Resting between the sea, the country and the city, the market town of Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan is a lovely place to visit. In 2017, The Sunday Times crowned it the 'Best Place to Live in Wales'. As someone who grew up there, I can vouch for its award-winning potential.

I'm Amy Pay, a freelance journalist and content creator now living in Cardiff. I often go back to Cowbridge to visit my family and enjoy its bars, eateries and the natural beauty on its doorstep. It's a stunning place to call 'home'. Let me share its highlights with you.

garden with buildings.
Wall with red leave plants and door way with plaques saying Cowbridge Physic Garden.
Garden with plants and bench.

Cowbridge Physic Garden, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales

It has plenty of independent shops

Most of Cowbridge High Street and the roads off it are lined with little independent shops. Dig into the fashion and furniture archives at Happy Days Vintage Homestore, pick out speciality ingredients at the Elephant & Bun Deli, or put together a souvenir bouquet at Gail Armytage Florists.

If you'd rather go to well-known high street stores, a few of them have cropped up including WH Smith, Costa and Rohan. However, I'd recommend seeking out something special from one of the local traders first.

Cowbridge High Street shops and cars parked.
shop fronts.

Cowbridge High Street, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales

You won't go hungry in Cowbridge

You won't go hungry in Cowbridge, even if you're a fussy eater (I'm a vegan and even I don't struggle there). Whatever the time of day, there's somewhere to refuel. For a morning coffee and light breakfast or lunch, there's The Penny Farthing

exterior of restaurant, with chalk board showing afternoon tea.

Penny Farthing Restaurant, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales

For a pint, you can't beat The Bear in my opinion. It has the charm of an old country pub, with open fires, a fabulous beer garden, plus a decent range of drinks on the bar and it's dog-friendly too. 

chairs and tables outside hotel.

The Bear Hotel, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales

It's less than 10 miles from the sea, and 20 miles from Cardiff

Not to take you away from the place, but Cowbridge is well-located for lots of other places to visit. Just a short drive will take you to the vast golden beaches of Ogmore-by-Sea and Southerndown, the lighthouse at Nash Point or the cliffs of Llantwit Major. 

Two adults and a dog on a wide sandy beach.
Aerial view of a limestone cliff edged coastline with rocky beaches.

Ogmore-by-Sea beach and Dunraven Bay (Southerndown), Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales

Within 15 minutes you can be sampling wine at Llanerch Vineyard in Hensol or cycling through forests. Half an hour will see you in Penarth, Cardiff or well on the way to Swansea. I love how even if you feel like you've exhausted the town, there's so much more to discover around the corner.

A wine bottle and white wine in a glass on a table.
Sandwiches and cakes on a three tiered plate with afternoon tea.
A view of the grapevines and hotel at Llanerch Vineyard.

Llanerch Vineyard, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales

Need I say any more? If you want extra ideas before you check out Cowbridge and the surrounding area for yourself, read up on the other things to do and the nearby attractions. Maybe I'll see you there!

A white lighthouse on a cliff edged coastline.

The lighthouse at Nash Point, South Wales

Related stories