The goings on in and around Bridgend

Monthly Archives: March 2015

Bridgend County is so #TNI

Join Travelers Night In on Twitter to share your hidden gems with the world

If you check the Twittersphere next Thursday 19 March from 7.30pm UK time (3.30pm EST), you'll likely stumble across tweeters talking travel.

#TNI (Travelers Night In) is the longest running travel chat on Twitter. Like-minded travellers get together virtually to share travel tips, experiences and ideas every week.

Bridgend Tourism is co-hosting the 90-minute-long chat to help get word out about our county. We've always punched above our weight; so introducing the world's most influential travel fans to gems like Merthyr Mawr sand dunes, Kenfig Nature Reserve and award-winning beaches is a no brainer! And what about our awesome castles, quirky festivals (our Elvis festival is the largest of it's kind in the world) and friendly people!

If you're wondering why we've gone all American with this post, the chat originated in the States but is truly global in the discussions and participants.

Simply get onto Twitter from 7.30pm (UK time) on Thursday 19 March and follow the hashtag #TNI. We'll be helping the organisers tweet out 10 questions so be sure to follow @BridgendBites as well as @Official_TNI.

You'll find that each of the questions can relate to amazing things to do in Bridgend County as well as across Wales and the world. So, with your help, we can introduce the world to holiday ideas in Bridgend and beyond.

Don't forget our amazing golf courses, great surfing, fun festivals, Blue Flag beaches, accessible coastal path, mountain biking, nature reserves, outlet shopping centre, castles and stepping stones, walking trails, Nature Keepers sculptures, historic pubs… we could go on forever.

We're looking forward to chatting it up with you on Thursday night and hearing about hidden gems that even we don't know about yet!

Join in
Follow www.twitter.com/Official_TNI and join the conversation by including the hashtag #TNI on your tweets on Thursday from 7.30pm UK time (3.30pm EST).

Behind the scenes; discovering the perfect surfing destination

Find out how we welcomed travel editor Jack Palfrey for his first surfing lesson

We have long known that the coast of Bridgend County is dotted with award-winning beaches and great surf spots. And that visitors receive a friendly, warm welcome. So we were very excited when London-based travel editor, Jack Palfrey, agreed to come to Bridgend County for his first surf lesson. Jack's day job is editing the popular World Travel Guide website, so he took the train from London to Bridgend at the end of his workweek, arriving 2 ½ hours later in Bridgend.

Staying at Trecco Bay Holiday Park is the perfect option for visitors looking to enjoy beaches, water sports and coastal walking. Trecco Bay itself boasts a Blue Flag sandy beach with the holiday park providing extensive amenities including restaurants, leisure options and evening entertainment.

 Trecco Bay blogger visit

The self-catering units at Trecco Bay proved ideal. We even added a couple of extra touches for Jack's stay including an eye-catching stock of fruit for fresh smoothies and some locally-inspired art to continue the surf vibe!

Setting off from Trecco Bay to walk some of the Wales Coastal Path, which runs through Bridgend County, Jack first checked out one of the Nature Keepers. The Keeper of the Sands is a wooden sculpture that connects with the Dare to Discover app to activate a poem and video, showcasing local culture and folklore. There are, in fact, 14 Nature Keepers throughout the county, located in inspiring settings such as the dramatic sand dunes at Merthyr Mawr, the coastal National Nature Reserve at Kenfig, and high in the mountain uplands.

 Blogger and Ingemar

Jack had an appointment to meet pro surfer Ingemar Cressey for lunch at Rest Bay, so the Nature Keepers quest would have to wait for a revisit. Looking out over the beaches from Malc's Café, Ingemar explained why Bridgend County is such a big draw for surfers and how he had moved there several years ago from South Africa and now wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Ingemar currently coaches the Wales National Surf Team, and he has been both South African and Welsh National Surfing Champion, so his tips for Jack were invaluable.

There are three surf schools in Bridgend County, all basing themselves at Rest Bay, which offers amazing surf conditions year-round. Hugh Murray from Porthcawl Surf School welcomed Jack for his first surfing lesson, explaining that surfing in this part of Britain was particularly spectacular with flat sandy beaches, but that it also benefitted from a super-friendly local surf crowd, making it perfect for first-timers as well as professionals.

Blogger surfing

Combined with Bridgend County's location less than three hours from London, the great surfing opportunities, diverse coast with award-winning sandy beaches and range of accommodation options make this the perfect short break option in the UK. On top of that, it's also affordable and unpretentious. Ideal for your first surf lesson!

Check out our video of Jack's visit and enter our competition to win your own holiday in Bridgend County complete with a surfing lesson and chocolate-making party.

You can do this
A beginner surf lesson at Porthcawl Surf School costs from £30 including tuition, wetsuit and surfboard. Check their website for more information.

Behind the scenes with Fangirl Quest

How we turned their visit to Bridgend County into a Hollywood film set

Earlier this month, the Bridgend County Tourism Team were delighted to welcome Fangirl Quest - two movie-mad bloggers who love nothing more than scouring the globe in search of exciting film and television locations.

In the past, they've stalked Sherlock along London's Baker Street and walked in the footsteps of Forest Gump. Next up, they'll be embarking upon a Game of Thrones-themed tour of Iceland. So we were excited to give them a VIP welcome to our little part of Wales.

Film Crew

Find out what happened when Fangirl Quest explored Bridgend County, which has been used as a location for Torchwood, Doctor Who, Lawrence of Arabia and Lady Chatterley's Lover (hint: they found a new TV location not even they knew existed!)

Our lovely bloggers-in-residence stayed at Cwm Tawel Yurts but, as they discovered when they arrived, this was going to be anything but a cosy night in…

We'd transformed their traditional Mongolian yurt into a Hollywood dressing room of their very own - kitted out with personalised director chairs, a dressing room fit for a film star, and even an Oscar!

Yurt theming

And once they were done preparing, Fangirl Quest headed out to explore the mystical sand dune landscape at Merthyr Mawr that has long since been a draw for TV and film crews. With some of the tallest sand dunes in Europe, this national nature reserve is understandably one of Bridgend County's top attractions. Watch as they discover and 'scene frame' a location from Torchwood amidst the dunes.

Beach

They rounded their day off by heading to Ella Riley's sweet shop for a chocolate-making party, but little did they know they were also going to stumble upon a piece of Harry Potter memorabilia! Ella Riley's traditional-style sweet shop features regularly on television, recently on shows including Sunday Kitchen, Market Kitchen Big Adventure and Incredible Spicemen.

With a lunch stop at The Pelican In Her Piety - a country pub that's popular with film crews - and dinner at Leicester's restaurant, Fangirl Quest savoured local cuisine during their whistle-stop tour.

Check out our video of their visit and their fabulous blog post on glamping, sand dunes and chocolate-molding in Bridgend County. We hope to welcome you to Bridgend County in the footsteps of the stars very soon.