The Brecon Beacons may be best known for its waterfalls, mountains and peaceful countryside, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find lots of lovely towns and villages to spend time in while you explore.
From historic towns in Powys to pretty Brecon Beacons villages, there’s no shortage of perfect places to visit during your next Welsh short break or holiday. There are also lots of things to do during your Brecon Beacons getaway and for even more inspiration read our guide to the best places to go glamping in this beautiful national park.
One of the prettiest villages in the Brecon Beacons, Talybont-on-Usk is a top choice for walkers and cyclists thanks to its idyllic location near the River Usk and Talybont Reservoir with woodland and forest trails to explore.
- There are a trio of dog-friendly pubs in the village where you can stop for a while and catch up with friends over a pint:
- The Star Inn has a lovely beer garden that backs onto the River Wye
- The White Hart is a traditional Welsh coaching inn with classic home-cooked food
- The Traveller’s Rest features The Garden Room restaurant with views across the Usk Valley
- Cycle hire is available from Bikes and Hikes in Talybont-on-Usk so you can go exploring the area on two wheels. Read our guide to cycling in the Brecon Beacons for a selection of lovely routes to try.
- Talybont Stores is located on the edge of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal and along with stocking a range of essential items, you can pick up local crafts and handmade gifts.
Where to stay: Counting House | Sleeps: 3 guests plus 2 dogs
If history is your thing, it’s hard to beat the small Welsh town of Builth Wells which dates back to Roman times and is located close to the northern tip of the Brecon Beacons in Powys. Known as the ‘Kingdom of Builth’, this historic town is nestled between the Wye and Irfon rivers in the beautiful Wye Valley. The 14th-century Fountain Inn is the oldest pub in town and it’s worth calling in to enjoy a drink in the characterful bar.
- A colourful mural depicts the last battle of Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd which took place in Builth Wells during the 13th century, and an ancient monolith marks the spot where he fell.
- There are Victorian buildings dotted around this Brecon Beacons town including the Wyeside Arts Centre which is now an independent theatre and cinema where you can catch comedy shows, music and the latest films.
- Builth Wells is the setting for the annual Royal Welsh Show which takes place over four days each July and features live music, thrilling displays, agricultural competitions and lots of shopping stalls to browse.
Where to stay: Fairbanks | Sleeps: 10 guests plus 2 dogs
Nestled in the heart of the Black Mountains, Cwmdu is a small and picturesque Brecon Beacons village that’s just 3 miles from the popular town of Crickhowell. There’s a community run pub called The Farmer’s Arms in the village where you can enjoy hearty home-cooked food in front of roaring log fires.
- Cwmdu lies along the edge of the Rhiangoll river which rises up along nearby Waun Fach making the village a great starting point for tackling the highest peak in the Black Mountains.
- Just outside Cwmdu is Tretower Court and Castle which along with a circular stone tower also features a recreated 15th-century garden and a mediaeval banquet hall laid out for a feast.
- The Brecon Beacons National Park is an internationally recognised Dark Sky Reserve and the sheltered location of Cwmdu makes it a perfect spot for stargazing where you can look out for shooting stars, meteor showers and the Milky Way.
Where to stay: Tyffynon | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 2 dogs
Best known for its wonderful collection of independent bookshops and a world famous literary festival, Hay-on-Wye is a Brecon Beacons town that also features a castle to explore, medieval walls and a popular Thursday market that’s been held in the town for more than 700 years.
- Hay-on-Wye is home to more than 30 independent bookshops which are dotted around the town’s cobbled streets. Popular choices to visit include Richard Booth’s Bookshop, Addyman’s Books and the Hay Cinema Bookshop.
- The Thursday market in Hay-on-Wye is centred around Memorial Square with around 50 stalls to browse against a backdrop of the majestic Hay Castle. There’s lots of other shops to call in during your visit to this Brecon Beacons town including Hay Deli where you can stock up on artisan meats and cheeses.
- The annual Hay Festival, once described by Bill Clinton as ‘Woodstock for the mind’, draws more than 100,000 people to this small Welsh town. A green field at the edge of Hay-on-Wye becomes a tented village for the festival with deck chairs to relax in and workshops held by philosophers, poets and authors.
Where to stay: Readers Retreat | Sleeps: 2 guests
This lovely Brecon Beacons town has a picturesque spot on the River Usk and is said to have been the inspiration for the fictional Crickhollow in JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Crickhowell is nestled at the foot of the Black Mountains in peaceful Powys with a Grade I-listed castle perched high above the town and an 18th-century stone bridge that with a dozen arches is the longest of its kind in Wales.
- The best starting point for a visit to the town is the CRIC (Crickhowell Resource and Information Centre) where you can pick up maps, find things to do and browse a range of locally produced gifts. There’s also a gallery here with regularly changing art exhibitions.
- Just outside of Crickhowell is the beautiful Clydach Gorge which is said to have inspired William Shakespeare to write A Midsummer Night’s Dream and features caves, rocks and waterfalls all surrounded by magical woodland.
- The remains of Crickhowell Castle are free to explore and you can enjoy wonderful views of the town by climbing to the top of the motte. It’s also worth indulging in a bit of retail therapy by visiting Nicholls of Crickhowell, a department store that’s been around since 1925.
Where to stay: The Cottage - Crickhowell | Sleeps: 5 guests plus 2 dogs
Located about halfway between Brecon and Hay-on-Wye at the north-eastern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Talgarth is a pretty market town that’s well worth visiting. It’s said that Talgarth was the capital of the medieval Welsh kingdom of Brycheiniog and this ancient town was also famous for its horse fairs, which took place until the end of the 19th century.
- Just outside Talgarth is the peaceful Cwm Pwll-y-Wrach nature reserve which is owned by the Brecknock Wildlife Trust and nestled in ancient woodland on a steep-sided valley. There’s a spectacular waterfall to seek out here which tumbles into the deep and mysterious Witches Pool.
- Talgarth Mill is a restored 18th-century water mill in the town which is run by local volunteers who will take you on a tour of the place and tell you all about its fascinating history. You can also get delicious breads and cakes at the on-site bakery and pick up a range of locally produced gifts at the Talgarth Mill Craft Shop.
- On the edge of Talgarth is Bronllys Castle which features a round stone tower that you can climb to the top of. Information boards tell you of this motte and bailey castle’s history which dates back to the 13th century and there are wonderful views of the surrounding countryside from the top.
Where to stay: Pear Tree Lodge at Talgarth | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 1 dog
Picturesque Usk is tucked away in the Monmouthshire countryside near the south-eastern border of the Brecon Beacons National Park. With an idyllic on the edge of the River Usk, this is a popular spot for salmon fishing and romantic strolls by the water. There are also lots of independent shops, charming tea rooms and good pubs to call in during your visit to this Brecon Beacons town.
- Usk is known as the ‘Town of Flowers’ thanks to colourful floral displays that are dotted around the streets and more than 20 local gardens that can be visited during an annual Open Garden event each June.
- A special Usk Town Trail takes in 28 different sites of historic interest including medieval houses, a Victorian courthouse and the Usk Rural Life Museum.
- Usk Castle sits on a hilltop looking out over the town and it’s well worth exploring the romantic ruins and dog-friendly grounds which are open to visitors three days a week.
Where to stay: The Cwtch Hut | Sleeps: 2 guests plus 1 dog
Located where the River Senni meets up with the River Usk, Sennybridge is a small Brecon Beacons village in the historic county of Breckonshire with a couple of pubs, a few shops, a pottery and a post office. This is a rural area and Sennybridge is surrounded by open hills and farmland with regular cattle markets still taking place in the village.
- The Epynt Way walking route runs through Sennybridge and following this well-marked trail is a great way to explore the majestic landscape between Brecon and Llandovery.
- It’s worth calling in for refreshments at the historic Usk & Railway Inn which is a dog-friendly pub with lots of traditional features and a beautiful beer garden that serves hearty portions of home-cooked food.
- You’re just a few miles away from the Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre at Libanus where there are tea rooms, a craft shop and a children’s play area. There are also stunning views from here to Pen-y-Fan and it’s a great spot for stargazing.
Where to stay: Old Factory House | Sleeps: 8 guests plus 2 dogs
Llandeilo is surrounded by rolling green countryside, looking out over the River Towy at the western edge of the Brecon Beacons. It’s one of the most charming market towns in Wales with pretty pastel coloured cottages lining the picturesque streets and lots of independent shops to seek out.
- You’ll find all sorts of lovely shops dotted down little alleyways and located along the main market street in Llandeilo. Some of our favourites include Ginhaus Deli, Cuckoo’s Nest gift shop and Rig Out Boutique.
- Just outside of Llandeilo lies Aberglasney, a Grade II-listed mansion which is home to one of the finest gardens in Wales. The 10-acre site features 20 different garden styles including the UK’s only surviving Elizabethan Cloister Garden.
- Also near Llandeilo is the National Trust’s Dinefwr Park and Castle with sweeping parkland, romantic ruins, towering trees and fascinating exhibitions to explore.
Where to stay: Katouch Cottage | Sleeps: 2 guests
With various streams flowing through the village and a spot on the banks of the River Usk, Trecastle is an idyllic spot for a Brecon Beacons getaway where you can enjoy lots of walks through the surrounding Powys countryside.
- The Trecastle Antiques Centre in the village is home to around 20 different dealers selling a range of unique vintage items in an old Victorian school.
- Trecastle is close to the Usk Reservoir which is a perfect choice for a picnic and is one of the best places in the Brecon Beacons for trout fishing.
- The surrounding Glasfynydd Forest has a number of Brecon Beacons cycling routes to try out and scenic walking trails to follow. You can then call at the Castle Coaching Inn for refreshments on your return to the village.
Where to stay: Rising Sun Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 3 dogs
Located at the western edge of the Brecon Beacons in Monmouthshire, the town of Abergavenny is often referred to as the ‘Gateway to Wales’ and has a spectacular backdrop of both the Sugar Loaf and Skirrid mountains. There’s a weekly market held each Tuesday in Abergavenny’s Victorian Market Hall and a regular farmer’s market also takes place on the last Thursday of the month.
- Abergavenny hosts an annual food festival each September and there are lots of places in town to pick up local artisan food and drink including The Marches Delicatessen and The Sugar Loaf Vineyards.
- Abergavenny Museum is located amongst the ruins of Abergavenny Castle and is a great place to learn more about the history of the town. It’s also well worth visiting The Tithe Barn at St Mary’s Priory, a 12th-century building which hosts a number of free exhibitions and a 24-foot tapestry which features various scenes from 1000 years of Abergavenny history.
- You can follow a network of pathways around Abergavenny’s colourful Linda Vista Gardens which features a tranquil rose garden and is surrounded by 20 acres of wildlife-rich meadows.
Where to stay: Betty’s Cottage - Abergavenny | Sleeps: 5 guests
With a spot on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal and the River Usk flowing right past the town, Brecon is one of the best places to visit in the Brecon Beacons National Park if you fancy taking to the water on a canoe or kayak. You’ll also find lots of handsome Georgian architecture in the town along with a historic cathedral and lots of independent cafes, shops and restaurants.
- You can hop aboard one of Dragonfly Cruises’ handsome green narrowboats at the Brecon Canal Basin for a relaxing cruise along the water. If you’re feeling a bit more energetic, The Brecon Water Trail is a canoe route along the River Usk that runs from Brecon Promenade to nearby Talybont-on-Usk.
- Theatr Brycheiniog is located alongside the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal and runs a programme of shows and musical performances for visitors to enjoy throughout the year.
- It’s worth seeking out The Hours Cafe and Bookshop during your visit to Brecon. It’s located in a fabulous green building that dates back to Tudor times and you can enjoy gorgeous food while reading a carefully curated selection of books.
Where to stay: Swan Bank Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 1 dog
Book your Brecon Beacons accommodation
If you fancy exploring some of these Brecon Beacons towns and villages during your next staycation, you’ll find a range of lovely holiday cottages dotted throughout Powys and Monmouthshire in Mid Wales.
Whether you fancy exploring the Black Mountains with four-legged friends from a dog-friendly Brecon Beacons cottage or cosying up in a romantic retreat for two, there are plenty of options to choose from.
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.