10 family charms on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast

Here’s where South Wales used to spend its summer holidays, back in the day. The big resorts of Barry and Porthcawl are still big fun, while the layer cake coastal cliffs and tranquil Vale of Glamorgan are full of family attractions. Here are ten things not to miss.

  • Ogmore Castle with horse in foreground
    Ogmore Castle, Glamorgan

    The castle itself is a picturesque ruin, but it’s the stepping stones across the River Ogmore that are the big hit with children (oh, alright, and dads). They lead to the impossibly pretty thatched village of Merthyr Mawr and on to some of Europe’s highest sand dunes

  • Dog on the grass at Porthkerry Park, Glamorgan, with Porthkerry Viaduct behind
    Porthkerry Park and Viaduct, Glamorgan by Goodwinsplace

    When you fly into Cardiff Airport, you get cracking views of this 220 acre oasis of woods and meadowland in a sheltered valley leading to a pebble beach and spectacular cliffs. There are nature trails, picnic sites, café, play area, mini golf course and, of course, great views of incoming aircraft.

  • Glamorgan Coast
    Glamorgan Coast

    The spectacular layered cliffs of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast run for 14 miles from West Aberthaw to Porthcawl, taking in South Wales’ most unspoilt beaches along the way. Dunraven Bay is the most popular, while the walk from St Donat’s to Llantwit Major is a cracker, especially rewarded with an ice-cream shop at the end.

  • Here’s a good rainy day option: head for the McArthurGlen designer outlet, just off the M4 near Bridgend. It’s got 90 premium brand stores, a play area and a multiscreen cinema, all under one roof. When the sun comes out again, the market town of Cowbridge is packed with chichi boutiques, galleries and cafés.

  • Mother and child, on jetty, feeding swans, Cosmeston Lakes Country Park
    Cosmeston Lakes Country Park, Vale Of Glamorgan

    On the outskirts of Penarth, this tranquil 100 hectare country park is set around two lakes. The big draw for children is Cosmeston Medieval Village, where the original 14th century settlement has been fascinatingly recreated. Unlike the original, this one isn’t ravaged by the Black Death, thankfully.

  • Dyffryn House and Gardens, Glamorgan
    Dyffryn House and Gardens, Glamorgan by fillbee

    Big country house gardens can be a bit hit and miss with children, but this is a winner:  a fabulous mix of formal and wild gardens, arboretum, water features, lawns, grass banks (good for rolling down) and secluded hidey-holes.

  • Paintballing
    Task Force Paintballing, Vale Of Glamorgan

    This wild woodland site, strewn with wooden forts, bridges and old military hardware, is a superb setting for high adrenalin paintball battles. They also do low-impact paintballs for younger children and laser tag for completely pain-free warfare.

  • Cow at Amelia Trust Farm, Barry, Glamorgan
    Amelia Trust Farm, Barry, Glamorgan by Kara_Moore

    This 160-acre working farm does a huge amount of great work with disadvantaged people, but quite apart from that, it’s just a lovely place to visit, meet the animals, walk the woodlands, and simply enjoy being in the countryside.

  • Spindizzy ride, Trecco Bay Funfair
    Spindizzy ride at Trecco Bay Funfair, Porthcawl, Glamorgan

    For a traditional seaside caravan holiday, this is one of the biggest and best in Britain, set on huge Blue Flag beaches, with kids’ clubs, Splashland indoor pool, outdoor wet play, zip wires, bowling, bingo and adventure golf – plus bars, restaurants and live shows. Porthcawl’s Coney Island funfair is nearby, too.

  • Go kart racing at Llandow Circuit, Glamorgan
    Kart racing at Llandow Circuit, Glamorgan by Russell J Watkins

    Indoor kart circuits are all very well, but this outdoor track at Llandow is one of the longest, fastest and most exciting circuits in the UK. The minimum age is eight, but they also have twin-seaters so that young ’uns can enjoy a spin with an instructor.

More attractions in the Glamorgan Heritage Coast