The Brecon Beacons is known for its glorious mountain ranges, wonderful walks and assortment of outdoor activities, however sometimes the weather can be a little wetter than you would like during a short break or holiday.
That’s why, just in case of some showers, we have compiled some of the best things to do in the Brecon Beacons in the rain, while you’re on your next getaway to Wales. You’ll also find lots of lovely holiday cottages to dry off in if you do get a little wet while exploring the region.
👉 Cool caves
👉 Wonderful waterfalls
👉 The Brecon Mountain Railway
👉 Brecon Beacons country pubs
👉 Bookshops in Hay-on-Wye
👉 Blaenavon World Heritage Centre
👉 The Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal
👉 Shop 'til you drop
Escape the rain by heading deep underground into a Brecon Beacons cave. A fascinating network of natural limestone caves and caverns lies deep beneath the Brecon Beacons National Park just waiting to be explored, whatever the weather.
The National Showcase Centre for Wales is a popular Brecon Beacons visitor attraction with three different caves to explore:
- You can walk through around a kilometre’s worth of tunnels inside the Dan Yr Ogof cavern which features fascinating rock formations and natural lakes.
- The spectacular Cathedral Cave has enormous passageways that are decorated by beautiful stalactites, cascading waterfalls and the magical St Paul's Dome which is surrounded by dramatic 40-foot drops of water.
- The eeriest of this trio of caves is Bone Cave which got its name because of the skeletons found here. Today you can see an exhibition that shows how some important Roman-era discoveries were made and how the cave has been used in the past.
There is also a natural cave at the remote Carreg Cennen Castle near Llandeilo. You’ll need a candle to light your way as you head down a steep set of steps into the main passageway which has been reinforced with vaulted ceilings and stone walls to allow inhabitants to head underground in times of siege.
Part of the Brecon Beacons National Park is known as Waterfall Country and rainfall can make the spectacular, tumbling cascades here even more dramatic. We recommend putting on your waterproofs and some sensible shoes to seek out some of these wonderful Brecon Beacons waterfalls:
With a spectacular 90-foot drop, this is the highest waterfall in South Wales and was also used as a filming location for Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. Henrhyd Falls is managed by the National Trust and features a wonderful waterfall with a secret cave behind the curtain of water.
Sgwd yr Eira | Fall of the Snow Waterfall
This magical waterfall is part of the Brecon Beacons’ Four Falls Trail and has a tumbling wall of water to walk behind during your visit. It’s located on the River Hepste and surrounded by woodland, between Dinas Rock and the village of Ystradfellte.
The Afron Sychryd river lies in a scenic valley at the bottom of the Brecon Beacons National Park and is home to a trio of waterfalls; Sychryd Cascades, Sychryd Falls and Upper Sychryd Falls. The river is just 5km long and although woodland paths will help you find two of the waterfalls, you’ll have to venture off-trail to reach the third secret falls in this natural beauty spot.
Also known as Blaen y Glyn, Caerfanell Falls is one of around 20 tumbling waterfalls that lie along the Upper Caerfanell River in the Black Mountains region of Wales. A walking trail follows the path of the river through woodland gorges near the Talybont Reservoir with most of the waterfalls easily seen from here.
Ride the Brecon Mountain Railway
A journey on this heritage railway is a great way to sit back, relax and soak in some of the wonderful scenery of the Brecon Beacons National Park while staying nice and dry in the all-weather observation carriages.
The Brecon Mountain Railway follows the line of the historic Brecon and Merthyr Railway which dates back to 1859, and beautifully restored period steam locomotives will transport you in style along the narrow-gauge railway line.
The locomotives run between Pant Station at the bottom of the Brecon Beacons National Park and Torpantau Station at the top of Pontsticill Reservoir, through some of the most dramatic landscapes in South Wales. On the return journey back to Pant, the trains stop off at Pontsticill Station so that you can enjoy views out over the reservoir from the Lakeside Cafe.
Spend the afternoon in a country pub
The Brecon Beacons is filled with country pubs where you can sit out any showers with some good food, cold drinks and friendly company. Muddy boots (and paws) are welcome in most Brecon Beacons pubs and many of these characterful inns have roaring wood burners to keep you toasty and warm when it’s cold and rainy outside.
Here are just some of our favourite Brecon Beacons pubs:
- The Bear in Crickhowell dates back to 1432 and is full of olde-worlde charm and atmosphere, with dark wooden ceiling beams and roaring log fires.
- The Old Black Lion is a 17th-century Hay-on-Wye coaching inn that is reputedly where Oliver Cromwell stayed while nearby Hay Castle was besieged by roundheads.
- The Lamb and Flag is located at the foot of Sugar Loaf Mountain near Abergavenny, with a great beer garden where you can dine alfresco and make the most of the pub’s stunning spot.
- The Half Moon Inn is a secluded Black Mountains dog-friendly pub near Llanthony Abbey with flagstone floors, open fires, and a beautiful beer garden.
Catch up on your reading in Hay-on-Wye
If you fancy catching up on your reading, whether it’s discovering new authors or reacquainting yourself with old classics, there’s no better place to do this than Hay-on-Wye. This charming Brecon Beacons market town near the Welsh border is famous for its annual literary festival and large collection of bookshops.
With more than 30 independent bookshops dotted around its cobbled streets, Hay-on-Wye is regularly referred to as the book town of Wales.
Here are some of our favourite places to find rare first editions, bargain second-hand books and exciting new reads:
- Richard Booth’s is the original Hay-on-Wye bookshop and this three-floor emporium is filled with new and second-hand titles, with a cafe where you can sit and read them over a cuppa. There’s also a cinema that shows live National Theatre plays and independent films.
- The Old Electric Shop is a wonderfully eclectic shop selling a range of new and vintage items including a handpicked selection of books, with an on-site vegetarian cafe too.
- There are three different Addyman bookstores in Hay-on-Wye, but the original store is based on Lion Street with a wide array of titles and lots of pubs and eateries nearby where you can go to read them.
Uncover the past at Blaenavon World Heritage Centre
During the 19th century, South Wales was one of the world’s leading producers of iron and coal, and the landscape of Blaenavon has been carefully preserved to showcase the region’s important history. Blaenavon is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a visitor centre, coal mine and ironworks which you can explore to uncover the past.
Blaenavon World Heritage Centre is the best place to start your visit. The visitor centre is set in the former St Peter’s Church School and features a restored schoolroom along with displays and exhibits showing the history of the town.
The Big Pit is the main visitor attraction at Blaenavon where you can head 300 feet underground on a traditional shaft to see what life was like for a coal miner. You’ll wear a hard hat with a lamp on your guided tour of the coal mine's underground tunnels - the perfect indoor activity for when it’s raining outside. This tour must be booked in advance and it’s worth checking available times before you head out for the day.
You can go inside one of the old furnace buildings of Blaenavon Ironworks to learn more about the working conditions here. There’s also a trio of restored cottages that depict Welsh family life during several different historical eras.
Other Brecon Beacons museums and historic sites to visit in the rain include:
- Abergavenny Museum - located in the grounds of Abergavenny Castle, this fascinating museum tells the story of Abergavenny through a series of artefacts and displays.
- The Tithe Barn at St Mary’s Priory - this 12th-century building in Abergavenny was originally built to store taxes and hosts several free-to-access exhibitions and the 24-foot Abergavenny Tapestry which includes a variety of scenes from the town’s 1,000-year history.
- The Royal Welsh Regimental Museum - this Brecon museum tells the story of the most famous British Army regiment through more than 33,000 artefacts including First and Second World War memorabilia.
- Tretower Tower and Court - the original medieval court building at this attraction near Crickhowell has been fully restored, with the great hall laid out as it would have been for a sumptuous banquet and a covered walkway to take you through the beautiful Tudor gardens.
Cruise along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
There are plenty of waterways that you can explore in the Brecon Beacons. However, if it's raining and you don’t fancy getting wet, we highly recommend a relaxing undercover cruise along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.
This peaceful waterway is regularly voted one of the UK’s prettiest canals and it starts in the popular market town of Brecon. You can catch one of Dragonfly Cruises’ green barges from the Brecon Canal Basin and take a seat in the boat’s handsome saloon.
Full refreshments are available for you to enjoy onboard the boat as you cruise for around 2 hours 30 minutes from Brecon to Brynich through the scenic Usk Valley.
Another great rainy day activity to enjoy in Brecon is going to see a show at Theatr Brycheiniog which looks out over the canal.
There are lots of indoor shopping options in the Brecon Beacons if you fancy indulging in a little retail therapy during your getaway.
Abergavenny has a Victorian market hall where you can browse an eclectic collection of stalls each Tuesday and attend regular craft fairs and food markets that take place regularly throughout the year.
Hay-on-Wye hosts a market each Thursday with a series of stalls inside the town’s historic Butter and Cheese Market halls. There’s also an indoor market hall in Brecon with markets each Tuesday and Friday.
Nicholls is a family-owned Brecon Beacons department store that sells clothing, jewellery and homewares in Abergavenny, Crickhowell and Brecon.
The Old Railway Line Garden Centre is located in the village of Three Cocks between Brecon and Hay-on-Wye, and sells gifts, homeware clothing, plants and even has an on-site farm shop where you can get a range of local Welsh produce.
The Crickhowell Resource and Information Centre (also known as the CRiC) sells a range of locally produced gifts and showcases Brecon Beacons artists and makers in regularly changing exhibitions.
Other great Brecon Beacons shops include:
- Eighteen Rabbit, a quirky independent store in Hay-on-Wye
- Cuddle and Cwtch, a children’s clothing boutique in Abergavenny
- Brecon Vintage and Vinyl, an antique store in Brecon
- CW CW, a ladies' fashion boutique in Crickhowell
Explore the Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons is a lovely place to visit at any time of year, with mountains to climb, historic castles to explore and peaceful places where you can simply relax and enjoy the mesmerising scenery.
You’ll find lots of things to do in the Brecon Beacons and a wide selection of holiday cottages where you can rest your head after days of exploring.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.