If you are one of the lucky travelers headed on a Royal Holiday to Wales this year, be prepared by creating a list of the must-see attractions found in the country of Dyfed. The Kingdom of Dyfed, as it was once called, has a little bit of something for everyone, but is a premier vacation spot among the Welsh Counties if you are interested in King Arthur, castles, and English history.
Beyond the castles, Dyfed offers waterways, historical architecture and nature sites all packed into the quaint English countryside. Consider some of the top spots to visit when during your stop in Dyfed County.
1. Aberystwyth Castle
An Edwardian fortress, Aberystwyth Castle was built during the First Welsh War sometime in the late 13th century. Today, it is open to the public and a popular stop for those enjoying a Royal Holiday in Dyfed. It is not quite the prestigious building it once was, but you get a real sense of the history of West Wales as you walk through and see the turrets and stone enclosures. Aberystwyth is one of the few large castles left in this region from that period.
Behind the 13th-century walls is the little town of the fishes known as Tenby. Modern day Tenby is a colorful site full of shops and Victorian architecture. It is a thriving artist community, as well, full of crafts and local goods. When you are not enjoying the French Riviera-style culture, you will be on the beach or visiting one of the offshore islands.
3. Carreg Cennen Castle and Farm
Unlike Aberystwyth, the Carreg Cennen Castle is surprising well preserved, complete with six towers and a twin-towered gatehouse. The castle was built during the Arthurian era by one of King Arthur’s famed Knights of the Round Table, Sir Urien Rheged.
Today, it is privately owned by a Welsh historic service and provides a breathtaking view of the Welsh countryside. The structure sits majestically above the Brecon Beacons National Park. To reach it, visitors climb to the top of the hill located on a private farm. Once inside, you move from chamber to chamber to see the pieces of history they offer. One intriguing feature is found in the corner of the inner ward. You can follow steps into a fissure in the rock to tour a cave hidden under the castle.
4. Dinfwr Castle
There is at least one more castle you should plan to see while in Dyfed. The castle was built by Lord Rhys Gruffydd but captured soon after by Edmund of Cornwall. For the next hundred years, it was part of the royal family estates.
The most notable thing about this site is the massive round towers. Visitors enter through a large door protected by a battlement. From there, they climb various staircases built into the stone to reach one of the towers. This includes a narrow spiral staircase that takes you to the high tower. You can move outside the building via a circular walkway.
5. Barafundle Beach
If you need a day away from the dusty castles during your trip, head over to do some body boarding at Barafundle Beach near Pembrokeshire. This is a remote beach that was once part of the Cawdor family estate. It is known for its Carboniferous limestone cliffs and sparkling blue waters. In 2004, it was named one of the 12 top beaches in the world by Country Life magazine.
6. Walking with the Hawks
While in Pembrokeshire, enjoy a day of Walking with the Hawks. This supervised tour gives you the chance to take in a little falconry while enjoying the Welsh countryside. Guests are allowed to handle the birds and see them fly. You can take the “hands-on approach or just watch from the sidelines as trained handlers introduce you to their famous birds.
7. Cardigan Island Coastal Farm Park
Spend a day talking to the animals at the Cardigan Island Coastal Farm Park at the nature reserve on Cardigan Island. Situated just two miles from Pembrokeshire and 33 miles from Tenby, this site introduces you to dolphins, seals porpoises, seabirds and even Shetland ponies. The attraction is setup to accommodate day visitors or those who want to camp out for a few days to get the full experience.
One of the best things about a Royal Holiday to the county of Dyfed is variety. Dyfed covers a wide area and many towns, so there is plenty of countryside, culture and castles to see.