This February I returned to the Brecon Beacons National Park in mid Wales where we also stayed in a bunkhouse last summer and wanted to give you some Europe travel tips on what there is to see and do in this beautiful region of Wales. The Brecon Beacons National Park, with over 500 square miles of mountains, river valleys, rolling farmland and woods, offers a wealth of locations for all kinds of outdoor activities.
Brecon Beacons National Park by Karen Bryan
The Brecon BeaconsÂ is a great place to spend a few days if you love walking on waymarked footpathsÂ and nature trails and other outdoor activities such as climbing, cycling, horse riding and Â abseiling as well as canoeing on the River Wye and Usk and watersports on Llangorse Lake. Wherever you go you will find specialist companies who can organise these activities for you â€“ just pick up leaflets at your accommodation, tourist information point or in local sports and activity shops. If you just want toÂ plan a day’sÂ hill-walking , then buy a local Ordnance Survey map to guide you, Â but make sure you are well prepared for all eventualities of weather which can change quickly in Wales.
Pleasant market towns
Another pleasure is to potter around in some of the small market towns, especially when thereâ€™s a farmerâ€™s market with local producers gathering to sell their specialist food product â€“ these are usually held on Thursday, Friday or Saturdays,Â but check in advance. Of the towns we’ve visited, Abergavenny has a wider range of high street as well as local shopping, we enjoyed pottering around the outdoor activity shop and food shops in Crickhowell and found that Hay on Wye is great for gift shops and craft galleries as well as the book shops for which it is renowned.Youâ€™ll find that most eating out is done in pubs which have a cosy atmosphere and are becoming well known for their use of local produce, some now gaining a national reputation.
Throughout the year there are a number of local festivals that draw the locals as well as visitors into the area. The best known is perhaps the Guardian Hay festival at Hay on Wye, held in June Â but there are a number of others from the Brecon Jazz festival in August to the Abergavenny Food Festival in September showcasing the best of Welsh produce.
Entertaining the family
If youâ€™re looking for looking for more structured ways to entertain the family, then you can try;
– A visit to the Big Pit National coal museum (free) where you can find out more about Walesâ€™ mining heritage and take a tour down into the coal mine with helmets and headlamps.
– Dan-yr-Ogof showcaves with a dinosaur park full of life size dinosaurs and a playbarn too.
– Craig-y-Nos Country Park with family friendly walks, rivers and pondsÂ and picnic areas
-Â You’ll findÂ more information on family activities in the Brecon Beacons on the Visit Wales Tourism site here
Wales has many options for the budget traveller as well as those who like their comforts â€“ you can try the following as well as checking out the accommodation options on the Visit Wales website and the Brecon Beacons website;
– There are a number of Hostels in this part of Wales run by the YHA which offer rooms of different sizes and some with en suite bathrooms as well as communal cooking and relaxation areas and are well set up for those who come for outdoor activities.
– ForÂ campsites and caravan sitesÂ check out the Visit Wales camping page orÂ for camping barns (usually farm buildings converted into bunk rooms) try the Boots, Bikes, Bunkhouses network of Camping Barns
– Hotels and B&Bs find the best deals on Brecon hotels with HotelsCombined which searches the databases of more than 30 accommodation suppliers.
Photo Credits; Heather on her travels on Flickr