20 Things to do in the Brecon Beacons that aren’t Pen Y Fan
The Brecon Beacons. They’re lush and green and most people who visit focus on getting to the top of the rolling hills that we brits like to call mountains. It’s not just about the mountains though, there are plenty of places to visit and buckets of fun to be had without walking uphill for a few hours. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do that. In fact we’re great advocates of walking in beautiful places around here but should your legs get tired or the weather not work in your favour, we’ve got a few other suggestions for you to consider.
1. Visit the big pit for a taste of mining history.
Descend the working Pit head and take a guided underground tour, learning from a local who used to work the mines.
2.Visit one of the many, many castles.
Our favourite is Carreg Cennen with its beautiful hills, underground tunnel and some brilliant hide and seek spots.
Welsh Gold Whisky Tour. Need I say more?
4.Dan Yr Ogof Show Caves.
The national showcaves for Wales are a must if you’re in the area. Take a family friendly wonder around beautifully lit caves and learn all about the stunning formations that have taken thousands of years to form.
5.Garwnant Visitors centre
This Forestry Commission spot hosts a scrummy coffee shop, the best (in our opinion) children’s playground and an accessible forest sculpture trail. If that’s not enough, there’s mountain bike trails that go out from the car park and shorter junior trails within stones throw from the car. Basically, if you have children you should take them, and their bike, here.
6.Canyoning/Gorge walking at Ystradfellte.
There are a few companies that can run this for you, making it suitable for families with older children to stag groups. If you’ve got a bit of cash to spend and an adventurous streak, this one is not to be missed!
With it’s plethora of coffee shops and bustling market in the shadow of the surrounding hills, is a beautiful place to while away some time. We recommend coming for the Food festival in the autumn, with tons of local produce, smiley people and an amazing vibe flowing through the town.
Held every year in August and has some amazing reviews. It’s in some beautiful surroundings and they have week long camping if you fancy getting out into the local area in addition to enjoying all that the festival has to offer.
Run by bikers for bikers and offers trails for everyone. One word of warning, it’s notorious for having some pretty epic trails. Make sure you have your helmet and body padding at the ready! There are a variety of other trails dotted around the National Park should you want to spend a few days on two wheels.
10.Get your run on!
There are so many amazing trail runs around the national park of various lengths. If you’re not around for an organised race, find a trail loop and go for it. You won’t be disappointed. Unless you hate running. In which case you should get into it.
11.Enjoy ice cream at Llanfaes dairy.
‘Italian ice cream with a Welsh flair’. Basically, no ice cream will ever live up to it ever again. We recommend the raspberry pavlova or the marathon, with the kinder bueno and ferroro roche. and the lemon cheesecake is pretty darn tasty too. And maybe try the white chocolate or the maple syrup and malteesers. We don’t go there often. Honest.
12. Climbing on the limestone quarries and sandstone outcrops.
If you don’t have the skill sot do this on your own, there are plenty of outdoor companies that can take you out and show you the ropes. Literally.
13. Rent a boat and bimble down the Monmouth and Brecon canal,
Be sure to take a picnic and bubbly in a hamper. There are plenty of beautiful pubs to stop off at along the way if you should be that way inclined and stunning views of the Usk Valley.
14. Canoe the river Usk or Wye.
There are plenty of companies that are happy to guide you or you can simply rent a boat and navigate the river in your own time.
The National Park is a designated dark sky reserve meaning there is minimal light pollution allowing you to see more stars than you will at the Oscars. On a clear night you can get great views of the milky way and the National Park often put on stargazing events with astronomers which are not to be missed!
There’s the Brecon mountain railway that takes you past the beautiful Ponsticill reservoir and into the heart of the Central Beacons. Then there is the Pontypool and Blaenavon heritage railway that often hosts some brilliant theme days and takes you through an area steeped in mining history.
17. Llangorse Lake
One of two natural lowland lakes in wales and is a beautiful place to while away an afternoon. Walk through the surrounding meadows, hike a rowing boat or bird watch from the witches hat.
18. Horse Riding
See the park on horse back with one of the many riding stables. We recommend Llanthony who take you up into the black mountains on their longer hacks and finish at the Abbey itself. Finish the day with a picnic and a drink from the small on-site bar before retiring to your tent in their campsite. Throw in a walk up onto the Offas Dyke way the next day and you’ve got a brilliant weekend plan!
19. Wine Tasting at Sugarloaf vineyard.
Need I say more? Based on the outskirts of Abergavenny, sample the delights of the local wine while basking in the beauty of the Abergavenny three peaks. Link it with a a hike up the sugar loaf of an afternoon pottering around Abergavenny.
20. Check out one of the many wild swimming spots.
Whether you swim for Britain or just fancy a sunny afternoon dip, you will find some awesome spots to spend an hour or so. you can find many of them here, or even better, ask a local if they know of any.