Weekend Break Idea: Brecon Beacons
I honestly don’t know why I’d left it so long to visit the Brecon Beacons.
It’s actually a FANTASTIC hiking location for Londoners!
Here’s what you need to know to help you plan a trip there:
1. It contains the highest hills closest to London.
Three Brecon Beacons features in the Trail 100 list of ‘must do’ mountains: Fan Brycheiniog (the Black Mountain), Pen Y Fan (South Wales’ highest mountain), and the Sugarloaf, outside Abergavenny.
2. It’s an International Dark Sky reserve
…meaning you can get fantastic views of the night sky without light pollution.
3. You can get there by train
From London Paddington you can reach Merthyr Tydfil (3 hr 45 mins) and Abergavenny (about 2.5 hours) are the two main stations you can reach within an evening’s travel.
Abergavenny is a nicer town, closer to the Black Mountains range, known for it’s great food.
Merthyr Tydfil is further from London, but is closer to the ‘Beacons’.
You could perhaps have two trips, staying in each place; or even try to combine the best of both by returning from the other destination, walking between the two.
4. The Park is split into four regions.
The Black Mountain on the west, Forest Fawr and the ‘central Beacons’ in the middle, and the Black Mountains on the east.
5. Must do walk?
The classic walk is a circular of the central Beacons, taking in Pen Y Fan, Corn Du, Cribyn and optionally, Fan y Big.
The usual access point for this walk is the Storey Arms / Pont ar Daf car parks (accessible by bus from Merthyr Tydfil or Brecon), or parking at the Taf Fechan Forest car park below the Neuadd Reservoirs.
Get lots more ideas on hiking Britain from London in my free resource guide and crash course.
6. What can my kids do?
It’s Wales so of course there’s a steam train! The Brecon Mountain Railway leaves from Pant station, which is north of Merthyr Tydfil, and heads up to the Neuadd Reservoir. You can do some short walks from there.
Another fantastic attraction is the Cantref Adventure Farm, south of Brecon. If there’s two of you, one could easily be dropped off at the Storey Arms, whilst the other takes the kids to the farm. The lucky parent hiking could then easily walk back to the Farm, which you can see on the descent north from via Fan y Big.
7. Can I get around by bus?
Somewhat. The most useful buses go between Merthyr Tydfil and Brecon; and Abergavenny and Brecon. Although buses are not very frequent you must plan your itinerary carefully to ensure you won’t be stuck at the end of your walk.
8. What is it comparable to?
Personally I found it reminded me of the Peak District (Dark Peak), but with higher and pointier hills!
I LOVED it.
Do go: you won’t regret it.
Want more ideas for escaping London in your weekend?
Yes, EVEN if you live in London and have no car!
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