Llansteffan – beach, castle, holy well

Down at Llansteffan: Scott's Bay.

Down at Llansteffan: Scott’s Bay.

Llansteffan for explorers

Llansteffan boasts a beach, a castle and a holy well together with shops and eating places. There are pubs and restaurants on the High Street and down by the car park.


The bus from Carmarthen is the 227 which stops twice in the High Street, by the bridge, then at the church.  Conveniently, it leaves Carmarthen just ten minutes after the bus from our Crossroads (the 225) arrives.  Coming back, you hang around in Carmarthen for a couple of hours, but that’s no problem.  You’ll still have six glorious hours in Llansteffan.

It is a longer walk to the beach from the bridge, but obvious which way you go. After a ten-minute walk you come to the car park.

If you alight at St Steffan’s church, follow Church Road down towards the castle, beach and car park. A small pedestrian path turns off to the right and leads down to the car park.

If coming by car from Carmarthen, turn left after the bridge, drive along Water Street by the stream, then turn right at the dunes and follow the road to the car park. Or park on the dunes and walk the rest.  Postcode SA33 5LW for the car park.

Car Park and Beach

The car park is right by the beach. The beach is hard sand and runs for miles. If you go swimming bear in mind the incoming and outgoing tidal current is very fast. You could up in Carmarthen or out to sea in no time, so do not venture out of your depth. The car park hosts Florries fish and chips, ice creams and a Beach Shop and Tea Room.

St Antwn’s Well and the Castle

From the car park walk up the pedestrian path to Church Road then turn left. Or if you came by bus and don’t yet need refreshment or facilities, just keep going towards the castle.

When the woods begin you will see the road splits into three. The right hand path goes up to the castle. The left hand goes down to the beach. Take the middle path and walk through the woods, learning all about the place from the sign boards as you go.

Eventually you will come to a small bay where is a house. This is Scott’s Bay, and you will probably have it all to yourself.

The Well

Now walk up away from the beach keeping the house on your left. Look out for a hidden doorway in the wall on your left marked ‘St Anthony’s Well’ or ‘Ffynon Antwn Sant.’ Go through the door and you will find the site of St Antwn’s tiny hermitage.

St Antwn lived in the sixth century and took the name of the St Antony (c251 – 356) the most prominent of the Egyptian Desert Fathers. St Antwn chose the Christian ascetic path, although people will also have gone to him for healings – the well was known for this – and prophecies. His contemporary St Steffan, on the other hand, chose mission and evangelism, which is why we find the church dedicated to him in the village named after him. We are not sayting either way is superior to the other. Both have their place and no doubt draw individuals of different characters.

The Castle

Now come out of the door back onto the lane and keep going up and away from the beach. Turn right at the next house and keep walking up. You will eventually find the grounds of the Plas estate on your left. The mansion is a gentry house built in 1788 for Hugh Mears replacing a 15th Century house.

Soon you will come to the path on your right leading up to the castle. Llansteffan Castle was built in the early twelth century by the Normans and changed hands between Welsh and Normans several times. It is possible to climb up the tower and explore the whole site. Entrance is free. Across the estuary you may see a train pass through Ferryside on the Carmarthen to Swansea line. There really was a ferry across the estuary back in the day.

Come out of the castle and walk back to Llansteffan.