Tour Highlights: Brecon Beacons National Park, Elan Valley & Abbey-Cwm-Hir
We depart from Cardiff and travel northbound to a jewel in the crown of the UK's protected landscapes. The dotted with ancient reminders of past inhabitants, from the enigmatic standing stones left by prehistoric ancestors and more recent relics of the industrial age, over thousands of years it has gradually shaped the landscape we see today. Our first stop is at Libanus Mountain Centre to admire views of southern Britain's highest peak, Pen-y-Fan and the Brecon Beacons.
Our journey continues northbound passing through the Spa town of Builth Wells and Rhayader, (Mid-Wales oldest town dating back to the 5th-century) to our lunch stop, Elan Valley (known as the Welsh Lake District). After lunch enjoy spectacular views of the reservoirs which are indisputably the most scenic in Wales. The massive dams hold back millions of gallons of water, flanked each side with hills & mountains while the aesthetic dam walls themselves were designed not only to be functional but highly photogenic, adorned with several architectural embellishments in marked contrast to the industrial blandness of some more recent reservoirs.
We wind our way along the scenic mountain road with stunning views in every direction and make our way to The Hall, at Abbey-Cwm-Hir. A Grade II building, listed as one of Wales' finest examples of Victorian Gothic Revial architecture. The 12-acre grounds include a walled garden, sweeping lawns and terraces, courtyards, lake and waterfall and some splendid mixed woodland. The Hall overlooks St Mary's Church and the ruins of the 12th-century Cistercian Abbey of the Long Valley containing the monk's pond and the grave of the Welsh Prince, Llewellyn the Last. The Hall recently featured on BBC Wales Discovering Welsh Houses. Guided tour and access to gardens and grounds.