Dylan was born in the Welsh sea town of Swansea, a captivating mix of industry, countryside and sea. His ‘ugly, lovely town’ clearly provided him with a rich tapestry for his ever-evolving imagination. He had an explosion of teenage creativity while living here, writing early drafts of some of his most famous poems. His later stories and letters are full of nostalgic memories of the inhabitants of the parks, camping on the beaches and walks across the isolated bays.



The Gower Peninsula provided young Dylan with a perfect landscape to explore: steep hills to conquer, beaches to investigate, precarious cliff tops to walk across and deep, dark caves to hide in. A coastal upbringing had a profound impact on him. He was always most productive when living close to the sea and you’ll notice that the harmony of the sea views, sounds and smells feature a lot in some of his most poignant works.

Image © City and County of Swansea



Laugharne is a quirky sea-town where Dylan relished the peace and tranquility and found the time and space to concentrate on his writing. The arguments in favour of Laugharne as the main inspiration for Under Milk Wood are very compelling with many of the locals proudly boasting that one or two of the weird, yet wonderful characters, are actually based on their family members! Laugharne remains a special place for Dylan’s family and they visit often.  Dylan, his wife Caitlin, and their daughter Aeronwy chose it as their final resting place.



Dylan spent all his childhood holidays in the Welsh speaking communities of the Llansteffan Peninsula in Carmarthenshire and it is a vital place for understanding the impact of Welsh culture and language on his writing. It was also the home of his many funny and eccentric aunts and uncles that we meet in his short stories. When living in Laugharne, his wife Caitlin, fully aware of the connection between the Carmarthenshire landscape and his poetry, fitted windows in his writing shed to allow him to look across as he worked.

Image © DiscoverCarmarthenshire.com



During the early 1940s, Dylan and Caitlin stayed in the Aeron valley in Ceredigion. This had a lasting consequence for the Thomas family as their daughter, who was born shortly after, was named Aeronwy, or Aeron for short. They returned to the area again in 1944, but this time to New Quay, a quaint but artistic, ‘cultured’ town where many artists gathered. It was a perfect retreat for Dylan as he soon realised he could, once again, write with ease. There is also some credence to the argument that “without New Quay, there would be no Milk Wood”, because within months of arriving there, Dylan had written a radio script based on the town called, Quite Early One Morning, which contains many early versions of characters that appear again in Under Milk Wood.


Rest of Wales

Though Dylan is predominantly known for living in coastal towns in West Wales there is still more to see in other parts of the country. From places he gave readings, to artwork on display, as well as a place where he had a chance meeting with a young Queen Elizabeth II.