With stunning scenery around every bend, Mid Wales has some of the most scenic drives in the UK where visitors can take their time and enjoy the views.
Many of the fantastic routes are set against panoramic and breathtaking backdrops. Here are a few suggestions to whet the appetite of motorists who love to explore places off the beaten track.
For those seeking to build a holiday or short break around these scenic routes, visit - https://www.visitmidwales.co.uk/accommodation/ - to view the range of quality accommodation available across Mid Wales.
Our scenic drives begin with Abergwesyn Pass from Llanwrtyd Wells - famous for bog snorkelling, the man versus horse race and the Alternative Olympic Games - to Tregaron.
This single track runs through an almost brutally wild landscape of moors, escarpment, pine forest and scurrying streams. In the middle, there’s a steep series of hairpins called the Devil’s Staircase.
It’s not built for speed, which means its 20 odd miles can seem much further, especially when you might not pass a single soul for the entire trip, other than the occasional sheep.
Along the route, drivers will see Soar y Mynydd, the most remote chapel in Wales, which is well worth a short diversion. Further south, past Llyn Brianne reservoir, is the RSPB Gwenffrwd-Dinas reserve.
The mountain road from Aberystwyth to Rhayader crosses the spine of the spectacular Cambrian Mountains.
Head out of Aberystwyth on the A4120 to Devil’s Bridge, follow the B4574 to Cwmystwyth, then pick up the tremendous mountain road that soars through the mountains, past the northernmost of the Elan Valley reservoirs before eventually dropping down into Rhayader.
On the way, drivers can check out the university town of Aberystwyth, take a steam train journey up to Devil’s Bridge on the Vale of Rheidol Railway and explore the Devil’s Bridge Falls.
There are also the Elan Valley reservoirs, conceived by Victorians to supply water to the industrial English Midlands and now a tranquil paradise for walkers and wildlife. Be sure to check out the valley for stars on a clear night, as it’s a Dark Sky reserve.
Other scenic routes to explore include the mountain road from Llanidloes to Machynlleth, via Clywedog Reservoir. The views are wonderful and take in the former lead mining community of Dylife and the Dylife Gorge and Wynford Vaughan-Thomas viewing points which afford panoramic views over the surrounding area.
The breathtaking routes continue with the Bwlch y Groes Pass, a route that lies on minor roads linking Dinas Mawddwy, Llanuwchllyn and Lake Vyrnwy, with views across the Dyfi Valley and Cadair Idris.
This is part of the pilgrim's route from North West Wales to St David's in South Wales. A cross, which can be found just below the summit at the junction of the roads from Vyrnwy and from Dinas Mawddwy, was placed on the route as a symbol of faith and strength comforting travellers since medieval times.
Bwlch y Groes was used between and after the wars by the Austin Motor Company and the Standard Triumph Motor Company to test prototype cars and their performance during hillclimbing.
Another must is the route that takes drivers along A487 from Machynlleth via Corris towards Dolgellau and before turning off on the B4405 to Tywyn via the picturesque Talyllyn lake at the foot of Cadair Idris mountain.
In the seaside resort of Tywyn, you can swap your car, motorhome, motorbike or bicycle for a different form of transport – Talyllyn Railway, the world’s first preserved railway.
For those drivers who enjoy sea views, try out the coastal route from Portmeirion in the north to Cardigan in the south west of Mid Wales.
Portmeirion is a magical place, an exquisite Italianate village designed by Clough Williams-Ellis tucked neatly into a headland overlooking the River Dwyryd. The village was the surreal location for cult 1960s TV series The Prisoner and it’s a hugely popular day-trip.
On the journey south along the A496, check out Harlech Castle, a World Heritage Site, which was built in the late 1200s and now looks slightly marooned on its rocky plinth. A new bridge has made access easy and connected the castle with a new visitor centre that has five luxury apartments for hire.
The famous song ‘Men of Harlech’ commemorates an epic siege in the 1460s, when the castle held out for seven years, the longest siege in British history.
Barmouth was a hard-working, ship-building, slate-exporting port until 19th century tourists took a shine to its mountains-meet-sea charms. Nowadays it’s Southern Snowdonia’s most popular resort, with big beaches and splendid views up the Mawddach Estuary.
Take the toll bridge across the estuary at Penmaenpool to join up with the A493 coastal route and be sure to also check out Aberdyfi, a small seaside village in southern Snowdonia. where the River Dyfi meets the green-blue waters of Cardigan Bay.
Aberdyfi is the subject of a popular Welsh folk song, ‘Clychau Aberdyfi’ or ‘The Bells of Aberdyfi’, which refers to the legend of Cantre’r Gwaelod, a submerged kingdom beneath Cardigan Bay.
Drive inland to the ancient capital of Wales at Machynlleth to crossing the River Dyfi before continuing on the A487 to Aberystwyth, a pier-and-prom Georgian/Victorian resort, is well worth a visit.
There’s lots to see and do in the town, including the Aberystwyth Cliff Railway up Constitution Hill, the priceless treasures of the National Library of Wales and the Ceredigion Museum.
Next stop driving south is the busy little town of Aberaeron, which has a fine set of colourful Regency buildings along its harbour.
This stretch of the Welsh coastline is incredibly rich in wildlife, with Britain’s biggest pod of dolphins spending the summer in Cardigan Bay, centred around New Quay, once an important fishing and shipbuilding town that is now a popular holiday resort.
Our journey ends in Cardigan, an old fishing port with impeccable Welsh roots. In 1176, the first eisteddfod was held in Cardigan Castle and there’s still a traditional Welsh feel to the town.
View the scenic drives https://www.visitmidwales.co.uk/scenicdrives or watch a YouTube video about driving in the Cambrian Mountains at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CZMxKZ_ZrU .
The spectacular Aberystwyth to Rhayader route through the Cambrian Mountains.
The Abergwesyn Pass on the route from Llanwrtyd Wells to Tregaron.
© Crown copyright (2021) Cymru Wales
The Llanidloes to Machynlleth scenic drive at Dylife.
© Crown copyright (2021) Cymru Wales
The Talyllyn Pass and lake.
Image: Barbara Fuller
Spring is one of the best times of the year to see rare wildlife and get up close to nature in the beautiful countryside of Mid Wales.
This unspoilt region in the heartland of Wales has an abundance of natural environments and some of the rarest species of birds and animals in the UK, including visiting ospreys, red kites, otters, beavers and even dolphins.
The UNESCO Dyfi Biosphere Wales - https://www.dyfibiosphere.wales/ - is one of the best places to see a diverse range of wildlife.
Otters swim in the rivers, beavers have recently been released, ospreys return every spring to breed, red kites grace the sky and dolphin pods are often spotted from the beach and on boat trips.
Nature reserves perfect for bird watching include Cors Dyfi and the Dyfi Osprey Project - https://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/ and the RSPB Ynys-hir reserve https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/ynys-hir/ which are all near Machynlleth.
For the last 50 years, RSPB Ynys-hir has been a wonderful home for wildlife and a haven for visitors who really want to get away from it all.
Located on the A487, Wales Coastal Way, in the village of Eglwys-fach, the reserve covers 850 hectares with a wide mix of habitats - mountain, lowland wet grassland, reedbed, bog, woodland and saltmarsh.
Springtime at this reserve is spectacular, with pied flycatchers, redstarts and wood warblers singing their hearts out whilst the woodland floor transforms into a beautiful carpet of bluebells. Watch the diving display flights of lapwings and the piping calls of redshanks on the Marian Mawr pools.
Cors Dyfi Reserve and Dyfi Osprey Project is the best place to see ospreys, otters, beavers, nightjars, warblers, increasingly rare hen harriers and even water buffalo, which are introduced to graze the marshes.
Ospreys spend their winters in West Africa, but since 2011 some of them have come to Cors Dyfi each spring to mate. Over the years, the osprey partners have raised one to three chicks successfully each year. Watch them live at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtlCjc1D4Qo
In a double success story for Mid Wales, ospreys have also been nesting at Hafren Forest alongside Clywedog reservoir, near Llanidloes, since 2014. Watch them live in the nest at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyciWNPFuWM
Nearby, along the Cardigan Bay coast, dolphins and porpoises often put on a display for spectators. For the best chance of seeing them, visit Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre in New Quay and take a boat trip.
New Quay is one of only two places in Great Britain where you can see bottlenose dolphins. Dolphin Survey Boat Trips - https://www.dolphinsurveyboattrips.co.uk/ -
provide an underwater microphone which allows passengers to listen to the dolphins in their natural habitat.
Further inland, at Forge, near Machynlleth, visitors are allowed to get up close and personal with birds of prey at the Falconry Experience Wales - https://raptorexperiencewales.co.uk/. Fly and handle Lakota the bald eagle or Moggie the white faced owl under professional supervision.
The falconry experience also includes falcons, hawks, American buzzards, a white tailed sea eagle and a fast paced demonstration of a falcon flying to a lure.
Falconry Experience Wales also organises Raptor Days with wildlife presenter and author Iolo Williams who introduces people to the raptors at various locations in Mid Wales. The first two days this summer are sold out, but spaces are available for July 24 and August 9. More details on the website.
To enjoy the spectacle of seeing more than 100 red kites feeding, travel to the Red Kite Feeding Station at Bwlch Nant yr Arian, between Llanidloes and Aberystwyth - naturalresources.wales/bwlchnantyrarian?lang=en
Bwlch Nant yr Arian became a red kite feeding station in 1999, as part of a programme to protect the small number of red kites in the area at that time. Nowadays, the red kites fly in from a 10-mile radius to be fed by the lake daily at 3pm and the spectacle can be watched from the lakeside viewing area.
For those seeking to build a holiday or short break around wildlife watching, visit - https://www.visitmidwales.co.uk/accommodation/ - to view the range of quality accommodation available in Mid Wales.
Red kites can be watched at Bwlch Nant yr Arian feeding station.
Ospreys at the Dyfi Osprey Project.
Bottle nose Dolphins in Cardigan Bay.
Image: Steve Hartley, Dolphin Survey Boat Trips.
Wildlife presenter Iolo Williams with Lakota the bald eagle at Falconry Experience Wales.
A beaver family has been released at the Cors Dyfi Reserve.
The call comes from MWT Cymru, which represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses in Powys, Ceredigion and South Gwynedd. The company has created a new page on its Visit Mid Wales website - www.visitmidwales.co.uk/christmas - to promote gift ideas in the run up to Christmas.
Gift ideas range from animal, falconry and pottery experiences to rides on narrow gauge railways and a selection of Mid Wales craftware and food and drink products.
With some Mid Wales hotels closing temporarily due to new COVID-19 restrictions imposed in Wales, which begin at 6pm today (Friday), shoppers are being urged to go online to book a short break, holiday or visitor experience as a special gift to look forward to in 2021.
Val Hawkins, MWT Cymru’s chief executive, said: “2020 has been a really challenging year and I would appeal to local people in Mid Wales and those living outside our region to continue to support our member businesses this Christmas,” she said.
“Traditionally, December is one of the busiest months for our businesses, many of whom offer exciting experiences and craftware which make great Christmas gifts. It’s also a great time to book new year breaks and holidays in Mid Wales.”
The new restrictions imposed in Wales stop pubs, restaurants and cafes from serving alcohol and they are unable to open to customers beyond 6pm. Businesses can offer a takeaway service after 6pm and, if they have an off-licence, can sell takeaway alcohol up until 10pm. Indoor visitor attractions must also close.
The Welsh Government will review these restrictions on December 17.
Support local businesses Mid Wales.
Buy award winning gin from The Dyfi Distillery at Corris.
A hotel at one of the top visitor destinations and beauty spots in Mid Wales has launched a photographic competition as part of an autumn marketing campaign.
The winner of the competition will be treated to a Champagne stay for two people at Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and Spa. They will be able to enjoy dinner, bed and breakfast and sip champagne on the balcony of their premier lake view room overlooking iconic Lake Vyrnwy.
The competition is part of the hotel’s autumn marketing campaign to attract visitors to the popular Mid Wales destination when the Covid-19 ‘ firebreak’ lockdown ends in Wales on Monday, November 9.
The hotel wants to see visitors’ own best photographs of Lake Vyrnwy using the #lvapc2020 hashtag. The winner will be chosen on November 29 from entries across Facebook and Instagram.
“We hope the competition will help entrants to re-live their happy Vyrnwy moments in these difficult times,” said Anthony Rosser, Lake Vyrnwy Hotel’s operations director.
The marketing campaign is encouraging prospective customers to “re-awaken your senses with fresh air, long walks and tranquillity” by booking two different packages for a romantic or relaxing Champagne break in visually stunning surroundings.
Both packages are available from Sunday to Friday, from November 9 to February 28, and are based on two people sharing a double or twin room. To book visit www.lakevyrnwy.com .
The Vyrnwy Cwtch costs from £169 for a one night stay with a full Welsh breakfast, a £35 per person dinner allowance and a cuddly toy and chocolates. The Vyrnwy Escape offers a three night stay with full Welsh breakfast and a £35 per person per night dinner allowance. Customers can also take their dogs with them.
“Lake Vyrnwy has always been a place for romance and self-care,” said Mr Rosser. “Whether you want to go for a walk in the wild along the many paths surrounding the hotel or to snuggle down in front of a roaring fire with a hot chocolate, Lake Vyrnwy has more than enough to keep you busy - or not...
“Indulge in all the Welsh countryside has to offer. With specially curated walking maps of local routes available from reception, escape, explore and let the problems of the outside world melt away. Bring your furry family members too, it’s an adventure for the whole family.”
Lake Vyrnwy Hotel is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation representing more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses in Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd.
A spectacular autumn view of the Lake Vyrnwy.
Image by © martinwebbinfocus | Spinning Your Dreams
Now in its third year, this annual celebration of the independent accommodation sector will take place from Monday 16th – Sunday 22nd March 2020.
MWT are supporting eviivo and the B&B Association to make the campaign a success and we need your help to make the most of National B&B Week week for Mid Wales accommodation providers. Last year almost 350 properties nationwide provided deals and offers to encourage guests to stay with them and we'd like to make sure that as many local businesses and MWT members as possible are among them.
National B&B Week is open for all B&Bs and independent accommodation providers to get involved with and, best of all, it’s free!
All you need to do is:
1. Think up a great offer to entice guests to book or stay with you during National B&B Week 2020.
2. Visit https://bandbweek.com/participate/ to submit your offer. Enter your property and offer details, and the National B&B Week team will promote them to the public and the press.
That’s it! Last year's National B&B Week generated nearly 100 pieces of press coverage for UK B&Bs (including a feature in the Sunday Times) and almost 20,000 visitors to the bandbweek.com website.
Over 150 offers have already been published. Submit yours now to get involved .
Another great couple of articles recently as a direct result of our press and PR activity. Thanks to our wonderful members for lending us your support.
Stuart Anderson – East Anglia
Feel Good Food Magazine
For teachers looking for inspiration on where to take children on trips during term time, you may be interested in Pear's school pack service.
In case you've never used ie before, this is how it works:
1. Decide what postcodes you want to target.
2. You send as many leaflets to each school as you want and can add a cover letter.
3. Primary or Secondary Schools or Both?
4. Email them your choices
5. Pear will check availability and confirm booking.
6. You deliver print to them (unless we already have it).
7. Pear deliver to the schools.
Alternatively, they can deliver to schools for pupil bookbags, looking at October Half Term and Halloween?
If this is of interest to you, let Pear know and they can build a plan that suits. Email email@example.com
If you were trying to get a flight out of Gatwick airport before last Christmas, my guess is you will be well familiar with how airborne drones had a massive impact on those particular holiday flight schedules. However, this is not the only impact drones have had. For many innovative Tourism based businesses, they have also had a huge transformative impact on their approach to marketing, which probably comes as no surprise given what Wales not only looks fantastic from the ground, it looks awesome from the air as well!
Today, high quality drones are a lot cheaper than they used to be with costs being driven down by huge advances in technology. Cost aside, the real driving force acknowledged by Tourism businesses is that high quality aerial video and photography delivers a huge ‘wow’ factor which can act as a massive differentiator.
Dramatic views of parks, event locations and the surrounding areas, allow prospective customers to really see where they could be holidaying of visiting from a whole new visual and emotional perspective.
SO, WHAT’S THE CATCH?
Well, no doubt soon, any business owner will be able to order an inexpensive drone, load up an app on their phone and send a drone over their site to capture video footage. However, there are increasingly complex laws regarding the use of drones and also the requirement to take a test and register with the Civil Aviation Authority. Contravening any of these requirements could (and given Gat Gate, probably will) result in big fines and even imprisonment.
So, remember that whilst smartphones have turned everyone into a budding professional photographer (and why the heck not) getting great aerial photography without taking down the local power lines and going to jail is slightly different! Furthermore, getting footage is one thing but with professional production and editing it’s the difference between viewing shaky home movies and your business booking its seat at the Oscars.
In summary, the use of drones should probably be approached in much the same way as learning to drive and then immediately tackling a potentially perilous Snowdonian road. Sure, you could do it, but wouldn’t you rather hire a professional driver to start with to show you how it’s done?
AMP Media can help - give us a call and let us show you our driving skills, both on the ground and more to the point, above it.
AMP Media is offering a reduced rate for MWT members for aerial drone video and photography. Prices start at £500 which represents a 20% saving on their standard rates. Charles is based in Aberystwyth but can travel across the region to your business. Call for an informal chat on 07837 525 288 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fantastic news for S3 Advertising Agency who are in the running for Content Strategy of The Year for the work they did with us last summer on #RealMidWales. They're up against some huge brands including Virgin Holidays, Wella Professionals, Age UK Mobility, and many more. Good Luck, S3! We'll keep our fingers crossed for the awards ceremony in June.
You can download the Mid Wales Visual Signature Guide which S3 produced for #RealMidWales on our website. It can be used by all and is a template for taking distinctive Mid Wales photographs/video. The style was developed by working with the Visit Wales marketing team to ensure that the Mid Wales signature compliments the 'Wales Brand', so by working together we can make a bigger impact online.
As part of our ongoing #RealMidWales campaign, we're pleased to announce that we will be running our 'Slow TV' Live streaming campaign next week!
Four streams on four consecutive days, starting on October 16. Escape to:
The more people that hear about Mid Wales the better for everyone. We'll be expecting a spike in traffic to our website so regardless of where your business is in relation to the live streams, if you are a member of MWT Cymru please make sure your information is up to date using Guestlink so you take advantage of this promotion.
Picking up on the success of Airbnb's campaign (National Parks Backyard) and the success Norway have received with their Slow TV campaigns we aim to emulate this exciting new concept and really get the message out about Mid Wales.
This is the first time 'Slow TV' will be used in the UK to market a destination in this way and MWT is proud to be leading the way in destination marketing.
We're delighted that we have been able to run this campaign with the support of Visit Wales who have agreed to stream two live events to their nearly 1million followers! - providing us with some fantastic coverage for the Mid Wales region.
Other partners on the project include RSPB Cymru, National Trust Cymru, Hafren Dyfrdwy and Natural Resources Wales; without them this project wouldn't be possible.
To ensure we have the best coverage for Mid Wales please ensure you share these events with your visitors, groups, and friends. All event times/locations can be found on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/visitmidwales - register your interest in the events and get sharing!
There will be 4 pages hosted on our VisitMidWales.co.uk website which will pull through events, things to do, accommodation etc, so this is a great opportunity for MWT members to get noticed. Rather than just raising awareness this is about driving business to Mid Wales.
If you need any help updating your details or images, or if you have any questions about the campaign, please do not hesitate to contact the office on 01654 702653.
The events start on Tuesday so look out for updates!
July 2021 June 2021 May 2021 April 2021 March 2021 February 2021 January 2021 December 2020 November 2020 October 2020 September 2020 August 2020 July 2020 June 2020 April 2020 March 2020 November 2019 September 2019 August 2019 July 2019 May 2019 April 2019 March 2019 February 2019 October 2018 September 2018 August 2018 July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 January 2018 November 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017
- Marketing Benefits