August 03, 2012
This year, Wales becomes the only country in the world with a formal trail wrapped around its entire coastline. Officially completed in May, the new 870-mile Wales Coast Path stretches from Chepstow in the south to Queensferry in the north and has, thus far, created quite a splash. Travel guide publisher Lonely Planet rated the Wales coastline first in its "Best in Travel: Top 10 regions for 2012" while The New York Times named Wales one of the "Top 45 places to go in 2012."
If you fancy a hike with a bit of literary history, head to the sleepy town of Laugharne which was twice home to Dylan Thomas, who lived here from May 1938 until July 1940, and then from May 1949 until his death in New York City in November 1953. (Laugharne is said to have inspired the fictional town of Llareggub in Thomas' famous radio drama, Under Milk Wood.) The white clapboard boathouse where Thomas lived with his wife Caitlin and their three children is perched beside a cobblestone path, jutting out over the Taf Estuary. The parlor inside has been restored to its 1950s rendering; a second floor houses photographs, manuscripts, and a short documentary about Thomas' life. There's also a café, where visitors can unwind over a spot of traditional Welsh tea, whilst up the path a ways stands a rustic shed where the poet spent most of his time writing.
Thomas and his wife are buried in a grave marked by a wooden cross in the yard of St. Martin's Church in the northern section of Laugharne. The Dylan Thomas "loop" is part of the official 5-mile Coygen to Delacourse path along the Wales Coast Path.
Does the newly-minted trail - combined with the fact that Prince William and his bride recently set up home on the nearby Isle of Anglesey - mean that the once-shy sibling of England and Scotland earns the royal stamp of approval?