Just two and a half hours from London, Bridgend County offers great surfing, award-winning beaches, dramatic landscapes and peak-to-beach cycling.
It’s as much a draw for savvy holidaymakers as it is for television and film crews, with shows like Doctor Who and Torchwood scouting out captivating locations.
The extensive coast and Victorian promenade of Porthcawl are easy to reach, yet Bridgend County still remains a bit of a secret.
Here are five of the best things to see and do in Bridgend County:
Surf some of the best breaks in Britain
It may not be as well known as New Quay or Gower, but Bridgend County has some of the hottest surf breaks in the country, so much so that South African pro surfer Ingemar Cressey recently opened Cressey’s Surf Academy here.
Porthcawl Surf School and Adventures Wales also offer surf lessons throughout the year, while events and festivals extend the surf vibe into the county’s bustling towns.
Wander along the Wales Coast Path
The Wales Coast Path is a coastal trail that stretches right around Wales, but Bridgend County provides some of the route’s most unique landscapes. Along the way, try watersports at the award-winning Rest Bay or head to the sands of Ogmore, where you’ll have to navigate stepping stones in a river to reach Ogmore Castle. The Dare to Discover app is the best way to access the coastal and inland walking routes in the area.
Follow in the footsteps of movie stars
Visit the mighty Merthyr Mawr sand dunes, which stood in for the Arabian Desert in the Oscar-winning epic Lawrence of Arabia, and have hosted the casts of Doctor Who and Torchwood. Later this year, Bridgend County will star in a BBC adaptation of D.H Lawrence’s classic,Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
Learn the stories of the magical Nature Keepers
If you’re exploring as a family, youngsters will want to take part in theNature Keepers Quest. There are 14 ‘keepers’ located throughout the coastal dunes and rugged valleys of the county, and these giant wooden sculptures come to life with videos and poems if found using the Dare to Discover app.
Cycle from peak to beach
High up in the Welsh Valleys, the Darren Fawr mountain biking trailsoffer exhilarating riding through stunning surroundings. They connect straight onto the Garw Valley and Ogmore Valley routes, which go through the amazing Bryngarw Country Park and onto Merthyr Mawr, before ending up on the sands of Ogmore By Sea. The best bit is that this complete peak-to-beach route is downhill all the way.
Crown Copyright (2015) Visit Wales
So, the secret is out. Bridgend County is a great place to visit, combining exciting experiences with dramatic landscapes and welcoming locals.