Review of Oriel Milgi, Pembrokeshire, Wales
>> For availability and booking see our full listing for Oriel Milgi B&B, Pembrokeshire.
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Oriel Milgi is a funky three-room B&B that mixes retro style with local craftsmanship and contemporary art in the far north of Pembrokeshire.
Named after its owners’ two great passions – art and whippets - Oriel Milgi was opened in late 2011 by Helen, a former teacher, and Anne, an illustrator, in the pretty coastal village of St Dogmaels. Once a sea captain’s house, period grandeur remains in the building’s spiralling Georgian staircase while a stylish renovation has added more contemporary features. These include sleek wood and glass doors, softly hued eco-friendly paintwork, iPod docks, custom-designed oak headboards, white-painted wooden shutters and gorgeous linen sheets. Rhosyn (“rose”), with an en-suite bath and shower, and Môr (“sea”), with a wet-room, are at the front of the house, both with kingsize beds. Our favourite is Coed (“wood”), with views out over the garden towards the estuary, at the back of the house. More like a suite than a bedroom, this has a super-king bed (it can also be configured as twin beds), a large and decadent wet room with sand-coloured tiles and a rainwater shower and plenty of space to unwind.
Original artwork adds extra character (many guests end up commissioning Anne for portraits and paintings), as do the vintage finds peppered throughout the house, from an Ercol sofa in the lounge and traditional Welsh tapestry blankets on the beds to breakfast served on twin-tone Poole pottery. Though the overall effect is deeply relaxing, everything here has been painstakingly thought through; there are no UHT milk sachets but little Thermos flasks of fresh milk, for instance, and a dog-sitting service is available for canine visitors (don’t be put off if you’re not a dog lover – the house is immaculate).
All the usual breakfast suspects are on offer here, from an expertly made porridge to a full Welsh. If there’s anything particular you’re hankering for Helen and Anne will do their best to provide it and most of what they serve is locally sourced, from Glebelands Market Garden and local farmers' markets in St Dogmaels and Cardigan. Bacon and sausages from Cig Lodor, Maencloddog, Eggs from Cwmtydu, Llandysul. Bread from Queen's Bakery, Cardigan. The tea and coffee is fair-trade - even the coffee is locally roasted in the Preseli Hills.They’re also great evangelists about local food suppliers. Favourites include Deli Delights, a coffee shop and deli almost opposite the B&B that stocks everything from cheeses to cakes, quiches, chutneys and also opens for occasional supper evenings (delidelightswales.co.uk), and Glebelands, a farm stall on the outskirts of the village that sells homegrown fruit and veg (glebelandsmarketgarden.co.uk).
For dinner, the best of the village’s pubs is the Ferry Inn, 10 minutes’ walk away (ferry-inn.com). This serves better-than-average pub grub (think fishcakes, Glamorgan sausages, salads, burgers) on lovely old wooden tables right by the water’s edge. The best food in the area, however, is arguably on offer at 25 Mile in neighbouring Cardigan (25mile.com). Stylish and buzzy, as the name suggests it buys in the vast majority of its produce from within a 25-mile radius.
Easy access to both Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion means you won’t be stuck for things to do. There’s history right on the doorstep, with the ruins of St Dogmaels Abbey five minutes’ walk away (welshabbey.org.uk). The village also marks the start of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path (nt.pcnpa.org.uk); even if you’re not planning on walking the whole thing it’s worth following it a mile or so north to Poppit Sands, the closest Blue Flag beach, for a seaside day out. For wildlife-watching boat trips, local company Bay To Remember (baytoremember.co.uk) is recommended, or book in for a sea kayaking trip or myriad other outdoor activities with Fforest, based just down the road in Cardigan (coldatnight.co.uk). The Welsh Wildlife Centre, five miles away at Cilgerran, is also worth a detour (welshwildlife.org). Set within the Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve it’s an unlikely home to water buffalo, among many smaller creatures, and has a striking visitor centre at its heart, with a café that serves simple but well presented dishes made with much local produce.
The building has been recently renovated and insulated. Electricity and gas is supplied by Good Energy (100% green energy supplier), the central heating on each floor can be switched on or off independently and each radiator has a thermostat. The fridge is AA rated, freezer and dishwasher and washing machines are A-rated. All waste is recycled where possible in accordance with the council's waste collection policy and all the sheets are 100% linen and hypo-allergenic.
How to get there
The closest train station is at Fishguard, 30 minutes’ drive away. Helen or Anne will sometimes pick guests up from there, or standard hourly buses run from Fishguard to Cardigan, a 20-minute walk away (richardsbros.co.uk). The same company run the Poppit Rocket, a walker-friendly bus service that links Fishguard and Cardigan via a slower and less frequent coastal course that stops in St Dogmaels.
For a less formal dinner, book one of the 1950s-style Formica tables at Bowen’s Fish and Chip shop (01239 613814), a few doors down from Oriel Milgi. It closes fairly early though; if you’d rather eat a bit later, go for a take-out and Helen and Anne will set you up with cutlery and crockery on Oriel Milgi’s dining room table.
With companies like Howies (howies.co.uk), Fforest (coldatnight.co.uk) and the Do Lectures (dolectures.com) choosing to operate along this part of the West Wales coastline, the north Pembrokeshire/ south Ceredigion area is really beginning to stake its place on the tourist map. If you want to explore the best of the local scenery, sights and flavours from a comfortable, contemporary base, Oriel Milgi is just the place.
>> For availability and booking see our full listing for Oriel Milgi
>> See also our Greentraveller Guide to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
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