Merthyr Tydfil lies just to the south of the National Park’s boundary and is the perfect setting for a wide range of activities and attractions. Days out for all the family can be spent in the local forests and hills at sites such as the Taff Fechan Local Nature Reserve, Gethin Woodland Park, Garwnant Forest or at one of the many attractions including: Cyfarthfa Castle Museum and Art Gallery; Joseph Parry’s cottage; Brecon Mountain Railway or the International Indoor Climbing Centre at Taff Bargoed.
Merthyr Tydfil owes its name to Tydful, the daughter of Brychan, Prince of Brycheiniog, who was slain by the marauding Picts in the 5th Century at the Site of the Parish Church. Subsequently canonized, the site on which she was slain became known as Martyr Tudfyl (Merthyr Tydfil).
Things to do
Walkers will find an endless choice of both challenging and more gentle routes including the long distance Taff Trail, which links the capital city of Cardiff to the historic market town of Brecon.The Trail passes through some of the Taff Valley’s most spectacular countryside and incorporates many interesting features within the local area such as the Penydarren Tramroad which carried Trevithick’s famous engine down to Abercynon in 1804 – a world first.
Visit BikePark Wales, the UK’s first full scale mountain bike park in the heart of the South Wales valleys, built by riders for riders. Whether you are completely new to mountain biking or a seasoned downhill pro, BikePark Wales will offer you an incredible biking experience unlike anything you have experienced in the UK before.
The concept is simple, picture a ski resort, remove the snow and replace the pistes with an array of sweeping flowy bike trails meandering to the bottom of the mountain and you are close. Add a bunch of adrenalin and big sprinkle of fun and you are pretty much there. BikePark Wales is an exhilarating way to spend your day in the Welsh mountains.
Brecon Mountain Railway
A heritage railway, running through the Brecon Beacons, it is based on the Brecon and Merthyr Railway, which opened originally in 1859 and closed in 1964. The dramatic South Wales landscape and impressively restored steam locomotives make a visit to The Brecon Mountain Railway a great day out in South Wales for families and especially children.
Garwnant Visitor Centre
This beautiful woodland and visitor centre is the southern gateway to the Brecon Beacons.Whats here?
- Walking trails
- Puzzle trails
- Mountain biking trails and skills area
- Accessible trail
- Play area
- Visitor centre
- Toilets (including accessible toilets)
Cyfarthfa Castle is surrounded by parkland. The main building includes displays on history of iron making, collection of 19th century paintings, pottery & porcelain, eastern antiques, brass bands and changing temporary exhibitions.
Joseph Parry’s Cottage4 Chapel Row is a fine example of a typical ironworker’s cottage. Built in the 1820’s for the workers of the Cyfarthfa Ironworks, the cottage was the birthplace in 1841 of Joseph Parry, Wales best known composer. His much loved ‘Myfanwy’ is still a favourite of Welsh Male Voice Choirs to this day.
The interior of the cottage is set in the 1840’s, and shows the living conditions of the ironworkers at the time when Parry was a young boy. The upstairs galleries house an exhibition about Parry’s life and work, and a small section giving further background to Merthyr Tydfil’s industrial past.
Bake bread or make cake on a course with Carolines Real Bread Company
Are you the absolute beginner who wants a gentle introduction to baking or are you looking to take your skills to another level and require a master class in all aspects of baking? Learn how to be proud of what you make whether for your family or for others. Caroline can teach you in an relaxed but intensive way of learning the art of baking and beyond. More here
Why not pay a visit to Penderyn Distillery, situated near the town in Penderyn, Rhondda Cynon Taf. Penderyn Distillery is the only commercial whisky distillery in Wales and one of the smallest distilleries in the world. One of the few remaining independent distilleries, Penderyn takes its name from the old Welsh village in which it is located and nestles in the foothills of the ancient Brecon Beacons mountain range. Enjoy a distillery tour, take a journey through the history of single malt whisky making in Wales, and explore the distilling process at first hand.
Arfryn House Bed and Breakfast
Llwyn Onn reservoir is situated just across the road for a leisurely stroll or fishing. A great area for cycling with The Taff Trail and Bike Park Wales close by.
The Bedlinog Inn
A recently modernised, traditional, Welsh pub in the heart of Bedlinog, a quaint Welsh village, brings people together in a warm, friendly family atmoshere for great conversation. The Bedlinog Inn is a place where good memories are made.
Grawen Caravan & Camping Park
Grawen is situated at the foot of the southern ridges of the Brecon Beacons’ highest hills and some of the most appealing walking country in the land. This family run park is perfect for families, couples, walkers and cyclists who either want to to relax, enjoy or discover the beautiful views of the countryside.
Within Merthyr Tydfil itself, there are a variety of local heritage trails which highlight the town’s historic sites and places of interest. These range in length and terrain to suit all needs and abilities. Merthyr Tydfil’s Ramblers Association also arranges a programme of guided walks throughout the local area.
For more information, including details of accommodation, contact the Tourist Information Centre on: 01685 379884 or email.