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Last-minute Bank Holiday trips in South Wales

It is an understatement to suggest that 2020 has been something of a strange, worrying year for everyone. It’s been as confusing and frustrating for the kids as it has for the parents, so as they’re about to go back to school it may be time to unwind as a family.

The August Bank Holiday is the last one before Christmas, so let’s take a look at some of the best places to explore and unwind this coming weekend across South Wales.

South Wales is home to some of the finest green spaces in the UK. Whether you’re looking for an easy amble around a stunning park or the challenge of the hills and mountains, we have them in abundance. So, pack up your picnic rugs, jump in the car and go explore!

Pontypool Park in Torfaen is a sprawling 150-acre park with plenty of diversions for the whole family. As well as a traditional play park for the kids, there is an accessible path leading to many different areas such as the Italian Gardens and the Nant-y-Gollen ponds. Free parking is available at Pontypool Leisure Centre which acts as one of the many entrances to the park. There is also a slightly more challenging walk up to the Folly Tower and Shell Grotto (open on weekends from May to September) but this path is not suitable for pushchairs or those with mobility issues.

Pontypool Park Path by the Pond by David Roberts

Cosmeston Lakes Country Park in the Vale of Glamorgan opened in 1978 and attained Local Nature Reserve status in 2013. A former limestone quarry, the park comprises of 2 large lakes teeming with wildlife; these are surrounded by acres of woodland, all with accessible paths. There’s a fantastic adventure playground for the kids and plenty of green spaces for picnics. Barbeque areas are also available for hire during the summer months but there is also an undercover café on-site if the weather takes a turn. One for the nature lovers – bring your binoculars!

Cosmeston Country Park by Andy Cardiff

Margam Country Park is situated just off the M4 close to Port Talbot – just a stone’s throw away from our Eglwys Nunydd development. A vast 850-acre space, it contains plenty of short waymarked walks – but you’d do just as well to go exploring. Discover the ruins of Margam Abbey, the stunning Orangery and of course Margam Castle, which houses the café and outdoor seating area for when you’ve worked up an appetite. There is a small charge for car parking.

Margam Park Railway’s Margam Castle by train_photos

Fforest Fawr Sculpture Trail is situated on the outskirts of Cardiff – just a half hour drive down the A469 from our Hawtin Meadows and Bedwellty Field developments. The trail has become incredibly popular since opening in 2018. There are 10 sculptures for your children to discover as you take a walk through this beautiful forest. There are many side-trails if you want to get away from the crowds as well as plenty of cycle paths for the more adventurous. Why not make the most of your day and visit nearby Castell Coch? The ‘fairytale castle’ us just a 5-minute drive away from Fforest Fawr.

If you fancy heading to the coast, then there are superb beaches and facilities across South Wales. Barry Island offers the superb Whitmore Bay beach with its traditional promenade and amusements – all of which have been substantially upgraded in recent years. Or why not explore nearby Jackson’s Bay – a little off the beaten track – or head out to Cold Knap for a walk around the gardens before a walk along Pebble Beach.

A little further west down the cost lies Porthcawl, which has undergone a huge facelift in recent years. Home to 7 different bays and beaches, Porthcawl is the jewel in Bridgend’s crown. The newly opened Rest Bay Café Bar is a great place to watch the surf (and the surfers!) – the building is home to Porthcawl Surf School who run regular lessons for all ages and levels of experience. The listed Jennings Building in the centre of town is now home to some fantastic coffee shops and restaurants once you’re done exploring the beaches.

Whatever you decide to do with your Bank Holiday weekend, make sure you plan in advance; all businesses and attractions are adhering to government guidelines surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and opening times and services may be subject to change. But above all, we hope you get out there and enjoy this small selection of what South Wales has to offer.

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