The goings on in and around Bridgend

Porthcawl Christmas Morning Swim largest in UK

Last year it raised £10,000 for charity and brought Christmas cheer to hundreds but it seems the Porthcawl Christmas Morning Swim is also now the largest in the UK.

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Now in its 53rd year, the event has been raising money for local charities and causes for over half a century. It also attracts people from around the world - last year saw people from New Zealand, Germany and Canada getting involved!

Fancy dress is encouraged, but not mandatory, with this year's participants being asked to dress up as Santa in memory of Jack Bridge, the Christmas Morning Swim's original Santa and co-founder. Money raised will be donated to local MacMillan cancer support.

Check the following page for some fantastic memories and personal stories from the past half a century: https://christmasswim.org/memories/

Alternatively, to sign up to this year's Porthcawl Christmas Morning Swim (swimmers enter the sea at 11:45am from High Tide, Coney Beach) visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/53rd-porthcawl-christmas-morning-swim-2017-tickets-38483593464

Where to celebrate the party season in Bridgend County

'Tis the season to celebrate and what better place to do it than here in Bridgend? From Michael Buble tribute nights, cosy craft beer and coffee evenings to Christmas the Cuban way, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the festive season in Bridgend this year. So get out your dancing shoes, prepare your waistband and get ready to party!

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- A festive experience with The Great House, Laleston
The Great House in Laleston is one of Bridgend County's top restaurants, serving up a festive lunch and evening menu Wednesday 29th November until Saturday 23rd December. Dishes include roast Glamorgan turkey with all the trimmings and a homemade Christmas pudding. Their homemade afternoon tea will also have a festive theme and is available every day 3pm - 5pm.

Join them on New Years Eve for a fantastic six-course tasting menu at £75 per person. The overnight package includes a six-course tasting menu for two people plus comfortable room and breakfast the next morning (from £300)

- Tis the season to party at the Coed y Mwstwr Hotel
There's a whole host of special events taking place at The Coed y Mwstwr Hotel, from sumptuous Christmas luncheons to glittering show nights. Get ready to party with Viva Las Vegas (2nd, 9th, 16th) and the James Bond Sky Ball (8th, 15th, 22nd). If family fun is what your after, enjoy the hotel's own Family Santa Sunday Lunch (3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th Dec), or its spectacular Christmas Day Lunch from £28.95.

Family Santa Lunch £28.95 per adult, £14.95 per child; Christmas day lunch £89.95, £15.95 per child; Party events from £42.95

- Celebrate Christmas the Cuban way with Fairways Hotel
Spice up your Christmas the Cuban way with Fairways Hotel in Porthcawl this year. The hotel will be putting on a range of Cuban festivities throughout December including Cuban street food nights, complete with mojitos, nachos and extra salsa (1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th, 14th), a casino extravaganza and a more traditional menu for those coming for a Christmas day lunch.

Christmas menu from £18.95 for two courses, available 1st Nov-24th Jan; Cuban party nights from £22 per head; Christmas day dinner £75 per head, £45 per child

- Musical magic at the Atlantic Hotel
Known for its fantastic music nights, The Atlantic Hotel is set to turn up the volume this Christmas. Enjoy a month of spellbinding tribute acts throughout December from Michael Buble (15th Dec) to Tina Turner (22nd Dec) and Ed Sheeran (23rd), each accompanied by their own festive set menu. The hotel will be hosting more magical fun on Christmas day itself with all the trimmings in its set Christmas Day menu including a Welsh cheese board, chocolates and mince pies for after.

Christmas day menu £85 per adult, £50 per child; Tribute night menus from £22.95 for two courses. Boxing day meal from £14.95 per head.

- Family fun with Parkdean Holidays, Trecco Bay
If you're looking to get away this Christmas then look no further. Parkdean Holidays have got a range of festive offers this Christmas from just £189 for the whole family. Enjoy a Christmas day meal and Boxing day buffet tuck into mince pies upon arrival and enjoy a fun filled Christmas with pantomimes and parties throughout December.

Christmas breaks, from £349, 23rd Dec; Twixmas breaks from £189, 27th December

- Musical medley with Harbour Bar and Kitchen, Porthcawl
From lively swing bands to festive saxophonists, Harbour Bar and Kitchen are providing a range of musical magic in the build up to Christmas. If that's wet your appetite, why not enjoy a Christmas meal with the Harbour Bar and Kitchen too? Enjoy their set festive menus running from Christmas eve to Boxing Day, with an added New Years menu from 31st Dec- 1st Jan.

Christmas Day lunch £85 per adult; All festive meals from12pm- 4pm

The BIG Bridgend Christmas blog 2017

It's the most wonderful time of the year… and without a doubt the busiest! The relentless Christmas shopping, the endless invites and the need to meet a million and one dietary requirements for the family lunch can take their toll. But stress no more! With our BIG guide you needn't fuss over finding festive things to do.

From a giant snow globe experience to the annual Christmas pudding race, you won't be bored in Bridgend this Christmas.

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Christmas Lights Switch On, 25th November
This is it - Christmas officially starts here! Santa and his reindeer will be flying into town and parading around before arriving in Santa's Grotto in Carnegie House. Kids will have the opportunity to visit the resting reindeer before joining Bridge FM's Lee Jukes as he lights up Bridgend with Father Christmas and 50 little angels in toe!
Saturday 25th November, 10.30am - 5pm
www.carnegiehouse.co.uk/events/christmas-bridgend-2017/

Bridgend's 1940s Christmas! 2nd December
Bridgend's town centre will be travelling seventy years into the past to enjoy a very traditional 1940s Christmas! There will be a variety of fun and educational stalls including 1940's candle, stocking and decoration making. You can also expect kids' crafts, exhibitions, live music and much, much more!
Saturday 2nd December, 10am - 4pm
www.carnegiehouse.co.uk/events/christmas-bridgend-2017/

A White Christmas in Bridgend, 9th December
Have you been dreaming of a white Christmas this year? Well get ready for all your dreams to come true on Saturday the 9th of December! Kids will have the opportunity to slip inside a giant snow globe, have their picture taken, watch a magical ice sculpture being carved and play in the magical snowy flurries. 
Saturday 9th of December, 11am - 2pm
www.carnegiehouse.co.uk/events/christmas-bridgend-2017/

Bryngarw Reindeer Trail, 9-17 December
Santa has lost his reindeer in Bryngarw - can you help find them? Collect your map, make up your own cup of reindeer food and then head out on the trail to find the reindeer! Collect a sticker for each reindeer before heading back to make a reindeer craft to take home! £3 per child.
Weekends of 9-10 and 16-17 of December, 11am - 3pm

Merthyr Mawr Christmas Pudding Race, 10 December
The tastiest race is back! Sadly you're already too late to book a place in this popular annual race, but you're more than welcome to come and watch as a group of brave souls look to tackle a challenging 6 mile run that begins with an ascent of the mighty 'Big Dipper' sand dune. Importantly, mulled wine and mince pies will be made available to all!
Sunday 10th December, 10am
www.bracklaharriers.co.uk

Porthcawl Christmas Day Swim, 25th December
Yes, it seems people are still interested in stripping down to their trunks and wading into the UK seas in late December. Taking place on Monday 10:30am - 1pm you can join in with the 53rd annual Christmas Morning Swim to help raise money for local Macmillan Cancer Support. Fancy dress is optional but very much recommended!
Monday 25 December, 10:30am - 1pm
https://www.christmasswim.org

Kids Activities for Children in Need

Attention parents! We have some very fun children's activity ideas for you to steal and claim as your own. With Children in Need fast approaching, it's time to celebrate the joy our kids bring everyday… and find new ways to keep them busy!

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Jump for joy at Wales' largest indoor trampoline park

Jump Jam Trampoline Park will be holding two Children in Need Rock! Sessions on Friday 17th November. As well as trumping the trampolines, your kids can get lost in the tumble tracks, get fit with the cardio wall height challenge or even battle it out on the battle beam and foam pit. The best part of all? Parents are welcome to join in the fun! £10 per hour, 6pm; 8pm, with a percentage of profits going to Children in Need in Bridgend.

Get a Wiggle on to Wiggly's Fun Farm
With indoor and outdoor adventure play areas, Wiggly Fun Farm is perfect for some all-weather entertainment. Feed the ducks on a woodland walk before being introduced to some of Wiggly Farm's very own farm animals. Be sure not to miss the adorable pets corner too - you and your little ones won't want to leave! 

Roam free in the Great Outdoors
If it's not too wet outside, take a walk around Bryngarw Country Park where your kids can explore the great outdoors. While the entire park is a playground for little ones, the dedicated Children's Zone, fit with swings, slides and multi-play units, will keep them entertained for hours! Head to Cedars Tearoom afterwards for a well-earned tea and homemade slice of cake.

Bake up a storm for the BBC
BBC Children in Need are asking kids everywhere to bake up a storm this Friday. Get messy in the kitchen with this child friendly downloadable bake kit, complete with recipes, labels, decorations and score cards. Make you're your kids take their tasty creations to school the next day to help Bridgend raise money for Children in Need!

Become an angel for the day with Bridge FM
Meet Santa and his reindeer in his festive grotto at Carnegie House, Wyndham St, before taking to the streets for Bridge FM's Christmas light switch on. Bridge FM are looking for 50 little angels of primary school age to join their festive Santa parade before helping their own Lee Jukes turn on the Christmas lights. Click the link below to register your angel today.
Saturday 25th November from 11am. Christmas light switch on 4.30pm
http://bridgefm.wales/bridgend-angel-parade-and-christmas-light-switch-on/



Life's a beach... if you're a dog in Bridgend County!

Dog walkers rejoice! Winter is here which means you and your pooch can once again roam free along some of the best beaches in Wales. From grassy green cliff tops to golden sand dunes, your furry friend will love these winter walks.

Here are five top beaches you and your dog can enjoy this winter...

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Not just for sausage dogs, Ogmore by Sea
Despite hosting an attempt for the world's biggest sausage dog walk, Ogmore by Sea welcomes pups of all shapes and sizes throughout the winter months. Entertain your pooch for hours on end with a game of hide and seek in its expansive stretch of sandy dunes. If you and your pup have energy to spare, hop along the 52 stepping-stones leading up to Ogmore Castle, where dogs on leads can walk around the Norman stone-built castle on the lead. 

A rocky adventure at Newton Beach
Also known as Black Rock Beach, Newton Bay provides a rocky adventure for your dog to enjoy. With plenty of sand dunes and coves to explore, this rocky beach is filled with intriguing features for your furry friend to discover. If you are travelling from afar, the nearby Blue Seas Guesthouse welcomes dogs and even offers grooming and walking services. Its adjoining café is also dog friendly!

For the lone ranger, Sker beach
If a long and private walk in a remote spot is what you're after, Sker beach is the perfect location for you and your pooch at this time of year. One of the quieter beaches in Porthcawl, Sker beach is recommended for dogs who enjoy a beach to themselves. Wrap up warm and amble along the beach's grassy dunes or take your dog for a winter's dip in its chilly shallows.

Waterfall watch at Dunraven Bay
Often referred to as Southerndown beach, Dunraven welcomes dog walkers throughout the winter months. Walk along its soft sands and up onto low, grass-topped cliffs. Discover the ruins of Dunraven castle where you and your pooch can take in views across to Temple Bay and watch the occasional waterfall cascade down the cliff faces beyond.

Park up and go at Rest Bay
Surrounded by stretches of low, green grass-land and golden sands, Rest Bay is the perfect spot to take your dog off the lead during the winter months. If you're coming from far and wide, simply pull up with your pooch in the beach's nearby car park (just 100m from the beach) and go!