Brecon is a traditional mid-Wales market town nestling in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons National Park in Powys. This magical spot at the confluence of two rivers, the Usk and the Honddu, has long been a popular destination with its spectacular scenery and leisure activities.
The cathedral houses the largest Norman font in Britain and the regimental chapel of the South Wales Borderers, who were renowned in the Zulu War. It also contains a rare Breeches Bible.
Established in 1957, the Brecon Beacons National Park covers 519 square miles stretching from Llandeilo in the west to Hay-on-Wye in the east and contains some of the most spectacular upland formations in Southern Britain. With mountains and moorlands, standing stones and castles, high waterfalls and vibrant communities, the national park has much to offer visitors.
The park is home to some of the oldest, oddest, largest, deepest and highest features and buildings in the UK.
The leaning tower of St Martin’s Church in the hamlet of Cwmyoy leans more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa making the park home to the most crooked church in Britain. And going further back in history there are over 30 surviving stones in the park.
There are few areas of Britain that can offer such a wide range of scenery and so many fascinating places. About 30 minutes’ drive from Brecon you will find Dan yr Orgof Caves. An impressive show-cave, one of the largest in Europe, with fine stalactites and stalagmites.
In the west there are the remote and shapely summits of the Carmarthen Fans (now designated a Geopark ) with their two shimmering lakes and fairy legends; to the east is Fforest Fawr, a wild and lonely area of mist shrouded moorland, where time moves slowly and Sarn Helen beckons us to follow in the footsteps of the Romans.
Only 15 miles along the River Usk from Brecon, Crickhowell, a small, pretty and thriving Georgian market town set between the lower slopes of Table Mountain and the Usk, is home to Tretower Court, a fine medieval fortified manor house.
Another 5 miles along the Usk is Abergavenny, set on the north bank of the river and dominated by three nearby mountains - the Blorenge, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Shirred Fawr. The grandeur of Llanthony Abbey set amidst the mountains here has inspired visitors for centuries.
The quaint small town of Hay-on-Wye occupies a unique position on the border of England and Wales and is famed for its collection of second-hand book shops and annual literary festival.
Hugging the mountainside above the valley of the River Usk is The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. Built in 1791 and running for 32 miles through between Brecon and Pontypool, the Mono and Brec is a fantastic feat of engineering.
Today the entire length of the canal towpath is a public footpath which passes through delightful scenery with several public houses along the way. Brecon Basin is at the northern extent of the navigable section of canal, right in the heart of the town.
More evidence of the towns regions past can be found at Big Pit Mining Museum in Blaenavon where you can travel underground and discover the life of a South Wales coal miner.
Both the cathedral city of Hereford, home of the famous 13th Century Mappa Mundi, and the vibrant Welsh capital of Cardiff are around 1 hour’s drive from Brecon.