Mid Wales is the green heart of Wales. The clear seas, bright harbours and hidden coves of the Ceredigion coastline give way to red kite-filled skies, busy market towns and dramatic hill walks. Within the region of Mid Wales, you'll find Ceredigion and Powys.
Ride and seek
On two wheels you can ride classic mountain biking routes across the Brecon Beacons and Cambrian Mountains. Or thread through forests on purpose-built singletracks. Sitting high in the mountains just inland from Aberystwyth, Bwlch Nant yr Arian boasts long purpose-built single-tracks designed to test experienced riders. Challenging rides like the 22-mile Syfydrin Trail serve up spectacular scenery alongside cycling thrills, with dizzying views of the Cambrian Mountains and Cardigan Bay.
Get lost (in the nicest possible way) in the Elan Valley. Explore the boundless Beacons or the gorges of “Waterfall Country”. Or follow the Offa’s Dyke Path, which shadows the first official border, created back in the 8th century, between Wales and England. On the coast, there’s nothing more inspiring than walking the path to Ynys Lochtyn, a dramatic promontory that spears into the sea beneath an Iron Age hillfort.
Our night skies, free from light pollution, are inky black. The Brecon Beacons are an International Dark Skies Reserve – perfect for stargazing space explorers, along with Dark Sky Discovery Sites like the Cambrian Mountains (check out the 50-mile/80km Astro Tourism Trail).
The Beacons and beyond
The Brecon Beacons National Park flows across the landscape in wave after wave of green mountains from the Wales/England border to the outskirts of Swansea. Wide, open – and untamed – countryside like this characterises much of Mid Wales.
Further north the Cambrian Mountains – the wild “backbone of Wales” – roll on into the Snowdonia National Park, meeting the mythical peak of Cader Idris, the “Chair of Idris”, high above Dolgellau. Our border country is calmer, dotted with charming country and market towns like Knighton and Welshpool (soak up the scenery from the narrow-gauge Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway).
Cardigan Bay’s 180 miles/290km take in everything from mountain-backed estuaries to sandy beaches, seaside resorts to fishing harbours – all blessed with that unhurried Mid Wales ambience.
Call into the Museum of Modern Art in Machynlleth for the best in contemporary Welsh art. At Aberystwyth there’s Wales’ largest arts centre, while you can create your own artistic journey on the Ceredigion Art Trail, taking in exhibitions and events, studios and workshops.
The past is present
Visit castles, churches and abbeys. Harlech Castle, a World Heritage fortress, is a stirring site, perched on its rocky crag overlooking Snowdonia’s mountains and coast. At Pontrhydfendigaid, serene Strata Florida Abbey played a hugely influential role in Welsh medieval life, attracting poets and princes as well as priests.
An insider's guide
- Dolphins love it. The crystal waters of Cardigan Bay are home to Europe’s largest dolphin population. Go dolphin (and porpoise and seal) spotting from New Quay.
- Take a cruise along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, a leafy, lovely waterway through the Brecon Beacons National Park.
- Wales is famous for its links golf. Aberdyfi and Harlech’s Royal St David’s are two of the best.
- Palatial Powis. It’s difficult to believe that the sumptuous National Trust mansion of Powis Castle near Welshpool began life as a rough-and-ready border fortress.
- Welcome to Llanwrtyd Wells. Britain’s most eccentric small town stages kooky events like bog snorkelling plus “man versus horse” and chariot racing.
- Aberystwyth is home to the National Library of Wales, a treasure chest of culture and heritage.