Planning a visit to the Vale of Glamorgan

Planning a visit to the Vale of Glamorgan

We’re planning a visit to the Vale of Glamorgan when the Coronavirus lockdown restrictions allow us to safely do so.  This is the third part of our series of posts on Making travel plans during lockdown in Wales.

We said in the previous posts that we’d be focussing initially on visiting places within Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, as the restrictions are eased.  But when things start to open up a bit more, we’d like to visit places further afield but still in Wales.

This part is about us planning a visit to the Vale of Glamorgan which is a little bit further away.  This journey will be at least a 160 mile round trip and will definitely be a full day excursion.  One of the things we’ll have to consider is whether public conveniences are open again.  One of us has quite a weak bladder! Age! Haha!

Some of these may be places you’ll want to visit when the lockdown restrictions in Wales are eased.  The latest information from the Welsh Government is that this may well be on the 6th of July.

Vale of Glamorgan

Often referred to as ‘The Vale’, this Welsh county sits between Bridgend and Cardiff and is really easy to get to right off the M4 motorway.  It’s got everything from great towns such as Cowbridge and Barry, beautiful villages such as Llantwit Major and plenty of fantastic coast.  It’s even home to our closest airport, Cardiff, which is, in fact, in Rhoose.

We’ve spent a fair bit of time here over the years in all of the above places and others such as Porthkerry Park and Cold Knapp.  For this trip we intend on revisiting 3 of our favourite areas of ‘The Vale’.  Merthyr Mawr, Ogmore and Southerndown.

Merthyr Mawr

Merthyr Mawr
Merthyr Mawr Warren ©Neil Holman Photography

A National Nature Reserve, Merthyr Mawr is home to the highest sand dune in Wales.  It’s known as ‘The Big Dipper’ and one of us was a regular visitor here on annual athletic club outings.  A great place to train, it’s regularly been used by local football and rugby teams and the armed forces over the years. 

There are numerous trails and paths around the Reserve and woodland for walking and viewing the abundance of wildlife.  The other side of the dunes you can reach the sea and you come out just to the west of Ogmore.  There’s a walk which will actually take you to Ogmore itself via Ogmore Castle.

Ogmore

Ogmore beach
Ogmore beach ©Catherine Mayo Photography

Ogmore is another place one of us regularly visited in our younger days.  In fact, this was the first place away from home without parents.  A special place in the heart, maybe that’s where the travel bug bit.  A lovely little village there used to be a school camp and a really good village shop here.  The camp has gone to make way for houses but we’re not sure about the shop.  We are interested to find out though and we’re sure there’s a fish and chip shop here too!  There’s also a huge beach that’s popular with surfers and an impressive set of Castle remains.

Southerndown

Dunraven Bay / Southerndown
Dunraven Bay / Southerndown ©Neil Holman Photography

We have been to Southerndown before.  At least a couple of times.  But we can’t really remember much about it!  So even more reason to revisit.  We’re sure it’ll be familiar once we get there but it’ll also be a bit like visiting for the first time.  And that’s always a great feeling.

It’s hard to beat that excitement of visiting somewhere or seeing something for the very first time.

Thoughts

In the next part of our Making travel plans during lockdown in Wales posts we’ll be writing about the plans we’ve made for visiting Brecon.   

We’re hoping that lockdown in Wales will be eased gradually and sensibly and if it is we’re planning on being sensible ourselves.  We should be able to socially distance in these places and if we really can’t we’ll simply view the beauty of Wales from the car.  Even to see these places from that relative safety will be worth it and when we do we’ll be sharing our experiences right here with you.  In the meantime stay safe and take care. 

Planning a visit to the Vale of Glamorgan

How to get there

Obviously with the restrictions in Wales you can’t visit The Vale right at the moment.  But when things change (possibly on the 6th of July) it’s easy to get to and has great transport links from Swansea, Cardiff and beyond.

By Road

It’s just off the M4, the main motorway from London to South Wales.  From the West we would take the A40 and M4 towards Cardiff, come off at Junction 36 (McArthur Glen) and head south. From Birmingham and further north you can take the M6, M5 and then the M4 towards Swansea. From the East you just head West on the M4 towards Swansea and come off at any of the Junctions from 33 to 35.

By Rail

Rail links to South Wales are good from London, Manchester and beyond.  The nearest main train station would be Bridgend.  If you’re travelling from the East or the North you’d need to get a train into Cardiff Central before heading to Bridgend.

By Air

Cardiff International Airport sits on the coast of the Vale of Glamorgan.  It has good rail and bus links to Cardiff City Centre which can then take you into the Vale of Glamorgan.  Plenty of airlines fly into Cardiff Airport and we always use Skyscanner to check out the best current deals on flights.

Where to stay

There are plenty of places to stay in and around this area from luxury independent Hotels to B&Bs, guesthouses and budget chain hotels.  Something for everyone.  We use booking.com to find the best deals on places to stay.  The Vale Hotel is a particular favourite of ours.

Thanks

Would like to give a massive shout out to the brilliant Catherine Mayo and Neil Holman for permission to use their amazing photographs in this post.  We sure you’ll agree their captures are pretty special.

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