Around the Vale
Whether you prefer Castles or boutiques, villages or beaches, you’ll be spoilt for choice in the Vale. With many medieval castles and towns to explore, sandy beaches to relax on, and natural beauty spots to enjoy, your break can be as adventurous or as restful as you like.
Often referred to as the Bond Street of Wales, the historical town of Cowbridge is full of unique and sophisticated boutique shops. Medieval and characterful, the town boasts a superb range of eateries and wine bars and is host to a fantastic food and drink festival every autumn.
The quaint coastal town of Llantwit Major is steeped in history, from its Iron Age hill forts and Roman villa, to its charming stone cottages and old inns; evidence of settlement has been found as far back as the Neolithic period. The town’s pebble beach is a great place to surf, explore rock pools or simply enjoy the stunning views.
Heritage Coastal path
Countryside enthusiasts will love the rugged cliffs, secluded coves, windswept dunes and breathtaking views that characterise the famous Heritage Coastal path. Stretching for 14 miles from Aberthaw to Porthcawl, the coastline is weaved with delightful villages and footpaths. Its rich wildlife and history make it must to see. Be sure to stop off at Southerndown beach and Tresilian Bay, the Glamorgan Heritage Coast Centre at Dunraven Bay, and the quaint thatched cottages of Merthyr Mawr.
Ogmore-by-sea (Ogmore Castle)
The idyllic seaside village of Ogmore-by-sea is a great place for a day out. The village’s iconic landmark is Ogmore Castle, constructed by William de Londres in 1116 when the Normans invaded Wales. Ogmore is a well-known rock climbing location and a fascinating geological site. Take a sunset horse ride on the beach, overlooking the Bristol Channel and Tusker Rock, or visit the cosy Pelican Inn and local tearooms.
Southerndown Surf School
Experience the exhilarating sport of surfing on South Wales’ beautiful heritage coastline. Southerndown Surf School offers safe, high-quality surfing lessons and equipment hire, for all ages between 8 or 80. You could also try one of their weekend Tee-pee packages.
St Donats Castle
St Donats Castle is the longest continually inhabited castle in Wales. Once the home of newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, the medieval castle boasts antique ceilings, fireplaces, a moat, battlements and dungeons. It is now the home of Atlantic College and offers guided tours in August.
The magnificent 13th Century Fonmon castle is one of the few medieval castles still lived in as a home. Backed by woodland and surrounded by beautiful walled gardens, many of the Castle’s areas are open to visitors including the hall, the drawing room, the library, and the kitchen. A guided tour is a must.
Old Beaupre is a medieval manor house, modified during the Tudor period, in the small village of Llanfair. Many of the buildings are in ruins, but the hallmark three-storey gatehouse and magnificently carved Renaissance porch have been very well preserved.
Dyffryn Gardens is a stunning example of Edwardian garden design and has been voted by Gardeners’ World as one of the top three gardens to visit in Wales. Grade 1 registered, its 70 acres include a Pompeian garden, reflecting pool, theatre garden, Italianate terraces, cloister garden, physic garden, rose garden, lavender court, vine walk, alpine garden and arboretum.
Porthkerry Country Park
The dominant feature of this beautiful 220 acre parkland is its woodland-lined 500 metre long grass meadow. Visitors can enjoy the park’s nature trails, barbeque and picnic sites, café, play area, and mini golf courses. Wander down to the pebble beach or enjoy cliff-top views of the stunning Heritage coastline.
Ideal for outdoor adventure seekers, Taskforce Skirmish is South Wales’ premier paintballing and outdoor activity centre. Choose from a range of exciting activities including paintballing, archery, teambuilding command tasks, laser tag, laser clay and 12 bore clay pigeon shooting.
Cosmeston lakes and medieval village
Cosmeston Lakes Country Park offers 200 acres of stunning lakes, woodland and meadows and is a haven for local wildlife. Step back in time on a tour of Cosmeston’s reconstructed 14 century medieval village, one of the most exciting heritage projects in South Wales.
The spectacular Penarth Pier was first opened in 1895 and is one of the last remaining Victorian piers in Wales. Over the years, the Pier has underdone dramatic restoration and today is more popular than ever. In the summer months it is a regular port of call for the Balmoral cruise ship and the Waverley.
Nash Point lighthouse
Nash Point Lighthouse is a popular location for hikers. The last lighthouse to be manned in Wales, it has been automatically operated since 1998 and is now one of the world famous Trinity House Lighthouses. Public tours are available.
Flat Holm island trip
Escape to a different world on a Flat Holm island trip. Only five miles from Cardiff and Barry, the tiny island has a wealth of history and wildlife just waiting to be discovered. The island has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Local Nature Reserve.