pick up a picnic hamper at T Y Croeso Deli in the centre of Newcastle Emlyn in the north of the county before driving up to Cenarth on the River Teifi. The Deli is part of Jenkins the butchers and is packed full of delicious local foods. You may be tempted to order one of their hampers to take home, too. At Cenarth, just a 15-minute drive from Newcastle Emlyn, there is a series of small waterfalls and pools and the area is famous for its cheese – Caws Cenarth. Buy some cheeses from the Caws Cenarth farm shop then head to the riverside picnic area just below the falls to look out for otters and kingfishers as you eat. Plus, call in at the National Museum of Wool en route to pick up a cosy Welsh blanket to use as your picnic rug.
Lots of options to stay overnight, including the Emlyn Hotel , or stay in one of Carmarthenshire’s cottages including Bryn Marlais on the edge of Brechfa Forest; extraordinarily pretty Paxton’s Tower Lodge just steps from the famous tower and Coastal Wood Holidays close to Wales’ longest beach, Pendine Sands. For more self-catering and B&B options, check out the Carmarthenshire Farm and Country Holiday Group .
To view the Winter Picnic Guide, visit: www.discovercarmarthenshire.com/explore/winter-picnic-guide