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Bridgend County's top festive experiences

November 26, 2021

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Christmas at the Coed Y Mwstwr Hotel, Bridgend County

Get into the festive spirit in Bridgend County. From unique Christmas shopping to some of Wales' best festive meals, Bridgend County offers festive fun for all.

We're Santa mad in Bridgend County...

From November you can dash to the North Pole from Pyle Garden Village on a magical festive sleigh ride for all the family to enjoy. Immerse yourself in 4D virtual reality ride in a safe and exciting environment. 'The intrepid journey will take you through the incredible range of motions that Santa's sleigh has to offer; with two front fans and surround sound for a fully immersive 4D experience. Tilting forwards, backwards and side to side, the sleigh’s movements have been specially designed to mirror those of the full 360 degree experience, creating a truly festive feast for the eyes!

For a more traditional Santa experience, book an afternoon tea, story time or get a selfie with Santa.

  • Get in the festive spirit nice and early in Bridgend Town Centre. This year’s events will be held on Saturday 27th November 2021 and contain several exciting elements: Santa’s Sleigh, Christmas trees, Reindeer, Snow, Jugglers, stilt walkers and of course Santa! Event starts at 11am. Tickets must be pre-booked.
  • Enjoy Storytime with Santa at his sleigh in the Winter Woodland at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Bridgend each Saturday in December.
  • Visit the Magical Winter Wonderland at Tondu house Farm. There are now limited tickets remaining! Enjoy a festive hot drink and a sweet treat from the café, spot the elves on the elf trail, meet Santa and feed his reindeers! Set in acres of woodland so you can enjoy the fresh air whilst getting into the festive spirit!

We'll be running home this Christmas!

The Merthyr Mawr Christmas Pudding Race is a 10k multi terrain race around the beautiful area of Merthyr Mawr Estate, Bridgend.  For some 32 years the McClaggan family have kindly hosted the event and the tradition is that a member of the McClaggan family start the event by dropping a twig of holy.  

The event has two waves, a competitive wave for those who want to cover the ground quickly and a fun wave, aimed at those looking to enjoy the scenery, there’s even a new feature for the 2021 event of a Vista point to take selfies.  Regardless of which wave you start in the first obstacle is to run from the foot for the Big Dipper sand dune to the very top, not many locals realise that this is the 2nd biggest sand dune in Europe, so no mean feat. The rest of the 10k includes mud, sand, stone, dunes, just about everything, even a mulled wine and mince pie stop!  All competitors choose between receiving a Christmas Pudding at the finish line or to donate equivalent amount to charity.

On Christmas Day hundreds of Santas take to the water in Porthcawl as they make a splash in the UK's largest festive dip in the sea. For over 50 years this spectacle has been taking place in Porthcawl, bringing smiles to many faces. We spoke to one of the organisers of the Porthcawl Christmas day Swim back in 2018 to find out more about the history of the event.

Pick your own Christmas tree (and gifts!)

Fill your home with the festive aromas of a freshly cut Christmas tree from Bridgend’s Pencoed Growers. Head out into the rows of charming locally grown trees to pick out the perfect Christmas centrepiece for your home. Once you’ve made your decision from the array of shapes and sizes available, have it cut fresh for collection and take it home to decorate. At Bryngarw Country Park, B-Leaf will be selling Fraser Firs (non-drop) from the award-winning Gower Fresh Christmas trees. Check the opening hours before you visit and make sure the café is open too! No visit to Bryngarw is complete without a good walk and a treat from the cafe.

  • Pick up some unique hand made decorations at nearby Ewenny Pottery, the oldest pottery in all of Wales. While you’re there, commission your very own bespoke gift for your nearest and dearest this Christmas, ranging from vases and jugs to plates to candle sticks and crockery.
  • On the 5th December combine a wonderful winter walk at Kenfig Nature Reserve with a visit to their Christmas Craft Fayre, promising hand made gifts, Christmas Lights and the Briton Ferry Silver Band.

Panto returns… oh yes it does!

Panto returns to Porthcawl to spread some festive cheer. Making wishes come true this festive season with the hilarious family-friendly production, Aladdin. Climb aboard the magic carpet and follow the story of poor Aladdin, who has fallen in love with a Princess and dreams of a life much better than working in his mother Widow Twankey’s laundry. Once again, the Grand Pavilion promises a show packed full of side-splitting slapstick comedy, stunning special effects and marvellous musical numbers that you will be singing for days afterwards.

Build a snowman!

On 20th December join Beach Academy at Rest Bay for the much-loved ‘Sand Snowman’ Competition . Grab your spades and santa hats and head on down to Rest Bay in Porthcawl to build a snowman in the sand! Build for fun, or join in the competition to win the Golden Spade Trophy and some seaside prizes. A day of pure seaside silliness and warm sweet treats at sunset from our marshmallow beach firepits.

Families that wish to compete MUST purchase a team ticket to register their team (up to 6 people) before the day online at. Fancy dress highly encouraged! 

On arrival, sign in with Beach Academy on the beach anytime from 11am. Your team will be given a contest flag with a number that you need to put on your sand snowman. Only teams with flags will be considered for prizes. Find a spot to build your sand snowman. Sand snowman building will take place anytime from 11am to 3pm. Make sure you bring everything you need. Nothing will be provided. Judging will take place between 3pm and 3:30pm.

Your sand snowman must be recognisable as a ‘snowman' and be made entirely out of sand. Your sand snowman MUST have a carrot nose. Be creative and have fun. Make sure all your belongings, decorations and litter are removed from the beach - leaving no trace at the end of the competition.

Stay a while!

Looking for a cosy, winter getaway? From unique Christmas shopping to some of Wales' best festive meals, Bridgend County offers a selection of sparkling stays for every visitor. To narrow down your choice, we've come up with a selection of ideas to help you enjoy a festive stay in Bridgend County!

  • Stay in the newest accommodation in Bridgend County in Wales' oldest pub. There’s an ongoing debate over whether the Old House is actually Wales’ oldest pub! The pub was founded in the 1100s so it is definitely one of the oldest. Llangynwyd itself has a rich history which dates back to the sixth century. The Old House has been completely renovated in recent years with boutique accommodation recently added to the mix of  pub, restaurant and wedding venue.
  • Laleston is a small village that is establishing a big reputation as a foodie hotspot. Midway between Bridgend and Porthcawl and a short drive from McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, you can shop till you drop and then tantalise your taste buds. Laleston is the ideal base for walks to wonderful Merthyr Mawr too. Try some axe or knife throwing while you’re therewith Bush Craft Adventures! Stay in The Great House Hotel which boasts award-winning Leicester’s Restaurant.
  • The  Coed Y Mwstwr Hotel is perfect for curling up by the fire for some festive cheer. Idyllically nestled amongst flourishing Welsh woodland,  Fill your lungs with clean air and enjoy the views over the woodland canopy. This Victorian mansion is a real hidden gem. Each of the luxurious bedrooms are distinctively and elegantly furnished with a host of thoughtful extras. Throughout December, arrive to a roaring log fire & indulge in a sumptuous festive afternoon tea or lunch.
  • One for families. Book a winter break with The Place to Stay Wales. Their new studios at 39 John Street are spacious luxury accommodation focused towards guests who may want a slightly longer stay. They have kitchenettes and a second bedroom, sleeping up to 4 guests. Set in the heart of Porthcawl you have everything you could want on your doorstep from diamonds and designer dresses to delicious pastries and cosy independent cafes. The main shopping area is  just a stone's throw from the Esplanade.

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