Top choice in Parc Cenedlaethol Bannau Brycheiniog

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).

A slightly longer (5.5 miles return) but just as crowded path starts at the Storey Arms outdoor centre, 1 mile to the north. The T4 bus stops here. (Note: the Storey Arms is not a pub!) You can avoid the crowds by choosing one of the longer routes on the north side of the mountain, which also have the advantage of more interesting views on the way up. The best starting point is the Cwm Gwdi car park, at the end of a minor road 3.5 miles southwest of Brecon. From here, you follow a path along the crest of the Cefn Cwm Llwch ridge, with great views of the neighbouring peaks, and then there's a final steep scramble to the summit. The round trip from the car park is 7 miles; allow three to four hours. Starting and finishing in Brecon, the total distance is 14 miles.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Parc Cenedlaethol Bannau Brycheiniog attractions

1. 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…

3. Brecknock Museum & Art Gallery

4.81 MILES

Behind the stolid neoclassical exterior of the former shire hall is the town's museum – although it's been shut for several years now. Various promised…

4. St Mary's Church

4.84 MILES

Built over 900 years ago as a chapel associated with the Benedictine monastery up the hill (now the cathedral), this large stone church dominates Brecon's…

5. Brecknock Castle


There's not much left of Brecon's 11th-century Norman castle, except for a couple of sturdy walls facing the intersection of the Rivers Usk and Honddu…

6. Ely Tower

4.95 MILES

Across the road from the Castle of Brecon Hotel and only partially visible from the road is the original Norman motte, capped by the ivy-clad Ely Tower …

7. Heritage Centre

5.07 MILES

Housed in a restored 15th-century tithe barn within the cathedral grounds, this centre has displays on the complex's history and some interesting objects,…

8. Brecon Cathedral

5.09 MILES

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…