Get away! South Wales
The Brecon Beacons are the ideal weekend destination for a country escape
Conquer Pen y Fan
1 Tackle the highest mountain in South Wales and admire the Brecon Beacons National Park from above. If you’re looking for a challenge, Pen y Fan offers the chance to climb to the 886-metre summit. With spectacular views, there are a number of routes to the top to choose from, including the opportunity to conquer neighbouring peaks Corn Du, Cribyn and Fan y Big. The most dramatic way to reach the summit of Pen y Fan starts from Cwm Gwdi car park, taking around four hours to complete the seven-mile route. Gaze up at the stars
2 Recognised as one of only 12 International Dark Sky Reserves in the world, the national park offers you the chance to see spectacular night-time displays. Hay Bluff car park above Hay-on-wye offers panoramic views over Powys and Herefordshire, as well as fantastic clear skies and the perfect stargazing conditions.
Go sheep trekking
3 Take a walk with a difference on a group trek through the Brecon Beacons with trained Jacob sheep (gooddayout.co. uk), taking in the sights of the Black Mountain, with incredible views towards Pen y Fan and the central Beacons. Fitted with a halter and lead, your sheep will take you on a leisurely walk along scenic country routes, including a stop for a picnic lunch. Human guides are also on hand to help out and answer any questions. The trek lasts around two hours, priced £35 per adult or £25 for children.
Enjoy an afternoon on a narrowboat
4 Fancy going on a cruise? The 37-mile Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal offers you the chance to drive a narrowboat for the day (abcdayboathire.com), while stopping at pubs and restaurants along the way. There are six locks from the market town of Brecon to Cwmbran for families to explore, and boats hold up to eight people. Prices start from £130 per day for a boat.
Try a Welsh whisky
5 In the foothills of the Brecon Beacons, Penderyn Distillery (penderyn.wales) produces a range of award-winning single malt whiskies and spirits – it’s the only commercial whisky distillery in Wales. Visitors can enjoy guided tours, designed to educate connoisseurs about the history, inspiration and methods behind the process. Penderyn distils a number of additional spirits, including Merlyn Welsh Cream Liqueur, Brecon Five Vodka, Brecon Gin and Brecon Botanicals Gin, all available to sample and buy.
Visit a smokery
6 Black Mountains Smokery (smoked-foods.co.uk) is a family-run, gourmet food business selling award-winning smoked produce carefully sourced from British suppliers. The owners, Jo and Jonathan Carthew, opened the doors of the smokery in Crickhowell in 1996, and have developed a fresh, delicious and sustainable range of traditional smoked fish, meats, poultry and cheese. Not only that, Black Mountains Smokery regularly organises events, tours and tastings for foodies to learn more about sustainable food. Pack up a hamper of goodies for a picnic in the national park, surrounded by the beauty of nature.