Car-free Guide to the Brecon Beacons National Park
As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to the Brecon Beacons, here is our guide to travelling to and around the Brecon Beacons National Park without a car.
Travelling to the Brecon Beacons without a car
The main gateway station to the Brecon Beacons is Abergavenny, in the south east of the Brecon Beacons from where there is bus service into the National Park (see below). Abergavenny is reached via a 25-minute train journey up from Newport in South Wales, which has connections (operated by Transport for Wales, previously Arriva Trains) from much of the rest of the country, including Swansea, Cardiff, the West Midlands and Manchester. A second gateway station is Llandovery, to the north west, on the Swansea-Shrewsbury 'Heart of Wales' line.
By coach or bus
Cardiff and Swansea have a range of National Express and Megabus connections. There are regular buses and trains from the two cities into the Brecon Beacons. The principal long-distance bus service connecting the Brecon Beacons is the TrawsCymru T4 bus from Newtown to Cardiff via Brecon. Touted as the 'Route with a View', it offers free wifi and comfortable leather seats, and puts the Beacons within striking distance of much of South and Mid Wales.
Travelling around the Brecon Beacons without a car
Whilst it is simple enough to take a train to reach the Brecon Beacons, railway travel is not really a viable option for getting around the National Park. However, its rugged terrain and many sites are well-connected by a bus network, which is augmented during the peak summer months.
There is a network of year-round weekday bus services across the park. For timetables and more information see Traveline Cymru before you set out!
Key routes for visitors include the following:
30: Blaenavon - Cwmavon - Pontypool - Cwmbran
X75: Merthyr Tydfil - Hirwaun - Glynneath - Neath - Swansea
X4 Hereford - Abergavenny - Merthyr Tydfil - Cardiff
X43: Brecon - Crickhowell - Abergavenny X55 – Swansea – Glynneath via Neath
The Brecon Beacons National Park is a fantastic cycling destination. Its rugged scenery is complemented by a network of well-maintained roads, and is criss-crossed by long distance trails, bridleways and canal towpaths, meaning even those who don’t want the challenge of rocky upland terrain have plenty of options. The Monmouth and Brecon canal in particular winds through the lovely Usk valley between the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons themselves, and offers easy, flat cycling with wonderful views. Some of the roads and paths do have steep inclines, so it is definitely worth checking this out – and packing lightly – before heading out on your bike.
You can bring your bike on trains, but mainline services normally require you to reserve a space for your two-wheeled friend in advance; local services have more limited space but you usually don’t need to reserve – be sure to check this out with the train company to avoid problems. If you’re arriving by bus, most services do not, unfortunately, carry bicycles, so bear this in mind when planning your trip.
Should you wish to hire a bike upon arrival, the Brecon Beacons Mountain Biking website has an extensive list of cycling providers in and around the Brecon Beacons. For more detailed information, routes and inspiration for your Brecon Beacons biking experience, check out the MTB Brecon Beacons. They have graded the 16 major cycle routes across the National Park according to difficulty, from yellow (easiest), through green, blue, and red to black (most challenging). You can also find out what Sustrans is doing for cyclists across the Brecon Beacons and Wales at Sustrans Cymru. There are also five biking centres in the National Park, at Brecon, Crickhowell, Sennybridge, Talgarth, and Talybont-on-Usk.
Maps and Further Information
There are two excellent visitor information centres for the Brecon Beacons: The National Park Visitor Centre (Mountain Centre) at Libanus plus the Llandovery Museum and Visitor Gateway.
The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority has also published useful leaflets for days out and travelling without your car. They also have guides to family walks by bus and more challenging mountain walks accessible by bus.
For more information about where to stay, eat, local attractions and outdoor activities, see: