Family-friendly Brecon Beacons


3 horses in a grassy field

There’s so much for families to do and discover together amid the dramatic scenery of Bannau Brycheiniog (formerly the Brecon Beacons). With staggering landscapes and a millennia-old cultural heritage, this national park is positively bursting with spectacular peaks, rare wildlife and medieval castles. If you’re not sure where to start your family holiday explorations, read on for Pitchup’s favourite family activities – some of which are completely free.

Outdoor adventures for all the family

Time spent in the open air, enjoying new experiences as they go, will surely inspire your kids with a love of nature, whether you’re exploring on foot or using pedal power.

Walking trails for all ages

Like all our national parks, the Brecon Beacons are famed for their walking, with a whole host of age-appropriate routes suitable for all families.

Animal Sculpture Trail

Length: 0.5 miles/1 km circular trail
Difficulty: Easy
Time: About 30 minutes
Start: Garwnant Visitor Centre car park (pay and display)

Pick up a free map of this buggy-friendly nature ramble in the Fawr Forest, with youngsters following clues to tick off sculptures of local wildlife including a stag, red kite, squirrel and a dragonfly. The route encompasses stepping stones in a shallow stream, so expect everyone to get wet. Other on-site facilities include a playground, zipwires for older kids, picnic spots and a café serving pizzas and ice creams.

Children’s Canal Walk

Length: 4.4 miles/7 km out and back
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 2 hours
Start: Brecon Canal Basin car park (pay and display)

Brownie the barge horse has lost his shoes – help your youngsters find them along one of the prettiest sections of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal between Brecon Canal Basin and Brychich Lock. Along the route – which is nice and flat for pushing prams – search for clues on information panels, stop for a picnic by the wooden sculpture of Brownie and his keeper, and look out for views of Pen y Fan mountain.

Penwyllt Circuit

Length: 1.75 miles/2.8 km circular trail
Difficulty: Grade 3: moderate
Time: 1.5-2 hours
Start: Penwyllt (free parking)
Route: OS Maps

This Brecon Beacons walk from the abandoned village of Penwyllt mainly follows sections of old rail and tram lines, but also introduces some uphill slogs. There are several picnic spots with spectacular Swansea Valley views, and several long-defunct limestone quarries and brickworks along the way. You could combine the walk with a visit to the replica Iron Age village at the National Showcaves Centre for Wales (10 minutes’ drive).

Family of 4 walking down a gravel track

Four Falls Trail

Length: 5.25 miles/8.4 km circular trail
Difficulty: Grade 4: energetic
Time: 3-4 hours
Start: Gwaun Hepste car park (card payments only)
Route: OS Maps

Waterfall Country is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular corners of the park, and this sign-posted trail takes in three cascades in the River Mellte gorge as well as spectacular Sgwd yr Eira on the River Hepste. It’s fun to follow with older kids, but is not suitable for toddlers or pushchairs as there are steep muddy steps down to the individual waterfalls and unfenced drops.

Family cycling routes

The park has miles of cycling routes suitable for all skill levels and ages, including many miles of safe traffic-free family routes following canal towpaths and former railway lines, as well as compacted tracks leading through forest and over reservoir dams.

If you haven’t bought bikes with you, there are many local hiring options, where you can also source tandems, covered or tag-along trailers for younger children, and tow bars for those kids happy to do their share of pedalling. Some campsites in the Brecon Beacons also rent out bikes.

Brynich Aqueduct to Talybont-on-Usk

Length: 4.5 miles/7.25 km
Difficulty: Suitable for everyone
Time: 2 hours round trip with stops
Start point: Brynich Aqueduct car park (free)

One of the most popular family rides along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal Towpath, with just a few gentle gradients and lots of grassy banks for canal-side picnic stops. Brightly painted barges, ducks and swans brighten up this cycle ride any time of year, but it’s especially pretty when the canal banks are carpeted with wildflowers in spring and summer, and in autumn when the trees lining the towpath are touched with gold.

Llanfoist to Clydach Gorge

Length: 5 miles/7.5 km
Difficulty: Suitable for everyone
Time: 2.5 hours round trip
Start point: Llanfoist Crossing car park

A traffic-free cycle path along an old railway line, the trail passes through pretty Govilon on the River Usk and then goes up a steep climb into stunning Clydach Gorge. This special place was once home of ironworks and blast furnaces powered by the fast-flowing River Clydach, but today wild nature has retaken the area. Stop to draw breath, have a picnic with a backdrop of amazing views and explore the industrial remains.

Usk Reservoir Trail

Length: 6 miles/10 km
Difficulty: Suitable for ages five and over
Time: 2 hours
Start point: Glasfynydd Forest car park

Leading through silent Glasfynydd Forest and across a dam built in 1955, the trail follows red waymarks and circles the reservoir on hard surfaces plus a short section of road. If younger kids can manage it, you can easily add in a side trip to the Red Kite Feeding Station at Llanddeusant (an additional 20 minutes each way by bike).  

BikePark Wales

For a safe introduction to mountain biking, this renowned bike park has got you covered with safety gear and bike rental, a family-centric loop for complete novices, and Kermit, a challenging downhill trail for confident beginners. You can all fuel up in the café – try the all-day breakfast – and there are showers on hand in case of muddy mishaps.

Wildlife and nature

The Brecon Beacons is home to some of the most varied scenery and rarest wildlife in Wales. Here’s where to introduce the offspring to the joys of nature – and look out for wild Welsh Mountain ponies as you go.

Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Visitor Centre

AKA the Mountain Centre, this is the park’s main information hub. Family facilities there include a café serving food all day and offering spectacular Pen y Fan panoramas from its terrace, a play area and a baby-changing room in the loos. There are easy strolls for everybody on adjacent Mynydd Illtud Common, where you can often see red kites hovering above the grassland.

Red Kite Feeding Station

Established to stop visitors seeking out these majestic once-endangered raptors in the wild, this remote feeding station attracts up to 50 red kites daily for their rations of scraps – and with a wingspan of up to five feet/1.5 metres, they make quite a spectacle. You get to witness the action from a hide nearby and there’s no need to book; simply turn up just before feeding time, which is at 2pm in winter and 3pm in summer. Bring a phone/camera and wrap up warm on rainy or windy days as the site is exposed.

Cultural attractions

Like most UK national parks, the landscape of the Brecon Beacons has been shaped by the legacy of mankind. There are fascinating examples of built heritage throughout the park.

Idyllic village next to canal

Big Pit National Coal Museum

Packed with interactive exhibits and virtual tours, Big Pit is an intriguing introduction to the world of Welsh coal mining. The highlight is undoubtedly the underground tour – led by real miners – through the colliery’s original mine workings, available to ages five and over. Younger children can join daily workshops to dress up as mini colliers and take simulator rides through a modern-day mine.

Brecon Mountain Railway

A handy wet-weather option for all ages, this vintage steam train chugs through spectacular Bannau Brycheiniog scenery from Pant to Torpantau, hugging the shores of Pontsticill (also known as Taf Fechan) Reservoir. On the return journey, there’s a stop at Pontsticill at a lakeside café and playground. Rumour has it Santa makes an appearance on the train if you’re visiting in December.

Educational activities

Keep your young ones happily entertained with unusual activities in the park, and they’ll happily learn about the world around them at their own pace.

Astronomy nights 

There’s little light pollution in the national park, which is why it was accorded  International Dark Sky Reserve status. Junior astronomers will be amazed at what they can see in the sky on clear nights – from the shimmering Milky Way to the twinkling North Star, shooting stars to the planets of our solar system. Anyone unsure of what to look for in the heavens can join guided dark-skies hikes and other events across the park.

Historic sites

If you know where to look, the Brecon Beacons provide a living history lesson: the earliest evidence of man’s presence comes from Bronze Age burial cairns (you’ll see two if you walk up Pen y Fan), Iron Age settlements on hilltops and the relics of a Roman fort at Y Gaer. Children can learn about later Welsh history while scrambling around medieval ruins at Brecon, Carreg Cennen, Crickhowell or Llandovery castles.


We’ve shown how wonderfully family-friendly the Brecon Beacons are for kids, so now it’s down to you to choose your camping base for a holiday combining outdoor fun, total relaxation and the opportunity to learn the history of this extraordinary national park. For more ideas on family days out, check out the official Brecon Beacons website.

Family-friendly campsites in the Brecon Beacon

Brecon campsites with a playground

View all Brecon Beacons campsites