The Nelson Suite at the Castle Hotel here in Llandovery commemorates his stay on the 28th July 1802.
So why he was here? Lord Hamilton owned a large estate in West Wales which included Milford Haven and which was managed by his nephew, Charles Greville. The latter hoped that Milford would be developed as an important naval base and therefore wished to persuade Nelson to inspect the harbour and give his blessing to the project. Although not well disposed toward Greville (a former lover of Lady Hamilton), Nelson agreed in 1802 to take part with Lord and Lady Hamilton and some of his own relatives on an excursion through the English Midlands and South Wales to Milford Haven.
They set out in two coaches on the 21st July 1802, stopping for the first night at Oxford, then on to Woodstock (where the Duke of Malborough declined to invite them into his Blenheim Palace!), via Burford to Gloucester.
At Ross they took to pleasure boats and sailed down the Wye to Monmouth. At every town and village on the journey they were welcomed by hero-worshipping crowds and often by formal deputations. After Brecon they crossed the mountain to Merthyr where Nelson was entertained by the ironmaster Richard Crawshay and was shown where the guns for the Navy were forged.
Rejoining their westward route at Trecastle they spent one night at the Castle Hotel here in Llandovery where Nelson paid a bill of £2 10s 2p. Prints of an engraved portrait of Nelson were in circulation at that time and Nelson signed one on the back for the Landlord of the Castle Hotel before leaving. This picture is on display in the Museum; the back card has been detached and framed separately so that Nelson’s signature can be displayed.
From Llandovery the journey continued via Carmarthen and Haverfordwest, arriving at Milford Haven on the 1st August where the town was bedecked to celebrate the 4th Anniversary of the battle of the Nile.