This lovely town situated right in the middle of Wales might not be at the top of the list for most people to visit during their time in the UK, but we think it is well worth a visit. It's a small place, but there is certainly plenty to see and do in and around the town. The word 'Builth' (or 'Buellt' in Welsh) is believed to be derived from the Welsh words 'bu' and 'allt', which, translated, mean 'the wild ox of the wooded slope'. With a name like that, it's not going to be boring to visit, is it?
Here are our favourite things to see and do in this town for 2023:
Pant y Llyn
Just a few miles south of Builth Wells you'll find Pant y Llyn, an 8 acre upland lake which is well worth a look. It's Britain's most remote carp fishery and is very popular with fishing enthusiasts. Carp is the main catch here, but you'll also find minnows and chub. Even if fishing isn't your thing, the lake is still incredible to visit and has a unique, slightly mysterious feel to it. If you're not a fish enthusiast then you probably haven't considered how weird it is that Carp, a fish native to Asia, is found in this lake at the top of a Welsh mountain. The truth of the matter is that nobody really knows why this is the case. We definitely recommend a visit here during your time in Builth Wells.
Wyeside Arts Centre
This is a great old cinema with a stylish modern interior. It's only got cinema 2 screens but they're lovely and there is always something going on here. Films are usually being shown most evenings, but often there is live theatre to catch here too. We also love the passion and enthusiasm of the staff here who are always happy to help. Learn more here - wyeside.co.uk
Nope, this isn't an invisible castle! All that remains of Builth Castle is this grassy motte. Originally built under King Edward I, it might be hard to believe now but at one time there was an impressive castle on this site. However, all the masonry has been removed and now all that remains on the mound where the castle stood is the ditches and embankments.
Just to the West of Builth Wells you'll find Cilmeri, and here stands an impressive monument dedicated to the Welsh hero Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (Llywelyn the Last). The monument stands on the spot where it is said that he was ambushed and killed in the late 13th century. If you didn't know the history attached to this monument then you might not think much of it from a distance, but knowing the history attached to it and the story, we think it is definitely worth a visit.
Erwood Station Gallery
If you're a fan of trains or art then a visit to Erwood Station Gallery is a must - this 19th-century railway station has been transformed into a cool modern art gallery displaying excellent pieces from local artists. There is even art which is displayed in some of the old railway carriages. And this isn't just a gimmick either, the art here is genuinely great (and you can buy some to take home with you if you wish). Learn more here - erwoodstation.com
About 20 minutes drive from Builth Wells you'll find Gigrin Farm, a Red Kite feeding station where visitors can watch daily wild red kite feedings. We've previously written about the Red Kite Trail up in Scotland, but we'd probably say that Gigrin Farm is an even better way to experience Red Kites. As the photograph shows, the hides that you sit in allow you to get really close to hundreds of kites, and you're no more than a few hundred metres away as they're being fed. It's a special experience to see all of the kites emerge from nowhere once the food arrives. On top of the magical experience of seeing the kites, the cafe here is also excellent, and the staff members are very pleasant and knowledgeable. Make sure to bring your camera and lots of battery! Learn more and book a hide here - gigrin.uk
Gilfach Nature Reserve
If you're willing to travel even further away from the town but still within a reasonable distance, then Gilfach Nature Reserve is only about 30 minutes away by car from Builth Wells, and we believe it to be well worth a visit. Here you'll find everything that makes Welsh wilderness so stunning - an upland river, sessile oak woodland, meadows, and upland moorland. Follow one of the trails and immerse yourself in the surrounding beauty. If you want to learn more about the nature reserve, the visitor centre here is excellent and the volunteers there are very helpful. This reserve is well-known as a haven for birdwatchers, with the elusive pied flycatchers often being spotted here.
To get here from Builth Wells, take the A470 to Rhayader and continue for another 3 miles on the A470 to Llangurig, you'll soon spot the signs for the nature reserve. Learn more here - rwtwales.org