You, Me and Dylan Thomas

   Dylan Thomas Retreat

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This retreat is not designed for the expert on Dylan Thomas; rather, it is an opportunity for  fans of his work to spend time in the beautiful natural environment of west Carmarthenshire which shaped him, and to meet in convivial surroundings with fellow enthusiasts and share their appreciation of his poetry and short stories.


It includes local field trips, lively dinners, recitals, a harp concert and a midnight solstice bonfire!

The retreat is based in the seaside village of Llansteffan, the home of Dylan’s mother’s family, where he spent much time in his youth.  Hill House, the home of the retreat, is in the middle of Llansteffan with spectacular views to the ancient village church, the castle, the Towy Estuary, and the famed beach of Llansteffan.  The group will be small, with eight residential places available.  There will be trips to nearby sites of interest, including the picturesque town of Laugharne where Dylan spent much time in later life.  There will be home-cooked dinners, and activities will include an informal concert by the Welsh harpist, Caryn Tywyn, a recital by John Bilsborough (Poet in Residence at the Boathouse in Laugharne in 2014), a boat trip from Laugharne to Llansteffan, and walks to local sites.  Participants are free to pick and choose sessions according to their interests.

The literary aspect of this retreat will be led by the poet Klara Norling, whose contemporary work in Sweden has been greatly inspired by Dylan Thomas’s work.  Her view will be a personal one, and she will lead discussions about interpreting his writings and the rich variety of feelings they evoke.  The discussion groups will also explore the powerful connection between the writings and the spoken word.  Some participants may wish to try writing themselves during this retreat.

Klara st the Boathouse

A detailed description of the guided discussions/literary work will be mailed with preparation materials although it is recommended that you have read “Portrait of the artist as a young dog”.

In Klara’s own words :

“I read my first Dylan Thomas book aged 13 and so fell in love for the first time… ”

Dylan changed me entirely; my passion for his works, the fascination for his personality  and the connections between us.  My writing is not inspired by him as such, but I have been interpreting, reading and studying Dylan since our first “meeting”. It is not true to say that my writing is inspired by him, rather my view of poetry is… the conclusion that anything can be poetry. That there is light in the dark and beauty in the dirt.

Please see Klara’s  Dylan Diary

Participants can download a free BBC interactive ebook,   ‘The Road to Milkwood’,   by the poet and Dylan Thomas expert, Jon Tregenna.


Detailed schedule of activities ( All are optional )

Friday 19th June

Arrivals from 4 p.m.

Drinks and snacks on arrival.

18.00:      Meeting the Group.

19.30:      Dinner, wine and music.  Welsh whiskey tasting.

21.30:      View “The Edge of Love”


10.00:     Dylan Thomas guided discussion

12.00:     Lunch

14.00:     Dylan Thomas guided discussion.

16.00:    Walk via The Sticks woods for a poetry recital in the Castle ruins, then down to the shore for a picnic afternoon tea, with Welsh tea cakes and local ice cream.

18.00:    Harp recital with songs and history by Carwyn Tywyn.

19.30:    Dinner with wine and Dylan Thomas poetry recital by John Bilsborough.

21.30:    The Castle Inn to toast the Welsh bard (optional)


10.00:    Guided Dylan Thomas discussion.

12.00:    Lunch

14.00:    Discussion with guided practical work.

16.00:    Walk to St Stephens Well, the castle ruins, then down to the shore if the tide is out.  Take a picnic. Pick cockles and mussels for tonight’s Welsh recipe in addition to the planned meal (optional).

19.30:    Dinner (plus cockles/mussels/lava bread) with wine etc

22.00:   Bonfire to celebrate the Solstice.   Marsh mallows / potatoes etc poetry reading, drinking, singing, music etc


10.00:    Visit to Laugharne where we will visit the Boat House, Dylan’s Grave and the Writing Shed,  returning by local boat.

Pub lunch at Browns Hotel (drinks not included)

Options: Laugharne Castle visit/Welsh Coastal Path/free time to visit the town.

19.30:    Final dinner with wine and music.


10.00 – onwards : Departure



Our aim is to focus on simple, nurturing foods that both taste great and are also healthy – to include rice and pasta dishes, fresh salads and fruits, soups,  desserts, cheese and wine. If you have any dietary restrictions, please let us know – these can normally be catered for. Food will generally be vegetarian based and prepared by our local chef.

At 8.30 am:   ‘Help yourself’ breakfast (cereals, toast, cheese, fruit, etc) in addition to evening meals described above.

NB. For lunches, you can help yourself to food from the communal kitchen, prepare a meal for yourself at the retreat, or visit a local pub, restaurant or cafe.

 What is Included



* Boat trip and walks with picnics

* FOOD (including wine at dinner)  

*ACCOMMODATION  (4 nights) Private bedroom with shared facilities.

Cost:       For shared bedroom    £390

                 For private bedroom    £490 


Please call or text:                 Lance         07899 061360

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