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Review: Y Talbot, Tregaron

(September 01, 2015)

Review: Y Talbot, Tregaron, Ceredigion
4* inn

Y Talbot 1
 

Y Talbot is a 4 star, 17th century inn in the pretty, compact, thriving market-town of Tregaron, forming the major architectural focal point of Y Sgwar, the town square. A Grade II listed building dating back at least 400 years, Y Talbot is at the heart of Tregaron, in the Welsh-speaking rural heartlands of the upper-Teifi valley. Over two thirds of the town's population can speak Welsh, including most of Y Talbot's staff.

Tregaron is the perfect base to explore Ceredigion, northern Carmarthenshire and the Cambrian mountains. And the beautiful seaside town of Aberaeron, looking out over Bae Ceredigion (Cardigan Bay) is less than 17 miles away.
 

Y Talbot - cwrw da

 

On the other side of Y Sgwar is the Canolfan Rhiannon Centre, which includes the Canolfan Cynllun Crefft Cymru (Craft Design Centre of Wales) - art and craft galleries, and a small museum of Celtic art - and the Canolfan Aur Cymru (Welsh Gold Centre), with Gemwaith Rhiannon's jewellery workshop and shop. Bring plenty of money! Y Canolfan is packed full of quality Welsh products you didn't know you needed, but once seen, you won't want to live without.

The statue at the centre of Y Sgwar is of local boy Henry Richard (1812-1888), known as "the Apostle of Peace". Richard, secretary of the Peace Society (forerunner of the League of Nations) for forty years, was also a prominent abolitionist and became an MP too. As his statue says, 'In 1868 he became M.P. for the Merthyr constituency: and such was his concern for Welsh affairs that he became known as "the Member for Wales".' What a guy.

The inn features in the film Y Syrcas (2013), directed by Kevin Allen. Helen Griffin's screenplay was inspired by local folklore, which tells the tale of Batty's Travelling Menageries (the Circus) arriving in Tregaron in 1848. Among the circus troupe was an elephant, which died having drunk contaminated water and is, apparently, buried behind the beer garden of Y Talbot. Nick Stradling, of Wales in the Movies, reviewed Y Syrcas for Cymru Culture in December 2013; see Review: Y Syrcas (The Circus).

Y Syrcas
Scene from Y Syrcas, filmed in Tregaon

Originally a drovers' inn, George Borrow stayed in Y Talbot in 1854 writing warmly of his stay, in Wild Wales (published 1862). The hotel was built next to the inn in the 1850s, anticipating the coming of the railway linking Tregaron to Aberystwyth (about 17 miles north-west of Tregaron) and Llanbed PS (about 11 miles south-west of Tregaron), which opened in 1867.

Y Talbot - tân

The buildings have recently undergone extensive renovations, carried out by owners Mick and Nia Taylor with commendable sensitivity; everything you would want to be modern has been updated to a very high standard, and everything you would want to remain historic has been either left untouched or restored. The buildings have been beautifully renovated and decorated throughout; the pub's bar areas have a traditional feel, with their slate-flag floors, thick stone walls, inglenook fireplaces and wooden beams, and the main part of the hotel has a very modern feel to its Victorian roots.

The bars have maintained the atmosphere of a locals' pub. Not the kind where the music stops and eveyone turns to look as you walk in, but where you are welcomed into the community; difficult to achieve following a refit.

Y Talbot's well-kept cask ales include Evan Evans (from Llandeilo), Felinfoel (Llanelli) and Purple Moose (Porthmadog) breweries. Micro brewery Bragdy Mantle, from Cardigan, was a new one on us, and deserves being sampled as often as possible. Gwynt y Ddraig ciders (Pentre'r Eglwys/Church Village) and Penderyn Whisky (Hirwaun) are also available.

Outside, to the rear, the beer-garden has been beautifully landscaped, and includes a terraced, paved courtyard with seating available. To the front, picnic-style tables overlook Y Sgwar and Tregaron's main street.

Y Talbot, Tregaron

The inn has an excellent reputation for warm welcomes and good food; looking at the reviews left on Tripadvisor, lots of satisfied guests have expressed these as particular strong points for the inn. Former guests include US President Jimmy Carter, who has stayed there twice.

We came across this inn when looking on the Welsh rarebits website www.rarebits.co.uk (which we have used as a trusted source of holiday destinations for a number of years now), and stayed here during part of a recent trip. Y Talbot is also listed in the Michelin Pub Guide 2015; the only new entry this year in Wales. We stayed two nights on a mid-week stay package, on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis, which represents excellent value for money. For current offers see: ytalbot.com.

 

Y Talbot 3 Y Talbot 4

Y Talbot has 15 rooms: nine Superior doubles or twin rooms (one of which has easy-access and facilities for disabled or limited mobility); two Standard twins; two singles; and two suites, which can convert to family rooms. All rooms have televisions and free Wi-Fi.

Our room, overlooking the quaint town centre, was spacious, light and bright, very clean, and furnished in a modern, pleasant style, with a very comfortable bed topped with Welsh wool blankets.

The bathroom was luxurious - again very clean - spacious and modern, with lots of lovely toiletries and fluffy white towels.

 

Y Talbot - gwely Y Talbot - stafell
Y Talbot - cawod Y Talbot 6

The same menu is available to eat either in the bar areas or served in the very pleasant restaurant. Food was plentiful, freshly-prepared, full of flavour, well-presented and good value for money. It was good to see that, wherever possible, Y Talbot source all their ingredients locally. We thoroughly enjoyed everything we ate here. All credit to chef Dafydd Watkin. Particular favourites were scallops, salmon fillet and Welsh lamb.

 

Starter at Y Talbot Y Talbot - scallops
Lovely scallops starter at Y  Talbot
Y Talbot, salmon fillet main course Y Talbot, Welsh lamb main course
Salmon fillet main course (awaiting vegetables) Welsh lamb main course

Y Talbot's full Welsh breakfast was also of a high standard; lots of freshly-cooked options, that come with a good selection of cereals, fruit, fruit juice, toast, preserves and tea or coffee.

 

Y Talbot, dining roomY Talbot's modernised restaurant, set out for breakfast
  

We had no problems parking during our stay; spaces were available immediately in front of the hotel each time we needed one. More parking is available at the rear. And, at busier periods, plentiful off-street parking is available a short walk away.

If you are looking for a short break in an historic inn with all-mod-cons, top quality food and drink, a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, in an idyllic market-town that hasn't been decimated by big supermarkets and is the perfect base for exploring rural west Wales, Y Talbot is the ideal place. We look forward to returning soon; a recommendation in itself. 

Claire Meredith, September 2015

Y Talbot
Y Sgwar
Tregaron
Ceredigion
SY25 6JL

Phone/Ffôn: 01974 298208
www.ytalbot.com
info@ytalbot.com

Also by Claire Meredith:
    
Manorhaus, Llangollen; June 2015

    
Ty Croeso, Crickhowell; December 2014

    
Ruthin Castle Hotel, Rhuthun; September 2014

    
The Manor Town House, Fishguard; June 2014
    
Llandeilo; December 2013
    
Tenby / Dinbych-y-pysgod; September 2013
    
The Old Chemist Inn, Saundersfoot
; September 2013

    
The Bunch of Grapes, Pontypridd
; September 2013

    
Gwesty'r Emlyn Hotel, Newcastle Emlyn
; June 2013

    
Photographic study of Newcastle Emlyn
; June 2013
     Lake Vyrnwy Hotel; December 2012

     The Drawing Room, nr Builth Wells; December 2012
     3 Pen Cei Guest House, Aberaeron; June 2012
     Escape 5* B&B, Llandudno; June 2012
     The Bunch of Grapes, Pontypridd; June 2012
     Photographic study of Myddfai; February 2011
     The Crown at Whitebrook; February 2011
     The New White Lion, Llandovery; February 2011
     Ty Mawr Mansion Country House, Cilcennin, Lampeter; December 2009
     George Thomas Hospice 'Style In the City' event; May 2009

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