The charming market town of Brecon on the central northern edge of the Brecon Beacons is a popular gateway into the National Park and also offers a good range of historic and family attractions. Enjoy a trip to the magnificent Brecon Cathedral which originates from the Norman Conquest or take a relaxing canalboat trip around the town's Canal Basin.
See a show at the Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon's hub arts and entertainment centre and experience an outstanding programme of Jazz during the annual jazz festival widely recognised as one of Europe's best jazz festivals. The town is also home to some beautiful Georgian architecture and the remains of a Norman Castle, now part of the Castle of Brecon Hotel. For a family fun day out visit the Brynich Play Barn or the Cantref Adventure Farm which are both just a short drive from Brecon.
Accommodation in Brecon includes friendly pubs with stylish rooms ideal for a romantic break and lovely farmhouse B&Bs around the town surrounded by scenic countryside. There is also an excellent range of holiday cottages near Brecon, many accepting pets and some suitable for larger groups. Enjoy a short break at Brecon cottage with wood burner stove and easy access to beautiful walks. Find your perfect Brecon accommodation online now with iknow and book.
Brecon's tourist information centre is a great introduction to the National Park situated in the central Market Car Park adjacent to a large supermarket. Inside are interactive displays, books, local guides and maps and a selection of gifts and souvenirs for sale. Touch screen monitors detail the features of the different areas in the Brecon Beacons National Park and interactive displays tell you about the moorland and wildlife accompanied by the actual sounds of birds and animals. There is also a scale model of the park.
The town has a variety of shops and lots of cafes, a few restaurants and a great choice of pubs including the popular Boar's Head, one of the three Breckonshire Brewery, CAMRA rated, pubs. There are outdoor shops and places where you can hire mountain bikes.
The main attractions are all centred around the town. The Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery is a fantastic Victorian neoclassical building that used to be the Shire Hall on Captain's Walk near the town centre. It now houses a variety of exhibits on three floors including the dugout canoe found at Llangorse Lake that is thought to date from 800 AD, the preserved Victorian Assize Court - a courtroom drama set in 1880 brought to life with life-size models, light and sound, and a look at ancient Brecknock from prehistory through to the Dark Ages.
The town's cathedral stands above the River Honddu at Cathedral Close. It was founded by the Benedictine monastery of 1093 though there is little left of the Norman structure except the font and parts of the nave. Major rebuilding in the 13th and 14th centuries gives us largely what exists today. There is free parking for cathedral visitors adjacent to the cathedral and a Heritage Centre, shop and tea room on site.
Take a tour of the fascinating Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh at The Barracks, home of the Royal Regiment for 120 years. The exhibition follows the story of the Royal Regiment of Wales that was based in Brecon. Military paraphernalia is on display alongside some touching exhibits like the delicate embroidery made by soldiers in their spare time and a teddy bear found at Galipoli.
Brecon has the River Usk, River Honddu and the Monmouth and Brecon Canal running through it. The canal which goes from Brecon to Pontypool, once ferried coal, iron ore, limestone and agricultural goods - it is now navigable by pleasure boat traffic. The Brecon section is the busiest of the 33 miles that has been restored and opened. You can hire boats or take river cruises from Brecon.
Brecon is probably most famed for its annual jazz festival that usually takes place on the second weekend of August. It attracts acts from all over the world. There are loads of opportunities to see acts in indoor and open air venues, night and day, performing anything from traditional jazz to something more experimental. The Festival attracts around 50,000 people over the 3 days which is covered by BBC TV and radio.
Obviously accommodation can be scarce at this time and congested traffic can make moving around a bit difficult. Book your Brecon Jazz Festival accommodation well in advance - compare prices online now and book with iknow. When the festival isn't in town, the Oriel Jazz gallery in Brecon explores the history of jazz with some great rare film footage. The gallery is on The Watton (A-road) just down from the Breckonshire Museum.