For a nation steeped in epic myths and legends, 2017 The Year of Legends, will showcase the country’s rich culture and heritage, and attract even more visitors. As part of the campaign, South West Wales will showcase the experiences visitors can expect across the counties of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.
New Tombstone Tourism Trail
To kick things off is the region’s new Legends Tombstone Trail, which features historic graves and memorials across South West Wales for legendary characters such as Merlin, King Arthur, Dylan Thomas, St David and pirate king Barti Ddu. Visitors can cherry-pick sites that interest them most or take in the whole lot on a road trip covering over 200 miles in total. It should take around two or three hours to cover each county’s top spots, depending how often they are distracted by the many other tourist attractions, beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, welcoming pubs and cafes on route. The trail can be viewed here.
South West Wales Legends Cycle Route
The new South West Wales Legends Cycle Route, which allows visitors to take in some of the greatest myths and legends at a more sedate pace by bike, starting from Afan Forest Park near Neath Port Talbot and finishing in Fishguard, Pembrokeshire. Cyclists can soak up the fascinating history of mining in the South Wales Miners’ Museum in Neath Port Talbot, marvel at Kidwelly Castle in Carmarthenshire, one of the most intact castles in South Wales, learn about the celebrated Welsh poet Dylan Thomas at the Exhibition in his birthplace of Swansea Bay, or even dare to visit Annwn - the entrance to the Celtic Underworld in Pembrokeshire. With lots more exciting legendary spots on the route, there promises to be something to suit everyone either on a day cycle ride enjoying the whole 143km route across a 3 or 4 day visit to the area.
Events and new experiences
Visitors can expect lots of story-telling and interesting events throughout the region for 2017 including:
• A Merlin Festival 25 - 26 March Carmarthenshire - celebrating the legend of Merlin and other Arthurian characters said to have lived in Carmarthenshire. The festival is in the market town of Carmarthen itself and is set to feature street entertainment, magic, a local produce market, plus a community/ schools sculpture trail.
• Wales National Air Show 1 -2 July Swansea Bay - The free annual Airshow will be returning to Swansea Bay offering breathtaking aerobatic displays, state-of-the-art aircraft and vintage planes from the past with performances by such legendary high-flying stars as the Red Arrows and the Eurofighter Typhoons to name a few.
• Myths and Legends Sculpture Trail, Scolton Manor, Pembrokeshire (trail can be visited now but please note Scolton Manor opens to the public on 1 April) - Myths and Legends hide around every corner ready to snare and entrance visitors with their stories. A free Myths and Legends sculpture trail has been installed at Scolton Manor with sculptures ranging from The Holy Grail to Twm Sion Cati, a very colourful character who was both a highwayman in his youth and a Justice of the Peace in his elder years. Look out for interpretation panels showing where you can find out more about other Pembrokeshire legends like Rebecca, the incognito leader of the movement to open up the hated toll-roads and Black Bart, the World’s most successful pirate.
• South Wales Miners Museum available from March 2017, Afan Valley Port Talbot - The Miners’ Museum will launch an exciting new digital heritage trail using info-point technology which enables visitors to engage with digital interpretation for a range of sites located within Afan Forest Park. The trail will take around one hour 30 mins to complete and sites will range from mine and brick workings through to 18th century corn barns. All of the information will be accessible through visitor's personal devices. Maps and guides of the trail will also be available along with guided tours around the park.
A variety of traditional and modern day legends will be celebrated - Arthurian, food, sporting, castles, folklore, landscapes and living heritage to name a few. The campaign aims to highlight the wealth of legendary tourism opportunities in the region and position South West Wales as the perfect destination for cultural and heritage rich trips.
You can find our graded properties in the region by clicking here.
Year of Legends Content Guide (Download)
King Arthur Fact File
Published 19 January 2017