We’re giving away an incredible Hay Festival experience. The winner will get a ‘Golden Ticket’ to the UK’s premier arts and literacy festival, giving you five pairs of tickets to events at the festival (subject to availability).
The prize also includes lunch at the onsite restaurant, as well as a spending the night at the award winning The Felin Fach Griffin — where you’ll also enjoy dinner on the house.
The winner will be announced on the 20th of May via email. Full terms and conditions are available on the competition page.
With just three short months to go until the Hay Festival begins, we’ve pulled together everything you need to know to make the best of this year’s event. From the line-up, to getting your hands on tickets, keep scrolling for a preview of what is sure to be a festival to remember.
Following two years of digital events thanks to the pandemic, the event is back in force with what is set to be a wonderful line-up. Hay Festival international director Cristina Fuentes La Roche said:
“Our 35th annual event in Wales, Hay Festival 2022 is going to be a return to remember and we look forward to welcoming friends – old and new – to our revamped Festival site this May. As we put the finishing touches to this year’s line-up, we’re excited to preview some of this year’s themes: a promise of spring and a spark of hope for the year ahead.”
When and where does the Hay Festival take place?
Hay Festival takes place in Hay-on-Wye at the end of May every year. This year the event will take place over 11 days from 26 May to 5 June.
The festival site is on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, just five-minute walk from the middle of Hay at Dairy Meadows (HR3 5PJ). That means you can easily dip into the famous town of books in-between events and shows at the festival.
The main Festival site will remain free to enter, with a range of pop-ups to explore, including the Festival Bookshop; HAYDAYS courtyard; Wild Garden; Make and Take Tent; a host of exhibitors, and market stalls, cafés and restaurants.
The whole of Hay comes alive for the event, with events planned for venues across the town including St Mary’s Church and a brand new Festival theatre in the grounds of the restored Hay Castle.
Who is on the Hay Festival line-up for 2022?
There will be a staggering 500 events taking place during the 2022 Hay Festival, and the full announcement will be coming at the start of April.
Hay Festival is the world’s leading festival of ideas and one of the top festivals in Wales. It’s famed for bringing readers and writers together in sustainable events to inspire, examine and entertain. As always, the festival programme will launch the best new fiction and non-fiction, while offering insights and debate around some of the biggest issues of our times in a programme of conversations featuring more than 600 award-winning writers, policymakers, pioneers and innovators.
BUT — hold the press — there are 22 early-bird events that are on-sale now, and the acts are more than a little bit exciting. They include:
Shakespeare’s Globe on Tour
Reginald D Hunter
Julian Clary & David Roberts
Tickets to all of the above can be purchased now on the Hay Festival website. The remaining tickets will go on-sale from the start of April.
What’s on for kids at Hay Festival?
Hay Festival always offers a great selection of youth events and experiences – including many fantastic children’s authors, illustrators, entertainers, and more.
HAYDAYS events for families give young readers the opportunity to meet their heroes and get creative throughout the Festival, while the Programme for Schools on Thursday 26 May (KS2) and Friday 27 May (KS3&4) gives teachers and pupils free access to Festival inspiration.
Stay tuned for the full line-up announcement for the full children’s programme.
World Book Day takes place each year in March, schools will be celebrating by inviting in authors and encouraging children to dress up as their favourite characters, helping them form a longstanding love of reading. We have a thriving creative community in and around the Brecon Beacons National Park, making this a superb region to find local books inspired by the countryside.
Ways to get involved
Plan a visit to Hay Festival
Hay Festival, one of the world’s biggest and best literary festivals and takes place each year for 10 days at the end of May to the start of June.
For a town of 1,500, Hay-on-Wye punches well above its weight. Famed as a booktown ever since ‘King’ Richard Booth opened the first secondhand bookshop 50 years ago, the launch of Hay Festival in 1988 earned it a place on the literary and global map.
Visit the award winning independent bookshop in Crickhowell, at any one time you will find over 2,000 books at Book-ish subdivided by category and including a large selection of highly collectable copies signed by their authors. They also have a cafe on site, so perfect for a relaxing morning. Find out more here
Enjoy a browse around The National Botanic Garden Of Wales Shop
If you’re looking for a treat for yourself or a loved one, a visit to the National Botanic Garden of Wales is highly recommended, they also have an online shop has a variety of lovely products and gifts to choose from, including lots of Welsh books. Find out more here.
In a gorgeous old green building on Ship Street, just a stone’s throw from the river, you’ll find one of the town’s most loved gems – a cafe serving fresh homemade food, a bookshop selling a carefully curated selection of books (new and old) and ‘bookish’ gifts, and an upstairs gallery showcasing the work of established and emerging artists. The Hours is a cafe, a bookshop, a gallery, a meeting place, a foodie and cultural hub, and a warm welcome always awaits. We urge you to go and see for yourselves… Find out more here.
National Park Visitor Centre, Libanus
The shop at the National Park Visitor Centre in Libanus near Brecon usually has plenty of local maps in stock, along with crafts, souvenirs and books on local history and culture. It’s open every day of the year except Christmas Day.
On 15th February 2022, The Old Railway Line Garden Centre were awarded ‘Garden Centre of the Year 2021’ at the national Garden Centre Association (GCA) Awards. This highly prestigious award is an amazing achievement for the independent garden centre located in Three Cocks between Brecon and Hay-on-Wye.
Named Best Garden Centre 9 years running for Wales and the West area
The family-run business has won the title of ‘Best Garden Centre’ 9 years running for the Wales and the West area, but this is just the second time they have achieved top spot at the GCA’s National Awards.
As well as this top prize, The Old Railway Line also picked up 1st place in the ‘Best Customer Service’ award and 2nd place for ‘Christmas 2021’ and ‘Best Garden Products Retailer’. All amazing achievements for an independent, rural business.
Usually, the awards are a big event taken place in person but due to the current restrictions, the GCA turned it into an online awards presentation.
Mark Cleary, founder of the local Garden Centre said, “We are thrilled to have been awarded as Best Garden Centre in the UK for 2021. Up against Garden Centres across the country, we were happy to have made it to the top 10. Then then be crowned top spot is a real honour, we’re all over the moon.
“The team have been amazing through all of the challenges we’ve faced over the past couple of years. Their hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed and it’s incredible to be recognised for this.
“We strive to deliver the very best shopping experience for our customers. The biggest reward for us is seeing them enjoying their time here at our centre. We couldn’t achieve this without the loyalty from our customers who have supported us over these testing times.
“I’m extremely proud of the team’s achievements at this years’ GCA national awards and I’m looking forward to seeing how we grow from here.”
The GCA represents over 200 garden centres nationwide. Through sharing information and its inspection programme the GCA helps members to achieve high standards in customer service, plant quality and reliability. The awards are decided by the results of the annual inspections, which take place at all GCA garden centres. Garden centres have no advance warning about when their inspection will take place and they do not have the option to turn away the inspector.
The award-winning, independent, family-run garden centre was established in 1990 by founders, Mark and Christina Cleary. It provides customers with quality plants, gardening products, indoor and outdoor living goods, pet care products, giftware and furniture. The Old Railway Line is also home to a farm shop stocking products from over 60 local and Welsh suppliers and a 150-seater restaurant offering delicious home cooked food.
The first Brecon Choir Festival is taking place over the weekend of 22nd to 24th July 2022. March 1st, St David’s Day saw ticket sales go live and they are expected to go quickly.
Brecon Buzz, with support from the Town Council and a team of volunteers, is proud to announce this new 3 day music festival in Brecon.
The festival events will take place in several venues across town including Christ College Brecon, the Cathedral and The Clarence Inn.
The aim is to put on a show of high-quality music whilst making the festival as inclusive as possible with opportunities for audience participation.
The organisers felt that for a long time there was something missing from the calendar – a festival to showcase the best choirs locally and from further afield in some of the outstanding venues that we are proud to have in the town. Singing is a strong Welsh tradition that will be celebrated all weekend.
This year’s Grand Concert will see Aberhonddu & District Male Choir joined by Dunvant Male Voice Choir, the longest continuously singing male voice choir in Wales. Other acts include London-based male group Eschoir, The Brecon Singers, Brecon Cathedral Choir and Alive & Kickin’ Community Choir. Both the Friday and Saturday evenings will culminate in Afterglow events in local hostelries.
One special treat to look forward to is a ‘Musical Walking Tour of the Town’ on the Saturday afternoon. With singing led by Eschoir, the tour will involve a procession through a number of iconic spots in the town before ending up at the Cathedral for the Grand Concert.
The final day of the festival will see a special Festival Evensong at the Cathedral.
Festival co-founder and Brecon Buzz Director Punch Maughan said “We are thrilled to be launching this festival. Brecon has a rich musical heritage and wonderful performance venues. We hope to showcase some of the best talent locally and further afield, whilst welcoming many newcomers for their first visit to Brecon.”
Visit any where in Wales on March 1st; St David’s Day and you’ll see children wearing traditional Welsh National costumes or Welsh rugby shirts, wearing bright green leeks and yellow daffodils turned into colourful accessories.
St David’s Day or Dydd Gwŷl Dewi (Sant) Hapus in Welsh is always a special time in Wales, when local communities come together to celebrate the culture and qualities of Wales. If you live or are visiting the Brecon Beacons National Park today expect to see hear lots of wonderful Welsh choirs and taste lots of delicious locally made foods.
St David: a brief history
St David was the greatest figure in the 6th century Welsh Age of Saints, founder of scores of religious communities, and the only native-born patron saint of the countries of Britain and Ireland.
St David died on 1 March – St David’s Day – in 589. He was canonised by Pope Callixtus in the 12th century, and we have celebrated St David’s Day ever since.
Ideas to celebrate St David’s Day
Enjoy a walk in our National Park
Whether you prefer strolling along to take in the gems you pass or energetically stepping up a slope to get your heart pounding, you’re guaranteed to find a walk to suit your mood and needs within easy distance of your base here in the Brecon Beacons.
Little can match the enjoyment of ambling along a canal towpath or riverside path, exploring a wildflower carpeted wood, being rewarded with breathtaking views from the top of one of our mountains or being dazzled by our star bedecked dark skies. Search the graded walks across the National Park via the map to find a walk which is right for you now.
Set in the beautiful Carmarthenshire countryside, the Garden is a fascinating blend of the modern and historic and beautiful in Spring, you’ll get to see our national flower; the Daffodil in full bloom.
Here you’ll find an inspiring range of themed gardens, the world’s largest single-span glasshouse, our new tropical Butterfly House, play areas and a national nature reserve, all set in a Regency landscape which provides the stage for a packed programme of events and courses throughout the year. Find out more here.
In the Brecon Beacons, we take food and drink pretty seriously. We’ve got all the right ingredients. Clear air on open hillsides. Fertile valleys. And an abundance of fresh water. From gourmet restaurants with their own cottage gardens to cosy pubs serving local Welsh lamb for Sunday lunch, we have plenty of fine eating places to tempt you. Our traditional Welsh breakfasts are legendary. Our gorgeous cafés and tea shops are enough to make you sigh with happiness. And you’ll find some wonderful goodies for picnics and gifts at our delis, food festivals and farmers’ markets. We even make our own whisky. Feeling hungry yet? Find out more here.
The farm shop stocks a wide range of locally produced food and drink including freshly baked bread, meats from a local butcher, tasty deli products and artisan beers and wines.
Shop at Black Mountains Smokery
Pop to Black Mountains Smokery’s shop in Crickhowell to pick up a hamper of Welsh treats or head to their website to order. We have an exclusive offer for our readers – if you place an order online worth over £40, use the code BBT10%, you can get 10% off your order for either delivery to your door or collection from our shop in Crickhowell.
Penderyn Distillery produces award-winning single malt whiskies and spirits in the foothills on the magnificent Brecon Beacons in South Wales. One of the few remaining independent distilleries, Penderyn takes its name from the old Welsh village in which it is located. Head for a tour of the distillery which includes a tasting at the end or buy direct from their online shop.
Black Mountians Preserves
Black Mountains Preserves is a small Artisan Welsh business offering luxury preserves and gift sets. Lovingly handmade in small cared-for batches, an average batch is only 10-15 retail jars! Made by Helen in her home kitchen in Talgarth, facing the Welsh Black Mountains in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Shop online here.
The Welsh Venison Centre
The Welsh Venison Centre in Bwlch, near Crickhowell, is easy to find just off the A40 in the Brecon Beacons National Park. There are stunning views of the Brecon Beacons from the farm which specialises in producing venison and also its own lamb, beef and locally-produced meat as well as deli items, bread and gifts from its Beacons Farm Shop.
The shop also sells items such as cheese, olives and fresh bread – everything you could want for a picnic, barbecue or delicious meal at your holiday cottage. While you’re at the shop you’ll also be tempted to stop for a cup of tea and some delicious cake. Plan your visit here.
The show runs until Saturday, March 19th and we are open Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4.30pm
This inaugural exhibition for 2022 will overlap with Brecon Women’s Festival and features 6 women artists, Hannah McAndrew – a potter from Scotland, Zoe Wright – a jeweller based near Kington and a remarkable exhibition of images by international photographer Paul Harris. Paul is showing a collection of images gathered over 30 years celebrating and honouring the spirit and community of women that he has encountered in his work across the world.
The show will include some sculptures by Rhuddian Cheasley-Rau.
Found Gallery is situated in a prominent position at the eastern entrance to the town of Brecon. The gallery is spread over two floors and has a changing exhibition programme showcasing predominantly Welsh artists as well as emerging and established creative talent from all mediums. Each exhibition offers work for sale from art to hang on your walls to beautiful pottery and ceramics, as well as textiles, prints and photography depending on the exhibition theme.
Visitorsin pursuit of dark skies, will not be disappointed when they come to Wales. On a clear night in our National Park Brecon Beacons, you can enjoy seeing major constellations, bright nebulas the Milky Way and even meteor showers. The Brecon Beacons National Park has a number of publicly accessible Dark Sky sites, which are excellent places to enjoy stargazing. Find out more here.
Our Park has some of the highest quality dark skies in the whole of the UK, making it the perfect destination for stargazers. We think that this is something worth shouting about, so we teamed up with the Brecon Beacons Park Society to apply to the International Dark Sky Association to make our entire National Park an International Dark Sky Reserve. In 2012, we became just the fifth destination in the world (and the first in Wales) to be accredited.
We have some great accommodation where you can enjoy our Dark Skies.
Aberyscir Coach House is a tranquil one bedroom self catering holiday cottage in the Central Brecon Beacons with panoramic views of our highest peak, Pen-Y-Fan. A perfect base for stargazing.
5* Basel Cottage is a fabulous rural retreat on the west of the National Park approximately 2 miles from the lovely Market Town of Llandovery in Carmarthenshire. Set in 17 acres with a private woodland, enclosed garden, decked terrace overlooking the Afon Bran, a tributary of the River Towy and a gorgeous stone and slate terrace with fire-pit, perfect for enjoying our magnificent dark skies.
Wigwam Holidays Brecon are located just outside the market town of Brecon on family farm. Sit out in a hot tub and enjoy our dark skies – what a treat!
Camp Cynrig Glamping Villageis the ideal place to escape the stresses of everyday life and enjoy a unique and very cool glamping experience situated in the heart of the Brecon-Beacons National Park in Wales; an area of outstanding natural beauty. The beautiful off-grid, solar-powered glamping site is approximately 4 miles from the historical cathedral town of Brecon, Wales, and just minutes from the foothills of Pen-Y-Fan. In the heart of the countryside you will never be short of things to do.
Aber Glamping is set on an organic farm with spectacular views of the Brecon Beacons. And even better, as it’s located in a Dark Sky reserve – you’ll get the chance to see the Milky Way glinting far above on clear evenings. The stargazing tents have clear ceiling panels so you can lie back in bed and enjoy the stars from there too – and when you want to go to sleep, simply draw the curtains so you don’t get woken up at dawn.
Upper House and Spa, in Craswall near Hay-on-Wye is a spectacular landmark forming the border between Wales and Herefordshire. This luxury accomodation is a very special holiday retreat to escape from it all in style and comfort, you can immerse yourself in nature and unwind in total quietness – perfect for experiencing our dark skies.
Argoed Barns has spectacular panoramic views from Hay Bluff round to the Brecon Beacons via the Black Mountains. The luxury glamping pods have a huge 5m wide window to capitalise on the stunning views and a great way to admire the night sky.
By the Wye luxury tree top glamping is hidden in the heart of Hay on Wye, elevated in clearings between trees, on the bank of the River Wye. The safari tents are perched on platforms, floating out above the woodland floor, relax on the deck with the River Wye babbling at your feet and the expanse of the dark sky reserve glittering overhead.
Tegfan Garden Suite in Talgarth faces the Black Mountains and you can sit out in the garden and enjoy star lit skies during your stay.
Bryniau Pel Cottage and Hill Cottage are located on a 200acre farm in the ‘dark heart of the park’ being situated between the Usk and Crai Reservoirs (that registered the darkest readings in the International Dark Sky Reserve application). On a clear night millions of stars are visible with the naked eye. Both cottages have binoculars but Bryniau Pell comes complete with an easy to use, portable telescope and a range of stargazing guides for use by children or adults. When it gets chilly simply nip inside for a warm in front of the woodburner and a cup of hot chocolate.
Beacon Park Boats you can enjoy stargazing from your own luxury, self-contained narrowboat accommodation, moored in a different place every night, and wake up to a different view every morning.
3 dark sky activities to enjoy in the Brecon Beacons
1. Dark Sky Wales Experiences
Dark Sky Wales have put together a number of exclusive packages, gifts and experiences for you, your family, friends, colleagues and associates to enjoy. From learning Astro-photography (no kit needed) to one to one star tuition, or even getting the most from your new telescope. We have it covered for all tastes and budgets.
We will explore the grand mountains of South Wales during this experience as we journey Dorian will share stories and legends of the Brecon Beacons.
We will climb up onto Corn Du and watch the sunset from this excellent vantage point until darkness engulfs us. We will then head across to the highest mountain in South Wales, Pen Y Fan, to enjoy exceptional views that the dark skies reserve can provide.
Fingers crossed for a clear night as our location will provide an ideal vantage point to see the Milky Way, major constellations, bright nebulas and even meteor showers, a must for any star gazer!
On the summit of Pen Y Fan Dorian will help you orientate yourself by pointing out the major constellations. All you will need is your hiking gear including warm layers, a head torch and your camera to capture the night skies.
Dorian Thomas, your guide for the night is a fully qualified mountain leader and a Brecon Beacons Dark Skies Ambassador, ideal to look after you and also provide insight to the area.
Equal parts of seasonal fruits of Apple, Pear, Plum and Tomato sweetened with dark sugar and treacle give you a real depth of flavour with a hint of caramel. Celery chopped into crescent moons and a light touch of “star” mustard seeds bring the Dark Sky Reserve chutney to life! Buy yours here.
Ten places to go stargazing in the Brecon Beacons
We have some amazing and iconic places that you can experience the majesty of the night sky as well as our National Park.
Here’s our top three tips on how to make the most of your experience and help us too.
Make sure you wrap up warm – Even in the summer, after the sun goes down temperatures plummet. Layers of clothing work best rather than one big warm ‘all or nothing’ coat!
Keep your eyes in night vision mode. Use a red bike light or paint the torch lens with red nail varnish.
Be respectful – much of the land in the National Park is privately owned and, in some places, footpaths are close to people’s homes. Please do not congregate close to these and always make sure you have the landowners permission.
8 things to enjoy after dark in the Brecon Beacons
Most people come to the Brecon Beacons to make the most of our fabulous countryside. But when the day comes to an end, the fun doesn’t have to stop, read our suggestions here.
Download our digital visitor guide to start planning your visit. With an interactive map, visitors can be sure to find the best places stay, to visit, things to do, great walks and places to eat and drink.
The Brecon Beacons National Park is brimming with exciting attractions and activities which are all set to welcome you and your family this February half term. Take a look at suggestions forFebruary half-term activities for kids in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Download our digital visitor guide to start planning your visit. With an interactive map, visitors can be sure to find the best places stay, to visit, things to do, great walks and places to eat and drink.
February half-term activities for kids in the Brecon Beacons.
Here are some of our favourite activities guaranteed to keep the kids – and the adults – happy this half-term. Even if you can’t go far, there are still plenty of things to keep you entertained in the Brecon Beacons this February half term.
1. Be king of the castle at Carreg Cennen
Let your kids scramble about on Carmarthenshire’s most striking ruins, which date back to at least to the 13th century. They’ll feel on top of the world. The Castle & Tea rooms are open every day from 9.30am – perfect to warm up with a bowl of cawl or tea and cake. To find out more, visit our page on Carreg Cennen Castle.
Ready for a perfect family day out? The National Botanic Garden of Wales is one of Wales’ most visited tourist destinations. Set in 400 acres and over 8,000 plants arranged into themed gardens, the world’s largest single spanned glasshouse and a host of tours, talks and events go together to make this a colourful and rewarding day out. Home to the British Bird of Prey Centre, so you can also to visit during your visit. Find out more here.
Home to Phoenix, Tower Flyer and the Tower Coaster, Zip World Tower is the 4th Zip World site to open, and is the 1st to be opened in south Wales. Nestled in the Rhigos mountain range, and boasting stunning panoramic views, this adventure hub is situated at the old Tower Colliery coal mining site, and has created a new lease of life for this historic and widely-loved base. Book your trip here.
4. Go pony trekking
Whether your kids are seasoned riders or absolute beginners, the qualified instructors at our riding centres will keep them safe. Kids as little as four years old can have a go. To find out more, visit our page on horse riding and pony trekking.
5. Know your stalactites from your stalagmites
At the National Showcaves for Wales, safely built paths allow you to explore fabulous natural limestone caverns, complete with human skeletons. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, There are ten attractions all covered on the one entry ticket – there is plenty to see and do for all ages. Home to one of the world’s largest dinosaur parks, a shire horse centre, a playbarn and more. To find out more, visit our page on Dan-yr-Ogof National Showcaves Centre for Wales.
6. Book a Dinky Donkey Games session
Dinky Donkey Games! Spend an hour playing games with a pair of Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys, learning about positive reinforcement, body language and having fun. The donkeys love a cuddle and to show off – you’ll be best friends by the end of the session! Pre-booking required – £30 per attendee, £10 bystanders & private sessions available. Visit www.gooddayout.co.uk for more info.
7. Get muddy, climb to the tree tops and zip through the air
On Monday 21st of February head outdoors and get closer to the nature on your doorstep with The Big Winter Wander for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Join us at @bythewye to enjoy a walk in the woods and explore the newest additions to our natural playground. Bring some pennies to donate or buy tasty cakes and bakes – all proceeds going to the World Wildlife Fund.
Nature has been a gift to offer us comfort and much-needed escape during difficult times, and now it’s our time to give back. Half of all UK species are in decline – we’re losing our hedgehogs and birds at an alarming rate. When nature suffers, we all suffer. But we have a prescription, and if we act now we can protect our health and the health of our planet.
By taking part in The Big Winter Wander, you can reconnect with our country’s beautiful wildlife and help protect it. The funds you raise will help us campaign to protect wildlife here, and around the world.
Whatever the weather Cantref – Brecon’s Biggest Adventure is a fantastic family day out in South Wales!
Go and visit the great children’s adventure farm park set in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park! They have a large heated indoor play area which is also adult friendly so you can play with your children or you can sit back and relax with a hot drink and homemade cake from the farmhouse cafe.
Enjoy looking at our small animals in the Pet Barn and wander outside to explore the larger animals here at Cantref. There are live animal shows throughout the day, plus all our great family outdoor attractions are available too! Cantref is a great day out for the whole family. Find out more here
10. Stare at the stars
If there’s a clear, moonless night during your visit, you’re in luck. The stars will put on a show. Get hold of a book, a chart or a stargazing map, and see if you can spot some of the constellations. To find out more, visit our page on stargazing.
Winter is a lovely time to do some stargazing because the stars in the sky at that time of year are nice and bright and form some easily recognisable patterns called “constellations”. There is nothing special about constellations other than the stars appear to be close to each other and form patterns that we can use to find our way around the sky. It is very useful to try and learn what a few of them look like. In the middle of February Orion is due south at 8pm and in the first week of March at 7pm. We will start by orienteering ourselves with Orion to find the constellations of Taurus & Gemini. This session is suitable for everyone over the age of 8 years old. Perfect for a family, just starting out, learning about our dark skies. Nick Busby from the Usk Astronomical society will be using “stellarium” which will bring the sky at night to life in your own home. Book your place here.
11. Enjoy the National Trust properties
Take a trip to one of the National Trust attractions in Carmarthenshire. Historic Newton House surrounded by a National Nature Reserve and 18th century landscape Deer Park or Dolycothi Gold Mines are two great days out for your family to enjoy.
If you don’t want to go far you enjoy fun activities at home. Get the children engaged with the natural world by playing sounds of nature bingo and if that whets their appetite, you won’t be short of ideas if you check out their 50 things to do in your back garden.
12. More great ideas for days out in the Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons National Park is a beautiful part of Wales, and there are masses of ways to explore it. It’s easy to plan your own day trips in our Park, lasting anything from a couple of hours to a full day. Here are some ideas to help you enjoy your time to the full. Have a read of great days out in the Brecon Beacons here.
Download our digital visitor guide to start planning your visit. With an interactive map, visitors can be sure to find the best places to stay visit, things to do, great walks and places to eat and drink.
For romantic short breaks for couples we think our national park is pretty hard to beat. As well as Valentines day, in Wales, we also celebrate on the 25th January as we have our own patron Saint of lovers, St Dwynwen, daughter of the King Brychan Brycheiniog, who lived int he 5th Century.
On your romantic break to the Brecon Beacons National Park you can cosy up in front of a roaring fire in one of our country cottages, relax in a spa hotel or enjoy the style of our boutique hotels and B&Bs. We’d also recommend heading out into the National Park on a walk.
Find your perfect place to stay
From serene countryside retreats to Edwardian town houses, rustic inns and cosy bolt-holes, we’ve got plenty of romantic places to stay in the Brecon Beacons. Whisk your special someone away for an unforgettable stay this year.
Like a well-matched partner, you’ll fall in love with St Dwynwen’s Day – Wales’ very own version of St Valentine’s Day. Find out about the Welsh patron saint of lovers, St Dwynwen and the special day dedicated to love in Wales.
When is St Dwynwen’s Day?
We celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day (or ‘Dydd Santes Dwynwen’ in Welsh) on 25 January every year.
About St Dwynwen
Dwynwen lived during the 5th century and fell in love with a prince called Maelon Dafodrill but, unfortunately her father had already arranged that she should marry someone else. Dwynwen was so upset she could not marry Maelon that she begged God to make her forget him. After falling asleep, Dwynwen was visited by an angel, who appeared carrying a sweet potion designed to erase all memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice.
God then gave three wishes to Dwynwen. Her first wish was that Maelon be thawed; her second that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers; and third, that she should never marry. All three were fulfilled, and as a mark of her thanks, Dwynwen devoted herself to God’s service for the rest of her life.
What happens on St Dwynwen’s Day?
It’s just like Valentine’s Day, so it is positioned as the most romantic day of the year in Wales. We exchange cards and gifts, take time out, have special meals with our loved ones… some may go as far as to take long walks on deserted beaches, carve lovespoons, cwtch up in front of a roaring log fire and all that romantic fuzziness.
Romantic things to do in the Brecon Beacons
Soft, green hills, sparkling waterfalls and starry skies make the Brecon Beacons National Park an idyllic place to enjoy a little well-earned together time. Discover where to have a romantic trip in this beautiful part of Wales.
Visit Carreg Cennen Castle
Seen from a distance, Carreg Cennen has a stunning silhouette, perched high on a crag in the rolling Carmarthenshire countryside. Many an artist has sketched, painted or photographed it – not least JMW Turner, whose watercolours now reside in Tate Britain. Climb up to the ancient castle walls and you’re sure to feel inspired. Find out more here.
Enjoy a visit to theMonmouthshire and Brecon Canal
Peaceful and rural, with a flavour of times gone by, the Mon & Brec is a wildlife haven that’s often voted Britain’s prettiest canal. It’s easy to hire a narrowboat or small motorboat and there are even electric boats, for quiet, eco-friendly cruising. Alternatively, settle back while someone else mans the tiller on a relaxing cruise from Brecon Basin to Brynich Lock. Plan your trip here.
Take a walk and a picnic at Llangorse Lake
Llangorse is the largest natural lake in the southern half of Wales, with grassy banks, dreamy views and a poignant sense of history. Llangorse Lake is a fantastic haven for wildlife. Otters and water voles are among the mammals to be found here. More often than not they’re hidden in the reeds, so you’re unlikely to see them, but you won’t miss the birds – warblers, coots, swallows, swifts and large flocks of Canada geese and other migrants congregate at Llangorse at different times of year.
Its crannog, a small island near the water’s edge, was once the site of a 10th century royal palace. The Crannog Centre explains how it was built and who lived there, and reveals some of its legends. Find out more here.
Browse the poetry shelves of Hay-on-Wye’s many bookshops for a special way to say I love you, visit Crickhowell to find perfect local gifts and then gaze lovingly at each other over homemade cake in Abergavenny.
There are billions of reasons to hope for clear skies during your time in the Brecon Beacons, and they’re all twinkling overhead. In 2013, the National Park became the first place in Wales – and only the fifth in the world – to be granted special protection as a Dark Sky Reserve. The views of the stars are superb. Don’t forget to make a wish. Read about our top ten places to stargaze in the Brecon Beacons here.
Possibly one of the most romantic locations in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Craig y Nos Country Park, the former home of Adelina Patti, the late 19th century opera diva. The park is situated in a dramatic and romantic location in the secluded upper Swansea Valley. A 40-acre Victorian garden with shady woodlands, meadows, ponds, lazy lawns and rushing rivers, provides you with a great place to talk a romantic stroll this St Dwynwen’s Day!
Penderyn Distillery produces award-winning single malt whiskies and spirits in the foothills on the magnificent Brecon Beacons in South Wales. Your guide will then take you out into the distillery itself before getting to sample some whiskey, gin or vodka.
Head out on romantic horse ride Looking for a special valentine gift idea for someone you love? Why not create a special memory you will cherish forever? Or if you have something special to ask there’s no better place than the Brecon Beacons as your back drop! Find a trekking centre here
Black Mountains Smokery is a family-run artisan smokery based in Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacons. Our award-winning smoked foods are carefully sourced from British suppliers and traditionally cured and smoked at our smokehouse in Crickhowell. Local artisan food at its best.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to have a Valentine’s meal, a spontaneous date night or a special dinner with your other half, there are many options for romantic places to dine across the national park.
The Felin Fach Griffin Famous, award winning inn with seven bedrooms and restaurant in between Brecon and Hay on Wye. Six time winner of the Good Pub Guide’s Dining Pub of the Year for Wales, and winner of a Good Hotel Guide Cesar award for Wales as Welsh Inn of the Year. Strong flavours, well sourced ingredients, organic kitchen garden.
The Angel Hotelwill serve you and your loved one a heavenly afternoon tea or book in for lunch or dinner. The Angel has been named ‘Hotel of The Year for Wales, 2020’ in The Good Hotel Guide’s Cesar Awards.
The Bear Hotel in Crickhowell, which dates back over 500 years, is bursting with character. With no two rooms the same, you could sleep in an oak-beamed room, a converted stable, a room with a spa bath or another quirky room altogether. Most of the rooms are dog-friendly as well. The pub serves fine food using locally-sourced ingredients. Crickhowell itself is full of independent shops, ideal for mooching around, and the countryside has loads of wonderful walking trails.
The Walnut Tree. Originating from the 1960s, The Walnut Tree has a longstanding reputation for fine food in an informal setting. In fact, it was named Wales’ best restaurant in the 2014 National Restaurant Awards. Their menu is eclectic and predominantly includes meat and fish cooked with finesse. Leave time to walk around the gardens and explore the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside.
Hidden off the beaten track in between the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains is one of Wales’s best-kept secrets. Among the old trees, spacious lawns and with a commanding view of the River Usk is Gliffaes Country House, built-in 1888.
The Plough is a charming four star boutique hotel and AA rosette award winning restaurant. We are set in breathtaking Welsh countryside near the historic market town of Llandeilo and overlook the beautiful Towy Valley. Our location is ideal for touring the castles, country houses, gardens and attractions of the Brecon Beacons and Carmarthenshire. A traditional Welsh welcome awaits you in our AA rosette award winning restaurant. Excellent local fayre is prepared by our team of professional chefs offering a varied menu to suit all tastes, including gluten free. Our menus offer seasonal variations and range from our very popular lunch specials, afternoon teas, traditional bar meals and a la carte dining
Relax and Unwind at the Manor Hotel. The bistro restaurant overlooks the valley and the river Usk and it is a great place for an informal lunch with friends, a snack in our bar or a sumptuous dinner as the evening sun goes down. Food is very important to us, only fresh, tasty, local and seasonal produce features on our menus.
The Three Horseshoes Inn has won a number of awards over the years, the most recent being our chef Gavin Kellet who won the National Chef of Wales award 2019. Prior to this, we were awarded our second AA rosette as well as winning in the 2018 National Pub & Bar awards where we proudly picked up the award for the best pub in Powys at the BAFTA building in London.
Enjoy modern British food at one the most charming places to eat in Brecon, with spectualar view fo the central Beacons. Take tea on the terrace, enjoy brunch in the dining room or have a snack in the cosy bar. Each are open every day for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
A cosy place to relax – you can enjoy the spectacular view of the Black Mountains from our peaceful, sheltered terrace. Whether you’re stopping by for a quick coffee and a slice of home-made cake or staying to enjoy an evening meal with friends and family, we have something for everyone.
Make the most of your visit, download our digital visitor guide
Our digital area guide is downloadable and available offline. With an interactive map, you can be sure to find the best places to visit, things to do, great walks and places to eat & drink. Download it here.