Must see attractions in Brecon Beacons National Park

  • Top ChoiceSights in Fforest Fawr & Black Mountain

    Carreg Cennen

    Dramatically perched atop a steep limestone crag, high above the River Cennen, are the brooding ruins of Wales' ultimate romantic castle, visible for miles in every direction. Originally a Welsh castle, the current structure dates back to Edward I's conquest of Wales in the late 13th century. It was partially dismantled in 1462 during the War of the Roses. On a working farm of the same name, Carreg Cennen is well signposted from the A483 heading south from Llandeilo.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Brecon Beacons National Park

    Pen-y-Fan

    Ascending Pen-y-Fan (886m), the tallest peak in the Brecon Beacons, is one of the most popular hikes in the park (around 350,000 people make the climb annually, giving it the nickname 'the motorway'). The shortest route begins at the Pont ar Daf car park on the A470, 10 miles southwest of Brecon. It's a steep but straightforward slog up to the summit of Corn Du (873m), followed by a short dip and final ascent to Pen-y-Fan (4.5 miles return; allow three hours).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Black Mountains (Y Mynyddoedd Duon)

    St Issui's Church

    Halfway up a thickly forested hillside in the Vale of Eywas, this tiny 11th-century church is like a time capsule of Welsh faith and culture, buried too deeply in these hills ever to change. Astonishing as it is in its perfectly situated, weathered simplicity, it's inside that its true wonders reveal themselves: a finely carved wooden rood screen and loft, dating from around 1500; medieval frescos of biblical texts; coats of arms and a red-ochre skeleton; and memorials to people long dead.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Fforest Fawr & Black Mountain

    Garn Goch

    You're likely to have the impressive remains of Garn Goch to yourself. One of the largest Iron Age sites in Wales, it comprises a smaller hill fort covering 1.5 hectares, and a much larger one of 11.2 hectares. While what you now see are immense piles of rubble, it's sobering to know that these were once 10m-high ramparts, faced with stone and 5m thick. From the top, jaw-dropping views of Black Mountain country roll to every point of the compass.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Black Mountains (Y Mynyddoedd Duon)

    Llanthony Priory

    Halfway along the impossibly beautiful Vale of Ewyas lie the atmospheric ruins of this Augustinian priory, set among pasture and wooded hills by the River Honddu. Perhaps the second most important abbey in Wales when completed in 1230, it was abandoned after Henry VIII dissolved Britain's monasteries in 1538. Running a close second to Tintern for grandeur, Llanthony's setting is even more stunning, and you won't have crowds to fight. JMW Turner was impressed, too: he painted the scene in 1794.

  • Sights in Fforest Fawr & Black Mountain

    Waterfall Country

    A series of dramatic waterfalls lies between the villages of Pontneddfechan and Ystradfellte, where the Rivers Mellte, Hepste and Pyrddin pass through steep forested gorges. The finest is Sgwd-yr-Eira (Waterfall of the Snow), where you can actually walk behind the torrent. At one point the River Mellte disappears into Porth-yr-Ogof (Door to the Cave), the biggest cave entrance in Britain (3m high and 20m wide), only to reappear 100m further south.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Crickhowell (Crughywel)

    Tretower Court & Castle

    Originally the home of the Vaughan family, Tretower gives you two historic buildings for the price of one: the sturdy circular Norman keep, now roofless and commanding only a sheep-nibbled bailey, and a 15th-century manor house with a fine garden and orchard (now furnished with picnic tables). Together they illustrate the transition from military stronghold to country house that took place in late-medieval times. It's situated 3 miles northwest of Crickhowell on the A479.

  • Sights in Black Mountains (Y Mynyddoedd Duon)

    Ysgyryd Fawr

    Of the glacially sculpted hills that surround Abergavenny, Skirrid (486m) is the most dramatic looking and has a history to match. A cleft in the rock near the top was once believed to have split open at the exact time of Christ's death and a chapel was built here on what was considered a particularly holy place (a couple of upright stones remain). During the Reformation as many as 100 people would attend illegal Catholic Masses at this remote spot.

  • Sights in Fforest Fawr & Black Mountain

    Penderyn Distillery

    Though Wales has a long history of spirit distillation, this boutique distillery released its first malt whisky only in 2004, marking the resurgence of Welsh whisky-making after an absence of more than 100 years (due to the power of the temperance movement in the late 19th century). Visitors can witness the creation of the liquid fire that's distilled with fresh spring water in a single copper still, then matured in bourbon casks and finished in rich Madeira wine casks. Tours include tastings.

  • Sights in Talgarth

    Talgarth Mill

    Restored with the assistance of the BBC's Village SOS television show, Talgarth's 17th-century watermill is back in business for the first time since 1946, grinding wheat into flour, which is used by the neighbouring bakery and sold in the little craft shop at the front. Thirty-minute guided tours depart on the hour, except on Sunday. Otherwise, grab a pamphlet and show yourself around. If you're extremely lucky, you might even spot an otter in the pretty mill garden.

  • Sights in Crickhowell (Crughywel)

    Crug Hywel

    Distinctive flat-topped Crug Hywel (Hywel's Rock; 451m), better known as Table Mountain, rises to the north of Crickhowell and gave the town its name. You can do a steep but satisfying hike to the impressive remains of an Iron Age fort, which occupy the entire summit. The tourist office has a leaflet detailing the 4½-mile, three-hour round-trip route.

  • Sights in Talgarth

    Bronllys Castle

    Looking like it's slid straight off a chess board, Bronllys' circular tower was built in 1230 on the site of an earlier Norman motte-and-bailey castle. You can climb up inside, wander around its three floors and gaze out over the verdant countryside through its little Gothic windows. It's located just outside of town, on the A479 heading northwest.

  • Sights in Fforest Fawr & Black Mountain

    Red Kite Feeding Centre

    A multitude of majestic birds of prey swoop in daily for their afternoon meal of manky meat scraps at this remote feeding centre. You're likely to see upwards of 50 red kites, alongside buzzards and ravens, all from a hide mere metres from the meat-munching action.

  • Sights in Fforest Fawr & Black Mountain

    Dan-yr-Ogof National Showcaves Centre for Wales

    The limestone plateau of the southern Fforest Fawr is riddled with some of the largest and most complex cave systems in Britain. Most can only be visited by experienced cavers, but this set of three caves is well lit, spacious and easily accessible, even to children. The complex is just off the A4067, north of Abercraf.

  • Sights in Brecon (Aberhonddu)

    Brecon Cathedral

    Perched on a hill above the River Honddu, Brecon Cathedral was founded in 1093 as part of a Benedictine monastery, though little remains of the original Norman church except the vividly carved font. Most of the Gothic structure standing today dates from the early 13th century. Modern additions include an ornate 1937 altarpiece and a cross that seems to hover in mid-air at the end of the nave. In the cathedral grounds are a Heritage Centre, cafe and gift shop.

  • Sights in Brecon (Aberhonddu)

    The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh

    Based at Brecon's military barracks (built 1805), this museum commemorates the history of the Royal Welsh – a newish British Army infantry regiment comprising the South Wales Borderers and other historic Welsh regiments. The highlight is the Zulu War Room – the Borderers (then the 24th Regiment) fought in the 1879 Anglo–Zulu war in South Africa, inspiration for the 1964 film Zulu starring Michael Caine. The collection of artefacts recalls the defence of Rorke's Drift, when around 150 British and colonial soldiers held out against 4000 Zulu warriors.

  • Sights in Fforest Fawr & Black Mountain

    Fan Brycheiniog

    The finest feature (and the highest point) of the Black Mountain is the sweeping escarpment of Fan Brycheiniog (802m), reached via a fairly strenuous 11.5-mile loop from Glyntawe on the A4067.

  • Sights in Hay-on-Wye (Y Gelli Gandryll)

    Hay Castle

    Standing in considerable decrepitude in the town centre, Hay's battered castle is closed to the public but there are various interesting shops to explore in its grounds, including an honesty book stall (50p per book). This was one of the earliest Norman castles to be built in Wales. A grand manor house was grafted on in the 17th century, but this too is in a precarious state.

  • Sights in Brecon (Aberhonddu)

    Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

    Brecon is the northern terminus of this canal, built between 1799 and 1812 for the movement of coal, iron ore, limestone and agricultural goods. The 33 miles from Brecon to Pontypool is back in business, transporting a generally less grimy cargo of holidaymakers and river-dwellers. The busiest section is around Brecon, with craft departing from the canal basin, 400m south of the town centre.

  • Sights in Black Mountains (Y Mynyddoedd Duon)

    Sugar Loaf

    The cone-shaped pinnacle of Sugar Loaf (596m) is a 4½-mile round trip from the Mynydd Llanwenarth viewpoint car park. Take the middle track that follows a stone wall, skirts a wood and climbs steeply uphill, turning right to bisect a grassy ridge before a final steep summit scramble. The descent route flanks the head of the valley.