The 10 best things to do in Mid Wales holiday cottages

The 10 best things to do in Mid Wales

Laura Mackenzie 07 June 2023

Affectionately known as the green heart of Wales, the lush landscape of Mid Wales is packed full of amazing activities and things to do. To help you discover this wondrous region, we’ve rounded up the top 10 things to do in Mid Wales come rain or shine. Read on for walks, restaurants, castles, and events that you can check out while on holiday in Mid Wales. 

We have a carefully curated collection of places to stay in Mid Wales while you explore this magical land. Discover cosy cottages for couples, luxurious abodes, spacious group retreats, holiday accommodation for the whole family, wonderful Mid Wales cottages with hot tubs, and dog-friendly properties where four legs are as welcome as two.

Skip to:

  1. Walk this way
  2. Grab a bite
  3. Conquer a castle
  4. Climb every mountain
  5. Lovely lakes
  6. Look up
  7. Go below
  8. Discover pretty towns
  9. See a show stopper
  10. Fly high

1. Walks in Mid Wales

From remote countryside hikes to wonderful waterfall adventures, we’ve picked out a few walks in Mid Wales to put those walking boots to good use.  

Glyndŵr’s Way

Llyn Clywedog 

This peaceful long-distance National Trail meanders through open moorland, rolling farmland, wonderful woodland, and fascinating forests. The nine-day route passes sites connected with Wales' historic past and is anchored by the trail heads of Welshpool, Knighton and Machynlleth.

Experience exhilarating views of Cader Idris, Lake Vyrnwy and the Cambrian Mountains. The route is remote and rural and, while you may see the occasional farmer, you’re more likely to spot a flourish of wildlife such as red kites, peregrine falcons, buzzards and perhaps even an osprey if you’re lucky!

You can, of course, choose to walk parts of the trail for an equally memorable adventure.

Start/end: Knighton/Welshpool
Distance: 135 miles
Stay: Llanidloes cottages - Knighton cottages - Welshpool cottages - Machynlleth cottages - Llanbrynmair cottages

Henrhyd Falls, Bannau Brycheiniog / Brecon Beacons National Park

 Henrhyd Falls

Journey to Wales’ highest waterfall and you’ll be amazed at the sounds and sights of the plunging Henrhyd Falls. This wonderful waterfall is no stranger to the big screen, setting the scene for Batman’s Batcave entrance in the Hollywood blockbuster, The Dark Knight Rises.

Once you’ve had your fill of this spectacular sight, enjoy a bite to eat at the Red Lion Inn, or sample some wonderful Welsh whisky on a tour of Penderyn Distillery.

Start/end: National Trust car park near Coelbren, SA10 9PH / Grid ref: SN853121
Distance: 3.5 miles 
Stay: Ystradgynlais cottages

2. Mid Wales restaurants

Delve into our pick of the top places to eat in Mid Wales. These delectable restaurants combine amazing food with a dining experience that you won’t forget.



Immerse yourself in a thrilling culinary journey with personally curated music and intense world flavours at the most highly awarded restaurant in Wales. 

Experience the excellence of an incredible restaurant that has won two Michelin Stars and five AA Rosettes. With intense flavour, fire, fun and superb surroundings, Ynyshir is a truly unique dining experience!

Location: Eglwysfach, Machynlleth, SY20 8TA
Book: https://www.exploretock.com/ynyshir
Stay: Machynlleth cottages


Celebrate and make memories at this welcoming restaurant with its rustic vintage style and scrumptious sustainable menu.

The seasonal menu at Chapters focuses on fantastic local produce with the seasons captured in pickles, ferments, and purees and intwined into dishes throughout the rest of the year. The aim here is to highlight the amazing local suppliers they use, alongside foraging and growing food for the menu in their very own kitchen garden.

Location: Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5AA
Book: https://chaptershayonwye.co.uk/bookings/
Stay: Hay-on-Wye cottages

3. Castles in Mid Wales

Discover some of Wales’ rich history with a visit to one of these fascinating fortresses.

Powis Castle and Garden

Powis Castle and Garden

The now National Trust-owned Powis Castle is a stately home rich in history with beautiful gardens that take centre stage. Embellished over many years, there is now a fine collection of historic paintings, sculptures, furniture, and tapestries that can be admired throughout the medieval castle. 

Powis Castle's world-famous gardens were influenced by French and Italian styles and include an Edwardian formal garden, a grand orangery, and a peaceful wooded landscape. The gorgeous Italianate Terraces are perfect for admiring the colourful views across the flourishing garden and deer park. The gardens are still defined by the huge yew tree hedges, often trimmed into abstract topiary that will leave a lasting memory. 

Price: Adult £15, child £7.50
Location: Welshpool, Powys, SY21 8RF
Facilities: Book shop, cafe, car park, dog friendly, plant shop, WC
Stay: Welshpool cottages

Hay Castle

Hay Castle

Located in the Welsh market town of Hay-on-Wye, Hay Castle was once a medieval stronghold. Now, it’s a centre for arts, literature and learning in the ‘town of books’ which is also home to the popular Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, which is held annually.

Events at Hay Castle include art workshops, castle tours, craft sessions and life drawing along with comedy clubs and concerts. There’s also a range of enchanting exhibitions to enjoy. 

There is a lovely ground-floor cafe offering a light and airy space to enjoy brunch, light lunches, cakes, and snacks with relaxing views of the lawn. Enjoy al fresco dining on the terrace or cosy up in front of the large open fire.

Price: Adults £5, children 16 and under free
Location: Oxford Road, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5DG
Facilities: Cafe, exhibitions, events, tours, WC
Stay: Hay-on-Wye cottages

4. Mountains in Mid Wales

From remote wildernesses to dominating peaks, we’ve picked out the top mountain areas in Mid Wales for keen climbers and adventure seekers. 

Cambrian Mountains

Cambrian Mountains

The few roads that cross the wilderness of the Cambrian Mountains are considered some of the most scenic in Britain. Climb Pumlumon Fawr, the highest peak in the Cambrian Mountains, for breathtaking views of the Llŷn Peninsula, the peaks of Eryri / Snowdonia, the summits of the Bannau Brycheiniog / Brecon Beacons, the Preseli Hills, and the full stretch of Cardigan Bay.

Nestled in the heart of the Cambrian Mountains of Mid Wales, you’ll also find the spectacular Elan Valley with its picture-perfect dams, reservoirs and landscapes which can be enjoyed by bike, car or on foot. 

Bannau Brycheiniog / Brecon Beacons

Bannau Brycheiniog / Brecon Beacons

Commanding the centre of the Bannau Brycheiniog / Brecon Beacons National Park are the popular Brecon Beacons with the most notable peaks being Pen y Fan (886m) and Cribyn (795m), the highest in Southern Britain. 

Bannau Brycheiniog / Brecon Beacons National Park includes the Fforest Fawr UNESCO Global Geopark and it is also an International Dark Sky Reserve – perfect for stargazing. The Geopark is home to stunning attractions including the romantic Carreg Cennen Castle, the Victorian garden at Craig-y-nos Country Park, the Brecon Mountain Railway and an array of pretty reservoirs, rivers and waterfalls.

5. Lovely lakes, dams, and reservoirs

Refresh and immerse yourself in nature with a visit to these shimmering spots. 

Elan Valley

Elan Valley

One of Wales’ most picture-perfect sites, the Elan Valley has plenty of things to do. For example, you can hire a bike and discover 72 square miles of spectacular scenery along some of the most inspiring cycle and walking routes. From gentle strolls past gorgeous greenery and dramatic dams to challenging hikes involving rocky crags and waterways, there’s a route for all.

The Elan Valley Visitor Centre is the perfect starting point for your discoveries and includes a refreshing cafe, a play area, a gift shop, and bike hire. There’s also an exciting calendar of events from poetry map walks to kayaking and high rope courses. 

Price: Bike hire from £15 to £40
Location: Rhayader, Powys, LD6 5HP
Facilities: Cafe, bike hire, parking, gift shop
Stay: Elan Valley cottages

Lake Vyrnwy

Lake Vyrnwy

Boasting stunning natural beauty, Lake Vyrnwy features a 5-mile-long reservoir hugged by magnificent mountains, ancient woodlands, fascinating forests and an iconic neo-Gothic water tower. Built in the 1880s to supply Liverpool with fresh water, it is now home to a variety of wildlife including pied flycatchers, redstarts, dippers, goosanders, and peregrine falcons.

There is a 12-mile cycle route around the lake; it’s a great way to take in the amazing views. There are also five waymarked nature trails of varying capabilities with lovely viewing points where you can sit and enjoy a picnic. You can even try some paddleboarding, kayaking, sailing, or canoeing on the lake!

Price: Free
Location: Llanwddyn, Oswestry SY10 0LZ
Facilities: Car park, WC, picnic area, play area, nature trails, viewing point
Stay: Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant cottages - Oswestry cottages

6. Stargazing in Mid Wales

With peaceful countryside and dramatic peaks, Mid Wales is an ideal destination for a spot of stargazing. 


Elan Valley

The views at the Elan Valley are just as spectacular at night as by day. With International Dark Sky Park status, it is a sanctuary for wildlife and stargazers. Comprising some of the best places in the world to go stargazing, on clear nights, you will be treated to shining stars, perfectly formed planets and captivating constellations.

There are five sites to choose from for your night sky observations and Pont ar Elan is a Dark Sky Discovery Site, one of nine in the Cambrian Mountains. There are even events and a monthly eyes on the night sky update to keep you up to date with all you can spot in the night skies at this special place. 

Price: £3 for parking
Location: Rhayader, Powys, LD6 5HP
Facilities: Car parking
Stay: Elan Valley cottages

Bannau Brycheiniog / Brecon Beacons

With its International Dark Sky Reserve status, the Bannau Brycheiniog / Brecon Beacons National Park offers some of the best quality dark skies in the UK. Spot major constellations, dazzling nebulas, the magnificent Milky Way, and mesmerising meteor showers.

Protected from light pollution, the Usk Reservoir Dark Sky Discovery Site in the west of the national park is amongst the darkest and quietest places to spot intriguing celestial objects. There’s ample car parking so pack a picnic and enjoy the sunset before aiming your eyes above for some spectacular stargazing opportunities. 

Price: Free
Location: Near Trecastle, Powys, LD3 8YF
Facilities: Car parking
Stay: Brecon Beacons cottages

7. Go below in Mid Wales

Head below ground and discover these underground delights. 

National Showcaves Centre for Wales

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One of Wales’ top attractions, The National Showcaves Centre for Wales is a thrilling trail of twisting passages and great caverns. Admire the beautiful formations of Dan-yr-Ogof, experience the enormous caverns of Cathedral Cave and enjoy the excitement of the waterfalls that cascade down in the ‘Dome of St Paul’s’. In Bone Cave, you can discover why 42 human skeletons were buried here, along with exhibits that illustrate man’s use of the cave’s way back in the past.

Not only can you explore the underground, but, above ground, you can also spot over 220 life-sized dinosaur models at the Dinosaur Park. Visit the beautiful shire horses at the Shire Horse Centre or meet the goats, Shetland ponies, alpacas and llamas down on the Victorian Farm. 

Price: Adults £18.95, children £15.50 (aged 3-16) 
Location: Abercrave, Swansea, SA9 1GJ
Facilities: Playgrounds, coffee shop, picnic area, WC, gift shop
Stay: Ystradgynlais cottages

The Silver Mountain Experience

Escape room

History and legend combine at The Silver Mountain Experience for a fantastic family day out. Enjoy guided tours and discover the history of the Victorian silver lead mine or attend one of the theatrical shows and experience the ultimate in Welsh fantasy and myth. Take on the escape rooms for the ultimate challenge; will you break free from this daring task?! 

New for 2023, The Silver Mountain Experience and Mid Wales Mine Adventures combine to offer an exciting experience. Enjoy the fascinating history at the Silver Mountain Experience mixed with the ultimate underground journey into the depths of the incredible Cwmystwyth Mines led by specialist tour guides.

After all that adventure, visit The Miner’s Cafe for a delicious array of lunches, snacks, and drinks. 

Price: Adults from £15.95, children from £11.95
Location: Llywernog, Ponterwyd, Aberystwyth, SY23 3AB
Facilities: Cafe, gift shop, WC, picnic areas, free car park
Stay: Aberystwyth cottages

8. Tempting towns in Mid Wales

Spend a few hours exploring these pretty towns in Mid Wales and make new discoveries.

Llandrindod Wells

Llandrindod Wells

Enjoy exploring independent local shops and cafes surrounded by some of Wales’ most outstanding natural beauty in the pretty market town of Llandrindod Wells. There’s plenty of appeal here with decorative architectural flourishes, pretty shop fronts, Victorian spa buildings, tranquil river walks, impressive sculptures and lush green spaces which all add to the leisure and wellness qualities that the Victorians built Llandrindod Wells on. 

Llandrindod Wells Lake Park, a 13-acre lake with a magnificent dragon statue at its centre, offers the opportunity for a gentle stroll or cycle and is also a great spot for a picnic. Hire a boat and head out on the water but careful of the fountain spurting from the dragon’s mouth! Refresh and relax at the lovely lakeside cafe.


Lined with fine Georgian buildings, the charming market town of Welshpool is surrounded by rolling hills and breathtaking landscapes and is the perfect base for exploring the beauty of Mid Wales. 

As previously mentioned, Powis Castle and Garden is one of the top attractions in the area and is well worth a visit for a refreshing day out. Journey through gorgeous Mid Wales countryside on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, a delightful steam train that takes you through the rolling landscape of this fine heritage railroad track. For a spot of wildlife watching, visit Llyn Coed y Dinas or Severn Farm Pond Nature Reserve, or take a swing at the magnificent Welshpool Golf Club.

9. Events in Mid Wales

Enjoy the thrill of a festival in wonderful Welsh surroundings. From literature to agriculture, there’s something for all tastes at these top Mid Wales festival picks.

Festivals in Mid Wales

Hay Festival

This popular annual literature festival is one of the world’s biggest and best! Held in Hay-on-Wye, this pretty market town is famed as ‘the town of books’ and is the perfect setting for this popular festival. 

The Hay Festival gathers the world’s great writers, poets, philosophers, historians, scientists, comedians, and musicians for 11 days of talks, performances, yoga, film, walks, readings, art, poetry, concerts, discussions singing and spoken word. 

On site, there’s plenty of places to refresh, and exciting world flavours to sample at the plentiful restaurants and pop-up cafes. There’s also lots to browse at the variety of stalls from award-winning British designers to hand crafted jewellery and talented artists. 

Price: Around £10 per event
Location: Dairy Meadows, Brecon Road, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5PJ
Facilities: Parking, WC, food, shops
Stay: Hay-on-Wye cottages

Royal Welsh Show

One of the most impressive agricultural shows in Europe, The Royal Welsh Show celebrates the rural farming community to show off the best in agriculture. This four-day occasion is the pinnacle event in the British agricultural calendar and has an entertaining line up of livestock and equine competitions along with a wide range of forestry, food, craft and horticulture activities.

A great day out for all the family, there’s plenty of demonstrations such as motorbike stunt shows, mountain bike aerial displays, dog shows and live music at the bandstand. There’s also the food hall which is jam-packed full of award-winning Welsh food and drink to sample. Browse the stands for something unique, take your pick from a vast range of products ranging from crafts, clothing, artisan homemade goodies, gardening supplies and agricultural machinery. 

Price: Adult £35, child £10
Location: Royal Welsh Showground, Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, LD2 3SY
Facilities: Free parking, WC, cash points, food stalls, Wi-Fi, shops
Stay: Builth Wells holiday cottages

10. Gaze at the amazing ospreys and red kites

Gaze above at these amazing bird centres. Watch hundreds of red kites feed or visit wildlife centres that focus on a sustainable wildlife watching experience.

Red kite feeding at Gigrin Farm

Red kite feeding at Gigrin Farm

The farm's red kite feeding centre sees hundreds of red kites swirling for food, a true show of aerial piracy! Watch as they battle for food, competing with buzzards, ravens, and crows for those choice pickings. 

Enjoy your own bite to eat at the coffee shop and choose from freshly prepared rolls, scrumptious cakes, ice creams, snacks, and hot and cold drinks, or take a picnic and enjoy fantastic countryside views. Grab a keepsake from the shop with its range of red kite and bird souvenirs, binoculars, telescopes, bespoke clothing, rugs and throws, picnic baskets, books, toys, cards, and lots more.

Price: Adults £9, children £8, concessions £8
Location: Gigrin Farm, South Street, Rhayader, Powys, LD6 5BL
Facilities: Parking, coffee shop, picnic area, shop, WC, farm trail
Stay: Rhayader cottages

Dyfi Osprey Project


The Dyfi Osprey Project can be found within stunning Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve and seeks to learn more about the incredible osprey and to help further the recovery of the Welsh osprey population. 

Visit the Dyfi Wildlife Centre for a sustainable wildlife watching experience. Call in at Caffi Tŷ Maenan for a tasty bite to eat and watch the beautiful birds through the wildlife watching window. Enjoy the live feed from the osprey nest and footage from the beaver cameras in the Osprey Room. Admire the view over the reserve from the balcony in the Galeri and stroll the boardwalks to the observatory tower where you can observe the ospreys as well as all the other fantastic wildlife on the reserve.

Price: March-September £6 per adult and £3 per child; October-December £3 per adult; free for Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust members
Location: Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve, Derwenlas, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8SR
Facilities: Free parking, gift shop, cafe, wildlife watching window, Osprey Room, Galeri, observatory, boardwalks
Stay: Machynlleth cottages

Map of things to do in Mid Wales

Plan your holiday in Mid Wales …

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Stay in Mid Wales

Places to stay in Mid Wales

Beudy Erw'r March, Nuthatch Cottage - Llanwrtyd Wells, Dan yr EglwysTrefnant Hall

Make the most of the green heart of Wales by staying in one of our Mid Wales holiday lodges or cottages. Choose from romantic retreats, pet-friendly stays, large group getaways and family-friendly accommodation, luxurious places to stay and even hot tub havens where you can sink in and enjoy amazing countryside views. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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