Lampeter,a busy market town in the Teifi Valley on routes to the Cambrian Mountains and the Cardigan Bay coast, has an interesting history as an university town and centre of commerce.
Lampeter - busy market town and gateway to Ceredigion
Lampeter is a busy local commercial centre, providing services for a wide area, with a number of independent shops specialising in home furnishings, books, records, art and craft, clothing, food and drink. There's a regular farmer's market as well as excellent cafes serving home made cakes, italian ice cream and other freshly prepared and artisan food. Lampeter has a lively Transition Town community, and even has its own shopping loyalty card. You'll also find supermarkets, a leisure centre and swimming pool, a local museum and a great network of walks to enjoy.
The popular Lampeter Food Festival in July is held on the grounds of the University college.Traditional events include the annual agricultural show held in August, almost continuously since the 1870s, and the prestigious Rhys Thomas James Eisteddfod, held over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
There are also craft fairs and music festivals as well as regular events organised by Ramblers and the town's various sports clubs, who welcome visitors.
For more events see the Ceredigion events listing, and to find a place to stay in and around Lampeter, take a look at our accommodation pages.
The area also has a strong textiles tradition - Lampeter is home to the Welsh Quilt Centre where exhibitions explain and display Jen Jones' international collection of quilts, and artists and craftmakers held workshops and events celebrating quilting and contemporary textile art. Deep in the countryside, about four miles away at Llwynygroes, between the Teifi and Aeron Valleys, you'll find Jane Beck's emporium of Welsh blankets.
Nearby is Denmark Farm Conservation Centre where you can join courses on country skills and crafts, food and art, as well as enjoy trails through wildlife rich meadows to lakes and copses. At Mydroilyn you'll find Cae Hir Gardens - transformed from farmland to garden over the last half a century.
Check the events listings to see what's on when.
Lampeter-oldest university town
Founded by Royal Charter in 1822, the Lampeter University college campus ( now part of Trinity St Davids University) is the oldest college establishment in Britain after Oxford and Cambridge. Until the 1970s it was a training centre for Anglican priests but and today specialises in Humanities, offering Archaeology, Anthropology, Ancient Egyptian Culture, Classical Studies, Philosophy as well as Religious Studies.
The University link may have brought the game of rugby to Lampeter, when a Professor introduced the game to the college in the 1850s. In 1881, Lampeter was one of the founding members of the Welsh Rugby Union.
Romans once mined for gold at Pumpsaint, near Lampeter at a site now managed by the National Trust and open to visitors who can try their hand at panning for gold. Longwood, stretching north along a ridge between the Teifi and Dulas rivers, has a series of hillforts, as well as a network of footpaths and bridleways. A circular wood, known as Caer Olwen recalls the legend of Olwen, whose footprints reputedly filled with white flowers.
Lampeter, known in Welsh as Llambed (an abbreviation of Llanbedr Pont Steffan - 'St Peter's by Stephen's Bridge') lies at the confluence of the Creuddyn and Dulas rivers with the Teifi. The town is also at the crossroad of several routes and there were once five tollgates on these roads into town, all of which were destroyed in one night in August 1843, during the Rebecca Riots.
Follow the town trail and visit the town's museum, at the former university gatehouse building (open Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays,10am and 4pm), to find out more.
Dylan Thomas in Lampeter
The 1990s film Rebecca's Daughters, starring Peter O'Toole, is based on the Rebecca Riots of the 1840s. The script was written in the 1940s by Dylan Thomas, who was familiar with the Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire countryside where the Riots took place, and had probably collected stories about the events and the characters involved from local people while on visits to Lampeter.
Dylan Thomas himself appeared in Court in Lampeter, as a witness to the shooting incident dramatised in the film 'the Edge of Love' . The Courthouse is now home to the Welsh Quilt Centre.
The university is the base for the International Dylan Thomas Creative Writing Summer School.