A Garden of Delights on Our Doorstep

View of the Great Glasshouse © Nigel Summerley

The National Botanic Garden of Wales may be not quite in Pembrokeshire, but we’re fortunate in that it’s only just across the border, in Carmarthenshire.

It is open to the public all year round and it really is unmissable – for a multitude of reasons.

The most obvious one is that it is home to the world’s largest single-span glasshouse which contains a stunning display of plants from the Canary Islands, Chile, California, Western Australia, South Africa and the Mediterranean. They include some of the most endangered species on the planet. 

Inside the Great Glasshouse © Nigel Summerley

It’s as delightfully restful to wander among these exotic plants, sheltered beneath the vast glass roof, as it is just to see this remarkable building from a distance.

Another treat is the all-glass, but much smaller, Butterfly House where you can get up seductivelyclose to these beautiful insects. This building sits in the corner of the large double-walled formal garden that greets you when you arrive.

In the Japanese Garden © Nigel Summerley

Other attractions include the small but perfectly lovely Japanese garden, the ebullient flower power of the Wallace Garden, and the magical child-friendly (and childlike-adult-friendly) Fairy Wood.

In the Fairy Wood © Nigel Summerley

National Botanic Garden of Wales, Middleton Hall, Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire SA32 8HN; 01558 667149; botanicgarden.wales; open 1 Nov-31Mar, 10am-4.30pm; 1 Apr-31 Oct, 10am-6pm.

Nigel Summerley

Nigel Summerley

Nigel Summerley recently retired from The Oldie magazine to return to freelance journalism. He previously held executive staff jobs at the London Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Express before freelancing for 20 years for newspapers including The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Guardian and the ‘i’ paper, plus a wide range of magazines. He continues to write about music, travel and health.

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