Smallest town in Britain’s Beer festival gets underway – quirky ‘little gem’

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An ancient historic spa town below the Cambrian Mountains has made a name for itself by being “odd”. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, the town could have tried to rely on farming and some accidental tourism.

Instead, Llanwrtyd Wells got proactive about it.

The Real Ale Wobble – a beer and cycling event – is on this weekend, on Saturday 20, and will offer two routes to “both serious bikers and enthusiastic amateurs”.

Kickstarting the 10-day Mid Wales Beer Festival, the cycling event is one of the many ways
Llanwrtyd Wells attracts visitors.

The location of Llanwrtyd Wells should have been enough, with the once booming spa town surrounded by mountains, roman roads, ancient standing stones, wildlife and natural beauty.

READ MORE: ‘Lovely’ seaside resort accessible by metro named one of the best

Scenic drives, walking and pony treks are all popular activities in the area.

The first mountain bike centre opened in Llanwrtyd Wells in 1985, and cycling and mountain biking is still a great draw for many holidaymakers.

But what makes Llanwrtyd Wells famous are its quirky events.

The Man versus Horse Marathon is a yearly event started in June 1980, and it took 25 years for a man to beat a horse.

The event that really put Llanwrtyd Wells on the map, however, is bog snorkelling.

The annual World Bog Snorkelling Championships was named by Lonely Planet as one of the top 50 must do things from around the world.

Bog snorkelling is very much what it sounds like: snorkelling in a bog.

There is no point to the activity, except for unadulterated fun and a day out to remember for ever.

A Bog Triathlon was added to the events calendar in 2005, and consists of “an eight-mile run followed by a single length of the 60-yard peat bog trench and then a 12-mile mountain bike ride”.

Llanwrtyd Wells is famous for its quirky events but there is more to do in town than watch people snorkel a bog, or try to race a horse.

Britons who want to know where the idea for the Man versus Horse Marathon originated should head to Neuadd Arms Hotel, the pub at the centre of many a quirky new idea in town.

The Neuadd has been in town for a century and a half and is a good place to get a drink or a meal.

For something a bit fancier, Drovers Rest Restaurant and head chef Peter James has won many awards and has serious green credentials, with a green environmental policy even outlined on its website.

The Drovers Rest also has a cooking school, J&R School of Cooking Masterclasses, for anyone who needs some help in the kitchen.

Anyone interested in the history of the town and the region should visit Llanwrtyd and District Heritage & Arts Centre, located in one of the town’s old chapels.

On Tripadvisor, Stephen Lebeau said: “I was reacquainting myself with the area after many years absence and found that this little gem of a heritage centre.

“Beautifully converted (read how they did it) and filled with local knowledge and history.

“Refreshingly, it doesn’t try to be anything other than parochial, and gives a fascinating insight into the local area. Art and crafts galleries are a bonus.”
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