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Things to do in Powys

Craig Goch reservoir with water overflowing, Elan Valley, Wales
Craig Goch, Elan Valley

Powys in mid Wales encompasses the 'old' counties of Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire and part of Brecknockshire. The east of the county forms the borderland with England. The Rivers Severn, Wye and Usk flow through Powys.

Offa's Dyke

The Brecon Beacons National Park is in the south of the county, Offas Dyke Footpath and Wales's newest National Trail - Glyndwr's Way - pass through Powys, making it a popular destination for those who enjoy outdoor pursuits, wildlife and nature.

A footpath climbs a steep ridge in the Brecon Beacons
Brecon Beacons

Lake Vyrnwy

Lying in scenic countryside in the north of the county, near the foothills of the Berwyn Mountains, Lake Vyrnwy is a Victorian reservoir built in 1880s to provide water for Liverpool. It has the first stone-built dam in Britain. There is a RSPB nature reserve around the reservoir along with a circular 13-mile cycle route. The reservoir is renowned for fresh water fishing.

Rapids between large rocks on the Marteg River at Gilfach Farm near Rhayader
Marteg River at Gilfach Farm near Rhayader

Solitary figure wearing a red coat is dwarfed by the 73 metre Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfall in Powys
Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfall

Seven Wonders of Wales

Within this lovely peaceful area, is one of the 'Seven Wonders of Wales' - Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfals. Formed by the Afon Disgynfa River passing over a 240-foot/75m-cliff face, Pistyll Rhaeadr means the 'Spring of the Waterfall' and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Powis Castle

In the north east borderlands, you will find the historic market town of Welshpool, famous as the home of 13th century Powis Castle. The impressive red sandstone castle and its beautiful gardens overlook the upper Severn valley.

Powis Castle, Welshpool, Wales
Powis Castle, Welshpool

Situated on the Canal Warf is Powysland Museum, with displays illustrating life in Montgomeryshire throughout the ages. The town is the starting point of the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway. Why not take a trip and enjoy travelling deep into the beautiful Banwy Valley? The terminus is at Llanfair Caereinion.

A few miles south in the village of Berriew is Glansevern Hall Gardens.htm. The garden stretches over 18 acres and is a delight for the green fingered. Also in Berriew is the Andrew Logan Museum of Sculpture with an innovative collection of amusing works.

There is a Powys Tourist Information Office in Newtown, a busy shopping centre and the largest market town in the Severn Valley. During the 19th century the town was an important centre manufacturing textiles. Today you can learn about its past at the Newtown Textile Museum in Commercial Street.

The River Usk flowing through landscape with trees and fields on a sunny day
River Usk

Owain Glyndwr

The historic border town Knighton is steeped in history and was the site of one of Owain Glyndwr's victories over English invaders. It's now the starting point of Glyndwr's Way National Trail, a trail which links to the Offa's Dyke Path. It wends its way in a giant horse shoe through market towns and quiet villages to Machynlleth in the east of the county, before turning back across Powys to Welshpool.

Dovey Valley

The lovely Dovey Valley is a beauty spot and one of the great natural features of mid Wales. Here you will find Machynlleth, an attractive small town, with interesting shops and galleries whose history goes back to the Iron Age.

Owen Glyndwr was proclaimed King here in the 15th century and made it the capital of Wales. The Owen Glyndwr Institute in the town is traditionally thought of as his Parliament House.

The town is a popular centre for fishermen who come to fish the River Dovey for salmon and sea trout.

Centre For Alternative Technology

From Machynlleth, take the water balanced cliff railway 180 feet up the side of the valley to visit the Centre for Alternative Technology. It's the largest display of its kind in Europe. There is so much to see, do and learn, it's a great day out for all ages.

Panorama of Brecon Beacons National Park Landscape in Powys
Brecon Beacons National Park

At the heart of mid Wales is the town of Rhayader situated on the River Wye at the gateway to the beautiful Elan Valley. The surrounding lakes were built as reservoirs to supply water to Birmingham. Rhayader is a favourite centre for walkers, pony trekkers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Wye Valley

The woodlands of the Wye Valley provide protected nesting sites for Red Kite. Visitors to the area can watch these majestic birds at the feeding centre at Gigrin Farm just outside the town.

North of Rhayader at the mouth of the Marteg Valley, in the Cambrian Mountains is Gilfach Nature Reserve, where a wide variety of habitats support many species of wildlife and plants.

Spa Towns

It is well worth visiting Presteigne and the Victorian Spa Towns of Builth Wells, Llandrindod Wells, and Llanwrtyd Wells.

The pretty little town of Presteigne on the Herefordshire border has plenty of history to discover - the half-timbered buildings date back to the 14th century.

Today Builth Wells is best known as the host of The Royal Welsh agricultural show which is held annually at the end of July.

Sgwd Yr Eira Waterfall in the Brecon Beacons
Sgwd Yr Eira Waterfall in the Brecon Beacons

Llandrindod Wells is a popular inland resort with fine 19th century architecture, parks, gardens, a lake, bowling green and a Spa Pump Room.

Llanwrtyd Wells claims to be the smallest town in Britain and many events take place throughout the year. It is a popular centre for walkers, cyclists and pony trekkers.

Landscape showing Llangorse Lake, fields, and mountains in the distance, in the Brecon Beacons National Park
Llangorse Lake, Brecon Beacons National Park

In south Powys, Hay-on-Wye is renowned as a busy centre for second hand books. A Literary Festival is held here in the last week in May and the first week in June.

Brecon Beacons

The historic Cathedral town of Brecon is an ideal base for exploring the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Narrowboat on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, Powys
Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

From here you can enjoy outings such as a trip on the Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal. Alternatively, you might want to board a steam train on the Brecon Mountain Railway for a scenic ride into the National Park.



Days out in Powys

  • Andrew Logan Museum of Sculpture
    Andrew Logan's work is of popular poetry and metropolitan glamour. It is an art which resounds with the exuberant excess of a Busby Berkeley musical.
    Andrew Logan Museum of Sculpture
  • Centre for Alternative Technology
    Our eco-centre features working examples of sustainable living, renewable energy, environmentally responsible building, energy conservation, organic growing and composting.
    Centre for Alternative Technology
  • Gilfach Nature Reserve
    Situated in a beautiful setting at the mouth of the Marteg Valley in the Cambrian Mountains of mid-Wales, Gilfach is locally unique because of its wide variety of habitats: high moorland to enclosed meadow, oak woodland to rocky upland river.
    Gilfach Nature Reserve
  • Glansevern Hall
    Over 25 acres of glorious gardens surrounding a Greek revival house of great elegance on the banks of the River Severn.
    Glansevern Hall
  • Llanidloes Museum
    The Local History Gallery depicts the development of Llanidloes during the last three centuries. Topics include the history of the Old Market Hall, civic events in the town as well as both World Wars.
    Llanidloes Museum
  • Newtown Textile Museum
    The building that the Textile Museum is situated in is a fine example of a typical early 19th century weaving shop.
    Newtown Textile Museum
  • Powis Castle and Garden
    It is hard to believe that the oldest parts of Powis Castle were begun around 800 years ago and some of the oaks were planted at a similar time. The castle was built by the Welsh Princes.
    Powis Castle and Garden
  • Powysland Museum
    The groundfloor displays illustrate the history and development of life in Montgomeryshire from the earliest prehistoric settlers to the 20th century population.
    Powysland Museum
  • Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh
    When you come to Brecon be sure to reserve at least one hour to see the treasures of the 'Old 24th', South Wales Borderers, the Monmouthshire Regiment and, more recently The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot).
    Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh
  • The Mountain Centre
    When you visit us, you can

    Have a break in our tea rooms- Whether its breakfast, coffee and cake,afternoon tea or the lunch menu, come and enjoy home cooked food from fresh produce
    The Mountain Centre
  • Tretower Court and Castle
    A visit to Tretower Court and Castle reveals two historic sites for the price of one. In open country against the backdrop of the Brecon Beacons stands a stark, round tower and its companion piece - a handsome stone manor house.
    Tretower Court and Castle
  • Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway
    The railway was opened in 1903 to link the rural communities to the market town of Welshpool. The gauge of 2 ft 6 inches allowed for tight curves and steep gradients following the contours of the countryside.
    Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway



Places to Visit in Powys

  • Brecon
    Historic Brecon is the bustling centre of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
    Brecon
  • Crickhowell
    A wonderfully compact and well preserved Georgian town with a 13th century castle and 17th century bridge boasting more arches on one side than the other.
  • Hay-on-Wye
    Hay-on-Wye is a market town on the Welsh English border, on the banks of the River Wye
    Hay-on-Wye
  • Knighton
    700 years ago Knighton was the scene of one of Owain Glyndwr's most famous victories against English invaders. Now it warmly welcomes tourists from all over Europe and beyond to this attractive and interesting border town.
    Knighton
  • Llandrindod Wells
    The Victorian spa town of Llandrindod Wells is a double delight, the touring centre for some of the most beautiful of all Mid Wales countryside and an inland resort famed since Victorian times.
    Llandrindod Wells
  • Llangenny
    The picturesque village of Llangenny situated in the hills of Brecon Beacons National Park may seem out of the way but is perfectly located for those fond of walks, bike riding or just seeing nature.
  • Llyswen
    Llyswen, in the Upper Wye Valley, is noted for its beauty and tranquillity and is a wonderful location for those wanting a quiet holiday.
    Llyswen
  • New Radnor
    New Radnor is a delightful village situated just off the A44 on the borders of Hereford and mid wales. Easy to pass by on the way to places of more renown it well rewards a visit.
    New Radnor
  • Partrishow
    Partrishow is a very small village about 2miles north of Abergavenny South wales.
    Partrishow
  • Pont-Nedd-Fechan
    Located in the Vale of Neath, Pontneddfechan was once a scene of great industrial activity and innovation.
  • Presteigne
    Cross the River Lugg at Presteigne and you'll step ashore on England. This fascinating little medieval market town is right on the English border, with history and buildings dating back to the 14th century.
    Presteigne
  • Rhayader
    Rhayader is situated on a crossroads halfway between North and South Wales - a place of hills, valleys and water. In Welsh, Rhaeadr means waterfall.
    Rhayader
  • Talgarth
    The small but ancient market town of Talgarth sits comfortably beneath the Black Mountains, forming an excellent gateway to the mountains for hill walking or mountain biking.
    Talgarth
  • Talybont
    Talybont-on-Usk is a pretty village nestling below the Central Beacons between the River Usk and the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park.










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