Historic Market Towns of Wales

September 27th, 2019

Roll up, roll up! Wales’s market towns are some of the finest in the UK so this month why not join us we take a closer look at these historic towns.

The market towns of Wales are renowned as some of the most elegant in Britain. Bala, Dolgellau, Welshpool, Aberaeron, Pwllheli and Ruthin and Llandovery are among the prettiest market towns in the country and all are famed for their classic architecture and rich history.


But, just what makes a market town? The term derives from Medieval times, and means that a town or settlement has the historic rights to hold a market, usually by charter. Most market town charters were granted during the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries and are testament to the way that the majority of the country lived and worked then. Much of the rural population made a living through livestock or agriculture and so they would bring produce to the nearest busy settlement with the greatest number of possible customers, and where transport was easy – for example by rivers or at main crossroads. These gatherings slowly transformed into organised markets and charters were given to ensure that no other markets could pop up nearby (usually no other markets were granted a charter if they were closer than a day’s travel – no more than a few miles in those days).

Today, markets are a very different scene to that of medieval times, but the essence is still the same – traders gather to sell their wares, and local people come to buy things they may not be able to get hold of shops or supermarkets. Markets with a theme are incredibly popular, such as craft markets or food markets.

And a report carried out by Lloyds Bank last year indicated that homes in market towns were worth, on average, almost £25,000 more than comparable homes outside of the towns. There could be many reasons for this, not least because market towns are often historic, which shows in their classic design and elegant architecture. They are also often important centres for shopping, employment and social activities.


So today, we celebrate Wales’s historic market towns. Here’s our guide to the market towns of Wales. Why not explore some of them this weekend?

  • Aberystwyth, Ceredigion
  • Aberaeron, Ceredigion
  • Ruthin, Clwyd
  • Bala, Gwynedd
  • Dolgellau, Gwynedd
  • Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire
  • Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
  • Brecon, Powys,
  • Welshpool, Powys
  • Knighton, Powys
  • Lampeter, Ceredigion
  • Pwllheli, Gwynedd
  • Denbigh, Clwyd
  • Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire