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?
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.
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.
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.
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.