The vast majority of visitors to the Brecon
Beacons National Park, arrive by private vehicle, with 'scenery and landscape' being the most often quoted reason for visiting. Not surprisingly, 'sightseeing by car' is the most popular activity for visitors and of the more active pursuits, walking is the most popular, but cycling, caving, water-sports, trekking and fishing are also widely enjoyed.
In recent years, hang-gliding, parascending and mountain biking have increased in popularity. The rich natural and built heritage of the National
Park is also a source of pleasure for the many visitors who enjoy bird-watching, painting, photography, visiting archaeological and historical sites and shopping.
Some of the most popular visitor attractions in the National Park are shown below:
National Park Visitor Centre : Libanus - 170,000 visitors pa.
7 km south-west of Brecon, off the A470 Merthyr Tydfil to Brecon road. Information, displays and publications about the National Park, with an award winning restaurant and spectacular views of the Central Beacons.
Pen y Fan : Owned and managed by the National Trust - 120,000 visitors pa.
8 km south of Brecon, at 886 metres, the highest peak in the National Park.
The popular walk up from Pont ar Daf on the A 470 involves an ascent of 450 metres (almost 1500 feet) The weather can change very quickly, so be prepared!
Carreg Cennen Castle : Maintained by Cadw - 100,000 visitors pa.
20 km south-west of Llandovery, 5 km south-east of Llandeilo off the a 40 or A 483.
Perched on a 100 metre cliff with stunning views, the current ruin dates from the late 13th century, although Prehistoric and Roman remains have been found on the site.
Dan-yr-Ogof Showcaves : The National Showcaves Centre for Wales - 90,000 visitors pa.
On the A 4067 Sennybridge to Swansea road, 30 km north-east of Swansea.
First discovered in 1912, and opened to the public in 1939, there are now 3 Show Caves, a Dinosaur Park, replica Iron-Age Village, Shire Horse centre and Stone Circles to explore. www.showcaves.co.uk
Llangorse Lake and Common - 75,000 visitors pa.
10 km east of Brecon off the A 40 Abergavenny to Brecon road.
The largest natural lake in South Wales, well-known for fishing, sailing, windsurfing and a haven for wildlife, particularly birds. There is also an iron-Age inspired Visitor Centre.
Craig-y-nos Country Park and Visitor Centre - 73,000 visitors pa.
On the A 4067 Swansea to Sennybridge road, 18 km south-west of Sennybridge.
Information and displays about the industrial and social history of the area, and the important geology of the nearby Cribarth mountain. Easy walking around the extensive grounds.
Garwnant Visitor Centre Owned and managed by Forestry Commission Wales - 60,000 visitors pa. 8 km north-west of Merthyr Tydfil off the A 470 Merthyr to Brecon road.
The centre for the Coed Taf Fawrwoodlands; it has a gift shop and tea rooms, a low level rope assault course,toddlers play area, woodland walking trails and family cycle route.
Brecon - a historical cathedral town that lies in the shadow of the Brecon Beacons and on the banks of the River Usk. A hub before you head up into the Brecon Beacons - which are located just 300 metres from the town centre.
Builth Wells - an agricultural town on the banks of the River Wye and home to Britain's biggest agricultural show, The Royal Welsh Agricultural Show. Builth is a real, live market town with fine buildings and fanciful architecture inherited from the late 19th Century.
Llandrindod Wells - a Victorian spa town with grandiose public buildings and an air of gentility. The town is the largest and most famous of the mid Wales spa towns.
Llanfyllin/Lake Vyrnwy - An ancient town of Llanfyllin located in the foothills of the Berwyn Mountains, an ideal base for exploring the Mid Wales countryside. Lake Vyrnwy offers stunning scenery and a wealth of wildlife. The perfect setting for walking and cycling, with a 13 mile circular route around the lake.
Llanwrtyd Wells - The smallest town in Britain. Llanwrtyd Wells is very popular with mountain bikers, walkers and bird watchers. Llanwrtyd Wells is home to some of the many weird and wacky events from the Bog Snorkelling Championship to the Man versus Horse marathon.
Machynlleth - the ancient capital of Wales. ‘Mach’ is a small market town with a population of around 2000. It sits in the lower Dyfi Valley, about 10 miles in from the coast. The town is a seat of Welsh culture and politics - this was the site of Owain Glyndŵr's Welsh Parliament in 1404. Today, the most recognised feature in town is the central Clocktower, which stands at nearly 80 feet tall and was built in the latter part of the 19th Century.
Newtown - An ancient market town nestled on the banks of the River Severn. Newtown is steeped in history, founded in the 10th century. Newtown is home to the famous world record breaking Santa run in December.
Rhayader - A small historic market town on the banks of the River Wye. Rhayader is the oldest town in Mid Wales, dating back to the 5th century. Rhayader provides an excellent base for exploring the nearby Elan Valley and the Cambrian Mountains. The town and its surrounding area is a perfect destination for anyone seeking all year round activities, whether it's a gentle walk along the River Wye or an energizing mountain biking across the rugged hills.
Welshpool - a bustling market town nestled in the upper reaches of the Severn Valley. Traditionally an agricultural service centre it is home to the largest sheep market in Europe. Welshpool provides an ideal central base for exploring the surrounding countryside and some of the area's many attractions.