Have a BIG holiday in Bridgend County

8 09 2016

Size isn’t everything but here in Bridgend we’ve got some of the BIGGEST attractions around – from sand dunes to trampoline parks. But don’t just take our word for it, come and have BIG old holiday in Bridgend for yourself!
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© Crown copyright (2015) Visit Wales

© Crown copyright (2016) Visit Wales

Merthyr Mawr sand dunes – some of the BIGGEST dunes in Europe and some say they had a starring role in the Oscar-winning film Lawrence of Arabia. The landscape is well suited to family adventures and children will love sledding down the ‘Big Dipper’. The new Porthcawl Bike Hire are also offering some seriously BIG fatbike tours out along the dunes for a completely different experience.
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The BIG Darren Fawr (fawr literally translates as ‘big’) mountain biking trails that are great for experienced riders looking for a real challenge. Tackle them separately or join them together for one seriously big ride.
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And if the heavens open? Bridgend is also now home to the BIGGEST trampoline park in Wales – Jump Jam. The former Remploy factory has been completely transformed with wall-to-wall trampoline arenas, dodgeball courts, a half-pipe trampoline runway, and even a four-lane climbing wall. This is a great way to keep fit and have more than a little fun at the same time.
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And there’s a seriously BIG indoor playground at Wiggley’s Fun Farm – 4 lane wavy slide, tube slide, rope bridges, crawl tower, toddlers play and a babies barnyard.
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Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 09.34.38And don’t forget, in less than two weeks, the UK’s BIGGEST gathering of Elvis enthusiasts will be getting all shook up for the Porthcawl Elvis Festival 2016. The weekend of 23-25 September will see thousands dress up like The King and enjoy the featured events – the Official Shows taking place in the magnificent Grand Pavilion. These include The Elvies, the World’s leading award Show for Elvis Tribute Artists. Over twenty venues in and around the town form the official Fringe Festival.





What’s new at the Porthcawl Elvis Festival 2016

25 08 2016

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 09.34.38In exactly one month Porthcawl will once again be all shook up over the King as it hosts the single largest gathering of Presley-a-likes in Europe. This year there will be a couple of new additions…
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Between the 23 – 25 September thousands will dress up like The King and enjoy a variety of featured events as part of the Porthcawl Elvis Festival – official shows take place in the magnificent Grand Pavilion (including The Elvies, the World’s leading award Show for Elvis Tribute Artists). The Fringe Festival will also involve over twenty venues in and around the town.
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New additions for this year’s festival include:
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– A pop-up Elvis art gallery with works by Sara Topsham and Les Williams. The gallery will also exhibit a collection of Elvis Festival images from award-winning photographer Juliet Eden.
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– Porthcawl’s Grand Pavilion will also be screening ‘The Gift‘ an acclaimed short film about Elvis followed by a Q&A with the producer.
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– This year’s International Headliner is American Victor Trevino who, earlier this month, came second in the Ultimate Elvis Competition held in Graceland.
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For more information and to book tickets visit www.elvies.co.uk





Keeping the kids entertained this summer

11 08 2016

Right now are you tearing your hair out, desperately searching for ideas on how to keep the kids entertained for the remainder of the summer holidays? Lucky for you Bridgend County has plenty to tire out the little guys, from surfing and biking to indoor play areas and the Nature Keepers Quest. 
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Keeper of the Beach v1.00_01_22_02.Still005Meet the Keepers
Don’t miss the Nature Keepers Quest, an all new family-friendly adventure that will have you exploring Bridgend in search of 14 interactive keepers to discover their secrets! Every Keeper is located in an iconic area of the county and is twinned with our Dare to Discover app that comes to life via your smartphone with exciting videos and poems. Did we mention that it’s free? www.bridgendbites.com/nature-keepers.aspx
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Wiggleys Fun Farm
A friendly, all weather fun experience for children of every age. Come and enjoy the huge indoor and outdoor adventure play areas, ‘Babies Barnyard’, mini racetrack, farm animals and pets corner. There’s also a relaxing woodland walk and a pong full of ducks to feed. www.wiggleysfunfarm.co.uk
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© Crown copyright (2015) Visit Wales

© Crown copyright (2015) Visit Wales

Surfing with Porthcawl Surf School
Did you know Bridgend County is home to some of the best surfing beaches in the UK. Rest Bay Beach is the most popular spot – surfers of all ages and abilities share the waves with avid kite surfers, paddle boarders and kayakers. Trecco Bay is another popular option, making the most of the swells rolling in from the Atlantic. Porthcawl Surf School offer a variety of courses and lessons for the whole family. www.porthcawlsurf.co.uk
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Fat biking the sand dunes
The Merthyr Mawr sand dunes are some of the largest in Europe and legend has it that they appear in the Oscar-winning epic Lawrence of Arabia. Brand new bike hire company Porthcawl Bike Hire are offering guided fatbike tours out over the dunes – a wonderful and unique way of exploring this fantastic landscape. www.porthcawlbikehire.co.uk
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DSC_0183 R 500Adventuring with Adventures Wales
From quad biking to zip sliding, Adventures Wales’ activity centre is in ideal spot for adrenaline-filled fun. On land or on water, expert coaches provide safe sessions for families, groups of friends and individuals. Try surfing, white water rafting, canyoning, gorge walking or rock climbing. www.adventureswales.co.uk
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Cwm Tawel Yurts
Here’s your chance to bed down in your own traditional Mongolian yurt! Each of the four yurts is kitted out with double bed and wood burner, and the owners run foraging and woodwork courses. They’ve also just added a wood-fired hot tub! Family fun guaranteed. www.cwmtawel.org.uk





Enjoy augmented reality without the Pokemon!

26 07 2016

App phone 2Forget Pokemon Go – in Bridgend County there’s plenty of augmented reality fun to be had all summer and there doesn’t even need to be a single Pokeball in sight!
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Digital Bridgend is an innovative smart phone app for the whole family that promises to immerse you in the fascinating history of the county, at the same time as offering up treasure hunts, interactive games and much more.
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Discover the most interesting stories and personalities of the valleys around Bridgend, including philosopher and mathematician Dr Richard Price, the Maid of Cefn Ydfa and Thomas Evans. On top of that you’ll have the opportunity to track dinosaurs, smelt iron, uncover lost treasure and hunt ghosts as part of 17 unique augmented reality experiences.
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There are a total of 17 experiences spread out across 6 ‘hubs’ within the county – Ogmore Valley, Bridgend & it’s Castles, Garw Valley, Industrial Times, Porthcawl & the Coast and Maesteg & the Llynfi Valley. The Digital Bridgend app with all 17 experiences is now available on Apple and Android phones.
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Get it on Google play. Available on the App Store





Explore Bridgend County’s top nature spots

8 07 2016

Lapwing_cpt_Ian_RoseSummer is here and there’s no better time to explore the natural world. Here in Bridgend County we have some of the most fantastic flora and fauna Britain has to offer, not least an extremely rare orchid that was the subject of a recent hunt by Countryfile magazine (read about it here).
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Here are a few options:
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Kenfig National Nature Reserve – This is one of Wales’ top sand-dune reserves, with a huge variety of plants, birds and insects calling it home. At the edge of the reserve is Kenfig Pool, Glamorgan’s largest lake. Kenfig is home to imposing sand dunes which lead to the coast and Sker Point, as well as the rare ‘Fen orchid’ that can be spotted during the summer.
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Craig-y-parcau – a woodland area located along a steep slope of the Ogmore River. The top path through the woods forms part of the River Ogmore and Merthyr Mawr Circular Walk. Wildflowers line the riverside path and there is plenty of opportunity for spotting Wood Anemone, Yellow Archangel and Wood Sorrel amongst many other rare plant life.
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Frogs Wood Pond – The woodland provides ideal nesting places and foraging opportunities for woodland birds and wildflowers. Take some time to watch the insect activity near the pond and wetland areas – or go in search of the ‘Keeper of the Pond’ – which is part of the Nature Keepers Quest that the whole family can enjoy via the Dare to Discover app.
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Tremains Wood – Found at the heart of Brackla, this is a great place for children to explore the woodland, each marks with ‘robin arrows’ and information panels to help you spot a variety of trees, flowers and wildlife. Look out for the ‘Keeper of the Wood’,  also part of Bridgend County’s Nature Keepers Quest!
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For more information on the Nature Keepers Quest visit /nature-keepers.aspx





Time to enjoy Bridgend County’s best beaches

1 07 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 16.46.45As you may well know, Wales is home to some truly amazing beaches. What might come as a surprise is that some of the best are to be found along Bridgend County’s glorious coastline. Here are just a few top picks…
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Sker Beach – A remote, sandy and naturally unspoilt beach that backs onto Kenfig Nature Reserve. Home to wild rare orchids, nature and interesting wildlife – a fantastic spot for relaxed family holidays.
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Rest Bay – Golden sands sweeping up to a rocky shoreline, backed by acres of common ground. This is one of the top spots in the country (the UK, even?) for surfing as well as countless other watersports.
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Pink Bay – Here the rocks have an eye-catching pink marble effect (hence the name!) and you can expect a much more relaxed affair. Walk here from Rest Bay – it is less well known than others makes it a great option for getting away from it all.
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Trecco Bay – This well sheltered sandy and rocky beach is close to the excellent Trecco Bay Holiday Park, which is also open to the public and offers arcades, restaurants, swimming pools and more.
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Sandy Bay – A beautiful sandy bay sheltered by Porthcawl’s marina. Ideal for sunbathing, sandcastles, donkey rides and generally having a great time. Porthcawl town centre and promenade are nearby.
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Newton Bay – A lovely sheltered bay that is a great option for four-legged friends – they are allowed on the beach year-round. The Beachcombers Cafe allows dogs in the outside seating area and provides dog bowls.





Happy International Surfing Day!

21 06 2016
Today is International Surfing Day (#internationalsurfingday). Given that yesterday also officially marked the start of summer, there’s been no better time to head down to Bridgend County and try your hand at riding the Welsh waves…
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Two of the top surf schools in the area are Porthcawl Surf School and Cressey’s Surf Academy, both of whom offer surf lessons out on the beautiful Blue Flag Rest Bay.
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It may not be as well publicised as the neighbouring Welsh surf hotspots of the Gower and Pembrokeshire, but Bridgend is considered by those in the know to offer some of the very best surfing in the UK, comparable even to the British surfing mecca of Newquay.
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Here are three other top water sports to try in Bridgend County…
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Paddle Surfing – A new and popular water sport, paddle surfing is something you should definitely try! Easy to learn and great fun, just imagine yourself paddling along calm waters.
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Sea kayaking – Sea kayaking is ideal for those looking for something fun but also something a little more relaxing than trying to ride a wave or rock climbing and jumping into the ocean below!
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Coasteering – On the other end of the adrenaline spectrum, coasteering involves climbing along the coastal cliffs until you can’t get any further, and then diving down into the sea – one for adventure seekers.