Nestled in the heart of Wales, the rural county of Radnorshire, known locally in Welsh as 'Sir Faesyfed', showcases the untouched beauty of the Welsh countryside's rolling hills, ancient woodland, and its charming towns and villages.

In our area guide, we delve into this idyllic location, where tranquil country life meets rich historical heritage. We will provide practical information on the region, including insights into its past, its stand-out landmarks, best places to live, and key information on schools and transport links for those considering living in Radnorshire.

History of Radnorshire

Radiating a vibrant and extensive past, Radnorshire is considered one of the ancient counties of Wales. Established in 1536 during the Laws in Wales Act under Henry VIII's reign, Radnorshire was formerly a part of the Welsh kingdoms of Buellt and Rhwng Gwy a Hafren. In the 19th century, with the onset of the Industrial Revolution, Radnorshire saw a considerable growth in population and industry. Despite these changes, the region retained its pastoral charm. Today, the county remains known for its vast stretches of unspoiled countryside and traditional Welsh community.


Radnorshire is home to a variety of stand-out landmarks appealing to a diverse array of interests. First is the Radnor Forest, famous for its panoramic views and rich biodiversity. The expansive Brecon Beacons National Park, bordering Radnorshire, is best known for its exceptional beauty, showcasing spectacular waterfalls and unique wildlife. Last but not least is the historic town of Presteigne, which still exudes a charming, untouched medieval ambiance.

Landmarks we love

  • Rhayader Dam: Located in the picturesque Elan Valley, Rhayader Dam, the first-ever stone-built dam in the UK, is a marvel of Victorian engineering surrounded by enchanting wildlife.
  • Judge's Lodging: Located in Presteigne, the Judge's Lodging provides a genuine insight into the Victorian era justice system, complete with original furnishings.
  • Llandrindod Wells Lake: Nestled in the Victorian town of Llandrindod Wells, this serene lake is an ideal spot for picnics and leisurely walks. Its lakeside pavilion often hosts appreciable art exhibitions.
  • Offa's Dyke Path: A famous ancient path forming part of the border between England and Wales, the Offa's Dyke Path is steeped in local history.
  • Knighton Observatory: Offering captivating views of the night sky, you can see the Milky Way and many planets from Knighton Observatory.

Top 10 things to do in Radnorshire

  • New Radnor's "Whimble": Hike to the top of New Radnor's "Whimble" for a breathtaking view over the Radnor Valley.
  • Llywelyn's Monument: Visit Llywelyn's Monument in Cilmeri, dedicated to the last native Prince of Wales.
  • Presteigne Festival: Enjoy the Presteigne Festival, which celebrates contemporary music and arts.
  • Youth Hostel Association's Bunkhouse: A popular spot for cyclists on Lon Las Cymru.
  • Rhayader River Walk: Take a leisure stroll alongside the River Wye in Rhayader.
  • Elan Valley Visitor Centre: Explore the Elan Valley Visitor Centre for its rich history and nature trails.
  • Walk Llandrindod’s Victorian trail: Absorb the architectural beauty of Llandrindod's Victorian era buildings.
  • The Meadows Tea Room: Stop by The Meadows Tea Room in New Radnor for homemade pastries and local delicacies.
  • Mid Wales Art Centre: Visit the Mid Wales Art Centre for a wide range of local and international art.
  • Rock Park Spa: Indulge in a rejuvenating spa treatment at the famed Rock Park Spa in Llandrindod Wells.

Our recommended areas to live in Radnorshire

  • Presteigne: Perfect for those craving a quaint, historical town atmosphere, Presteigne offers rich history, local arts, and a tight-knit community.
  • Llandrindod Wells: With its leisure facilities, excellent schools, spa facilities and Victorian architecture, Llandrindod Wells provides a great balance between modern amenities and traditional charm.
  • Hay-on-Wye: Known as the 'town of books', Hay-on-Wye is wonderful for literature lovers. Besides its numerous bookshops, it's lively, innovative, and hosts an internationally renowned literary festival.
  • Rhayader: If you're a nature lover, Rhayader is ideal. Set on the edge of the Cambrian Mountains, it's also bustling with local businesses and community events.
  • Builth Wells: Home to the annual Royal Welsh Show, this market town is perfect for those seeking a thriving agricultural community enriched by stunning landscape.

Best schools in Radnorshire

Radnorshire boasts a selection of excellent schools. For primary education, New Radnor CP School offers a nurturing environment for youngsters to begin their learning journey. Presteigne Primary School, with its community-oriented ethos, is rated highly by parents and inspectors alike. For secondary education, John Beddoes Campus in Presteigne offers a broad curriculum and a strong commitment to pastoral care. Builth Wells High School is also renowned for its impressive exam results and supportive teachers. Llandrindod High School delivers a diverse programme of extra-curricular activities alongside its robust educational offering. Furthermore, the collegiate style Gwernyfed High School provides an excellent learning environment for A-level students.

Transport links in Radnorshire

Despite its rural charm, Radnorshire offers reliable transport links. The county is intersected by the A44 road, providing connections to the A470 for easy assembly to North and South Wales. In Llandrindod Wells, there's a direct train service to Swansea and Shrewsbury. Knighton and Presteigne are conveniently linked to the major cities of Cardiff and Manchester by the A465 and the A49, respectively. Several local and regional bus services cover the towns and surrounding villages, offering consistent and convenient public transport options.

In conclusion, Radnorshire is a gem of a location with its captivating historical sites, natural beauty, and the idyllic lifestyle it offers. Its charming towns, each with its unique character, offer the ideal backdrop for both tranquil country living and a community-rich life. Coupled with various recreational activities, decent education facilities, and efficient transport links, it provides a balanced and enriching living experience, making Radnorshire an appealing choice for those seeking to relocate or simply enjoy the best of what mid-Wales has to offer.

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