Brecon Beacons/Bannau Brycheiniog translates as 'The Peaks of Brychan's Kingdom”. And with Pen y Fan being the second highest mountain in southern UK at 886m, it possibly is! There are a number of strenuous mountain walks where you can walk all the peaks (Pen y Fan, Corn du, Cribyn and Fan y Big). The easiest way to get up high onto Pen y Fan would be to park at Pont ar Daf car park, grid ref: SN988199 (20 minute drive from Ty Newydd). It is a shorter but strenuous mountain walk on well-made footpaths to the summit of Pen y Fan and Corn Du. Approximately 2.5hrs, 4miles.
The main area is Ystradfellte which is known as waterfall country, however there are smaller local waterfalls dotted all over the park. The famous Henrhyd waterfall is 27 metres high! Located right on the south-westerly edge of the National Park this area is amongst the most beautiful and popular parts of the National Park. Here the rivers Mellte, Hepste, Pyrddin and Nedd-fechan wind their way down deep, tree-lined gorges, over a series of dramatic waterfalls, before joining to form the River Neath. This area is of international importance and it has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The “Four Falls Trail” is a very popular walk. Distance - 5.5 miles, Grade - Energetic, Starting point - Gwaun Hepste or Cwm Porth car park, OS grid reference - SN935123 or SN92812. It is a family favourite and we have done this several times.
Brecon is the main town in the Brecon Beacons. It is a typical local market town, built along the River Usk and Afon Honddu. First built as a Roman military base it grew in the shadow of the Norman castle which guarded one of the few crossing points on the River Usk. There are many buildings with attractive Georgian facades. Find out even move about the towns military history at the The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh. There is also an 11th century Cathedral and a cultural hub “Y Gaer Museum, Art Gallery & Library. Brecon has a local Theatre at the canal basin and a 1930’s original cinema. For information call into the towns Visitors Centre at Visit Brecon or discover the hidden histories through Brecon Story.
The National Park Visitor Centre is situated on the edge of Mynydd Illtyd Common, which offers fantastic opportunities for moderate terrain walking, taking in spectacular views of the Central Beacons. A popular walk is across the Common to the summit of Twyn Y Gaer, the site of an Iron Age hill fort site. Here you can take in 360 degree views of the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains. There is an information centre, cafe, toilets, gift shop and parking.
The National Show Caves is at the top of the Swansea Valley. It is an impressive network of caves in this part of the Brecon Beacons. There are three caves to be explored by visitors, the Dan yr Ogof, the Cathedral Showcave and the Bone Cave, and they are all spectacular! Explore the beautiful decorated passageways and walk behind a 40 foot waterfall! Despite being developed into a family attractions, these are the best natural caves I have ever personally visited in the UK.
For younger children you will find over 130 models of dinosaurs and a farm yard area with shire horses and play equipment. There is also the Iron Age village, museum, stone circles, coffee shop and gift shop, so there is plenty to see and do for all ages.
This is a world heritage site and it’s FREE. Blaenavon was the largest ironworks in the world and is now a “World Heritage” site. Next door is the Big Pit Coal Mining Museum where you can experience going underground like a real miner. You can even take a ride on a vintage steam train with the Brecon Mountain Railway which runs between Pontsicill and Pentwyn Reservoirs.
This is probably the most photographed castle on the planet, and you can see why. It perched on a breath taking cliff and has been bracing the elements for 700 years. The history is long and fascinating. The story of Carreg Cennen Castle dates back to at least the 13th century. There is archaeological evidence, that the Romans and prehistoric peoples occupied the craggy hilltop centuries earlier. What remains today dates to King Edward I's momentous period of castle-building in Wales. There is also a surprising hidden natural cave. Check opening times, but it is open most days of the year. There is no need to book in advance. Tea room.
FREE. This museum has been Wales’s most popular heritage attraction for many years. It holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Wales. A personal family favourite, and a great immersive experience through history. It is one of Europe’s leading open-air museums with over forty original buildings from various historical periods to see and experience. And did I tell you that it was FREE!!!
Brecon Beacons National Park has become only the fifth destination in the world to be granted prestigious International Dark Sky Reserve status. To you and me this means, that if you look up in the sky at night you are very likely to see stars, which means we have the magic combination of little cloud and very low levels of light pollutions. This is an astounding accomplishment for a populated area, it also means it will be protected for the future. The National Park Visitor Centre (Mountain Centre) often run Star Gazing events with an observatory.
The National Botanical Garden of Wales is a botanical garden located in LLanarthney in the Tywi valley, Camarthenshire, with the Great Glasshouse designed by Lord Foster at its centre. The world’s largest single-span glasshouse. It houses some of the most endangered plants on the planet which come from six areas of the world: California, Australia, the Canary Islands, Chile, South Africa, the Mediterranean Basin. The garden is both a visitor attraction and a centre for botanical research and conservation.
If you are a book worm this is just the place for you, where you can peruse the large number of second hand bookshops. The largest event in the Hay-on-Wye calendar is the Hay Literary Festival which takes place at the end of May each year. Hay Festival celebrates great writing from poets and scientists, lyricists and comedians, novelists and environmentalists.
There are many interesting streets and independent shops to discover, boutiques, antique, craft and food stores. The market is held every Thursday outside the recently restored Hay Castle, a lovely feature in the town centre.
Witness these spectacular birds of prey feeding daily in the delightful surroundings of the Brecon Beacons National Park (Llanddeusant)! Opened in 2002 with support from the Brecon Beacons National Park, the Welsh Red Kite Trust and various other notable wildlife organisations and individuals, have brought back a thriving number of Red Kites to the area. Visitors sit in specially built hides only feet away from diving birds and observe them competing naturally for the food provided by the feeding centre at regular times throughout the year.
Penderyn Distillery is the home of Welsh Whisky and produces award-winning single malt whiskies from 3 distilleries which are now sold all over the world. The distillery runs tours where you can hear about their story and see where and how the magic of making Whisky happens. You will also get to enjoy a wee dram with a couple of tasters in the Tasting Bar afterwards.