Bryngarw Country Park
As wedding presents go, getting a sprawling country park must be one of the best. John Popkin gave Bryngarw to his sister to mark her union in 1775, and it was designated a country park 200 years later. Lakes, formal gardens, great facilities and exotic plants are among the highlights.
Watch the potters at Ewenny Pottery
A chance to see a really authentic experience at the oldest working pottery in Wales, a small pottery where pot-throwing was first recorded at the start of the 15th century. See the family at work and perhaps take home your very own piece of iconic Welsh history, handcrafted on site by seventh and eighth generation potters at the Ewenny Pottery.
Follow the Knights at Coity Castle
These atmospheric ruins of Coity Castle were once a Norman castle built by one of the Knights of Glamorgan during the 12th century. It’s easy to see why its circular stone structures were designed as a defensive structure, perched on a hill with fine views of Bridgend. Gaze out and feel the history.
Life's a beach in Porthcawl
Porthcawl has seven beautiful beaches to choose from. They range from the surfing territory of Sandy Bay to the Merthyr Mawr sand dunes near Newton Beach, which has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Accessible through the nature reserve, the secluded Sker Beach is the place to relax.
Village life at Llantwit Major
Ancient buildings are everywhere in Llantwit Major, one of the Vale of Glamorgan’s most beautiful villages – the first church was recorded in the settlement more than 1,500 years ago, and lush countryside, caves and beaches make for glorious surroundings. St Donat’s Castle houses an Arts Centre with a year-round programme.
Stop and relax at Newton village
Inland from the bay, Newton is a cosy place with an 800-year-old church, St John the Baptist, and a picturesque green at its centre. Built around Clevis Rock, it plays host to fairs and flower festivals, and the ancient village pubs are welcoming stopping points for a spot of lunch.
On top of a slope with a grand view of Bridgend, Newcastle Castle is particularly notable for its amazing circular stonework. The Normans originally built it at the start of the 12th century, but Henry II is thought to have been behind a further strengthening of the fortress during the 1180s.
Kenfig Nature Reserve
Kenfig Nature Reserve has been loved by the public for more than 30 years. Glamorgan’s last natural lake is the place to wander around if you fancy getting away from it all. Home to the rare Fen Orchid, the reserve helps encourage a diverse array of rare and endangered plants and animals – no wonder birdwatchers flock here.
Nash Point Lighthouse
Engineer James Walker designed the Nash Point Lighthouse to protect the coast during the mid-19th century, and it was the last manned lighthouse in Wales before being automated in 1998. Opened to the public five years ago, it’s an excellent starting point for a cliff-top walk with dramatic views.
Ever dreamed of meeting Lawrence of Arabia? Sequences from the 1962 classic were filmed at the historic Merthyr Mawr sand dunes here, overlooking the River Ogmore. Discover two castles, and a number of cottages you’ll fall in love with. The 19th century mansion Merthyr Mawr House also makes Ogmore a village well worth visiting.
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