Gileston manor divider
Out & about

Local Towns

Cowbridge

Called Y Bont-faen (the stone bridge) in Welsh, this understated historic market town has become one of Wales’ most fashionable places to see and be seen.

Originally a Roman settlement, it is one of very few medieval walled towns in Wales: the South Gate and portions of the walls are still standing. You’ll get a great view of Cowbridge from the 14th century St Quentins Castle. ½ mile south of the town.

A couple of miles away and slightly off the beaten track is Old Beaupre Castle, a ruined medieval fortified manor house.

The town boasts dozens of predominantly independent boutiques and restaurants. Some are spread along the High Street, others are in the arcades at Mason’s Yard and Verity’s Court – where you’ll find the Old Wool Barn art and craft workshops. Eating out in Cowbridge is always a treat. The town boasts a superb range of bistros, restaurants, pubs and wine bars catering for every taste.

Right in the centre of Cowbridge are two delightful spaces: Old Hall Gardens and Cowbridge Physic Garden. All plants in the Physic Garden were to be found in Britain before 1800 and are grouped together according to their uses for cooking, healing and dyeing fabric and wool.

Images: St Quentins Castle - courtesy of www.visitthevale.com
Cowbridge

Llantwit Major

Llantwit Major or “Llanilltud Fawr” has developed quietly while retaining its meandering medieval streets and fine stone buildings.

It’s intentionally unassuming, yet with unrivalled provenance as the most important early Christian settlement in Wales founded by St Illtud. The town exudes history: Iron Age hill forts, fine Tudor buildings, a Roman villa and a medieval grange. St Illtud established a Church and place of learning here in 500AD. The imposing 11th century Church now standing on this site has been called the Westminster Abbey of Wales and contains a collection of Celtic carved stones in the Galilee Chapel, the finest outside of the National Museum.

In the maze of narrow streets you’ll discover independent shops, friendly cafes serving beautiful dishes for every taste with local produce on most menus. There are a cluster of historical inns dating from the 12th century.

A short drive or gentle stroll takes you to Llantwit Major’s beach, Cwm Colhuw, where there’s a café, great rock pools and easy access to the Wales Coast Path.

Llantwit Major

Penarth

Just across the water from Cardiff Bay, Penarth is a seaside town full of charm and character.

Penarth’s Victorian and Edwardian founders created an elegant resort with fine public buildings and ornate houses. It’s restored Art Deco Pier, complete with art gallery, café and cinema is a popular spot for a stroll and port of call for the Balmoral Pleasure Cruiser.

Penarth boasts a number of splendid parks that link the seafront to the quirky independent shops in the tree-lined centre, why not pick up a Shop Penarth card whilst you are there and pick up some great offers.  And, of course, it is just a stone’s throw from Cardiff Bay. Take a water taxi from Penarth Marina or walk, cycle or catch a land-train across the Barrage which forms part of the Wales Coastal Path.

Cosmeston Lakes & Country Park and Medieval Village offers a great day out for all the family.

Penarth