Looking for a short break to brighten up the gloomy winter? Then where better to discover than Llandrindod Wells and surrounding area in unspoilt Mid Wales.
This Victorian spa town once was a bustling metropolis with some illustrious visitors coming from as far afield as Germany and Persia. Set amidst scenic countryside of rolling hills, the town boasts majestic buildings, a testament to its heyday when whole families would move house with their servants to Llandrindod Wells to take the waters.
Here are a few the highlights to look out for during your visit:
The 13-acre lake, an unexpected feature of the town with a magnificent dragon statue at its centre, is a perfect place for a stroll and a coffee in the Lakeside Café.
The Rock Park, which dates to the late 1860s, covers 12 acres and has at its centre the original spa buildings. An attractive woodland walk takes visitors around the park, passing some interesting sculptures and you can even taste the mineral water, for which the town was famous in the past.
There are plenty of small shops to visit including the well-known Vans Good Food Shop. Different tastes are catered for in the many cafes and restaurants.
The National Cycle Museum has more than 260 cycles on display from an 18th century hobby horse to the latest carbon fibre designs. You can see boneshakers, penny farthings, sociables or side by sides (loved by courting couples!), recumbents, police bikes, folding bikes and a whole host more. A fascinating display with plenty of historical information and activities for children. www.cyclemuseum.org.uk 01597 825531.
Wildlife and Walking. The Elan Valley is the perfect place for winter walking and wildlife watching. The dams and reservoirs of the Elan Valley were built 100 years ago. Today there is open access over the 70 square mile estate and over 80 miles of designated rights of way. A wide variety of habitats provide unrivalled viewing of flora and fauna. An excellent visitor centre and café are the perfect start or finish to your day. www.elanvalley.org.uk Tel: 01597 810880. Further walking in the area includes the long distance Wye Valley Walk and Offa’s Dyke Path, both easily accessible, as are countless open hill and farmland walks.
Stay in a Straw Cottage. A glamping style cottage built of straw provides a great place for a ‘get away from it all’ break. The Straw Cottage is just over two miles from Llandrindod Wells, set in three acres of its own land, cosy and comfortable with woodburner and lit by candlelight and solar power. Great for children with a swing, stream and treasure hunt. www.tygwynfarm.co.uk Tel: 01597 822665.
Arvon Ales, Llandrindod Wells is Powys’ first micro-pub. A great place to rest awhile and enjoy five guest ales, local cider and perry, wines, Irish whiskey range, spirits and soft drinks. You’ll not find a TV or jukebox here just a small pub offering lovely beer, conversation and warm welcome. Folk session from 4pm on the second and fourth Sundays, where you can join in or just go along and listen. Dogs and children welcome. Tel: 07477 627267 or FB Arvon Ales.
Llandrindod Wells Golf Club. This 18-hole, upland links course was designed by six times Open Champion Harry Vardon provides a true test for golfers of all abilities and offers unrivalled views of the surrounding countryside. There is also an eight-bay floodlit driving range, golf shop and restaurant. www.lwgc.co.uk Tel: 01597 823873.