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Suggested tours beyond Kite Country

There is more than enough to keep most people happy in Kite Country. However, if bad weather forces you away from the rivers or the mountains, or if you simply fancy a change of scenery, here are a few recommended alternatives:


Just under one hour's pleasant drive from Brecon, at first glance the outskirts of Cardiff do not seem particularly appealing, especially as much of the post-war development undertaken to repair the severe bomb damage inflicted on this highly significant industrial city leaves a lot to be desired. However, there is a still a great deal of historical interest to be discovered and Cardiff is, after all, the capital city of Wales and the seat of the new National Assembly established in July 1999. There has been a lot of major development to the city centre over the last few years, however, and the whole place now seems brighter and more vibrant. There are some superb museums to visit and a lot of world-class entertainment to be enjoyed. Cardiff is also well-represented on the Web and you could start with the official visitor's guide or Net Cardiff, to name a few sites. The Welsh Tourist Board also has a good introduction to the city. There are some other suggestions on my Links page.

St David's

Perhaps two hours' drive to the West of Brecon, this small village on the Pembrokeshire Coast has a home in the hearts of all Welsh people. It was here that their patron saint David was born, where he founded the first monastic community here in the 6th century, and where he is buried in the magnificent cathedral. This lovely building, constructed in the 12th century on the site of a church built six hundred years earlier, is always a surprise, as the first place of worship was deliberately constructed in a natural depression of the land in order to avoid detection by marauding Vikings. It is much visited by pilgrims. Next to the Cathedral are the extensive remains of the Bishop's Palace built in the 14th century.

Pembrokeshire Coast

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is renowned for its rugged cliffs, rocky, secluded coves and the very best beaches in Wales. However, one of the main reasons for visiting the National Park is the superb 167 mile long coast path, which can be followed very easily with the assistance of a good map and/or guide book. Perhaps the best are those published by the Ordnance Survey. The Park covers some 225 square miles and is effectively split into several parts. The quietest and most unspoilt areas are probably those to the North, where you will find the pretty little town of Newport and the quiet village of Nevern with its comfortable Trewern Arms Inn, where you can stay and enjoy some excellent trout and salmon fishing. Also near here is the fascinating Castell Henllys, a living Iron Age museum situated on the site of an ancient settlement inhabited 2500 years ago (see my History section for more details). Please check out the Walk in Wales site for some good information about the coast and plenty of pictures.


If you follow the River Wye downstream from Hay on Wye and cross the English border you will eventually come to the small and ancient city of Hereford, the former capital of the Saxon kingdom of Mercia and a garrison protecting the Saxons from the Welsh tribes. The drive from Brecon takes about 45 minutes. Renowned as a cathedral city since the 8th century, it is also situated in a fruit-growing area and its main claim to industrial fame rests on the production of cider - you can take an organised tour round the famous Bulmers cider plant. The cathedral is particularly famous for two great treasures, the 13th century map of the world known simply as the Mappa Mundi, and the superb chained library which contains some 1400 books dating back as far as the 8th century.

The old part of the city is worth exploring carefully and there is some great shopping hidden away in the tiny medieval alleyways and courtyards. Make sure you visit the Mousetrap Cheese shop in Church Street, where you will not come away empty-handed. I can also recommend the superb and highly individual jewellry crafted by Mike Gell in his East Street workshop, where you will also find items by many other local designers.

On the way back to Hay on Wye make sure you visit the outstanding Sportfish fishing tackle shop in the small village of Winforton (see Map 13). More a supermarket really, the company specialises in mail-order trading, although the visitor can walk all around their shop and inspect a massive stock of fly fishing equipment, including an especially good selection of Welsh trout and salmon flies. They also have a casting pool, where you can try out some of the literally hundreds of rods in stock.

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Pembrokeshire Coast cliffs
Pembrokeshire Coast
Pembrokeshire Coast beach
Pembrokeshire Coast
Hereford Cathedral and River Wye
Hereford Cathedral