Surfing in Porthcawl

Pro surfers drop everything when conditions fire up its wave. Yet the reason why Porthcawl scores high for most of us is variety. With ample space and decent waves, Rest Bay is great for intermediate surfers while beginners can guarantee a lesson because surrounding beaches can handle most wind directions. Who’d have thought so much fun could be just 30 minutes from Cardiff?

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Children running into the sea with body boards

Rest Bay, Porthcawl

Walking the Vale Coast Path

The 14km coastline between Ogmore and West Aberthaw might be the best-kept walkers’ secret in Wales. Though close to Cardiff, its fossil-studded Jurassic cliffs swoop to beautiful beaches like Dunraven Bay at Southerndown. One minute you’re gazing out to Exmoor the next you’re in intimate bluebell woods. There are also the ancient sites of Ogmore Castle and St Donats Castle. The Clifftop Cafe is a lovely tea-hut at Nash Point where you can enjoy a cuppa.

two young females walking on stepping stones with castle ruins in the background.
Wales Coast Path sign between Ogmore and Southerndown.
couple walking along the coast.

Wales Coast Path above Dunraven Bay, Southerndown, Stepping Stone at Ogmore Castle  and Wales Coast Path sign

White water rafting in Cardiff

Who a few years ago who would’ve thought the Welsh capital would rank as an activity break? Opened in 2010, the Cardiff International White Water course brings a mountain of adventure to Cardiff Bay and cranks up the fun-factor to 11. Kids and first-timers love it, yet pro paddlers rate it too because it condenses the rough-and-tumble of river rafting into an intense 254m run.

people whitewater rafting at Cardiff International White Water.

White water rafting in Cardiff

Canoeing in the Wye Valley 

There are 100 miles of navigable water to explore by canoe from Monmouth. Family-friendly trips are available from various canoe operators and last from half a day to five; nights are snug under canvas or in a B&B. Drift downstream past beech woods, abbey ruins and kingfishers.

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Two canoes on the river from Wye Valley Canoes, Monmouthshire
Two people canoeing in the Wye Valley

Canoeing on the Wye Valley

Mountain biking in Afan Forest Park

The best biking in Britain, said the Guardian. World-class, reckoned the Daily Telegraph. Even in a country renowned for mountain biking, Afan Forest Park is revered. At the head of a beautiful valley, its 60 miles of world-class biking span from kiddie-friendly circuits to a 44km epic to make your fillings rattle. So if you’ve got the bike, it has the trail. Actually, even if you haven’t – there’s hire too.

Afan Forest Park, Südwales.
Family with two young children cycling along a forest trail.
A mountain biker riding downhill on a dirt track amongst forestry.

Mountain biking at Afan Forest Park, South Wales

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