Finding a B&B that ticks all the boxes can be surprisingly difficult, so it’s refreshing to stumble across the likes of Argo Villa, at the beginning (or end!) of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, where you’ll find light-drenched rooms with a dash of Victorian elegance, the warmest of welcomes and hands-down one of the best breakfasts in Wales.
Why we love it…
From the moment we arrived, hosts Gill and Antosh made us feel incredibly welcome by making us tea and giving us the lowdown on what to see and do in the area. Before we knew it, we were armed with a bespoke guide to the area: from where to eat sewin (a rare kind of Welsh sea trout only available in summer) locally to hidden beaches, Neolithic Pembrokeshire sites and trails on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which begins right on their doorstep. The couple are passionate about walking, history and the environment – and you certainly feel their love for their home and surroundings.
As for the food, you won’t find a better breakfast anywhere in Wales. Delicious homemade idli with curry and chutneys whisked us back to our time in Southern India. We were so impressed that we just had to have a sneak peek at how it was done in the kitchen, and Gill obligingly showed us behind the scenes and divulged her recipes. See here for one of her favourite recipes she let us use here at Undiscovered Wales… mmmmm.
On the coastal road between Cardigan and Poppit Sands and overlooking the tidal estuary of the River Teifi, the B&B is a beauty, housed in a powder-blue villa that was built by a Victorian sea captain. Still today the bright and breezy interiors and palette of blues and whites reflect this love of the sea. Throughout the house, period features like stained-glass windows, high ceilings and carved woodwork add character, as do photos, old maps and pictures of the local area (check out the standing stones…). If the weather turns drab, there are board games and an interesting selection of books to amuse and peruse. In spring and summer, the garden bursts into flower and fragrance.
We liked the feeling of space, the abundance of natural light and the uplifting views of the Teifi Estuary through the bay window in our room. Not to mention thoughtful details like binoculars – ideal for spotting wading birds like curlews, oystercatchers and redshanks at low tide. The decor is simple and unfussy in a comfortable, home-style way, with hardwood floors, pale walls and a sprinkling of personal touches. Most of all we appreciated the feel of the place – its air of calm and the sense of being so close to the coast.
Gill is a wonder when it comes to breakfasts. Never have we encountered a B&B with so much choice and such attention to detail. Breakfast begins with fresh fruits, homemade bread, cereals, natural yoghurt, locally made jams and yoghurts, then moves on to options that include the full cooked works, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and, the one that caught our eye, South Indian idli and sambar.
The latter is a veritable feast, taking us right back to our recent trip to Kerala. Gill had prepared each flavour-rich dish authentically – from the steamed rice and lentil cakes to the vegetable curry and ginger and coriander chutneys. She is a keen forager so you’ll find a few ingredients spicing things up seasonally, such as wild garlic flowerbud pickle in spring. We also liked the fact that vegan, gluten- and dairy-free choices are available.
Sandwiches can be prepared for picnics along the coast path on request, and for dinner you need look no further than the estuary-facing Ferry Inn right opposite. We enjoyed some tasty local shellfish there. The fish and chips served at Bowen’s is also pretty good, we are told, and guests are welcome to eat their takeaway in the dining room.
Plenty! St Dogmaels itself is an appealing little place, with walks along the tidal estuary and along the spectacular, 186-mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path right on the doorstep (yep, you can start hiking from Argo Villa). Argo Villa is only a mile or so from Cardigan and its castle but quainter and quieter. In the village itself, there’s the ruined 12th-century St Dogmaels Abbey, early Christian Celtic crosses carved on bluestones in the museum, and an Ogham stone in the church to explore.
Antosh is passionate about prehistory and has created a map of local Neolithic sites and standing stones, including Stonehenge’s Neolithic quarries at Craig Rhosyfelin and Carn Goedog, cromlechs (dolmens), standing stones and stone circles. And if you’re up for some beach time, the lovely dune-backed expanse of Poppit Sands is just two miles down the road. Otherwise, take to the coastal path or pop into nearby Cardigan to see its medieval castle (the first Eisteddfod was held here in 1176).
At a glance
Snooze factor: 9 A tranquil setting and comfortable beds.
Food factor: 10 The South Indian breakfast was one to remember.
Eco-friendly factor: 9 Gill and Antosh are very environment focused and many efforts are made here to be eco-friendly.
Location factor: 9 A very pretty setting right by the estuary and 100m from the start of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
Price: Doubles from £83 (breakfast included); king and twin rooms from £87. Special rates for stays of three nights or more.
Booking is by phone (tel: 01239-613031) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org)