The Great British Bike Off - an adventurous circular cycle route around Carmarthenshire top cakeries
Looking for adventure and a delicious treat? Then this 50 mile cycle tour of the county’s top sweet spots is for you!
This clockwise circular journey, starts in Carmathen, heading east on National Cycle Route 47 (the B4300, Cepel Dewi Road) for 45 minutes to reach Llanarthne, at the Emlyn Arms, turn right. Continue south on Route 47 for one of the longest legs of the journey. The 1 hour 40 minute cycle will take you past the National Botanic Garden of Wales and on to Porthyrhyd. Turn left into Heol y Foel, then on to Heol y Parc, turning right into Heol y Dre, continue south across Carmarthen Road and into Carreg Hollt. Follow this route to stop three in Llanelli. On leaving Llanelli, join National Cycle Route 4 (near Sandy Water Park) for a 25 minute cycle along the Millennium Coast Path to Burry Port where you continue along Route 4 northwards for 35 minutes before reaching the final stop in Kidwelly, then push on up route 4 for the final 1 hour 40 minute leg before finishing back at the start in Carmarthen.
Of course, you don’t have to do the whole route, which is 52 miles long and would take around 5 hours in one go, minus sightseeing - just pick your favourite section and saddle up. Or, make it a cake cycle double marathon!
And the good news is that as you’ll be burning up loads of calories on this adventure, you can afford to try as many treats as you fancy.
1. Calon Café & Interiors
Mansel Street, Carmarthen SA31 1QX.
Breakfast - Start your bike bake trail at Calon Cafe & Interiors in the heart of picturesque Carmarthen, the oldest town in Wales. Choose a healthy breakfast of avocado, chilli, lime & coriander on toasted sourdough - and slice of cake for energy. There’s a mouth-watering choice of confectionary made on the premises on offer, including bara brith and scones, jam and clotted cream. You might want to book afternoon tea here on your way back, too...
LEG ONE: from Carmarthenshire to Llanarthne via National Cycle Route 47, 45min (8.5 miles) - Take Route 47 (B4300, Cepel Dewi), a minor and quiet road from Calon Cafe which will deliver you to Wright’s Food Emporium doorstep with plenty of parking for your bikes out the back.
2. Wrights Food Emporium
Golden Grove Arms, Llanarthne, SA32 8JU.
Mid-morning cake and coffee - Carrot cake, plum and almond tart or baked sultana and nutmeg cheesecake anyone? Wright’s uses local butter, eggs and cream to conjure up sweet treats and delicious pastries, including fresh apple turnovers. The coffee is delicious, too.
LEG TWO: from Llanarthne to Llanelli via National Cycle Route 47, 1hr 40min (18 miles) - When leaving Wright’s, continue down the B4300 for 0.1 miles before turning right onto National Cycle Route 47 (at the Emlyn Arms). Follow this for 2.2 miles to arrive at The National Botanic Garden of Wales. From the National Botanic Gardens, join the B4310 south to Porthyrhyd. Turn left into Heol y Foel, then on to Heol y Parc, turning right into Heol y Dre, continue south across Carmarthen Road and into Carreg Hollt. Then continue along Route 47 through Cefneithin and Tumble before embarking on a long traffic free leg past the peaceful Lliedi Reservoirs to arrive in Llanelli. When entering Llanelli outskirts, Route 47 will cross Lakeview Terrace - at this cross road turn right on to Lakeview Terrace, Stradey Park is located around the corner.
Tourists’ treats - The National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthe, is set in the beautiful countryside and features themed gardens, the world’s largest single-span glasshouse, play areas and a national nature reserve. There’s a packed programme of events and courses throughout the year, 01558 667149, botanicgarden.wales
3. Stradey Park Hotel
Furnace, Llanelli SA15 4HA.
Lunch - The refreshing sea air along this stretch of your journey will certainly make you ready for lunch. Samphires at the Stradey Park Hotel offers a range of delicious sandwiches, baked potatoes and sharing plates, or head for the Rooftop Lounge or Conservatory, both with great views over the Gower and Carmarthen Bay, for yummy afternoon tea, served from 12 noon to 6pm, with cakes, quiche and sandwich galore. Or perfect for hungry cyclists, the hearty Gentleman’s Tea (available to ladies, too) includes chargrilled beef burger topped with Welsh cheese, corned beef rissole and coronation Scotch egg, plus caramelised apple tart and lemon sponge cake.
LEG THREE: from Llanelli to Burry Port via National Cycle Route 47, Millennium Coastal Path and National Cycle Route 4, 25min (5.4 miles) - Exit Stradey Park Hotel and turn left on to the B4309, take an immediate left into Pentrepoeth Road followed by a right into Lakeview Terrace, then on your right will be Route 47. Continue on Route 47 for 8 minutes before taking a loop over the bridge to join the Millennium Coastal Path. Follow this traffic free route for 3 miles, taking in the sea views. At Burry Port Harbour take a detour north towards the Railway station, over the road bridge turn right into Station Road, then first left into Stepney Road.
Tourists’ treats 1 - Chain up your bike and pop into Llanelli’s town centre to explore the St Elli’s shopping centre and popular 64-stall popular indoor market. Rugby fans should head for the legendary Llanelli Scarlets’ new stadium at Parc y Scarlets where there’s a shop and café.
Tourists’ treats 2 - Breathtaking Millennium Coastal Park; 22km of coastline to explore along the Loughor estuary, with unique array of tourist attractions such as a Discovery Centre, cafes and ice cream stalls, wildlife habitats and leisure facilities. In the heart of it, you’ll find Burry Port Marina, a tranquil haven for bobbing boats and surrounded by charming walks along footpaths and over dunes.
4. Whitford’s Café Bar
Stepney Road, Burry Port.
Afternoon tea - Carmarthenshire's newest sweet spot, Whitford’s makes fresh cakes daily, including gluten free cake and afternoon tea, which includes a selection of sandwiches, cakes and homemade scones with jam and clotted cream.
LEG FOUR: From Burry Port to Kidwelly via National Cycle Route 4, 30min (6.5miles) - Head south on Stepney Road, back towards Burry Port Harbour, to re-join Cycle Route 4, a part traffic free and part on-road route for the next 6 miles. Continue on Route 4 north which will merge with Pembrey Road, follow this road through Kidwelly town, over Gwendraeth Fach river to bear right on to New Street. Continue straight for 0.7 miles and reach Burns Farm Shop & Café.
Tourists’ treats 1 - Set against the spectacular backdrop of the Gower Peninsula and overlooking the coastal scenery of Carmarthen Bay, Pembrey Country Park has been transformed into one of Wales’s top visitor attractions. Lock the bike up and enjoy the unique blend of coast and countryside, from the longest toboggan run in Wales, a dry ski slope and outdoor laser tag to horse riding, pitch and putt and soccer zorb. If you are saving your energy for the final leg of the cycle, just enjoy the Cefn Sidan golden sands and idyllic woodlands and pine forest.
Tourists’ treats 2 - Kidwelly Castle provides a spine-tingling flashback to the medieval age. From its towers, ramparts and dark dungeons you get a sense of what it must have been like to be under siege. The gatehouse still has its murder holes and portcullis slit from which were poured boiling oils or rocks hurled to repel would-be invaders.
Tourists’ treats 3 - Take a break from your bike and enjoy the two-mile Kidwelly Canal and Quay walk from the Quay Car Park, taking in the oldest canal in Wales, created by Thomas Kymer in 1768 and now a thriving wildlife habitat. At the end of the canal you can either head into the town or walk back to the quay along the banks of the Gwendraeth Fawr river, looking out for curlews, redshanks and sandpipers. Check out Kidwelly’s Industrial Museum for more about the canals and coal industry.
5. Burns Farm Shop & Cafe
Parc Y Bocs, Carmarthen Rd, Kidwelly SA17 5AB.
01554 892 724
Cake stop - Expect a mouth-watering array of homemade cakes including coffee and walnut, lemon and coconut, chocolate brownies, bara brith, Welsh cakes, assorted cheesecakes and fresh cream scones. Yum. Gluten free cakes are available too.
LEG FIVE: From Kidwelly to Carmarthen via National Cycle Route 4, 1hr 40 min (14.2 miles) - Head south on Carrmarthen Road, past the Castle, down Bridge Street and turn right on to Route 4 before the bridge. Stay on this cliff hugging Route through St Ishmael and Ferryside before coming inland for the final stretch north to Carmarthen.
Tourists’ treats - Stop for a breather at picturesque Ferryside Beach, at the mouth of the River Tywi, tucked away off the beaten track with great views of Llansteffan Castle across the estuary.