Introducing Cardigan (Aberteifi)
Small, historically sleepy Cardigan has the feel of a town on the cusp of change. Hip craft shops, trendy home-grown fashion labels, gourmet food stores and stylish B&Bs are creeping up the high street at a steady pace. Dynamic creative types seem to have been drawn here in recent years and although Cardigan hasn't quite shaken off its lacklustre image, it's well on its way. The castle is being restored, the town's reputation for its alternative arts scene is growing and the jumble of historical architecture that lines its streets and lanes has been given a new lease of life thanks to a local heritage initiative.
There's plenty of great walking in the surrounding countryside, lots of outdoor activities and some interesting places to visit such as the Welsh Wildlife Centre [WWC], St Dogmaels and Poppit Sands just across the river in Pembrokeshire. For walkers, Cardigan is the closest town to the end of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path (PCP) and the first town at the beginning of the new Ceredigion Coast Path (CCP), so it sees plenty of hikers coming and going.
Cardigan is an Anglicisation of Ceredigion, the place of Ceredig, but the Welsh name, Aberteifi, refers to its location at the mouth of the River Teifi. In Elizabethan times this was Wales' second-most important port and, by the 18th century, one of Britain's busiest seafaring centres. By the late 19th century, however, the railway was displacing sea transport and the river began silting up, relegating the town to an altogether quieter future.