Merthyr Tydfil is often referred to simply as Merthyr.
Merthyr Tydfil has a long history and the town was a major centre of coal mining and steel manufacturing and the location of the invention of the steam locomotive, and in the 19th century had a population that exceeded both Swansea and Cardiff. In the latter half of the 20th century it suffered from serious industrial decline but more recently has started to undergo regeneration reflecting its location as a dormitory town for Cardiff and Swansea and the potential for tourism based on its history and location near the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Merthyr Tydfil can be reached by A470 located 22 miles north of the M4 Junction 32 which is located just north of Cardiff. The A470 connects with the "Heads of the Valley road" which connects Swansea with the M5. The road is good quality dual carriageway between Merthyr and Cardiff.
Merthyr has its own railway station and there is a twice hourly service between Merthyr and Cardiff Central Station.
- 1 Cyfarthfa Castle. The former home of the Crawshay family, historical ironmasters of Cyfarthfa Ironworks. This castellated, constructed in 1800s now houses a small secondary school and a museum covering local history and containing a curious variety of antiques including several sarcophogi. The grounds of the 'castle' are a popular attraction during drier weather, covering 158 acres of land, containing woodland, children's park areas for sporting and a small lake.
- 2 Brecon Mountain Railway, ☎ . The Brecon Mountain Railway runs from a station in Pant, Merthyr Tydfil into the Brecon Beacons national park. It runs a private line using restored steam locomotives.
Merthyr Tydfil makes an excellent base camp for those wishing to see the Brecon Beacons with easier access to transport links and services.
- Bike Park Wales. The UK's first full scale bike park, Bike Park Wales is the UK’s first full scale mountain bike park in the heart of the South Wales valleys making mountain biking accessible to everyone from extreme to serene.
There is a retail park in Merthyr with a wide variety of shops and food outlets. The town centre is mainly pedestrianised and there are some sandwich shops and small cafes with restaurants opening in the evenings.
The town has a variety or restaurants and takeaways mainly located around the town centre or in one of the retail or leisure parks. It mainly offers the usual chains but there are a number of good restaurants offering e.g. Indian food in the evenings.
- The Bessemer Hotel, Glynne Jones Ct, Dowlais, ☎ .
- Brecon Beacons National Park is just outside the town - amazing scenery and walking opportunities.
- Cardiff and its museums and excellent shopping is a stone's throw away from the town.
- Swansea offers excellent leisure and cultural amenities, not to mention a stunning coastline. Wales' second city is less than an hour's drive from Merthyr.