Powys, United Kingdom

It’s no wonder Powys has been called the backbone of Wales, peppered as it is with a wealth of Welsh wonders – mirror-smooth lakes, ancient castles and charming Victorian market towns. From Snowdonia in the north to the Brecon Beacons in the south, this postcard-pretty expanse of unspoilt countryside stretches along the border with England. Walkers, paragliders and reservoir-spotters head to the Elan Valley, a sprawling estate showcasing striking examples of Victorian dam-building ingenuity. In Welshpool, Powis Castle’s mediaeval turrets tower over beautiful yew-shaded gardens. From here, hop on the light railway to Llanfair, a steam-pulled journey that will take you along the River Banwy – look out for deer, hawks and playful otters along the way.

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Areas in Powys

When to go

Rain is a year-round commodity in Powys (those valleys must be kept verdant and those reservoirs full, after all); May to September offer the most clement skies and warming sun for the avid rambler. Autumn can be striking in the county: time your visit carefully for a wander through the Wye Valley’s tapestry of red and golden forests.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Nearby airports include Cardiff (a two-hour drive away from Llandrindod Wells) and Birgmingham (allow two and a half hours). International travellers may find it just as easy to drive from London’s airports, three to four hours away along a scenic route traversing the Brecon Beacons.
  • Boats

    Llandrindod Wells station serves direct trains to Swansea (a two-hour journey) on Arriva Trains Wales, with onwards connections to Cardiff, London, Manchester or Birmingham. If you’re in no hurry, Powys’ steam locomotives ply routes along the Brecon Mountain and Rhiw Valley railways.
  • Trains

    Llandrindod Wells is a 40-minute drive from Brecon, the gateway to the National Park and Black Mountains. Driving from Cardiff will take an hour and a half along the A470; it's an hour longer from Birmingham along the A456 and a further hour from London along the M4.