10 Free things to do in the Brecon Beacons National Park and the surrounding areas
Here is a list of activites and places you can visit for FREE (some paid entry places included because they are such good value.)
1. Learn about birds
The Owl Sanctuary at Festival Park is FREE and an amazing place to see some of the largest birds from across the globe, up close! From Vultures and Eagle Owls to parrots and Little owls these birds are being rehabilitated whilst giving an education to schools and children about the importance of looking after our world.
2. Local Events
Us locals love free activities too and there is always something going on locally. The FYI website is a public online notice board from local businesses to exhibitions & events coming up. Other FYI networks are available, just take a look around the site. If you can't find the area you are interested in, then drop them a line or ask your host if they can point you in the right direction. Pubs, post office, market halls and church notice boards are always a good place to find out what is happening.
You don’t come to the mountains unless you like the fresh air and open spaces, and what better way to enjoy them than a walk. Big or Small it clears the cobwebs away and makes you feel ten times better. Take a look at our friends at Go Jauntly who made an easy to use app that shows you the routes with added pictures and info on your way.
Brecon Beacons website has a fantastic array of recomendations for where to walk.
The classic show stopping walks are:
Llyn Y Fan Fach & Llyn Y Fan Fawr
Pen-Y-Fan - A nicer/longer way to do it is to do the horseshoe walk from Cwm Llwch Car Park. Or for a shorter walk go up from Storey Arms Carpark.
The Sugar Loaf
(There are LOADS more and some off the beaten track are arguably prettier, but if you have come to do walking these are some of the main ones.)
For River Walks take a look at the Brecon Beacons Waterfall Country Guides.
If you don’t fancy mountains, walks along the tow path of Monmouth to Breconshire Canal are flat and can be as short as you like.
4. Castles and ruins
We’ve included some paid entries as there are a fair few castles out there that are beautiful to see and often have family discounts for around £20 for 5 people or you can get a 3 day pass for some of the sites from CADW or the National Trust that works out cheaper per day.
The Brecon Beacons have man many castles and ruins, they were called the ‘Beacons’ because flaming beacons were lit along the top of the mountains as a warning system.
From east to west (and not including ALL the castles & ruins we have):
-Raglan Castle (PAID ENTRY)
-Skenfrith Castle (FREE)
-Grosmont Castle (FREE)
-Llantony Priory (FREE)
-Abergavenny Castle & museum (FREE) is in the centre of the town (Behind the Angel Hotel)
-Tretower Court and Castle (PAID ENTRY)
-Crickhowell Castle (FREE)
-Bronllys Castle (FREE)
-Llandovery Castle (FREE)
-Carreg Cennen (FREE)
-Dinefwr Castle (PAID ENTRY)
5. Historical, roman & ancient sites
The Britain Express has a large list of roman sites where you can have a look at how to get there and what each site is like.
-The Big Pit. See life as a welsh coal miner and go underground!
-The Gunpowder Works, a historical walk through the ruins of Wales' first gunpowder factory.
6. Gardens & Nature reserves
Just a few of our favourite gardens and nature reserves that we have enjoyed and is a great place for kids to learn about flowers, insects and just enjoy being out in a beautiful part of our world
- The Walled Garden at Treberfydd is well worth a visit and has tea rooms for a cuppa and a piece of cake!
-Llangorse Lake. If you are going to Treberfydd, Llangorse lake has several nature walks around its edge and one is through a beautiful wild flower meadow leading to a bird hide over the wetlands.
-Craig Y Nos Country Park has a beautiful winding river and extensive arbouretum.
-Aberglasney (CHILDREN GO FREE) This garden was lost and the uncovering and restoration documented on a TV show. It is MASSIVE and pretty and in the grounds of a beautiful old mansion that was also recently restored.
- Cefn Coed (Bluebell Woods)
7. Cycle Routes
There are so many different cycling routes and bridle ways around the Brecon Beacons National Park and you can find some suggestions on the Brecon Beacons webpage.
8. Stargazing in the Brecon Beacons.
Did you know that we are a Dark Sky Reserve? That means we have some of the darkest night skies in the UK and a great place for seeing the stars. Summer months you will have to stay up late or get up early ( 1-3am is the darkest time) but in winter months, you can stay in bed a bit longer and see a decent night sky around 7-pm-4am. Wrap up warm, get your cosy jumpers on and take a cup of hot chocolate with you.
Visit Wales have handily created a list of all the best places to see the milky way.
9. Art Galleries and Creative spaces
The main national galleries are in Cardiff, but in the Brecon Beacons we have an abundance of creative minds and there are local galleries where you can see an array of art from local and international artists. But unlike the national galleries, you can buy these pieces, taking home a piece of art from the Brecon Beacons.
Erwood Station- a converted steam train into a gallery space near Builth Wells
Lion Street Gallery- large contemporary paintings, quirky sculptures and installations in Hay-on-Wye
Hay Makers- a collection of local and visiting artists and creators in Hay-on-Wye.
Brook Street Pottery- also in Hay-on-Wye, this collection features pottery and ceramics from local creators.
The FOUND gallery- showcasing Wales' contemprary emerging and established creators, located in Brecon.
Andrew Lamont Gallery- in the Theatre Brycheiniog, in Brecon
The Ardent Gallery- also serves coffee and cake, has art supplies, and is an excellent framers in Brecon.
The Oriel CRiC Gallery- located above the Crickhowell tourist information office.
The Tower Gallery- also in Crickhowell this little place is tucked away but is a little jewell of established artists.
The Art Shop & Chapel- do only small exhibitions, but they do food and have events going on as well in Abergavenny.
Fountain Fine Art- this gallery has earned a reputation for exhibiting some of Wales & the UK's highly respected artists, located in Llandeilo.
The Oriel Mimosa -in Llandeilo
Modern day treasure hunting. There are 180 geocashing sites in the Brecon Beacons National Park recorded on a grid reference, your job is to find them, and and you can find more about how to start and where to find the geocashes on the Brecon Beacons and Geocash websites, you can even find one near you right now!