Nothing says ‘summer staycation’ like a picnic. Pack a basket full of delicious local treats, spread out your blanket in the midst of some beautiful scenery and spend the day basking in the summer sun without a care in the world. Here in Bridgend County there’s plenty of local delis and cafes to pick up your produce before heading towards the surf or the summits in search of the perfect picnic spot.
Surf picnic spots
Stretching from Newton Point in the west to the mouth of the River Ogmore in the east, Newton’s 3 miles of golden sands are sheltered from south easterly winds, making it a perfect family-friendly coastal picnic spot. Alternatively, Locks Common is perfectly situated for panoramic views of Rest Bay and the Bristol Channel, and is home to a huge variety of birds, butterflies and wildflowers.
Summit picnic spots
At the very top of the Garw Valley, Parc Calon Lan is an excellent transformation of a former industrial site, with a scenic central lake, as is the Spirit of Llynfi, a beautiful destination located on the eastern slopes of the Upper Llynfi Valley, where over 60,000 new trees have been planted. For those looking for truly spectacular views for miles around, drive up the Bwlch Pass on the roller-coaster hairpin road from Nant-y-Moel to the top of the Bwlch Mountain.
Scenic picnic spots
Work up an appetite at Bryngarw Country Park and explore some of the park's 113 acres of diverse park land. Take a family walk through a selection of routes including the riverside ramble, woodland wonder and meadow meander, or delve into the depths of the Garw forest by following a historic railway path. Don't forget to bring the bikes and make the most of the many cycle trails around the park too. Make the most of the summer sunshine by taking your lunch in the picnic area. Hire one of the barbecue plinths on offer or unpack your picnic on the benches provided. There are plenty of treats in the visitor centre's Cedars Tearoom if you’ve forgotten anything. Rain or shine, children are free to play on the swings, famous tower slide and multi-play units nearby.
Picnic spots with castles
How about a picnic immersed in Welsh history? There are three Norman castles to choose between in Bridgend County: Coity, Ogmore and Newcastle. Young historians will love exploring the crumbling ruins of these enchanted sites; Hop across the steppingstones of Ogmore River to reach the fairy-tale castle, skip through the striking stone doorway of Newcastle or climb across the impressive grounds of Coity. Dating back to as early as the 11th and 12th centuries, each castle ruins offer individuality and adventure. Entry to all three sites is free.
Picnic spots with wildlife
Two of the best spots for wildlife spotting in Bridgend County are Parc Slip and Kenfig nature reserves. Parc Slip Nature Reserve is an area of 300 acres containing a fantastic mix of habitats such as grassland, woodland and wetlands. Kenfig is one of the last remnants of a huge dune system that once stretched along the coastline of southern Wales, and there are plenty of options for claiming your own little dune of sand to relax in.
Both reserves have their own cafes on site where you can pick up a sweet treat and a coffee. Parc Slip’s coffee shop offers a full menu including sandwiches, wraps, cakes and hot and cold drinks. Ideally located next to Kenfig, The Hyde Out is a converted horse box serving up a menu of local coffee & cakes.
Picnic spots with walks
You can walk for miles without seeing another soul. Grab your walking shoes and pack your picnic for some of Bridgend County's most scenic walking trails. Resting on the shores of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast and digging deep into the South Wales valleys, there are plenty of spots for a wild walk in Bridgend.
Where to stock up?
Known locally as an Aladdin's cave of food, Home & Colonial Fine Foods in Porthcawl bakes 60% of its produce on-site each day, selling everything from home-made quiches and sausage rolls to Welsh cakes.
Maesteg’s award-winning ICED cake parlour has garnered a reputation for offering up a world of cakes, brownies and other delicious treats including ‘crazy shakes’ that promise to serve up a satisfying sugar hit. ICED is also a coffee shop so you can opt to sit in and combine your cupcake with a delicious coffee.
Pick up some goodies in Sheffs on Bridgend’s old bridge, serving up a world of luxury handmade patisserie and confectionery ranging from shortbread and brownies to indulgent cakes.
Call into one of our traditional markets at Maesteg or Bridgend, home to a number of long established family businesses and new traders including butchers, bakers and delicatessen.