10 of the best places to stay in the Brecon Beacons

Rural, Destinations

Posted by Courtney Kelly on 17th May 2022

Sunrise over the Llangattock Escarpment

The Brecon Beacons got its name from the locals performing the crucial defensive tactic of lighting signal fires (beacons) on the mountain ridges to alert the communities of impending attacks from invaders. Luckily, these days the people and businesses of the Beacons welcome with open arms the swathes of tourists who visit the region every year.

In terms of scenery, there aren’t many areas of Wales that can stand up to the Brecon Beacons. Its deep and gentle wooded valleys, its vast and misty mountains and its secluded moorland punctuated with trails – all of this results in an enviable South Wales destination.

Just west of the Wye Valley, the Brecon Beacons is host to a number of must-see communities, all with something special to offer. Read on to discover our top picks.

Discover the Brecon Beacons

Hay-on-Wye, a book lover's heaven

Hay-on-Wye – the best place to stay for book lovers

Hay-on-Wye is the place to visit if second-hand books are your thing. Sitting just west of the Wales/England border on the River Wye, this welcoming town is rightly renowned as the go-to place for bibliophiles chasing that rare or out-of-print paperback. However, there’s plenty more to Hay than just books. Vinyl is continuing its resurgence and you can find plenty of second-hand gems, whilst there’s ample opportunity for eating and drinking at quaint little cafes and friendly pubs too. And, if you like walking and canoeing, you’re in for a treat, with the Black Mountains, the River Wye and the Warren all nearby.

Back to books. You’ll not be found wanting when you stroll the streets looking for your next read. Booth’s Books is perhaps the best-known shop in the town and attracts a lot of attention, but there are numerous smaller names that warrant a mention too. Murder and Mayhem should be a pit stop if horror, mystery or crime literature is your bag. And Rose’s Books is worth a pop in if you want to revisit your younger years and find that childhood book you thought only still existed in your memories.


  • Booth’s Books – a beautiful shop with skylights, reading benches, an arthouse cinema and a cafe
  • The Poetry Bookshop – the UK’s only second-hand bookshop devoted to poetry
  • Hay Festival – this annual festival during May and June is described as the Woodstock of Words

Hay-on-Wye cottages

Llangorse Lake and some sailboats upon it

Llangorse - the best place to stay for water sports

Do you love water sports, swimming and all the activities associated with water? If so, the best Brecon Beacon place to stay has to be Llangorse. Here you’ll find the largest natural body of water in South Wales, Llangorse Lake, which is hemmed in by the Black Mountains to the east and the rising Brecon Beacons to the south and west.

There’s room for everyone on the water, whether you prefer the high adrenaline feeling of wakeboarding and water skiing, or you’d rather spend your time exploring the lake in a more leisurely fashion in a kayak or canoe. Paddleboards, pedalos and rowing boats are too available for hire.


  • Llangorse Lake Boat Hire – all your water sports hiring needs in one handy place
  • Llangorse Crannog – a manmade island settlement originally constructed in the Dark Ages
  • Llangorse Multi Activity Centre – a good place to dry off with indoor climbing, abseiling, high ropes and zip lining

Llangorse cottages

The Brecon Canal Basin

Brecon – the best place to stay for riverside walks

If you’re thinking about where to stay in the Brecon Beacons, why not try its namesake town, Brecon? Known as Aberhonddu in Welsh, this market town resides in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park and has plenty to offer the historian, the foodie and the wanderer in you.

It’s this last element we’d like to focus on here as Brecon is filled with marvellous sights to behold, both manmade (the gorgeous Georgian architecture) and the natural (woods and rivers). Explore the woodland by the River Honddu, or saunter along the promenade and see the River Usk stretch out before you. Or head out on the Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal and spot all kinds of wildlife on your way towards Brynich Lock.


  • Y Gaer – the cultural hub of Brecon, you’ll find a museum, an art gallery and a library, as well as a cafe
  • Canal Basin – one of the most splendid canals in South Wales, explore on foot, on two wheels or on the water
  • Brecon Cathedral – visit one of the country’s most stunning buildings, set within a walled close

Brecon cottages

Crickhowell from the air

Crickhowell – the best place to stay for independent shops

If you want to stay in a place with a real sense of community, Crickhowell is the place for you. The town that bucks the trend and fights back against the supermarket giants was recently crowned the UK’s best high street at the Great British High Street Awards. A snapshot of this spirit is encapsulated by the Corn Exchange, a community-led campaign to purchase a former high street pub – which was due to become a national supermarket – and convert it into three new independent shops.

You’ll find butchers shops, bakers, florists and grocery stores in the town, all of which are staffed by friendly faces who are sure to appreciate you taking the time to browse their wares and spend your hard-earned money in their shops. Many of these businesses have been here for generations and do not look as though they’re going anywhere soon. Sure, it might be cheaper in a supermarket, but the quality won’t be half as good.


Crickhowell cottages

The food festival and hills of Abergavenny

Abergavenny – the best place to stay for foodies

This market town in Monmouthshire is bordered by seven mountains and plays host to a number of great independent shops. Therefore, it would have been easy to say that Abergavenny was the best place to stay in the Brecon Beacons for walks and retail. However, it’s the town’s status as a foodie mecca that draws our attention the most, with its regular food markets enticing the best artisan sellers to the town on a regular basis.

With the Brecon Beacons National Park so close, the opportunity for beef and lamb farmers to make the most of the rich soil and clean air is high. Add to that the fantastic cheeses, fruits and vegetables, all washed down with local beers, ciders and the product of Monmouthshire’s vineyards, and you’ve got the makings of a fine foodie adventure.


  • Abergavenny Food Festival – held across six venues, visit over 150 exhibitors and culinary talks at this annual festival
  • The Gaff – this deli, coffee shop and takeaway offers small plates of exquisitely crafted food served in a light and airy space
  • White Castle Vineyard – take in the beauty of the region and try some of the wines at this 7-acre vineyard

Abergavenny cottages

A redstart, Pwll y Wrach waterfall and a pied flycatcher

Talgarth - the best place to stay for wildlife

There is plenty to get nature and wildlife enthusiasts excited when visiting Talgarth. Firstly, there are two fantastic nature reserves – Park Wood and Pwll-y-Wrach. The former is an ancient woodland that comes to life with the choir of redstarts and pied flycatchers, and the vivid sights of kaleidoscopic butterflies. The latter boasts a carpet of bluebells in the spring and the ever-present waterfall which is the hunting ground of dippers looking for insect larvae.

Then there’s Trewalkin Meadow, a wildflower-rich area at the foot of the Black Mountains between Talgarth and Llangorse. There’s an abundance of butterflies on offer and the tall trees provide accommodation as well as dinner service to all manner of insects and birds.


  • Pwll-y-Wrach Reserve – spot dormice if you have a keen eye or just wander towards the beautiful waterfall and the ‘Witches Pool’ it plunges into
  • Black Mountains Gliding Club – enjoy the Black Mountains and try to spot some wildlife from the skies
  • Bronllys Castle – climb the tower’s three floors and marvel at the far-reaching views from this 13th-century stone castle

Talgarth cottages

Talybont Reservoir Pump House

Talybont-on-Usk – the best place to stay for cycling

Pop the bike rack on the car and head to the Usk Valley for a two-wheeled adventure in Talybont-on-Usk. As the name would suggest, the village is close to the River Usk but it is also the point where the River Caerfanell and the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal cross paths, offering a glut of waterside options.

If you possess even the simplest of off-roading cycling skills, then head for the Talybont Forest Trail. One of four mountain biking routes running through the village, this 11-mile trail heads into some gorgeous woodland before making a beeline for the Talybont Reservoir where things flatten out for a smoother ride. Of the other routes available, if you’re a more experienced rider, try the Pontsticill Crossover for a tough figure-of-eight route to the village via its iconic reservoir. Back in Talybont, the village hall car park has a shower and a bike wash station for public use.


  • Talybont Reservoir – cycle around this beautiful body of water or jump off the saddle and walk to the series of eight waterfalls
  • Canoeing – with all this talk of water, why not hire a canoe and tackle the white waters of the River Usk?
  • Stargazing – with its International Dark Sky Reserve status, this part of the Brecon Beacons is perfect for stargazers…you can even see the Milky Way from here!

Talybont-on-Usk cottages

Sgwd yr Eira on the Four Waterfalls Walk

Merthyr Tydfil - the best place to stay for waterfalls

Hopefully we’ve whetted your appetite for towering deluges with our mentions of waterfalls. If so, you’re in luck as Merthyr Tydfil is our favourite place to stay in Brecon if you’re a lover of cascading downpours. This section of the Brecon Beacons National Park is Waterfall Country, with a marked trail boasting 25 miles of footpaths waiting to be scouted just outside the town.

Head to nearby Ystradfellte and begin the Four Waterfalls Walk, a trail full of serene scenery leading to, you’ve guessed it, four waterfalls. The verdant wooded valleys provide plenty of scope to take in picturesque gorges and of course the tumbling forces of Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr and Sgwd yr Eira. The falls are a sight to behold, however there’s more. The huge cave entrances in this area are a must-visit as well and if you’re an experienced caver, there are nearly 2 miles of cave passages to explore.


  • Sgwd-y-Eira – follow the footpath behind the curtain of water at this impressive waterfall
  • Porth yr Ogof – known as the White Horse Cave, this is the biggest cave entrance in Wales at 20 metres wide and 3 metres high
  • Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer – just outside of Merthyr Tydfil, this multi-activity centre offers archery, water sports, bushcraft, caving, zip wires and more

Cottages near Merthyr Tydfil

Dinefwr Castle, Carreg Cennen Castle and some bluebell woods

Llandeilo - the best place to stay for history buffs

If you’re looking for a Brecon Beacons place to stay where you can brush up on a bit of South Wales history, then look no further than Llandeilo. The Tywi Valley is a region that attracted a lot of interest from the Romans after they invaded Britain in 43 AD. This was largely due to the gold in Dolaucothi, with the town going on to house one of the empire’s largest gold mines.

Moving along the timeline to 550 AD, St Teilo, from whom the town gets its name, prospered here and was a cousin of the country’s patron, St David. And if you needed any more evidence that Llandeilo is full of history, then cast your eyes upon the ancient forest area of Dinefwr Castle Woods, a reserve full of broad-leafed woodland, a ruined castle and a quarry.


  • Dolaucothi Gold Mines – this National Trust spot is the site of the UK’s only Roman gold mine
  • Dinefwr Castle Woods – a woodland floor of bluebells and primroses below, a deciduous canopy above and a castle in an enviable hill-top position looking out at the Tywi Valley
  • Carreg Cennen Castle – once a site of prehistoric man and then the Romans, this 13th-century castle offers incredible views and a look into the past

For more inspiration about the best castles to visit in Wales, read our guide.

Llandeilo cottages

Bridge over the River Usk and the clock tower in the town square of Usk

Usk - the best place to stay for fishing and flowers

When you head towards Usk, you head towards one of the prime spots in the country for catching salmon. The River Usk, and many of its tributaries too, offer first-class wild trout fishing as well, so pack your rod if you’re a keen angler.

In addition to being a great fishing spot, Usk is known as the Town of Flowers. Famous for being a serial winner of Wales in Bloom (37 years in a row), Usk was also a joint winner at RHS’s Britain in Bloom in 2017 and won an award at the Communities in Bloom Ceremony in Canada in 2018. You can enjoy the flourishing plant life around the town throughout the year or, in June, you can walk around the Open Gardens, incorporating small cottage lawns and borders and larger public gardens.


  • Fishing on the River Usk – May and June are the best months to cast your net/rod
  • Open Gardens – stroll through local gardens, find unusual plants around the battlements of Usk Castle and take something home from the Gardeners’ Market
  • Town Trail – follow the route to find 28 historic sites, each with a blue plaque

Usk cottages

Find the best places to stay in the Brecon Beacons on this handy map

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Stay in a self-catering holiday cottage in the Brecon Beacons

We hope we’ve given you plenty to mull over when choosing your place to stay in the Brecon Beacons. No matter which of the fabulous towns and villages you choose, we’ve got a self-catering holiday cottage for you. From luxury cottages and properties for a large gathering to getaways for two and dog-friendly retreats, get ready to discover the Brecon Beacons.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.