New Year in Llanwrtyd Wells.

New Year in Llanwrtyd Wells


East Lancs LDWA on tour……again !                          Pauline Melia – East Lancs

One of the annual highlights in East Lancs’s busy social calendar is a 4 night New Year’s break in the Victorian spa and smallest town in Britain …… Llanwrtyd Wells in Powys. This year, a group of us went along to see out 2019 in great style, keen to get out on walks but also ready for some festive revelry !

East Lancs has been visiting Llanwrtyd Wells for many years. Not only at New Year but also for the Real Ale Ramble, one of many events that have made this place the capital of outdoor pursuits in the heart of Wales. The base for these events is the Newydd Arms Hotel, which never fails to deliver on friendliness and service and which offers great accommodation, home prepared food, ales brewed in their own brewery and the best gin menu I’ve seen in a long time ! The group makes use of the accommodation in the main building and some stay in the self catering cottage at the rear, both very cosy and traditional. I opted for the cottage as I do like the welcoming lounge and log burning fire after a day out in the hills.

The two walks we had planned as a group started from the Newydd Arms and both made use of the great footpaths, forest tracks and old Drovers roads that spread right across the area. Along the way, there were some interesting stops at chapels, viewpoints and what was the spa resort that made this town such a vibrant hub in the Victorian era. Some of the group also found time for bird spotting, running and roller blading. We are a multi faceted bunch !

The New Year break includes joining in with the pagan Mari Lwyd celebrations, where after a warm up of singing and dancing in the square, residents and visitors alike carry lit torches around the town, calling en route to sample free snacks and drinks and to observe the tradition where a man draped in robes and carrying a horse’s skull tries and finally succeeds (after exchanging poems and songs with residents) in gaining entrance to homes in order to obtain refreshment. On return to the Newydd Arms, everyone gathers together to sing and dance to welcome in the new year……then spends the rest of the night (morning !) being entertained by local musicians. It really is a wonderful celebration and you are made to feel very welcome by the locals.

I’m glad to say that I’m already booked in for next year, along with some of my East Lancs friends. I’m also interested in seeing some of the town’s other events - I’m not sure if I’m brave or fit enough to enter ! These events include the bog snorkelling championships, the Man v Horse marathon challenge, the wife carrying race, Real Ale Wobble (cycling !) and the one that I definitely am suited to ….. the Real Ale Ramble !


If you are interested in learning more about the town and what’s on in Llanwrtyd Wells, check out the website

And of course information about the East Lancs group, including walks schedule and social events can be found at


The pictures below are from Pauline and Robb.