Two idyllic inns lost down leafy lanes. Find one tucked away in the heart of the impressive Brecon Beacons, and the other deep in the rolling Shropshire Hills. Stay at one or stay at both. This pair provides perfect bases for exploring the surrounding area. Driving time between the inns is 1 hour 22 minutes.
Pairing notes: Country, Cosy, Great food, Active outdoors, Off the beaten track, Rustic charm
A true destination pub, the fabulous daily changing menu and eye-catching bedrooms are really worth the drive.
The Felin Fach Griffin is a firm favourite on the Welsh culinary map and a destination inn for those looking for a brilliant bolthole in the Welsh borders, The Griffin is an unmissable spot on the Builth Wells road.
This inviting country inn boasts a smart ochre hue with a rambling interior of cosy rooms all demonstrating an understated sense of style. Expect flagstone floors, open fireplaces, leather sofas, eye-catching paintings by local artists, richly painted walls - and there's an Aga in the inglenook of what was formerly the farmhouse kitchen.
Rescued community local deep in the Shropshire Hills offering innovative cooking, local ales and produce, and three comfortable rooms.
Situated opposite the charming church in the heart of sleepy Neenton, The Pheasant is now thriving as a proper country pub, deep in the Shropshire Hills. Lovingly restored by the local community in 2014 where the villagers rallied and formed the Neenton Community Society to restore and reopen The Pheasant, it's now a social hub and a cracking rural inn offering top-notch food.
With its big skies and wide-open spaces, hills and gorges, waterfalls, woodland, lakes and forests, the Brecon Beacons offer fabulous walking with trails to suit all levels of experience and fitness. The Brecon Beacons National Park is Wales' first Geopark and one of only seven Dark Sky Reserves in the world. The Beacons Way walk will give you some of the best views, and you can either do the whole lot - 152km (95 miles) - which takes eight days, or split it up to suit you. There are also various shorter walks between three and seven miles in length, even these can have sharp gradients, though, so wear boots or good shoes.
Don't miss the charming market town of Hay on Wye, famous for its literature festival (in May) and its enormous selection of second-hand bookshops. There are meant to be more than 30, some general and some more specific, such as Murder & Mayhem, which specialises in crime. Make sure to check out the Hay Makers when there, a co-operative of professional designer makers. The gallery opened in the 1980s and has flourished ever since; you'll find a broad range of work on display, from furniture and wooden bowls to ceramics, stone-carving and textiles. Regular exhibitions throughout the year showcase some of the finest contemporary British makers.
On Neenton's doorstep lie 600 miles of byways and bridleways, threading their way across some of Britain's most spectacular landscapes. Most ramblers head for the four dramatic ridges of Wenlock Edge, the Long Mynd, the Stiperstones and the Clee Hills - A E Housman's 'blue remembered hills'.
Just 3 miles from the Pheasant lies Brown Clee Hill, Shropshire's highest point - with breathtaking views stretching from the Cotswolds to Snowdonia and the Peak District to the Brecon Beacons. There is also a host of gentler, less demanding walks to enjoy throughout the region, and a stroll up to Five Springs on Brown Clee is the perfect prelude to a fine dinner.
With its steep-sided, densely wooded hillsides and awesome industrial legacy, Ironbridge Gorge is one of the most dramatic landmarks in the region - if not the whole country. There's so much to see and discover that a visit to the museums at Ironbridge - a UNESCO World Heritage Site and often described as the cradle of the Industrial Revolution - can grab your attention for hours, even days.
Look out for the brewery nights and foodie events at nearby Hobsons Brewery, which includes a brewery tour and beer tastings. Established in Cleobury Mortimer by the Davis family in 1993, is one of the leading craft brewers in Shropshire and one of the most sustainable breweries in the country. The owners are passionate about craft and provenance and the primary ingredients are sourced within 30 miles of the brewery.