Take your pick from some of our favourite days out in Bridgend, including medieval castles, wildlife reserves, a popular local leisure centre and the biggest trampoline park in South Wales.
Activities in Bridgend
The ruins of the medieval Newcastle Castle can be found overlooking Bridgend town centre. The impressive fortress dates back to 1106, and while much of it lies in ruins today, some of the stonework still survives in good condition, making it a worthwhile walk away from town. The castle is under the care of Cadw, which is a part of the Welsh Government’s Tourism and Culture group. It means you can visit Newcastle Castle for free.
Merthyr Mawr Sand Dunes
Halo Leisure Centre
If you’re looking for ways to stay active, the Halo Leisure Centre is less than a 15-minute drive from our Bridgend (M4, J35) hotel and has myriad leisure options for you to choose from while you’re there. There’s a large swimming pool if you fancy a dip, an extensive gym if you want to get pumped and plenty of exercise classes, as well as squash, tennis and badminton courts in case you want to work on your backhand.
Jump Jam Bridgend
Combine exercise with having fun by paying a visit to Jump Jam Bridgend, the biggest trampoline park in South Wales. It’s more than just a room filled with bouncy things. Visit Jump Jam, and you’ll also find running walls, an inflatable Wipe Out machine, climbing walls and trampoline basketball. There are sessions and classes for all ages, and the prices are more than reasonable considering the amount of fun you can jam into a day at Jump Jam.
The riverside ruins of Ogmore Castle offer a picturesque excursion just a 15-minute drive from our Bridgend Central hotel. The castle, just like Newcastle Castle, dates back to Norman times. It was built around 1106 by William de Londres, one of the legendary Twelve Knights of Glamorgan. The castle grounds are full of great photo opportunities, none more popular than the stepping stones that cross the river adjacent to the castle. When the sun’s shining, and particularly when the weather’s warm, there are few better places to visit than Ogmore Castle in Bridgend.
Bryngarw Country Park
You can find the best of Bridgend’s natural beauty at Bryngarw Country Park. It’s barely more than a 10-minute drive from both our Bridgend hotels. The park spans some 120 acres of parkland and boasts a wonderful array of walking routes and sculpture trails. While you’re exploring, keep an eye out for some of the lovely local wildlife, including squirrels, woodpeckers, kingfishers and otters, which love the mosaic of woodland and riverside habitat.
Merthyr Mawr Sand Dunes
The Merthyr Mawr Sand Dunes are another fantastic natural attraction near Ogmore Castle. They are the highest sand dunes in Wales, the tallest of which – rather wonderfully – goes by the nickname ‘Big Dipper’. It spans a total of 840 acres and provides the perfect dune habitat for some of the UK’s most rare wildlife, particularly reptiles such as adders, grass snakes, slow worms and lizards. There’s a handful of walking routes to help you explore the dunes, the most strenuous being the top of the ‘Big Dipper’. It’s worth it for some stunning views of the coast, however.
The third and final castle we’ll mention is Coity Castle, which you can find in the Coity area of Bridgend. It, too, only survives in ruins, but it’s a fascinating bit of history that you can explore free of charge.
Parc Slip Nature Reserve
Last of all, if you’re looking for a lovely day in the great outdoors, the Parc Slip Nature Reserve is a haven for wildlife owned and operated by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. It was once an opencast coal mine, but it’s been restored to a glorious expanse of grassland, woodland and wetlands, which support incredible species such as lapwings. The Wildlife Trust has an informative visitor centre on site and runs events throughout the year to help people get close to nature.