On a sunny weekend in May I visited Carmarthen, a market town in West Wales. It’s sited on the lovely River Towy and lays claim to being the oldest town in Wales. My parents had been there recently and had been talking of a vibrant town with independent shops and a friendly atmosphere. This was different from the Carmarthen I remembered, which I had visited many years before. But I was intrigued, particularly with the promise of antique shops and a market that might have hidden china treasures and also a music shop that the Guardian has recently listed as one of the ten best independent music shops in Britain.
Although it was a Saturday the town was relatively quiet because of some agricultural fairs nearby but given that we had my parents’ two scruffy mutts with us it was probably best we had a bit of space! Carmarthen has retained some lovely old buildings and lots of shops had a vintage feel. This shop sign caught my eye.
The buildings are well kept and this chapel was having its lawn cut as we walked by.
The town seems to have a low-key artsy vibe and this street art graffiti offered a glimpse into that world. The turquoise heart added a splash of colour as we wandered down a backstreet looking for some lunch.
Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go to the music shop I’d heard good things about (Tangled Parrot), but we did stumble upon a lovely café on Jacksons Lane serving delicious paninis with super friendly service (I can’t remember the name of it unfortunately!). My boyfriend devoured his Welsh beef panini and demanded more! The accompanying salad and tortilla chips were a nice touch too. To top it all off, one of the owners even brought out two containers of water for the dogs who were starting to feel the heat.
I was pleased with my vintage purchases of the day, mainly some petite vintage cutlery in original boxes. Here’s a sneak peek at the set of knives I found…the turquoise handles are awesome!
I hope to return to Carmarthen soon and to find even more reasons to keep going back. Although I can’t kick the underlying feeling of remoteness when I visit Carmarthenshire, (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) the town itself seems to be gaining momentum. I felt the whisperings of a town similar in vibe to some of the creative yet understated US Pacific Northwest towns that I visited and fell in love with a few years back. It will be interesting to see whether Carmarthen continues to carve its own niche in its corner of lush Welsh countryside!