Croeso Ceredigion! Or ‘Welcome to Ceredigion’ to most people. On the western Welsh coast lies the county of Ceredigion (formerly Cardiganshire) and it remains one of the only centres of Welsh language and culture.
Bordering Carmarthenshire to the south, Pembrokeshire to the south-west, Powys to the east and Gwynedd to the north, Ceredigion is made up of fourteen areas with Aberystwyth and Cardigan being the largest and also including Llanddewi Brefi, the home of Little Britain character Daffyd ‘the only gay in the village’ Thomas. The Cambrian Mountains occupy most of the east of the county where the Rivers Severn, Wye, Dulas, Llyfnant and Rheidol are sourced, and a hike along this area will provide excellent views of the Welsh countryside.
With award-winning beaches, the county offers many opportunities for angling, sailing and walking. Take a Frisbee and a towel to any of the beaches and drift off listening to the waves, or for something a little different, the Nant Yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre is open to all who want to experience a casual wander or bike ride through nature. For something a bit more energetic, take a trip to Cardigan Bay, hop on a boat and look out for the dolphins, as it’s one of only two places in the UK with a permanent summer residence of the bottlenose species. Go south twenty miles and try something new at Llain Activity Centre, such as abseiling, kayaking or throw yourself into the assault course, suitable for the whole family. If it’s an adventurous party or team-building day you’re after, then give Colossal Activities a call and book your friends in for a paintball or archery session.
If you want to sample a little bit of culture, then Aberystwyth is the place to head. It’s home to the National Library of Wales, which has access to every book ever published in Wales and the Ceredigion Museum, full of interesting artefacts and taxidermy. Both these places regularly host talks and exhibitions on Welsh history and culture. The remains of Aberystwyth Castle, which is also steeped in history, offers plenty of photo opportunities, as well as sweeping views of the coastline and Irish Sea. For a cultural night out, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, located on the university campus, features a cinema and a theatre with professional companies performing adaptations of some of the best-loved works of British drama and literature.
Come night-time, you might be wondering where you can relax and/or let your hair down. Rummers Wine Bar in Aberystwyth has repeatedly gained positive reviews as a friendly community pub whereas Cambrian Cocktail Bar is the place for strange but delicious (and sometimes disgusting!) concoctions. If you’re up for a dance, Pier Pressure nightclub on Aberystwyth Pier is the place to go. A thumping nightclub that is open until 3am every night, it’s packed with students and local twentysomethings, who love to party. If you’re in the area, you should definitely visit the Ivy Bush pub in Newcastle Emlyn, Cardigan and sample a ‘Cheeky Vimto’ cocktail, a favourite of Charlotte Church, no less! With both Aberystwyth and Lampeter (near Cardigan) being local student hotspots, nightlife in both these areas is young, fresh and lively, so be prepared to be roped into more than a few drinking games.
With such a rich rural and coastal heritage, Ceredigion really has something for the whole family, whether you want an action-packed or chillout time, come rain or shine. The travel links are not the best with it being a remote area but buses do run all over the county, making it possible to get around without a car, although driving around is probably the easiest and most reliable mode. It’s a far cry from the urban Anglicised South Wales, and with Ceredigion bursting with natural beauty and history, it’s ideal for anyone interested in taking a traditional Welsh break.