Around Brecon, South Wales' biggest peaks dominate as you make your pitch in Brecon Beacons National Park.
Moor and mountains, fields and mountains, following yonder stars…a paraphrase from a popular Christmas carol well describes Brecon's hilly surroundings on the northern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. From the moors around town burst distinctive fan-shaped mountains, including South Wales' highest peak, Pen y Fan, whilst skies are so clear of light pollution that they have Dark Sky Reserve status. Brecon is the national park’s undisputed outdoors capital and the main base for exploring the national park, with ample shops for stocking up on camping supplies. In this striking upland, campsites come in all forms—best of all on small, rural farm sites full of idiosyncrasies and serving as refreshing alternatives to bigger, blander caravan parks.
Spanning southeast from Brecon to Crickhowell and southwest to Ystradfellte, this is the national park’s most frequented zone, mainly due to the presence of Pen Y Fan and its surrounding summits. The whole area is a montage of lakes, bracken-coated hills, ridges, and photogenic valleys with waterfalls. It is perennially popular with hikers and bikers. Select from big caravan sites, smaller lakeside campsites, and farm campsites in the foothills.
East of the central band of Brecon Beacons National Park, a lattice of green valleys and scrubby hills hide Llangorse Lake, the largest natural lake in Mid or South Wales and great for activities from hiking to kayaking. Just beyond are the Black Mountains, a hiking favourite that rises up in an imposing frontier with England. A decent spread of campsites sits around Llangorse Lake and in the Vale of Ewyas, while a bothy (rudimentary shelter accessible by foot only) can be found in the Black Mountains.
This is the quietest part of the national park and furthest from Brecon, but the reward for venturing out here is that the hiking trails and beauty spots are much less crowded. This region’s Fforest Fawr is a UNESCO Geopark, whilst lakes like Llyn y Fan Fach are some of the prettiest you ever will see. Campsites here are mostly on small farms, with a quiet, non-touristy feel.
Glamping spots are available in Brecon year-round, but the surrounding area sees itself running with full tourist facilities (which include most countryside campsites) from Easter to September. To maximise your chances of sunny (or at least rain-free days), late spring, summer, and early autumn are best. July and August are especially popular times in the central Brecon Beacons.