Llanelli ("St Elli's Parish"; Welsh: [ɬaˈnɛɬi] ) is a market town and community in Carmarthenshire and the preserved county of Dyfed, Wales. It is located on the Loughor estuary and is also the largest town in the county of Carmarthenshire.[2]

From the top, Llanelli Town Hall, St Ellyw's Church, Stepney street Arcade
Llanelli is located in Carmarthenshire
Location within Carmarthenshire
OS grid referenceSN505005
  • Llanelli
Principal area
Preserved county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtSA14, SA15
Dialling code01554[1]
FireMid and West Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
51°41′02″N 4°09′47″W / 51.684°N 4.163°W / 51.684; -4.163

The town is 11 miles (18 km) north-west of Swansea and 12 miles (19 km) south-east of Carmarthen. The town had a population of 25,168 in 2011, estimated in 2019 at 26,225.[3] The local authority was Llanelli Borough Council when the county of Dyfed existed, but it has been under Carmarthenshire County Council since 1996.[4]





The anglicised spelling “Llanelly” was used until 1966, when it was changed to Llanelli after a local public campaign. It remains in the name of a local historic building, Llanelly House, and this is sometimes confused with the village and parish of Llanelly, in south-east Wales near Abergavenny.

Llanelly in Victoria, Australia was named after this town of Llanelli, using the spelling current at that time.[5][6]



The beginnings of Llanelli can be found on the lands of present-day Parc Howard. An Iron Age hill fort once stood which was called Bryn-Caerau (hill of the forts). Evidence suggests there were five hill forts from Old Road to the Dimpath. During the Roman conquest of Wales it is unknown whether the area of Llanelli was part of the Silures tribe or the Demetae tribe. There is evidence of a Roman camp near St Elli shopping centre but it is unknown when it was built, and it was completely abandoned shortly after construction either due to the Romans thinking the area was completely worthless or due to a raid by either rebellious local Britons or an Irish raid. During the post-Roman period, the area of Llanelli may have been heavily populated with Pagans as there's evidence of a pagan worship church under the Saint Elli church, it may have had frequent raids from Brycheiniog and Dyfed in order to Christianise the area to which it would eventually fall into Dyfed. During the early medieval period, it is said a saint named Elli, or Ellyw,[2] who in legend is the son or daughter of King Brychan established a church on the banks of the Afon Lliedi. The original church would have been a wooden or partly stone, thatched structure. According to early Welsh transcripts, the church of Carnwyllion, i.e. the mother church of the cwmwd, was at Llanelli.[7] The current St Elli's Church dates from the 14th century although extensive restorations were completed in 1911.[8]

According to the Red Book of Hergest during the Norman invasion of Wales Rhys Ieuanc and his uncle Maelgwn ap Rhys took the allegiance of all the Welsh of the Kingdom of Dyfed apart from one region. Cemais would not pay allegiance and thus Rhys Ieuanc and his uncle, Maelgwn ap Rhys, attacked and pillaged the area moving on to attack the castles at Narberth and Maenclochog. At this time Rhys Ieuanc moved against Cedweli and Carnwyllion with his forces besieging and burning Carnwyllion Castle in 1215.[9]

Llanelli was industrialised in the early 19th century as the global centre for tinplate production.[10] Lying near the Western fringe of the South Wales Coal Field, Llanelli played an important role in industry, with coal exported through three small docks along with the copper and tin produced within the town itself. Although Llanelli is not located within the South Wales valleys, coal from the Gwendraeth and the Loughor Valleys was transported to Llanelli for export. The Stepney Family and other prominent families (including the Raby family, Howard family and Cowell family), played an important role in the development of the town. Aside from industry, Llanelli is also renowned for its pottery, which has a unique cockerel hand-painted on each item. A collection of this pottery can bee seen at the Llanelli Museum in Parc Howard.[11]

Llanelli people are sometimes nicknamed "Turks".[12] There are several theories on this nickname: Llanelli allowed the docking of a Turkish ship when Swansea dockers were on strike in the 1920s, Llanelli tinplate workers wrapped their heads like turbans to deal with sweat, or it is a reference to the 4th Battalion of the Welch Regiment fighting against the Ottoman Empire in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I.[13]

Several communities nearby may be included colloquially in Llanelli.[14]

In 2024 it was announced that the town would be seeking city status.[15][16]

Culture and language


National Eisteddfod


Llanelli hosted the National Eisteddfod six times between 1895 and 2014.[17]

Welsh language


In the mid-20th century, Llanelli was the world's largest town in which more than half the inhabitants spoke a Celtic language.[18] It is ranked as the seventh largest urban area in Wales. According to the 2011 UK Census returns, 23.7 per cent of Llanelli town residents habitually spoke Welsh. However, the area around Llanelli is a Welsh stronghold, in which 56 per cent do so in communities such as Llwynhendy and Burry Port.

During the 1950s, Trefor and Eileen Beasley campaigned to get Llanelli Rural Council to distribute tax papers in Welsh by refusing to pay taxes until their demand was met. The council reacted by sending in the bailiffs and selling their furniture to recover the money owed. The Beasleys' neighbours bought the furniture and returned it to them. The council finally reversed its policy in the 1960s, giving Welsh equal status with English.[19]



In 1991 Llanelli was a distinct travel to work area, but a 2001-based revision has merged it into a wider one of Swansea Bay.[20]



Several firms, including Tata Steel Europe tinplate at Trostre and Dyfed Steels, are based in the Llanelli area and service the automotive industry.[21] The Technium Performance Engineering Centre was developed at Llanelli Gate as a business incubator for businesses in the automotive, motor sport and aerospace sectors.[22]

The traditional industries of Llanelli have gradually declined in recent decades. Local government has responded by seeking to attract tourism with developments such as the Machynys Golf Course, retail parks at Trostre and Pemberton, and the Millennium Coastal Park.[23] The core shopping area has now moved largely from the town centre to the Trostre/Pemberton area.



The longstanding Felinfoel Brewery continues in Felinfoel, just outside the town.[24]

Rev. James Buckley was an ordained Methodist minister, born in Oldham, Lancashire in 1770, who after moving to Llanelli towards the end of the 18th century became involved in establishing a small brewery. After the death of the owner, Buckley gained possession of the brewery and changed its name to Buckley's. In 1998, the brewery was bought by Brains Brewery, which transferred production to its facility in Cardiff. However, Brains continues to produce The Reverend James, a bitter named in Buckley's memory.[25] Since then the Llanelli brewery has been partly demolished.

Leisure and tourism


In the past decade, the longstanding emphasis on heavy industry has shifted towards the tertiary sector employment in leisure and tourism. Ongoing developments include the new Llanelli Scarlets rugby stadium, the Old Castle Works leisure village (see below) and a National Hunt racecourse at Ffos Las near Trimsaran.[26] Machynys Ponds, a Site of Special Scientific Interest notable for its dragonfly population, lies a mile to the south.[27][28]



Church in Wales

St Elli's Parish Church, Church in Wales.

The parish church of St Elli has a medieval tower. The body of the church was rebuilt by G. F. Bodley in 1905–1906. It is a Grade II* listed building.[29] Several other churches in the town are also listed buildings, but made redundant by the Church in Wales and now in private ownership. They include All Saints'[30] and St Alban's.[31]


Tabernacle Chapel
The interior of the Grade II listed Calfaria Baptist Chapel, which was built in 1881

From the early 19th to late 20th centuries, Llanelli was a major centre of Welsh nonconformism. At the end of the Second World War there were 22 chapels in the town. The history of the chapels has been chronicled in a book by the former BBC journalist Huw Edwards.[32] Edwards noted that many of the chapels had closed and others were in sharp decline, he suggested that if the decline continued, only two or three were likely to survive as functioning chapels in the 2020s.[33]

The most well known of Llanelli's chapels is probably Capel Als, where David Rees was a minister for many years in the 19th century. Llanelli had seven other Independent (Congregationalist) chapels, namely Tabernacle, Lloyd Street, Siloah now closed, Soar now closed, Ebenezer, Dock Chapel, and Park Church (the only chapel where services were conducted in English). The Tabernacle Chapel built in 1872–1873 by John Humphreys of Morriston overlooks the Town Hall. There is a prominent four-pillared Corinthian arcade at the entrance. The building was Grade II* listed in December 1992.[34] It is used as a venue by the Llanelli Choral Society.[35][36] Other listed chapels include Bethel Baptist Chapel in Copperworks Road,[37] Park Congregational Chapel,[38] Zion Baptist Chapel at Island Place,[39] and Hall Street Methodist Church.[40]

Situated on Waunlanyrafon, across the road from the police station, is the Roman Catholic Church, Our Lady Queen of Peace Church.

Llanelli has an Islamic centre on Station Road[41] and Baptist churches spread throughout the town and surrounding areas.[42]


Parc y Scarlets
Stradey Park

Rugby union


The town's rugby union teams – the Scarlets, who compete in the Pro14, and Llanelli RFC in the Welsh Premiership – play at Parc y Scarlets, which opened in November 2008 in Pemberton. Previously they had played at Stradey Park, home to Llanelli RFC for over 130 years and one venue used for the 1999 Rugby World Cup, hosting the match between Argentina and Samoa on 10 October 1999.

The Welsh folk song "Sosban Fach" (Little Saucepan) is mostly associated with Llanelli RFC.

Many rugby clubs have notable scalps collected from touring international sides but Llanelli has in its rugby history one of the greatest scalps ever. On 31 October 1972, in one of the most famous results in rugby union history, Llanelli beat the New Zealand national team 9–3 in front of around 20,000 spectators. Llanelli centre Roy Bergiers scored the only try of the game, charging down a clearance by All Black scrum-half Lin Colling after a penalty from Phil Bennett rebounded back into play off the crossbar.

There is a strong junior rugby core, including club sides such as Felinfoel, New Dock Stars, Llangennech and the Llanelli Wanderers. In 2005, Coedcae School won the Inter-Schools Cup of Wales with an 8–5 victory over Brynteg Comprehensive.

Rugby league


Llanelli's West Wales Raiders play in RFL League 1, the third tier of rugby league in England and Wales. The club is based at Stebonheath Park.

Association football


Stebonheath Park is the home of football club Llanelli A.F.C., which plays in the Cymru South. The town has many active local teams and tournaments such as the 2018 Challenge Cup, where West End United beat Trostre Sports AFC.



Llanelli hosts the annual Llanelli Open Bowls Tournaments, the oldest and most prestigious of which, the Roberts-Rolfe Open Singles event, has been run since 1926 and has a first prize of £600. The contests are held from July to September in Parc Howard.



The Llanelli area has two golf courses: the Machynys Peninsula Golf & Country Club which hosted the Wales Ladies Championship of Europe from 2005 until 2008, and Glyn Abbey Golf Club, which was named Welsh Golf Club of the Year 2009.



Llanelli is the birthplace and home of Terry Griffiths OBE, snooker world champion in 1979 and runner-up in 1988. Now a coach and snooker commentator, he runs the Terry Griffiths Matchroom in the town centre.



Llanelli is home to Tinopolis, one of Britain's largest independent media producers. It has subsidiaries that produce over 2,500 hours of broadcast television, including English language programmes such as Question Time for the BBC and Welsh-language television programs such as Wedi 7 for S4C.[43]

Coverage of local affairs appears in two papers, the Llanelli Star founded in 1909 and Llanelli Herald launched in 2015.[44] Online coverage is found on Llanelli Online.[45] The main county-wide radio station is Radio Carmarthenshire. Other radio stations covering the area are Hits Radio South Wales, its sister station Greatest Hits Radio South Wales, Swansea Bay Radio, Radio BGM, which serves the Prince Philip Hospital and the local community online, and Heart South Wales.[46]

Local attractions

Millennium Coastal Path near Llanelli

Some local attractions include:



The Ffwrnes Theatre opened in late 2012, replacing the Theatr Elli, which was part of the Llanelli Entertainment Centre.[49][50] A multi-screen cinema opened in October 2012. Much is being spent on regenerating the central shopping district.[51]

Llanelli holds festivals, carnivals and events throughout the year. They include:

  • Welsh International Open, a competition of the World Bowls Tour (February)
  • Into the Future Festival — educational event about the environment and technology, organised by the county council[52] (August)
  • Llanelli Big Day Out — pop and live music event[53] (August)
  • Llanelli Beer Festival — official CAMRA event[54] (August)
  • Llanelli Christmas Carnival (November)
  • Llanelli Ramblers Festival of Walks, an annual walking festival, late Spring Bank Holiday weekend (May)
  • Llanelli Pride (first Saturday in August)



Llanelli is linked with the M4 motorway via the A4138 and with Swansea via the Loughor Bridge on the A484. It is served by regular bus services between Swansea and Carmarthen and a National Express service to London.

Services from Llanelli railway station on the Great Western Crescent south of the town centre connect with Fishguard Harbour and Swansea along the West Wales Line. It is the terminus of the Heart of Wales Line for Craven Arms and Shrewsbury. There are daily Great Western Railway services with London Paddington and regular services with Cardiff Central and Manchester Piccadilly. The district is also served by stations at Bynea, Llangennech, Pembrey & Burry Port and Kidwelly.

Llanelli is connected to the National Cycle Network from the north on NCR 43, and along the coast from the east and west on NCR 4.[55] These routes link with a cycle path to the town centre.

The nearest passenger airport is Cardiff Airport, 50 miles (80 km) away, although Pembrey, 2 miles (3.2 km), provides air charter services.[56]



Primary and secondary


The first Welsh-medium primary school, Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant, was founded in Llanelli in 1947. The English-medium secondary schools are St John Lloyd, Bryngwyn and Coedcae; the only Welsh medium secondary school is Ysgol y Strade. St Michael's School is a private school for ages 3–18. Ysgol Heol Goffa is a special school for pupils with disabilities.

Further and higher education


Coleg Sir Gâr (Carmarthenshire College), with its main campus at Graig near Pwll, provides a college education for most of the town's further education students and some vocational undergraduate degrees through the University of Wales. There are sixth form colleges at Ysgol Gyfun y Strade (Welsh medium) and St Michael's (English medium).

Prince Philip Hospital has a postgraduate centre for medical training run by Cardiff University's School of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education.[57]


Llanelli (Political)
Mayor Councillor P.T. Warlow
Carmarthenshire County Council
Leader Emlyn Dole
J. Edmunds (Bigyn)
E. Morgan (Bigyn)
J. P. Jenkins (Elli)
J. Prosser (Glanymor)
L. Roberts (Glanymor)
R. James(Lliedi)
S. Najmi (Lliedi)
S. Curry (Tyisha)
A. McPherson (Tyisha)
United Kingdom Parliament
Nia Griffith Labour
Lee Waters Labour
Llanelli Town Hall

Llanelli is in the ward of the same name parliamentary constituency, currently represented by the Labour party member Nia Griffith Member of Parliament (MP), and by the Senedd constituency of Labour's Lee Waters MS. Llanelli is run on a community level by Llanelli Town Council and Llanelli Rural Council (depending on the area of town) and Carmarthenshire County Council at local government level. Llanelli Rural Council addresses some part of the town, but mainly the Llanelli Rural community. Llanelli's politics has been Labour-dominated for decades. Its geographical location has led to a sense of exceptionalism in relation to the rest of Carmarthenshire, which is dominated by Plaid Cymru. In reaction to this, there have been calls to reinstate the local government district of Llanelli either as a county or as the City of Llanelli.

The community of Llanelli is bordered by those of Llanelli Rural, Llanrhidian Higher and Llanrhidian Lower, the last two being in the City and County of Swansea. Llanelli Borough Council, based at Llanelli Town Hall, was the area local authority until Carmarthenshire County Council became the unitary authority in 1996.[58]

In 2024 the town's council voiced its support for a bid to become a city.[15]



Llanelli is twinned with   Agen, France.[59]

Town areas


Settlements near Llanelli


Current developments


Llanelli Waterside


Llanelli Waterside, a joint venture between Carmarthenshire County Council and the Welsh Assembly Government, aims to transform the waterfront into a business, leisure and residential community. There are two seafront housing developments under construction. Pentre Nicklaus Village, located on the Machynys Peninsula has been criticised for being above the price range for local people. Pentre Doc Y Gogledd (North Dock Village) in the historic North Dock area is nearing completion by the firm of David McLean.

Notable people

See Category:People from Llanelli

Notable Llanelli people with a Wikipedia page in alphabetical order by section:

Art, media and entertainment


Public service




Rugby Union


Association football


Other sports


See also



  1. ^ "Llanelli - UK Codes - The Phone Book from BT". Thephonebook.bt.com. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Llanelly" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 829.
  3. ^ City Population. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  4. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Llanelli Parish (W04000519)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  5. ^ Kirsty B Carter; Joe Harrison (11 December 2020). "Llanelli: An abandoned Welsh town in Australia". BBC Travel.
  6. ^ Kirsty B Carter; Joe Harrison (17 August 2020). "Forgotten Places: The abandoned Welsh town in the middle of Australia" (video, 5 mins 37 secs). BBC reel.
  7. ^ St David of Wales: Cult, Church and Nation. Boydell Press. 2007. p. 70. ISBN 978-1843833222.
  8. ^ Cadw. "St Elli's Church, Llanelly (Grade II*) (6665)". National Historic Assets of Wales. Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  9. ^ "Carnwyllion Castle". Llanelli Community Heritage. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  10. ^ J. Paxton (1999), The Penguin Encyclopedia of Places, 3rd ed. London: Penguin.
  11. ^ Jones, Bill; Lewis, Ronald L. (May 2007). "Gender and Transnationality among Welsh Tinplate Workers in Pittsburgh: The Hattie Williams Affair, 1895". Labor History. 48 (2): 178. doi:10.1080/00236560701224890. S2CID 145212902.
  12. ^ Waller, Robert; Criddle, Byron (1999). The Almanac of British Politics. Psychology Press. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-415-18541-7.
  13. ^ Bannon, Christie (24 December 2018). "The real meanings behind the Welsh nicknames we all use". Wales Online. Retrieved 17 May 2024.
  14. ^ "Carmarthenshire County Council: Area and density of Community Wards". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  15. ^ a b Harries, Robert (12 January 2024). "The struggling Welsh town that wants to become a city". Wales Online. Retrieved 12 January 2024.
  16. ^ "Llanelli wants to become Wales' eighth city". Sky News. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  17. ^ "National Eisteddfod held in Llanelli for sixth time". BBC News. 2 August 2014.
  18. ^ The Welsh Academy Encyclopedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press 2008.
  19. ^ "Tributes paid to Welsh language activist Eileen Beasley, who died age 91". WalesOnline. 13 August 2012. Archived from the original on 17 November 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  20. ^ "National Statistics, Introduction to the 2001-based Travel-to-Work Areas" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2009.
  21. ^ "DISTRICT SPECIFICATION AND LOCAL INFORMATION FOR SOUTH WEST WALES". Archived from the original on 27 September 2011.
  22. ^ "Technium Performance Engineering". Archived from the original on 28 December 2008.
  23. ^ "Strategic Development Project: Overview of Progress". Retrieved 5 February 2018.[permanent dead link]
  24. ^ "Champion Brewers • Felinfoel Brewery". Felinfoel Brewery.
  25. ^ "Gorseinon: An odd name for a pub". Archived from the original on 20 July 2006.
  26. ^ "Racecourse launch at ex-mine site". 11 July 2007 – via bbc.co.uk.
  27. ^ "MAGIC Map Application – Machynys Ponds". DEFRA MAGIC Map. DEFRA.
  28. ^ "Site of Special Scientific Interest, Carmarthenshire, Machynys Ponds" (PDF). Natural Resources Wales.
  29. ^ Cadw. "Parish Church of St. Ellyw (Grade II*) (11888)". National Historic Assets of Wales. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  30. ^ "Church sale set to pave way for revamp project". Llanelli Star. 24 August 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  31. ^ "St. Alban's Church, Llanelli". Coflein. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  32. ^ Edwards, Huw (2009). Capeli Llanelli: Our Rich Heritage. Carmarthenshire County Council. ISBN 978-0906821787.
  33. ^ Edwards 2009, p. 1.
  34. ^ Good Stuff (3 December 1992). "Tabernacle Chapel, including Forecourt Railings - Llanelli - Carmarthenshire - Wales". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  35. ^ "News". Llanelli Choral Society. 8 June 2013. Archived from the original on 11 February 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  36. ^ "Swansea: The latest news, sport, what's on and business from Swansea and Gower". www.llanellistar.co.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  37. ^ "Bethel Baptist Chapel & Schoolroom, including Gates & Railings to Entrance, Marine Street, Llanelli". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  38. ^ Thomas Lloyd; Julian Orbach; Robert Scourfield (2006). Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion. Yale University Press. p. 281. ISBN 0-300-10179-1.
  39. ^ "Zion Baptist Chapel, including Forecourt Railings, Upper Park Street, Llanelli". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  40. ^ "Hall Street Methodist Church, Hall Street, Llanelli". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  41. ^ Qadeer, Mashhood. "Llanelli Islamic Center Prayer Time - Mosque Near Me". Mosque Finder UK. Retrieved 22 April 2023.
  42. ^ "English – Coflein". coflein.gov.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2023.
  43. ^ "Home". Tinopolis.
  44. ^ "Pembrokeshire Herald to launch two new sister titles - Journalism News from HoldtheFrontPage". HoldtheFrontPage.
  45. ^ "Llanelli Loses a Star Buts Gains a Hyperlocal Beacon | Centre for Community Journalism". Archived from the original on 6 March 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  46. ^ "Radio BGM through the Night (2013-02-10)".
  47. ^ Llanelli House Archived 9 March 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  48. ^ "Parc Howard Museum". Archived from the original on 26 September 2006.
  49. ^ Gar, Theatrau Sir. "Theatrau Sir Gar".
  50. ^ "Swansea: The latest news, sport, what's on and business from Swansea and Gower". www.llanellistar.co.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  51. ^ "Gwasanaethau bws". Archived from the original on 27 May 2007.
  52. ^ "ItFF 2006 website". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  53. ^ "LBDO 2006 website". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  54. ^ "LBF 2006 website". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  55. ^ "Homepage".
  56. ^ "Pembrey Airport – Charter flights throughout UK and Europe". www.pembreyairport.com. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  57. ^ Llanelli Postgraduate Centre Archived 1 October 2004 at the Wayback Machine test
  58. ^ "Carmarthenshire County Council Records". Archives Hub. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  59. ^ "Llanelli Town Council". Archived from the original on 11 March 2014.
  60. ^ "Cerith Wyn Evans brings his neon-lit art home to Wales". The Guardian. 11 October 2022. Retrieved 28 November 2022.

Further reading

  • The Llanelli Landscape, by D. Q. Bowen, 1980. ISBN 978-0906821015
  • Llanelli, Story of a Town, by John Edwards, 2001. ISBN 9781859835517
  • Real Llanelli, by Jon Gower, 2009. ISBN 978-1-85411-506-5
  • Homes of Historic Interest in and around Llanelli, by William & Benita Afan Rees, 2011.