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If you’re looking for things to do in Mid-Wales, look no further! This region of the UK is home to numerous activities and attractions that are perfect for a day trip or longer vacation.
1. Walk Along the Wales Coastal Path
One of the best ways to explore Mid-Wales is by foot, and there’s no better place to do that than on the Wales Coastal Path. This 870-mile trail stretches along the entire coast of Wales, passing through some of the most stunning scenery in the country. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, the Wales Coastal Path has something for everyone.
Of course, you don’t need to walk the entire route, I recommend the stretch between Aberystwyth and Borth which includes clifftop walking, trekking through fields, and beautiful coastal views.
2. Visit Powis Castle
Powis Castle is another must-see in Mid-Wales. This 13th-century castle is set in beautiful grounds and is one of the largest castles in Wales. Visitors can explore the castle’s exterior, including the imposing walls and towers, or take a guided tour of the interior to learn more about its history.
You might even stumble across the Powis Castle spirit who, according to folk tales, helped a seamstress become rich by showing her a locked casket under the floorboards.
3. Ride on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway
If you’re looking for a fun day out for all the family, look no further than the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. This heritage railway takes passengers on a journey through some of Mid-Wales’ most beautiful countryside.
It is no longer used by locals but continues to operate as a tourist attraction. The railway is powered by steam locomotives, and the journey takes you through picturesque villages and valleys. You might even spot some of the local wildlife, including red kites, as you travel along.
Trains are not regular so plan your trip in advance by looking on their website. A particular favourite of mine is their afternoon tea train with tea, cakes and sandwiches along the way. How British!
4. Explore Powysland Museum
Powysland Museum in Welshpool is the perfect place to learn about the history and culture of Mid-Wales. The museum has exhibitions on topics ranging from the area’s prehistoric past to its industrial heritage.
There’s also a section dedicated to the Welsh language, which is spoken by many people in Mid-Wales. If you’re interested in learning more about the Welsh language and how it has evolved over time, this is the perfect place to start.
It’s located right beside the Montgomery Canal which is one of my favourite walks in the area so I recommend taking the opportunity to experience this at the same time (providing it’s sunny).
5. Visit Elan Valley for Walking and Kayaking
Elan Valley is a beautiful area of Mid-Wales that is well worth a visit. The valley is home to several reservoirs which provide water for the city of Birmingham.
The area is popular with walkers and cyclists, and there are a number of trails to explore that twist and turn around the various reservoirs. It’s also a great spot for some beautiful photos and I recommend taking a picnic so you can enjoy the stunning views while you eat.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try your hand at kayaking on one of the reservoirs. There are two group sessions per day where you can take two-person kayaks onto the Caban Coch Reservoir, find out more here.
You might recognise the area from an episode of Top Gear in which Richard Hammond attempted to scale the valley’s 56m-high Claerwen Dam in a Land Rover Defender. it’s worth a watch before you go!
6. Lose Yourself in Books in Hay-on-Wye
Hay-on-Wye is a small town on the border of England and Wales that is well known for its many bookshops. The town has a population of just over 2,000 people but is home to around 30 bookshops. If you’re a bookworm, Hay-on-Wye is definitely worth a visit and was voted the best town in Wales1 (source: Which!).
There’s also an annual literary festival called Hay festival which attracts some big names including novelists, historians, musicians, and even the occasional Nobel-prize winner.
If you’re not a literary lover, the small market town is perfectly situated for exploring the countryside with hiking and biking routes as well as canoeing along the River Hay. It’s also full of independent shops, restaurants, and cafes – not a Starbucks in sight!
7. Visit Snowdonia and Climb Wales’s Highest Mountain, Snowdon
Taking a day trip just north of Mid-Wales can land you in Snowdonia National Park, home to Snowdon which is the highest mountain in Wales.
The mountain is popular with climbers and walkers and there are a number of routes to the summit, including the Snowdon Ranger Path, Cynon Valley Ridge, and the Watkin Path.
The most popular and easiest route is the Llanberis path, although it’s also the longest. There’s even a steam train that can take you up this path for those family members who aren’t so keen for a day of hiking but who would still appreciate the stunning views across the Welsh countryside.
Plus, it’s the first mountain I’ve climbed where there’s a fully functional cafe right at the summit, what more could you want?!
8. Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfall
Pistyll Rhaeadr is a stunning waterfall located in the Berwyn Mountains. At 73m (240ft) tall, it’s the tallest waterfall in Wales and is also considered to be one of the 7 Wonders of Wales so it’s well worth a visit.
There is a car park near the waterfall where you can park up to explore the surrounding area on foot. There’s also a café although I find this is only open during peak tourism periods.
Walking to the top of the waterfall is easy and a must-do activity, however, I’d also recommend that you take the time to try out some of the other walks in the area. A large sign near the base of the waterfall has all the local landmarks and routes.
9. Walk To the Source of Britain’s Longest River
The ‘Source of the Severn Trail’ is located in Hafren Forest, a short drive from Llanidloes. A newly created route, the stone path will take you along an 11km (7 mile) route that takes you through Hafren forest to the source of Britain’s longest river, the River Severn.
Once you reach the end, you can also walk a little further to see beautiful views towards the coast and Snowdonia national park. It’s a circular route so you can continue back along a different path which includes bridges, a waterfall, an opencut copper mine, and the ruins of Nant yr Eira lead mine.
10. See Devils Bridge Falls
Devils Bridge Falls is located in the small village of Devils Bridge near Aberystwyth. The waterfall is made up of three separate falls, the highest of which is 90m (300ft). The waterfalls are situated on the River Mynach which flows through a gorge known as the Cwm Rheidol.
The best way to see the falls is to take one of the many walking trails that wind their way through the gorge. There are also a number of viewing platforms where you can get a closer look at the Falls.
11. Visit MOMA Machynlleth
The Museum Of Modern Art (MOMA) Machynlleth is a museum dedicated to modern art located in the market town of Machynlleth. The museum has a range of exhibitions with seven different galleries as well as a café, shop, and sculpture garden. It’s the perfect place to spend a rainy day!
12. Visit Lake Vyrnwy
Lake Vyrnwy is a man-made lake located in Powys, Mid Wales. The lake was created in the late 19th century to provide water for the Liverpool area.
Nowadays, it’s a popular spot for walking, cycling, fishing, and birdwatching. There are also a number of B&Bs and hotels in the area if you want to make a weekend of it!
13. Falconry Experience Wales
There are a number of companies in Mid Wales that offer falconry experiences in both Rhayader and Machynlleth where you can learn about birds of prey and see them for yourself.
The top-rated experience according to Trip Advisor is Falconry Experience Wales in Machynlleth which is home to Owls and Eagles, including a Bald Eagle.
This is only a small attraction so expect an intimate day with the chance to learn about the physiology and behaviour of their birds and the opportunity to handle them yourself if you dare.
14. Watch a Show at Hafren Theatre
Hafren Theatre is located in Newtown, Mid Wales and is the largest theatre in Powys. The theatre has a busy schedule with a range of shows and events taking place throughout the year.
From musicals and operas to ballets and stand-up comedy, there’s something for everyone at Hafren Theatre. Check out their website for upcoming shows and events!
15. Visit the Red Kite Feeding Centre
The Red Kite Feeding Centre at Girgin Farm is located just outside of Welshpool and is open all year round.
This is a great activity for families with children as you can learn about the red kites and see them up close as they feed. The centre also has a number of other animals such as ducks, chickens, and pigs which the kids will love!
See our dedicated article for more great things to do with kids in Mid-Wales.
16. Spot Bottle-Nosed Dolphins in Cardigan Bay
You can also sometimes see them from the beach but the best way to spot them is by taking a boat trip from one of the many coastal towns such as New Quay or Aberaeron. The boats will take you to the dolphin hotspots such as Aberporth, Cardigan Island and Cemaes Head.
You might even spot harbour porpoises and the odd whale on your trip too, although these are more common in near Anglesey rather than in Mid-Wales.
17. Walk to Rodneys Pillar
Rodney’s Pillar is a monument located at the top of Breidden Hill near Welshpool and not far from the border with England. It’s a moderate route to the top that takes around 2-3 hours to complete.
When you reach the pillar, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Mid Wales, the Welsh Borders, and even as far as Snowdonia on a clear day.
The 16m (54ft) high pillar is made of local stone and was built to commemorate the naval victories of Admiral George Brydges Rodney during the American War of Independence.
18. Visit Corris Craft Centre and King Arthurs Labyrinth
Corris Craft Centre is located in the village of Corris Uchaf near Machynlleth and is home to a number of independent shops and businesses. Some of the products made here include candles, jewellery, pottery, art, and glassware.
My particular favourite is Dyfi Distillery which I also located at the centre and produces award-winning gin. The distillery doesn’t offer formal tours but you can see the gin being made, speak to the owners, and most importantly, try the gin.
The centre is also home to King Arthur’s Labyrinth, a subterranean maze which tells the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The maze is suitable for all ages and is a great activity for a rainy day!
19. Cycle Around Clywedog Dam
Clywedog Dam is a reservoir located in the Cambrian Mountains near Llanidloes. The dam was created in 1965 and is now a popular spot for walking, cycling, and fishing.
The 24km cycle route around the reservoir is one of the most popular in Mid Wales and takes you through some stunning scenery. Start from the Visitor Centre at Llyn Clywedog and follow the signs for the cycle route.
20. Constitution Hill in Aberystwyth
Aberystwyth is a seaside town in Ceredigion with Cardigan Bay to the West and the Cambrian mountains to the east. There are plenty of things to do in Aberystwyth, such as Constitution Hill, Aberystwyth Castle, and the National Library of Wales. Plus, it’s full of bars and restaurants serving up local dishes (be sure to check out The Glengower for a bite to eat).
Constitution Hill (known locally as Consti) is my favourite activity in Aberystwyth. The small hill offers stunning views over Aberystwyth and the surrounding coastline. If you’re feeling energetic, you can walk or cycle to the top and there’s a small cafe plus activities for the kids.
This is a great destination for those visiting Mid-Wales with dogs as there are plenty of dog-friendly places to eat and stay.
21. Eat Michellin Star Food at Ynyshir
Located in a part-Georgian house, chef-owner Gareth Ward takes you on a culinary adventure with 30 or so courses that combine Asian influences with Welsh produce to create a truly special dining experience.
22. Aberdovey Beach
Aberdovey (Aberdyfi in Welsh) is a seaside town located on the west coast of Wales and is home to a number of beaches such as Aberdovey Beach, Tywyn Beach, and Borth Beach.
The beach is the perfect spot for a summer’s day with its sandy shores, crystal-clear waters, and stunning views. It’s also great for surfing, fishing, and kayaking.
23. Visit Waterfall Country in the Brecon Beacons
My final two recommended things to do in Mid-Wales actually sit just outside the area you would traditionally call Mid-Wales, but I think they are well worth visiting on day trips.
First off you have the Brecon Beacons National Park. This is home to many great towns and outdoor activities, but my favourite is an area towards the south known as Waterfall Country which has a dense concentration of amazing waterfalls.
There are a number of walking trails of varying difficulty levels so there’s something for everyone. I can highly recommend the Four Falls Trail which is a short beginner-friendly trail with four incredible waterfalls.
Alternatively, you can visit Henrhyd Falls where you can walk behind the waterfall. This landmark became famous after featuring in The Dark Knight Rises as the entrance to the Batcave.
Kieren is the founder and editor-in-chief of Wales Guidebook. Originally from rural Mid-Wales, he has lived all over the country from Cardiff to Wrexham. A true Welshman, Kieren created this site to share his passion for Wales and help others discover this beautiful country.