In the heart of Wales
Just under two hours from the capital city of Wales, Cardiff (Caerdydd) and just under two hours from Bristol and Birmingham airport and train stations, you will arrive in the green heart of Mid Wales a Dark Sky Reserve. From the rolling hills of the Brecon Beacons National Park and dramatic mountains of Snowdonia National Park, to hidden coves and colourful harbours, Mid Wales is really a step away from busy life and provides a sense of wellbeing, mindfulness and relaxation, with some surprising venues and attractions to discover along the way.
Home to the famous literacy Hay Festival, Europe’s foremost Eco-centre - the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE) at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) and Riversimple, specialists in the elimination of the environmental impact of personal transport.
Day one: A star gazing event
Arrive at the beautiful Elan Valley for a private guided walk with one of the rangers who works here. Set in 73 square miles / 189 square kilometres of lush green countryside, reservoirs and lakes, the Elan Valley Estate is owned by Dwr Cymru / Welsh Water and vested by The Elan Valley Trust. One of the main functions is for the supply of clean water here, so the whole area is managed in an environmentally friendly way. Learn about some of the hidden secrets of this fascinating valley and the wildlife that live here. For exclusive groups there’s also an opportunity to explore inside the Pen Y Garreg dam, with its access tunnel to a central tower lit by apertures. The estate has a dark sky park award, so no better way to get back to nature, revive your mind and body in the great outdoors. The Elan Valley Estate also offer activities including canoeing along reservoirs, jeep safaris, cycling and hiking tours
Afternoon tea or lunch is served at the the Penbont House, a 4 star Bed and Breakfast nestled alongside the Pen Y Garreg Dam. With outdoor and indoor seating in the conservatory overlooking the beautiful countryside, sample some locally sourced food here and make sure to leave room for the Bara Brith and Welshcakes, a beautiful welsh delicacy.
For small incentive or team, building events the Penbont House is an ideal place to stay. The only accommodation nestled right in the heart of the Elan Valley with five ensuite rooms makes a great choice for re energising teams. Meanwhile the family run 4 star Metropole Hotel and Spa, with meeting rooms, in Llandrindod Wells (Llandrindod) is just 40 minutes away and a great location for larger groups.
After an afternoon of relaxation, free time and dinner, the evening will be spent with Dark Sky Wales Training Services. Experience the night sky on an evening’s adventure in the Brecon Beacons Dark Sky Reserve. Using telescopes to explore the moon and planets in detail, whilst discovering constellations, planets and galaxies.
Day two: All aboard the steam train
AM: Devils Bridge Falls, in the heart of the Cambrian mountains is a great way to explore some of the scenic countryside in Wales. Known as waterfall country, these unique waterfalls have attracted visitors since the 18th century, including William Wordsworth who wrote about the “Torrent at the Devil’s Bridge". Embark on either the Nature trail, waterfall and three bridges walk – a beautiful scenic walk not for the faint hearted with over 650 natural stone steep steps to climb, or the Punchbowl and three bridge walk which is less strenuous with just over 300 natural steps.
PM: An afternoon of travel on the Vale of Rheidol Railway with lunch or afternoon tea served in a private carriage with exclusive crewmember as a guide. This fascinating 1920 steam locomotive travels along a narrow gauge, through mountains and waterfalls, and home to once threatened red kites, which can often be spotted along the route to the beautiful seaside and university town of Aberystwyth. Visit the National Library of Wales, often said to be the most impressive library in the world, due to its extensive wealth of literature spanning several centuries and regular exhibits of everything from artwork to historical manuscripts. The library has a number of meeting spaces for hire and exclusive curated tours.
Evening: For groups looking to experience a range of food experiences then Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms is a great choice to spend your last two evenings in Wales. Just 25 minutes from Aberystwyth, set in 14 acres of open green space with nine large beautifully designed bedrooms, some of which can be converted to twin rooms. Discover a truly remarkable 20 course dining experience with one Michelin star, five AA rosettes and No 4 Good Food Guides, Gareth Ward owner and chef.
Day three: A world renowned eco centre experience
Just 20 minutes away, discover Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT). This world-renowned eco centre in Mid Wales, with one of Europe’s steepest water-balanced cliff railways, sits within the UNESCO Dyfi Biosphere. For over 40 years, CAT have been actively engaged with the community to deliver environmental solutions and sustainable living to combat climate change. With onsite accommodation, bespoke team building experiences and meeting spaces and experts on hand to deliver inspirational and motivational activities spend a full day discovering more about this extraordinary place and take away some new sustainable living skills developed here.