Our Local Area
Explore Tall John's House and the beautiful surrounding area.
Tall John's History
Originally a Welsh long house, Tall John’s House was subsequently shaped by British naval history. In 1588 the manor house was created to celebrate the defeat of the Spaniards. Extensive Georgian renovations took place in the late 19th century when the famous Admiral Hamilton used his substantial prize money to create a wonderful Georgian manor house. Hamilton was one of the role models for Jack Aubrey of “Master and Commander” fame. In the late 1950s another admiral, Watson, (with considerably less prize money!) brought the house up into the 20th century. The house is still in the Watson family’s possession and now has all the comforts of the 21st century but has kept its character from the past six hundred years.
We are blessed to have lovely countryside and dramatic natural scenery on our doorstep. For anyone who enjoys walking, a visit here will feel like a trip to paradise! Here are just a few local activities to choose from:-
Brecon is our largest local town. It has a beautiful Cathedral as well as an assortment of shops, pubs and restaurants. The historical town is the home of the Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh infantry as well as having a thriving theatre, Brecon has a cinema, three supermarkets and a post office. For eating out there are plenty of cafes and pubs. Brecon also has a good leisure centre with a swimming pool as well as squash and tennis courts. There is also a good fitness centre and beauty salon.
For a shorter walk, park at the foot of Mynydd Llangorse. The initial ascent is steep but will give you stunning views of the surrounding area and Llangorse Lake- a perfect photo opportunity.
A short drive away, Crickhowell is a small but bustling town. The town has many small shops and cafes and is a perfect for place to spend an afternoon browsing. There are a number of pubs in the town; we recommend The Bear for an evening meal.
Delve into Welsh history and visit some of the many castles in our area. Within easy reach by car there are castles that range from large impressive fortresses like that of Raglan Castle to smaller round keeps like those in Tretower. Many of our nearby towns such as Brecon, Hay and Crickhowell still have medieval keeps in their center. For the more adventurous there is the Three Castles walk that begins in Whitecastle and covers approximately 20 miles.
Take a short drive to - or even walk around Llangorse Lake. The lake is the largest glacial lake in south Wales and home to a myriad of wildlife. For keen fishermen and women you can hire a boat and fish on the lake or you can hire paddleboards and rowing boats. There is a reconstructed Crannog- which is a model of the Celtic village that once existed on the lake.
The Dragon's Back and Dinas Castle. Three miles outside the village of Talgarth you can park in the Dragon's Back pub car park (all proceeds go to charity) and begin your walk enjoying the stunning views of the mountains. If you want to do a shorter walk you can hike straight up to the ruins of Dinas Castle.
The walk over the Allt will treat you to panoramic views of Llangorse Lake, The Black Mountains, the Usk Valley and the Brecon Beacons. Starting from Tall John's House, the walk is just over 4 miles long following the original Roman road.
Above the village of Talybont, the River Caerfanell drops through the mountains in a series of spectacular gorges and cascading waterfalls. The National Park has worked hard to create a network of well-maintained footpaths throughout the area with plenty of spots for a picnic, lots of photo opportunities and a great day out for all the family.
Llangorse Multi-activity centre is a short drive away. You can go climbing in the indoor climbing centre or as we recommend go on a horse ride in the surrounding countryside. They have treks, rides and hacks suitable for all levels.
If you don't wish to stray too far we can recommend a lovely walk to St.Gastyn's Church and Bird hide. Turn left out of the gate and follow signs to the lovely church situated on the edge of Llangorse Lake. Follow the footpath through the conservation area to the bird hide where you can sit and watch the many varieties of water birds that live on the lake. If you continue right round the lake you will arrive in the village of Llangorse where there are two pubs for refreshment.
The world famous 'town of books' is only 30 minutes away. This small town hosts the Hay Festival book festival every year at the end of May. Hay has its own castle as well as many bookshops and antiques shops.
Pen-Y-Fan is the highest peak in the National Park. The start point at Storey Arms can be reached by car or by bus from the bus stations in Brecon. There are toilets and food stands at the start of the walk. The walk is 4 miles long. The views from the summit are spectacular.
The ancient village of Talgarth is a quarter of an hour's drive away. You can visit the working watermill in the centre of town and sample some of the bread in the cafe. Talgarth has a post office, shop, five pubs and a doctor's surgery.
For a fun filled river adventure try canoeing down the river Wye from Glasbury. Wind down the river through some beautiful Welsh countryside. Bring along a picnic and enjoy some scenic stops down the river.
There is a beautiful drive along the Gospel Pass to Llanthony Priory. The ancient ruins were first built in the 12th Century and have since seen the comings and goings of rebellions, kings and poets.
Even for more experienced fly-fishermen the wily trout of River Usk will still provide an exciting challenge! There are many great fishing spots all along the river- a great way to spend a tranquil summer evening. The River Wye is also close by and excels in both salmon and trout fishing.
The Three Rivers Ride goes straight past Tall John's House and we can accommodate riders and horses. There are also several pony trekking and riding establishments in the area.
We have many 18 hole golf courses within 45 minutes’ drive of us. Our nearest Golf Clubs are Brecon and Cradoc which are under twenty minutes away. We are only forty five minutes away from the Celtic Manor Resort which hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup.
Some of the local features that you can enjoy during your stay
- Beautiful surroundings
- Black Mountains views
- Romantic getaway
- Dramatic scenery
- Historical sites
- Local activities