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Dylan Thomas Boathouse, Laugharne

Perched discreetly on the banks of the Taf estuary, 14 miles West of Carmarthen and approximately a 10 minute walk from Laugharne village sits the Dylan Thomas Boathouse, idyllic home and artistic haven to the famous 20th century writer Dylan Thomas until his passing in 1953. This majestic two storey Boathouse and stilt-built Writing Shed from which Dylan produced some of his most celebrated works is now a Heritage Centre for locals and visitors to Carmarthenshire who are keen to directly experience Dylan’s sources of inspiration and to retrace his footsteps along the winding cliff path, now aptly renamed Dylan’s Walk.

Full of original furnishings and memorabilia, AV presentations about the writer’s life, a quaint tea room, bookshop and viewing platform/terrace offering views of the stunning waterside location, this magical corner of Welsh culture is an ideal place to add to your list during a romantic break or long weekend in West Wales.

Dylan Thomas gained global recognition for his outstanding works and continues to provide inspiration today to admirers such as Bill Clinton, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Douglas and Mick Jagger. Dylan’s powerful words have been recited internationally, with global blockbusters Dangerous Minds and Independence Day using his work amongst others. Dylan is said to be the most translated poet of all time.

Interestingly, in contrast to the twinkling lights and media boom of Dylan’s global success is the beautiful and tranquil habitat he called home for the last four years of his life. The unique setting of his Boathouse home, perched high above glistening waters and surrounded by a nature lover’s paradise combined with the unique town and characters of nearby Laugharne acted as a catalyst for some of his most successful works.

Visitors to the Dylan Thomas Boathouse can stand next to the Writing Shed; its structure fully restored yet still containing Dylan’s original table and chair, family photos on the walls and the coal-fired stove used for warmth in the colder months. Original paper drafts remain discarded on the floor, visually conveying the trials and triumphs of a typical day writing and rewriting, until the perfect script was accomplished. Dylan’s first poem ‘Over Sir John’s Hill’ written from the Shed captures the pristine views and birds stalking their prey and ‘Under Milk Wood’ refers to the woodland beauty surrounding St John’s Hill.

Inside the Boathouse you can indulge in Dylan’s books, photographs and personal letters displayed between original furniture and fittings within the family bedrooms. There is also a video on Dylan’s life in the smallest room. On the first floor, once The Parlour (now reception area and bookshop) the ambience is something to note; hanging high above the water with natural light pouring through three windows, it is easy to understand the attraction it had for Dylan. On a calm day, the silently moving water, the birds chirping and the views of the surrounding hills create the most idyllic retreat for all who appreciate the magic of the countryside.

The Boathouse museum also provides various educational tours and resources in addition to distance learning courses available online.

If you’re staying in Pembrokeshire or Carmarthenshire and have a spare afternoon to visit this beautiful part of West Wales, the Dylan Thomas Boathouse is worthy of a trip. If it’s a duller day than you had hoped for, perhaps one of their scrumptious cream teas can tempt you in. http://www.dylanthomasboathouse.com/