With it’s endless rugged hills and countless cascading waterfalls, the Brecon Beacons National Park is an idyllic location to reconnect with nature and let little explorers run wild.
The Brecon Beacons had been calling us for years so we were thrilled to finally spend a long weekend camping in this gorgeous corner of the world. We’ve put together details of our favourite activities for kids, top tips and an idea of budget for anyone else looking to explore.
We pitched our tent at the rustic Llangorse Activity Centre campsite (£63 for 3 nights) which boasts a lovely grassy camping ground with views over the Llangorse Lake and the Beacons. The site is not divided up so you can decide to set up anywhere and cars weren’t allowed on the field which was nice for the boys as they could run around freely. The facilities are basic but good enough for a weekend.
There’s so much to do with kids in the Brecon Beacons but here are our top five outdoor activities for optimum social distancing!
1. Boating on Llangorse Lake
Llangorse Lake is a beautifully picturesque part of the Brecon Beacons with panoramic views of Pen-y-Fan and Corn Du peaks.
The lakeside kiosk offers pedalos, row boats and kayaks so there’s something for everyone. We hired a row boat for an hour (£16), picked up some duck food (£1.50) and strapped the children into their buoyancy aids. We had been nervous about taking Arlo (1yo) boating on the lake, and whilst he did attempt to climb overboard on several occasions, the duck food saved the day and provided much entertainment!
Head to Llangorse Lake Caravan Park (LD3 7TR) and follow the road down past the cafe for boat hire.
2. Hike to the Waterfalls
The Brecon Beacons is known as Waterfall Country for very good reason. Cascades can be found everywhere, especially after heavy rains. The most spectacular waterfalls can be found year round along the Four Waterfalls walk.
The Four Waterfall walk in the heart of waterfall country takes you on a 8km journey through woodland, across farmland and over moorland. Traverse trickling streams, scramble over rocks and descend many stairs to discover four epic waterfalls.
Our favourite waterfall by far was Sgwd Yr Eira which is the last one along the walk. The river is shallow enough to paddle at the edges and you can follow the path behind the waterfall (be prepared – you’ll get wet!).
Head for the town of Ystradfellte (CF44 9JF) and follow the signs for the car parks.
- Park at Cwm Porth instead of Gwaun Hepste as it’s ten minutes closer to the waterfalls.
- The car park costs £4 for day and there are decent toilet facilities. It’s a good idea to buy a map (£1) at the small kiosk. We had no phone signal or internet.
- The full walk is around 8km/5mi and it took us 3 hours to complete with a 1 and 4 year old.
- A baby carrier is a must for children under three as it is quite a long walk and even an off-road pushchair would struggle in some places.
- Wear good shoes as even in the height of summer there are patches of mud and small streams to walk through. The terrain is hilly and rocky with steep steps / rocks down to the waterfalls.
3. Alpaca Trekking
Alpacas may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a visit to Wales, but it was a real highlight of our trip! Set in gorgeous rolling hills, Blaenrheon Farm near Brecon is the home of Alpaca My Boots.
We arrived at the farm early and were introduced to our own alpaca. The lovely team showed us how to handle the animals and we got to know each alpaca’s personality before we set off.
The 2km leisurely walk across Mynydd Illtud common up to the Twyn y Gaer viewing point takes in panoramic views over Pen-y-Fan and Corn Du, the Black Mountains and the river Usk. The experience lasts for ninety minutes with plenty of stops for photos (or for your cheeky alpaca to munch on some ferns!). Once back at the farm there’s time to feed the alpacas and say goodbye.
Fin (4yo) happily led his alpaca, Hawk, for the entire time whilst Arlo (1yo) hitched a ride on Alex in the carrier. They both absolutely loved it.
- Book in advance with the lovely team at Alpaca My Boots (£25 per adult)
- To reach the farm, head to LD3 8ES and look out for the signs
- Wear decent footwear as the ground can be uneven and muddy in places.
- There are toilets on site – probably the nicest toilets we came across during our trip to Wales!
- Children under three years old would benefit from being taken in a carrier. The walk is not suitable for a pushchair.
- The alpacas are very friendly but like all animals they can be spooked. Young children need to be supervised closely when interacting with them.
4. Dan Yr Ogof Showcaves
Discover underground waterfalls, enormous caverns and endless stalactites at the National Showcaves Centre for Wales. The adventure starts at Dan yr Ogof cave where twisting tunnels lead the way for one kilometre past impressive rock formations. There are four caves but our favourite was the Cathedral cave which opens into a huge cavern with 40ft underground waterfalls.
The showcaves also boasts a large collection of 130 huge dinosaurs dotted along the steep winding trail which leads from Dan yr Ogof to the Cathederal cave. A few of the dinosaurs are animatronic and roar which Fin enjoyed.
The entrance fee (£15.50 per adult) also includes a small shire horse centre, freerange walkthrough farmyard and play areas for various age groups. There are areas to picnic and also a few vendors selling food. The souvenir shop is very small – we made it through there without Fin finding anything to ask for!
- Book in advance for an arrival time slot and head to SA9 1GJ to start your adventure
- There’s a small road train that runs from the lower car park to the entrance which can accommodate strollers and wheelchairs
- A baby carrier for the caves is essential, strollers are not permitted
- Good walking shoes for everyone as the caves are dark, slippery and uneven
COVID: [Sept 20] Masks are required inside the caves. Hand sanitiser widely available. Some areas are closed, check website for details.
5. Horse Riding
What better way is there to take in the Brecon Beacons than by horseback? There are stables dotted all over the Beacons with stunning hacks to suit everyone from beginners to experienced riders.
We chose to ride with Llangorse Activity Centre where Fin enjoyed a 20 minute ride for £15 on Dougal the pony. The centre offers lessons, hacks and fun rides (age 4+) across the 25 miles of bridleways on their land. Rides are tailored to your ability and the staff were great.
COVID: [Sept 20] Masks are required for getting on/off but can be removed once out of the stable area.
Other exciting things…
There are lots of other exciting things to do with kids in the Beacons. COVID restrictions meant we weren’t able to visit some of these places but they’re definitely worth looking up before you visit!
- Brecon Mountain Railway steam train
- National Botanic Gardens of Wales
- Pen-y-Fan and Corn Du hike
- Llangorse Activity Centre rock climbing (age 8+)
To make your trip to the Brecon Beacons even smoother, here are our top tips for visiting with children;
- Take a baby carrier / backpack for young children. We used our ErgoBaby and Deuter Kid Comfort II. Most places are tricky or impossible to navigate with a stroller.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes or boots as the terrain is uneven and changeable depending on the weather. Speaking of which, take both suncream and waterproofs to cover all the bases!
- Petrol stations are few and far between to fill the car up when you get chance!
- Pubs and restaurants are dotted throughout the Beacons, however most currently need to be booked in advance.
For a four day / three nights camping trip in the Brecon Beacons (2 adults, 2 children) we spent £293:
- £63 on a pitch
- £37 on food and drink
- £65 petrol
- £128 on activities