Two years ago we visited Laugharne but arrived too late in the day to go inside the Dylan Thomas Boathouse. I promised to return and last weekend we finally did. As always it was a lovely visit to “Laugharne- this timeless, beautiful, barmy (both spellings) town…a legendary lazy little black-magical bedlam by the sea. There is nowhere like it at all.”
In Laugharne (SA33 4SD) there is plenty of free parking with a spectacular view of the castle. Laugharne Castle is a lovely place to visit and I promise I’ll blog about it one day too (hopefully you won’t have to wait another two years for that post).
brown as owls”
Poem in October, Dylan Thomas
There are plenty of benches on the walk to the Boathouse and also along the Dylan Thomas Birthday Walk.
This photo is of the kids sitting on the same bench two years previously- I love comparing photos over time and seeing how they’ve changed.
On the way to the boathouse we passed Seaview, Dylan and Caitlin Thomas’ former home where they spent “the happiest period of their lives”.
We passed a graveyard. Dylan Thomas is buried alongside Caitlin in the over spill graveyard of St Martin’s Church. It is a ten minute walk from The Boathouse. His grave is marked simply with a plain white cross.
We continued along Dylan’s Walk.
The Writing Shed
Along the way we came to Dylan’s Writing Shed, his “word splashed hut”. ‘Over Sir John’s Hill’ was the first poem that he wrote here. He describes the view from the shed, writing of birds stalking their prey and bringing death in the midst of this beauty.
I love peeking into the writing shed. I’m planning on putting a print above my own desk and would love a writing shed of my own one day. Roald Dahl’s own writing shed was also inspired by this one.
Dylan Thomas Boathouse
We then walked onto Dylan Thomas Boathouse which was thankfully open. It’s open 10 – 5.30 during April to September and 10.30 – 3.30 October to March. Entrance is £4.20 (adults), £2 (children), £3.20 (concessions) and £10 (families). It’s free for under 7’s (I didn’t realise this at the time so paid for Izzy but it was money well spent).
The boat house has a pretty entrance framed by an arch of trees.
There is a bench and plaque at the Boathouse in memory of Dylan’s daughter Aeronwy Thomas. On the bench it says: ‘The Funny thing is I find myself going back again and again’, (Thomas A, A Daughter Remembers Dylan) a quote from her own work.
There is also a memorial tree and her ashes are scattered here so the Boathouse, her childhood family home, as she had happy memories of childhood here (as well as the darker ones).
Once inside The Boathouse, we paid at reception and made our way up into the Thomas’ parlour.
Dylan Thomas’ Front Parlour
The Front Parlour has been restored to its 1950’s appearance, with original furniture- the desk belong to Dylan Thomas’ father. In here we sat and listened to recordings of Thomas reciting his poetry. My kids are still too young to understand the significance of visiting the boathouse but they did enjoy looking at the old ornaments and artefacts (especially the telephone) and writing in the visitor’s book.
The Boathouse was bought for Dylan and Caitlin in 1949 by Margaret Taylor, an actress. He wrote to thank her: “You have given me a life … and now I am going to live it.”
Upstairs- the Bedrooms
We then walked upstairs to what would have been the children’s bedroom. Walking around the house the beautiful views from every window are striking.
We sat in this room and watched a video about Dylan Thomas’ life.
Next door would have been Dylan and Caitlin’s bedroom. The window view looks as pretty as a picture. It’s now full of photographs, letters and prints for sale.
We went downstairs to the Boathouse Tearooms.
We sat out in the sun and had a drink. There was also an afternoon tea menu. The staff were lovely and friendly.
Caitlyn found a bird’s egg. We’ve found lots of these recently.
Caitlyn loved seeing Mably the dog’s kennel.
Every time I’ve been to Laugharne and looked out across the “heron priested shore” I always see one.
We went to the shop which sells a collection of his poetry, books, prints and traditional Welsh gifts. Rebecca bought a skipping rope!
We walked the beach route back to the car park.
The kids had a paddle to cool down, something Caitlin Thomas would have approved of I’m sure.
In the car park there is also a Dylan Thomas monument, which aptly shows Dylan gazing across the waters of Laugharne.
There is lots to do in a say out at Laugharne. Even though I live locally, I’d love to spend a whole weekend here so I could fit in pub lunches and walks as well as Laugharne Castle and the Dylan Thomas Boathouse.
Have you visited Laugharne?
“The reality is there. The fine, live people, the spirit of Wales itself.”