The goings on in and around Bridgend

Monthly Archives: September 2013

Top Tourism in Bridgend!

It's World Tourism Day on 27th September and that got us thinking about the best tourist locations...
We love Bridgend and we think it has plenty on offer for everyone! It's easily accessible by train; just over 2 hours from London, so you don't even have to bring the car! There are a wide range of accommodation options available, from the luxury of Great House, Laleston to cosy family rental cottages!
So in the spirit of World Tourism, here are our top 5 reasons why Bridgend is one of the best tourist locations in the UK!
5. Wales’ Number One Shopping Outlet!
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet, Bridgend is home to over 90 of your favourite designer brands all at up to 60% off! the biggest designer outlet in Wales, the centre offers a large choice of cafes and restaurants to provided you with sustenance as you browse iconic fashion brands, athletic labels and high-street favourites and grab some super bargains!
The Outlet also offers the services of a personal shopper! You can head along for a free consultation and then receive some tailor-made advice to guide you through your shopping experience! With everything on offer at the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, why would you want to shop anywhere else?
4. Famously Quirky Festivals!

Bridgend Elf-steddfod

Bridgend Elf-steddfod

Whether you fancy trying your hand at spaghetti bridge building or hanging out with uni-cycling, stilt-walking elves, then Bridgend has the wacky festivals for you!
Bridgend’s Elf-steddfod began in 2010 and saw the record for the world’s largest gathering of elves broken when 720 Elves gathered in Bridgend Town Centre! Since then, this unique elf-gathering has become an annual event, and breaks its own record every year!
Bridgend hosts its annual Feastival, a fabulous alternative
Bridgend Feastival

Bridgend Feastival

to the traditional food festivals of Wales. there are cookery demonstrations, stalls and masterclasses galore, but the highlights are the quirky activities, everything from leek-lobbing to spaghetti bridge building and Egg dropping - a ‘smashing’ event where eggs are dropped from the town bridge and the surviving egg wins! To top it all, there is always an incredible foodie centre-piece; in 2010 it was a 10ft Cauliflower Sheep!
3. The Elvis Festival!
Porthcawl Elvis Festival

Porthcawl Elvis Festival

In 2013 Bridgend celebrated a 10th anniversary...of its Annual Elvis Festival! This festival is the biggest Elvis Festival in Europe and plays host to over 30,000 visitors over the weekend! the town is transformed into a huge celebration of Elvis, with hundreds of lookalikes and plenty of special Elvis events; singing competitions, Elvis fun-runs, best Elvis lookalike competitions and enough tribute concerts and acts to shake, rumble and roll to all weekend!
2. Above-Par Golfing Experiences!
Bridgend is home to over 5 different golf-clubs and can offer something for everyone! There are courses
Bridgend is also one of Britain's best know golfing destination. © Crown copyright (2013) Visit Wales

Bridgend is also one of Britain's best know golfing destination. © Crown copyright (2013) Visit Wales

for a relaxing round on a Sunday morning in beautiful scenery or more challenging courses for the pro-golfers out there! And of course, don’t miss out on a crazy golfing experience!
The Royal Porthcawl sees just a fraction of the rounds of its more famous neighbours in England and Scotland. The result is a golf course just as good as most British Open venues, but one that gives golfers an isolated, tranquil round.
The Grove Golf Club is a superb golf course and luxury Club House in Porthcawl, nestling in the rolling countryside with spectacular views across the Bristol Channel. The main purpose is to provide golfers with the means to enjoy the game. The course has been carefully designed to provide a true challenge to golfers of all abilities. There are plenty of hazards including trees, water hazards, bunkers and out of bounds to keep even the best golfers on their toes and make club selection of prime importance.
But don’t forget to try your hand at a spot of crazy golf - Porthcawl Sandy Bay Beach and Trecco bay Holiday park both have great little courses, so whilst the avid golfers head out for 18 holes, the adventurers can take on a spot of crazy golf on the beach!
1. Top Water Sports Destination
We think Bridgend is the ultimate water sports destination, with every kind of water activity
Surfing at Rest Bay, Porthcawlimaginable on offer; Paddle Surfing, Sea Kayaking, Wind-Surfing and Kite-Surfing are common favourites, and available from a number of centres.
Coasteering is our favourite up and coming adrenaline adventure sport, combining everything from cliff-jumping, climbing and rock gully swimming to rock scrambling, wave riding and cave exploration! No to coasteers are ever the same and Bridgend is the hot spot to try this exciting new sport.
Then of course, there’s good old traditional surfing. Bridgend has a number of beaches and offers some of the bets surf in the UK. There are beaches and tides to suit every surfer, whether you’re just staring out and need a gentle swell, or if you’re a pro surfer, like Ingemar Cressey - South African AND Welsh National Surfing Champion - who loves the surf in Bridgend so much, he has relocated here and now run’s Cressey’s Surf Academy.  Porthcawl Surf can also be spotted in the car park next to box bay as well.
In fact, Bridgend is so renowned for spectacular water sports that they host the ‘Porthcawl SplashUp’! One of the most exciting water sports and music events in the country, the SplashUp showcases the area as one of the leading venues in Wales for water sports and lifestyle attractions, and it’s free!

POWs in Bridgend!

Hut 9 is opening it's doors this weekend! On the site of Island Farm, the hut has seen many inhabitants, from Munitions workers to Nazi officers!


Take a trip to Bridgend and experience a rare insight into the wartime past of South Wales.

hut_9_1_227x170What is Hut 9?
Hut 9 is all that remains of Island Farm. It served several different purposes in its time, beginning life as a camp to house munitions workers and ending as a POW camp for German Officers.
In 1938, a year before the outbreak of WW2, an overspill country branch of theWoolwich Arsenal was built outside of Bridgend and a camp was built on a section of land from island Farm to house the 40,000 workers.
But none of the workers wanted to stay in the camp, preferring to risk the dangers of German air-raids on Bridgend and the surrounding areas in order to travel home to their families. As a result the camp remained unused and empty until October 1943.
As the preparations for the D-Day landings progressed, the camp became an American billet for the 109 Field Artillery (28th Infantry Division).
Despite the cloak of secrecy around the camp at the time, the people of Bridgend got to learn that General Eisenhower had visited the camp and urged his American troops to 'help him thrash the Germans'!
imageGenSoon, the American's left for the invasion and the camp was empty once more. But it wasn't long before scores of German POW's were being taken and somewhere was needed to house them. Island Farm was revived once again and became Camp 198, a POW Camp that help almost 2000 prisoners by the end of the war.
Initially, the camp mainly housed "other ranks"; mainly German civilian troops who were generally docile and little trouble. They were just glad to be off the front line and alive. These prisoners were immediately set to work securing the camp and presented little threat to the area.
Once the camp was secure, however, the war office decided that the camp was too comfortable for Other Ranks, and in 1945 the camp was once again given a new set of inhabitants.
One evening in November 1944, a large contingent of German Officers arrived on a train with shouts of "Heil Hitler". But upon finding there was no transport to take them to the camp and they were expected to walk, carrying their own luggage, they stubbornly refused to move from the station.
At this, the Stationmaster arrived on the scene, dressed in his uniform; long coat and gold braided peaked cap, to order them to move. They must have mistaken him for a high ranking general in his uniform, as at his word, they immediately picked up their luggage, formed up and goose-stepped all the way to Island Farm!
Why Come to Hut 9?
On the weekend of Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September, Hut 9 will open its doors, allowing visitors a chance to see inside.
Start the experience on a vintage bus ride which will transport you from the centre of Bridgend to Island Far. You will be met off the bus by American re-enactors who will have WW2 memorabilia on show such as weapons and military vehicles.
Some of the rooms have been restored in an attempt to recreate how they would have looked from 1944-48, and other rooms will tell the fascinating stories of wartime life at Island Farm.
On display will be drawings made by prisoners at the camps, and each picture will give a fascinating insight into the thoughts of a German POW.
There will also be numerous re-enactors to bring the place to life; German POWs and British Home Guards will demonstrate the nature of one period of the camp and will also show equipment that would have been used back in the day!
The leading expert, Brett Exton, will give a talk on the history of Island Farm and volunteers will be on hand to explain about the ongoing preservation and restoration of Hut 9.

Autumn Adventures in Bridgend!

We love Autumn down in Bridgend and here the fun never ends! There's plenty to see and do, and loads to get involved in. So with Autumn upon us, here's our quick guide to the best things to do in Bridgend this season:

Friday 27th - Sunday 29th September
Now in its 10th year, the Elvis Festival is one of the largest of its kind in the world and invites visitors to enjoy a weekend of rock 'n' roll in the Welsh seaside town of Porthcawl.
Head out to some of the many events taking place this weekend, such as The Three Kings Show, The Elvies and Red Alert, the best Elvis showband in the world.

FeastivalFriday 27th - Saturday 28th September
A visit to FEASTIVAL must be in your families' diary for the Autumn.
Feastival this year celebrates loads of foodie stuff activities for children to interact with, they can eat it, make it, love it, laugh at it.
There's leek-lobbing, spaghetti bridge building, chef's demonstrations, tasting sessions, food stalls and much, much more!

If your looking for adventure activities, then there's no better place to
come!  Get outside this Autumn and enjoy a wide range of activities including: Surfing Lessons, Quad Biking, Paintballing, Kayaking, Gorge Scrambling, Raft Building and many more.

Enjoy the fresh Autumnal air and changing scenery whilst playing a relaxing round of golf!
The friendliest golf club in South Wales, the 18-holes have many unique features including a 19th century walled garden and mature horse chestnuts across the course.
Pop in to the clubhouse after you've enjoyed the course for a warm welcome and well deserved drink!

Friday 25th - Sunday 27th October
The 2013 'SplashUp' is going to be one of the most exciting FREE water sports and musical events in South Wales.
There will be water activities for you to enjoy, such as a Lifeguard Iron Man and a spectacular night surf with activities for beginners to sample, such as the brush board and tarp surfing, and live music in the evenings.

hallowSunday 27th October
Bring the kids along in fancy dress for ghoulishly fun evening including a spooky walk, Halloween arts and crafts, storytelling and if you dare a creepy house to explore!

The sea around Bridgend is the warmest during the Autumn months, so IMG_9483 copynow would be the perfect time to learn to surf! Couple that with the wide-spread opinion that Bridgend provides some of the best surfing in the UK, and there's no excuse not to take to the waves! Hire a wetsuit, grab a board and get out on the ocean!

fireTuesday 5th November
A fabulous display of fireworks and a big bonfire at the Hi Tide Inn in Porthcawl to celebrate Bonfire Night. With the weather creeping towards Winter, warm up with one last Autumnal festivity in Bridgend before the cold really sets in!!

There's a wave crashing in Bridgend!

We love surfing in Bridgend, so we're going to try to break a world record!

We think Bridgend is the Surf Capital of the UK so we know we can steal the record for the most amount of people on one wave at one time .
Come along and help us help us blow the current record out of the water - literally! South Africa currently holds the record with 120 people on one wave, but down at Bridgend we think that's nothing!
Porthcawl Surf School and Adventures Activities are organising the event and with over 100 official entries and over 300 people signed up on our facebook group already, we'll show the South Africans that Bridgend is the real place to surf - all we need is a wave!
Catching the Wave, Coney Beach Porthcawl "If we can get the number of surfers we need we should get the record,  all we need is a small wave - the perfect size would be about 3 ft."
We'll have DJ's playing on the beach and Bridgend has loads on offer, even if you don't want to get your hair wet! The attempt will be epic to watch, so come down for a great day out in Bridgend this weekend.
Head along to Coney Beach, Porthcawl on Saturday 14th September at 12 noon to catch to record attempt, or if you want to join in, visit World Record Surf to download an application form, or call Porthcawl Surf School or Adventures Activities (Kenfig) to sign up and get in on the action!