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Brecon tourist information & travel guide

Brecon Beacons | Brecon | Crickhowell | Abergavenny | Hay-on-Wye | The Black Mountains

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Brecon tourist guide

Brecon is the largest town within the Brecon Beacons National Park, and while it has always been a military town, is perhaps best known today world-wide as a centre for jazz. It has the remains of a once major castle and an old town wall.

The Priory of St John, known colloquially as the Half-Church, Half-Castle is a landmark of the town dating back to its construction by the half brother of William the Conqueror after he captured the town in 1094. With its unusual group of monastic buildings, said to be the most unique in Wales within the grounds, it's a photographer's dream! You can find out the full story at the Brecon Cathedral.

The South Wales Borderers museum at Brecon barracks is also worth a visit as it commemorates one of the most famous battles of recent history in 1879 at a place called Rorkes Drift and brought to life in the famous film Zulu starring Michael Caine.

In the town you'll find a modern leisure centre, tennis and squash courts, no less than two swimming pools, an international standard athletic stadium, indoor bowling green and gymnasium. And for the outdoor sports enthusiast there are plenty of facilities to enjoy cycling, golf, fishing, horse-riding and shooting. So the self-catering holidaymaker will never lack for something to do, whatever their age or experience.

And when you fancy something a little more relaxing, there is a cinema, the highly-acclaimed Theatr Brycheiniog, excellent shopping including the Bethel shopping precinct and plenty of good pubs and restaurants serving freshly-prepared local food.

Situated in the eastern part of the Brecon Beacons National Park between Brecon and Abergavenny is the lovely, and quite historic country town of Crickhowell. This is a town dominated by the mighty Pen Cerrig Calch mountain on one side and the Llangattock Escarpment on the other. It is a superb base for exploring the many walking routes in the Black Mountains.

Sennybridge is a sheep and cattle market town eight miles west of Brecon where the River Senni flows into the River Usk. It is known for its large army training camp and an excellent pottery, producing fine homewares. It is also known for bird watching, pony trekking, a base for walking in the Brecon Beacons and ample self-catering accommodation.

There are a variety of small, privately-owned and run shops in the village with several homely pubs and places to eat, with the accent firmly on local produce. The town tends to become a little busier on livestock market day. There is a small church outside the village in Defynnog containing one of the oldest yew trees in the United Kingdom.

Talybont-on-Usk is an extremely attractive village that's an excellent location for walking, offering access to the Black Mountains. Where the Caerfanell River runs through the village there are small, safe pools that are very popular with youngsters for fishing. The reservoir below is well known as a haven for migratory and indigenous wildfowl, as well as a variety of wildlife and brown trout that can be fished for on a day permit available from the reservoir-side ticket machine! Similarly, the Canal allows fun fishing for roach, perch, dace and chub for the younger member of the family who might perhaps be learning to fish and seeking a safe haven.

Despite its compact size, there are four fine pubs in the village, all of which offer home-cooked meals. The famous poet Henry Vaughan lived locally.

One of the best ways to enjoy the local countryside is on horseback, especially the Black Mountains and local countryside. As with water sports, there are pony-trekking establishments catering for all levels of experience and capability, irrespective of age.

These outdoor pursuits are perfect for those on a self-catering holiday who hasn't the strictures of keeping to the timetable posed by serviced accommodation and set meals.

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