Brecon Beacons Cafe Guide 2014

Here in the Brecon Beacons we seem to welcome new businesses every year which means there’s always somewhere different to try…

Our national park has a wealth of fabulous cafes and we thought it’s about time we update our Cafe Guide for summer 2014!

Out of our selected fifteen there may even be some you’ve never heard of!

1. The Old Printing Office, Llandovery – hidden behind a gift shop full of treasures, pull up a chair and enjoy the homemade cakes after some hard browsing.

The Old Printing Office, Llandovery

The Old Printing Office, Llandovery

2. Myddfai Community Hall & Tearooms - a real community enterprise this little coffee shop is run by local volunteers

3. Tipple ‘n’ Tiffin, Theatr Brycheiniog – looking over the canal this is the perfect place to relax with a cuppa (or indeed a glass of cold wine!)

4. The Old School Tearooms, Defynnog - let the kids enjoy the indoor play area whilst you sink into the comfy sofas in the reading room

5. The Tower Cafe, Brecon -  for something a little different, here you will be sipping away on fantastic coffee inside a church!

6. National Park Visitor Centre & Tea Rooms, Libanus find out everything you need to know about the Brecon Beacons then stock up on treats from the cafe for your exploring.

Cafe Chameleon, Ystradgynlais

Cafe Chameleon, Ystradgynlais

7. Cafe Chameleon, Ystradgynlais - a brand new arty cafe with a creative buzz

8. The Granary, Hay-on-Wye - in the heart of the famous book town, their homemade soups are to die for and grab a table outside in the sun if you can

9. Penygawse Tea Rooms, Llandovery – from Kenyan teas to Double Espressos the staff at this Victorian tearoom are coffee experts

Penygawse

Penygawse

10. The Honey Cafe, Bronllys – a great choice for lunch or dinner with texmex by night and wonderful teas by day  

11. Trecastle Tea Rooms – friendly staff and a warm atmosphere means tea here feels like home

Changing Seasons Restaurants, Craig-y-Nos

Changing Seasons Restaurants, Craig-y-Nos

12. Changing Seasons Cafe, Craig y Nos Country Park - popular with day trippers from the Swansea Valley and great for a walk around the park

13. Telegraph Inn – this cosy cafe is proudly ‘cyclist friendly’ but the staff go out of their way to make every guest feel welcome

14. Bijou Cafe, Brecon – this traditional shop is situated in an historic alley way, dotted with tea lights and a stylish interior it’s a very special place to unwind

Bijou Cafe , Brecon

Bijou Cafe , Brecon

15. Cafe Braz, Llandeilo this fully licensed bistro offer breakfast, lunch and dinner with excellent coffee and tipples too (depending on the day you’ve had!)

But don’t forget the old favourites: Talgarth Mill for baked goods using their own flour, Number 18 for a gossip, Booths and The Hours for browsing the book shelves,  The River Cafe for its beautiful setting on the river and many more from our 2o12 Guide! 

Fancy a full afternoon tea if you’re feeling flash? Read our previous blog on the best in the area: Pilgrims, The Angel Abergavenny and The Gliffaes Hotel!

 

 

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FREE Street Theatre Workshops!

On the 8th and 9th August, Theatr Brycheiniog presents a day of bilingual street theatre workshops for young adults with the amazing Vamos Theatre Company.

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Learn new skills in a fun, friendly environment with professional street entertainers and create a ‘walkabout’ to be performed in
at Streets Alive on Saturday 9th August – during the jazz festival!

Now, thanks to funding, the course is completely free! Call the Box Office on 01864 611622 and reserve your place now.

For Ages 14-24 years only

JazzDSC_0013

 

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Brecon Beacons Golf Guide

Did you know Wales’ first Senior Open Championship will be held at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club in Bridgend next week?

We’re very proud to host such a huge sporting event in our country and it seems we’ve all caught the golf bug!

If you fancy clutching your club and potting a few in the Brecon Beacons, the historic Brecon Golf Club is a 6122 yards par 70 course. On Newton Farm, this quiet part of the national park means you can concentrate on scoring a hole-in-one, and visitors are welcome to borrow clubs for free!

A good mix of holes is provided which guarantees enjoyment for all golfers and a stern test for those who want to better their handicap. The majority of the course is flat, giving easy walking and good lies.

The course is located between two sides of rivers which means good quality soil to play off – and the mountain views aren’t bad either!

If you are new to Brecon Golf Club they have a special trial members offer of golf for only £5 a week!

They do not allocate tee times, however it is wise to phone beforehand to ensure that the course is not busy: 01874 622004 or info@brecongolfclub.co.uk. 

 

Cradoc Golf Club © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Cradoc Golf Club © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Alternatively,  Cradoc Golf Club is an 18-hole parkland course with a relaxed, friendly atmosphere in the heart of nature.

The course is noted for the mature tree lined fairways and an occasional water hazard, and gives golfers a challenging, yet entertaining test of their golf.

A 10 bay floodlit driving range, practice ground, chipping green, bunkers and putting green are also available for use by members and visitors alike.

For those who are looking to extend their stay – the site and have teamed up with Peterstone Court to provide a spa break! They also have a bar and restaurant with local ales, wines and home cooked food after a long day on the course.

Tee time can be booked online or contact Cradoc on 01874 625524 or secretary@cradoc.co.uk to discuss membership. 

 

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Cafe Cycle Rides in the Brecon Beacons

Cycling and food! Two great ways to enjoy a day. You can eat lots and then burn it off on a glorious bike ride.

The Brecon Beacons is blessed with some wonderful cafes and bike rides, so why not combine them for a great day out?

Now is the perfect time to dig out your bike and get peddling! Here are four great rides we’d recommend. 

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Talgarth Killer Loop © Hay Bike Festival

Talgarth Killer Loop © Hay Bike Festival

1. Talgarth Mill via route 8 (Sustrans) (closed Monday)
Approx 20 miles, hilly but quiet roads…approx 3 hours round trip including tea and cakes 
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Start out from behind Ysgol y Bannau, along past Slwch farm and follow route 8 signs via Llanfilo to Talgarth.  (this route is on google maps) If you want to avoid the very steep hill before llanfilo, you can go around it via Tredomen.
To return retrace the route to where you turn R off the B4560 then first L and follow the lovely small lane with grass down the middle to Tredustan, and Glandwr, then back to Lanfihangel, and short climb before a nice descent to Groesford and return to Brecon along the canal.
For more information on routes around Talgarth, read our bike guide. 
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Cakes at The Bakers' Table © Talgarth Mill

Cakes at The Bakers’ Table © Talgarth Mill

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2. Llangors, Beacons Farm Shop, and Talybont Canalside Cafe.
Also about 20 miles and 3 hours including tea. Not too hilly, just the first one up to Llanfihangel.
Along the canal to Brynich, up the road towards Llangors and up the hill to Llanfihangel. At the top turn R to Talyllyn, then R again to Pennorth. At Pennorth turn L and past Ty Mawr Lime  and Llangasty, past Trebinchen then turn R to The Beacons Farm Shop for tea and cake.
Carry on to Bwlch, turn R and R again to Llangynidr then R on quiet lanes to Talybont.  More tea if needed at Talybont post office, then easy ride back along the canal.
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Mynydd Illtud ©

Mynydd Illtud ©

3. Defynnog and Mynydd Illtud.
This one also about 20 miles and 3 hours, with tea, 2 steepish hills, the rest undulating.
From Brecon head west to the roundabout and then turn past the livestock market and uphill to Mynydd Illtud.  A short diversion to the left will take you to the Mountain Visitor Centre for a snack option.  Otherwise keep heading west with lovely views until you reach the A4215, where you can turn R and have a fast descent to Defynnog, where the Old School Tea Room provides the tea and cake fix.  (Closed Tuesdays)
After tea, go into Sennybridge and straight across the A40 towards Pentrefelin.  As the road starts to climb turn R on minor lane which takes you via Trallong (short steep climb) and Aberbran (turn right for strawberries) to Cradoc.  At Cradoc turn R and down into Brecon.
For more information on routes around Mynydd Illtud read our walking guide.
Talybont Reservoir © John Adams

Talybont Reservoir © John Adams

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4. Around Talybont (best with a hybrid or mountain bike) 
About 25- 27 miles depending on exact route. About 3.5 hours with stop.
Head along the  canal from Brecon, follow Taff Trail to Talybont reservoir.  (Option to try tea and cake at YHA Dan y Wen Allt) up the trail through woods to Torpantau then back down the road the other side of the reservoir. A stop at Talybont Cafe and back along the canal to Brecon.
For more information on routes around Talybont read our walking guide. 
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Black Mountains ‘Special Places’ Campaign

The Brecon Beacons National Park features in a short film of a stunning mountain bike trip to coincide with The National Trust’s ‘Special Places’ campaign

They launched the initiative at the Hay Festival in May to find Wales’ most special place.

NT Director for Wales, Justin Albert, said: ‘Our research shows everyone has their own special place, and we want to start a national conversation that gets everyone involved and shouting about their own – from school children to grandparents, to well-known names and politicians.

‘We want a summer of celebrating our favourite places and sharing them with everyone to enjoy. We can’t wait to see which location comes out on top!’

Grwyne Fawr Bothy

Grwyne Fawr Bothy

Voting has already closed and the shortlist of ten special places will be announced at the Royal Welsh Show in Builth Wells in a fortnight.

But in the meantime, feast your eyes on this video short about mountain biking in the Black Mountains – the trip takes in the bothy on the shores of Grwyne Fawr reservoir.

The tiny shelter – which can be used by anyone on a first come, first served basis for free – is slap-bang on the classic, black-graded Grwyne Fawr loop known locally as the Talgarth Killer – and with good reason! At 51km, it’s a long day out in remote and truly wild terrain, and with some testing climbs thrown in for good measure. Hay-based Drover Cycles have maps of the route in the shop, as well as a fleet of mountain bikes for hire perfectly suited to this ride.

Have a look at the video below, and watch out for a forthcoming feature in Mountain Bike Rider magazine by local guiding outfit Wild Rides about a two-day trip taking in the Grwyne Fawr bothy.

 

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Mum, I’m bored!

Although we are looking forward to those six weeks to spend time with family, we can’t help but fear those countless hours of sticky fingers, an upturned house and “Mum, I’m bored!” hailing from downstairs at 6am.

Well, for those who are looking for inspiration to keep the kids busy, Good Day Out have some new activities on the books to occupy them and (fingers crossed) tire them out by the end of the day…

NEW Sheep Trekking 

Good Day Out have teamed up with Aberhyddnant Farm  for a twist on classic Brecon Beacons hill walking. Those furry friends we see peppering the surrounding fields will join you on your trek with a harness and pannier carrying your belongings. The children will love being accompanied by these specially trained pets whilst the adults can enjoy the views!

Good Day Out ©

Good Day Out ©

NEW Spoon Carving and Campfire Cookout

Perfect for those who need to be dragged away from a screen, with this Good Day Out participants will learn about trees and timber then carve their very own spoon. Keen hunters and gatherers will create a campfire, enjoy a delicious lunch and test their spoons out for themselves!

Spoon Carving © Good Day Out

Spoon Carving © Good Day Out

Don’t forget there’s plenty of other activities to choose from that are made for the summer months

Stargazing – when the skies are the clearest, now is the time to learn more about those sparkling constellations!

Hedgehog - for aspiring vets or those who just love animals, you won’t be able to resist spending one of your summer mornings lending a helping hand.

Canyoning – make the most of the high temperatures by splashing around in our beautiful waterfalls

© Will Lewis

© Will Lewis

 

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Daunted by Welsh hills? The answer is electric!

There’s no denying Wales has a lot to offer cyclists – both on and off road: wonderful scenery, mountain roads, historic sites and great food.

But one thing it also has in abundance is hills..

 

Drover Holidays ©

Drover Holidays ©

Whichever direction you point your steed, sooner or later you’re going to find yourself staring at a wall of tarmac and wishing you’d had another Shredded Wheat for breakfast.

 

Drover Holidays – Wales’ long distance walking and cycle trail specialist – decided the answer is electric. If you think you’re too unfit, old or wobbly to take on the hills of Wales by bike, think again!

Drover Holidays ©

Drover Holidays ©

 

They’ve adapted their range of Welsh cycling short breaks and holidays and added electric bikes from Spencer Ivy, Batribike and Raleigh to their hire fleet, allowing riders to breeze over the hills with ease.

 

Prices start from £215 per person for a weekend break, including good quality B&B accommodation, electric bike hire, luggage transfers and route maps.

Drover also provide free transfers from the nearest station at the start and end of the tour so clients can leave the car at home and enjoy a holiday entirely reliant on carbon-efficient transport.

All the cycling short breaks and cycling holidays featured in Drover’s Self Guided Cycling Routes section are available as electric bike tours, and the firm has put together two cycle breaks specially designed for e-bikes:

Drover Holidays ©

Drover Holidays ©

Brecon Beacons E-explorer

Based in the market town of Brecon, this two-day, two-night tour is a great way to explore the Brecon Beacons National Park. A 25-mile ride on your first day takes you along the Taff Trail to the beautiful Talybont Reservoir. On day two there’s a choice of rides – explore the lovely Llangorse Lake and enjoy a spot of birdwatching from the lakeshore, or enjoy a battery-boosted ride up to the National Park Visitor centre for glorious views of the highest peaks in the Brecon Beacons.

Electric Hay

A two-day, two-night break based in the picturesque book town of Hay-on-Wye in the Welsh borders. Enjoy two 25-mile circular rides from the town, exploring the pretty black and white villages of Herefordshire and the Wye Valley’s wonderful scenery on the Welsh side.

E-bike holidays include:

*Pick-up and drop-off at nearest railway station at the start and end of your tour

*Good quality B&B accommodation (en-suite wherever possible)

*Bike hire – a Spencer Ivy electric bicycle, plus helmet, repair kit, lock, water bottle and lights

*Luggage transfer – so your bags are waiting for you when you arrive each day

*Customised Ordnance Survey maps, with your daily ride highlighted

*Route notes including directions and background information

 

Drover Holidays extends an invitation to travel writers interested in experiencing an e-cycling break. Dates are entirely flexible – please contact Rob Eveleigh at robin@droverholidays.co.uk to discuss.

 

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