City Guide to Brecon
Brecon Cathedral traces its roots back to the Normans when, in 1093 after capturing the Welsh kingdom of Brecheiniog, Marches Bernard de Neufmarche built a priory here. You can trace the layers of different historical periods on a visit to the inspiring cathedral, and, inside its embattled walls you will find the most unique group of monastic buildings in Wales. You can take the time to explore the fascinating history of the cathedral and the town in the Brecon Cathedral Heritage Centre.
Other traces of history can be found in the town’s medieval walls, sections of which still stand proud, and at Captain’s Walk where French prisoners from the Napoleonic Wars once exercised.
For your own exercise you need not feel so constrained. The freedom of Brecon Beacons National Park sits on your doorstep, inviting you to explore its mountains on bracing walks through areas of breathtaking natural beauty. There is the Black Mountains to challenge yourself with, Fforest Fawr (Great Forest) to lose yourself in and the Brecon Beacons themselves to find stunning views from.
The Park attracts many visitors, but never feels crowded, and there’s so much on offer: hill walking, climbing, gorge-walking, caving, horse-riding and mountain biking. Add in a break for a picnic and re-energise, because you’re going to need it.
Rivers and Canals
If messing about on the river is more your thing then you’ll love Brecon. Situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Usk and the Honddu, there’s plenty of opportunities to stroll along the riverbanks or relax next to them.
The historic Monmouth and Brecon Canal links Brecon with Newport and features a magnificent stone aqueduct that carries it across the River Usk just outside the town. A 37 mile stretch of the canal has been lovingly restored to award-winning standards and offers plenty of chances to drift along the route on a canal cruise.
There is a delightful craft market held on the third Saturday of every month and, although you may not pick up any souvenirs to take home, the lively cattle market that takes place every Tuesday and Friday makes for interesting viewing.
Brecon Jazz Festival
Lovers of jazz should time their visit for early August when the Brecon Jazz Festival really heats things up. Brecon plays host to a range of jazz musicians from around the world and many more jazz aficionados arrive to enjoy the vibe. Book your accommodation early as the town really does fill up quickly.
In ancient times it was felt that places where rivers met had a magical quality. Today you can find out for yourself just how right they were: visit Brecon and feel the magic.