Only 20 minutes from the Felin Fach Griffin, in the village of Penderyn, this is Wales's only whisky distillery. They have a popular visitors centre where you can take a tour and taste the award-winning whisky as well as the gin and vodka made here.
The Kilpeck Inn Kilpeck, Herefordshire, HR2 9DN
The personal touch
Persevere down winding lanes off the A465 Hereford to Abergavenny road, following signs for Kilpeck church, to locate Ross Williams’s whitewashed country inn hidden away in beautiful rolling countryside close to Hay-on-Wye and the Black Mountains. The renowned 12th-century Kilpeck church, described by Simon Jenkins as England’s most perfect Anglo-Romanesque church, may be a tad older and more famous than the village inn (150 yards away) but visit the church and you must visit the inn for Ross’s delicious food and why not stay over and enjoy this peaceful part of Herefordshire as there’s so much to explore. Built around 1750 and originally known as the Red Lion, the pub was the hub of village life for 250 years before it was forced to close in 2005. Following 4 years of neglect, it was bought by a local businessman and re-opened in 2010 as the Kilpeck Inn after a major refurbishment project that transformed the place into a contemporary and stylish pub with rooms. Sup a pint of Butty Bach with the papers by the blazing fire in the original beamed bar, or head through to the airy modern dining room, replete with slate floors, green-painted panelled walls, and rustic wooden tables. The smart private dining room seats 16 – perfect for a family gathering.
Children are welcome in the pub; smaller portions are available; and there’s a z-bed for a child to stay overnight.
Dogs are allowed in the bar, where they will meet Ross’s dog Ollie (The Doorman), but not overnight in the bedrooms.
Small rear garden with picnic benches and brollies, plus extra benches bordering the car park at the front of the pub.
The Kilpeck Inn Kilpeck, Herefordshire, HR2 9DN
Do not disturb
The Kilpeck Inn Kilpeck, Herefordshire, HR2 9DN
Mastering the menu
Time to Eat
Time at the bar
Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.
Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Inn Location - The Kilpeck Inn
Based in the lovely village of Crickhowell, Jo and Jonathan Carthew have run this fantastic smokery for the past decade and their award-winning smoked fish, poultry and cured meats appear on menus all over the region. You are welcome to call into the smokery shop during office hours and they are planning to run tastings and informal private tours of the smokehouse.
One of the top wineries in Wales, Richard and Joy Morris win international awards for their wine and you can visit them and take a tour of the vineyard, preferably pre-booked. The pinot noir is said to be 'world class'.
Former hotel chef Mike Carnell and his wife Rachel make a range of award-winning preserves (many of them served at breakfast at the Felin Fach Griffin) but the couple and their daughter, Katie, also run this delightful tea rooms, serving homemade cakes and scones plus around 40 varieties of tea.
Regarded by those in the know as the best beer pub in area, The Star has been the Brecknockshire CAMRA pub of the year for the past six years. Local ales dominate the hand pumps here and if the sun shines, you can grab a table in the peaceful garden next to the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal.
Master chocolatier Jules James worked around the world as a pastry chef before returning to his home town of Crickhowell to set up his award-winning artisan chocolate shop, which serves fantastic hot chocolate and also runs chocolate-making workshops.
Part of the Welsh Venison Centre established in 1985, much of the meat served at the Felin Fach Griffin comes from this exceptional farm shop and butchers. As well as local meat from animals roaming around Middlewood Farm, the shop sells bread, eggs, bacon, beer, wine, pork pies and a range of other deli items.
Nestling at the foot of the Black Mountains, halfway between Brecon and Hay-on-Wye, this traditional watermill was restored in 2011 as part of the BBC's Village SOS TV programme. The machinery is always turning and they mill the flour three or four times a week. Guided tours are available and you can buy the wholemeal flour to take home or simply sample the delicious home-baked bread served in The Bakers' Table cafe.
Housed in a wonky, three-floor Tudor building in the heart of Brecon, this exceptional little independent bookshop has a great cafe at the back serving soups, salads, sandwiches, delicious homemade cakes and excellent coffee.
Established by respected local brewer Buster Grant in 2011, Brecon Brewing produces a range of excellent ales including Snowy Beacons and Dark Skies. Buy bottles from the brewery shop open weekdays only.
1 Inn Location - The Kilpeck Inn
This beautiful area may well inspire you to try your hand at something creative. Niel Bally's studio is in the foothills of the Black Mountains (near Talgarth) and he runs various courses, from life drawing to printing and painting. Classes are small and suitable for all levels.
Based in the Brecon Beacons National Park, this is a long-established hill walking business with qualified instructors offers a range of courses including land navigation training, trekking, hill skills, private guiding and walking events. Very small groups ensure you learn as much as possible.
Arranging guided and self-guided walking (or cycling or mountain biking) holidays, they can organise accommodation, provide you with maps, and move your luggage for you. The range of tours from 'easy to 'strenuous' are tailored to your needs. They also hire bikes and will deliver to where you're staying or want to ride.
On the banks of the Wye, four miles outside Hay-on-Wye, this canoe centre has a fleet of Canadian canoes, single kayaks and double kayaks, which you can hire for a few hours or a few days. You paddle downstream and, when you get to where you're going, simply give them a ring and they'll come and collect you.
Wales' first solar-powered theatre is located at the end of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal in the pretty market town of Brecon and offers a popular programme of performing arts and entertainment throughout the year. There's a gallery as well, with exhibitions of work from artists in the region.
Best described as an 'upland links' course, this long-established club is a good test for golfers of all abilities.
The Hay Makers is a co-operative of professional designer makers. The gallery opened in the 1980s and has flourished ever since; you'll find a broad range of work on display, from furniture and wooden bowls to ceramics, stone-carving and textiles. Regular exhibitions throughout the year showcase some of the finest contemporary British makers.
Showcasing contemporary British crafts, ceramics, prints, jewellery and sculpture
Housed in the old cinema, this is the longest established of the ‘big bookshops’ in Hay and opened in 1965. They have around 200,000 volumes, on all subjects, priced from 50 pence to thousands of pounds.
There are more than 12,000 rare and out-of-print children's and illustrated books to be found at Rose's Books. It's a great place to buy presents or maybe find that book you loved as a child.
Fabulous antique maps of all kinds and eras, from just about anywhere in the world you care to mention. They also sell antique prints.
A fabulous shop (and online store) stocking handmade goods from Welsh wool blankets to leatherwork (including purses and wallets made from 200-year-old reindeer leather), plus beakers and bangles, beautiful bags and ethically made British tailored clothing.
Fable stocks quirky toys and gifts, including a great selection of traditional toys and games that you might remember from your own childhood. There are wooden toys and outdoor stuff, plus a good choice of gifts for new babies.
This charming market town is most famous for its literature festival (in May) and its enormous selection of second-hand bookshops. There are meant to be more than 30, some general and some more specific, such as Murder & Mayhem, which specialises in crime. There are lots of non-book based independent shops as well.
Describing itself as a ‘contemporary lifestyle shop’, Forty Six is full of quirky and unique homewares, from ceramics to cushions, cards, bags, jewellery and more.
Places to visit
Wales was the furthest outpost of the Roman Empire and in AD75 they built a fortress at Caerleon, one of only three permanent fortresses in Roman Britain. The ruins include the most complete amphitheatre in the UK. At weekends and school holidays, children can try on replica armour.
If you have young children, Cantref is a good day out. It's a farm park with loads of activities, from pony rides and feeding baby animals (at the right time of year, obviously), to paddle boats and trampolines. There are indoor activities, too.
If you've ever wondered exactly how big the big wheel of a penny farthing, or fancied learning more about the history of the bicycle from earliest velocipede to the most hi-tech modern creation, you'll find the National Cycle Collection quite fascinating. There are all kinds of bicycle-related ephemera as well, from enamel signs to posters and lamps. More than 200 machines are on display in a 'historic street' setting.
Founded by Cistercian monks in the 12th century, this impressive ruin has inspired artists and writers for centuries and has been a picturesque tourist attraction since the 18th century. The setting is just beautiful.
Opened in 2000, the Botanic Gardens quickly became the most visited garden in Wales. The collection contains more than 8,000 different plant varieties, spread across 560 acres of beautiful countryside. There are lovely themed gardens and the splendid and dramatic glasshouse is a stunning centrepiece, plus events all year.
Visit the Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh, Wales' infantry regiment, and learn about their fascinating history stretching back to 1689. There's a fine collection of military artefacts, including uniforms, weapons and medals, while the Zulu War Room tells the story of the Battle of Rorke's Drift.
Blaenavon NP4 9AS
Blaenavon is probably most famous for the unique and exciting experience of going underground at Big Pit: National Mining Museum, but there's plenty more to do all round the historic industrial landscape, which is a World Heritage Site. There are events throughout the year, exhibitions, talks and walks, while Big Pit remains the most popular attraction; based around the former Big Pit Colliery, which was sunk in about 1860 and closed in 1980, the site reopened as a museum in 1983. A visit to Big Pit includes a 300ft (90m) descent into the old colliery, where a former coalminer will take you on a fascinating and personal tour with the sights, sounds and smells of the mine, and giving an impression of what working life was really like at the coalface.
The Brecon Beacons offer fabulous walking: big skies and wide-open spaces, hills and gorges, waterfalls, woodland, lakes and forests. There are trails to suit all levels of experience and fitness. The Brecon Beacons National Park is Wales’ first Geopark and one of only seven Dark Sky Reserves in the world. The Beacons Way walk will give you some of the best views, and you can either do the whole lot – 152km (95 miles) – which takes eight days, or split it up to suit you. There are also various shorter walks between three and seven miles in length, even these can have sharp gradients, though, so wear boots or good shoes.
The Brecon Beacons National Park has bike guides and hire companies that can help you set up anything from a day’s bike hire to a complete package with everything included. There’s an amazing variety of terrain, including towpaths, lanes and hillside tracks. The Park Authority Mountain Bike Pack (available online) contains 14 single track mountain bike route cards. Drover Holidays run small group guided tours and will help you plan your own tour if you prefer to be more independent.
Location, Location, Location
By Road: Follow signs for Kilpeck Church from the A465 between Hereford and Abergavenny, 6 miles south of Hereford
By Rail: Nearest railway station is Hereford 10 miles away or 20 minutes by taxi
, Kilpeck, Herefordshire, HR2 9DN