Cardigan is a small town that punches way above its weight, no question - for a small community, it covers everything and it's top of our list of suggestions of things to do for our guests. Just ten minutes away, we recommend a visit to Cardigan (Aberteifi in Welsh), not just because it happens to be on our doorstep but because it has so much to offer: several quirky, independent cafés; two theatres; bakeries; butchers; a gorgeous old-fashioned sweet shop; bars; pubs; myriad unique shops; great restaurants; a number of art galleries; hair and beauty salons; an historic Guildhall market; antique shops; bookshops; ...and, of course, a castle.
Location wise, too, Cardigan is perfect. It's riverside, so you have all the wonders of the Teifi estuary, leading out towards the glorious expanse of Poppit Sands, and just 15 minutes in the other direction you have the majestic, ancient Preseli Hills - home to the bluestones at Stonehenge.
We're not the only ones who think Cardigan is the place to be. Jeans have been made in Cardigan for over 40 years, and the Huit Denim Company set up their high-end jeans business here 10 years ago with great success - particularly when Megan Markle wore a pair of their jeans. Pizzatipi - 'a breathtaking space in lovely Cardigan on the banks of the Teifi in the shadow of the 13th-century castle' has been recommended by Giles Coren, and a fabulous new boutique hotel, The Albion, is opening shortly in an old quay side warehouse.
Visit Wales: "Cardigan has everything: ancient history, modern comforts, beautiful landscapes, and the sea just in reach. Its spirit is part old-fashioned Welsh market town, part hippy, arty enclave, and both sides sing to each other in perfect chapel-pew harmony. Come and fizz in my newcomer’s enthusiasm. Let me tell you what you’ve also been missing…"
Lonely Planet: "Cardigan has the feel of a town waking from its slumber. An important entrepôt and herring fishery in Elizabethan times, it declined with the coming of the railway and the silting up of the River Teifi in the 19th century. Now its surrounding natural beauty, hip craft shops, home-grown fashion labels, gourmet food stores and homely B&Bs are bringing it back to life. Its alternative arts scene is growing and the jumble of historical architecture that lines its streets and lanes has been given a new lease of life. Most importantly, Cardigan Castle has been restored and now serves as a hub of Welsh language, culture and performance."
The surroundings of Cardigan are also worth a mention, not least the proximity of Cilgerran Castle, the Welsh Wildlife Centre, and St Dogmaels - all within walking distance should you be so inclined. Dai Crabs Boat ('retired shellfish and salmon fisherman, born and bred at sea') will take you on a little cruise down the river to Poppit Sands and back, and Cardigan Island Coastal Farm Park is also a great place to visit.
There are simply too many amazing places to mention in and around Cardigan, a literal treasure trove, but do follow some of the links below for more information.