In Wales, we celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day (or 'Dydd Santes Dwynwen' in Welsh) on 25 January every year. It’s just like Valentine's Day, so it is positioned as the most romantic day of the year in Wales. Think romantic meals, long walks on deserted beaches, carve love spoons, roaring log fires, stargazing and special gifts. We also think it’s a great prompt to think ahead and plan something special for the 14th February, especially a romantic break in Bridgend County either next month or later in the year.
Love in the Llynfi Valley
We even have an ancient love story to rival Romeo and Juliet. Steeped in fascinating local legend, uncover the story of age-old love of two ill-fated lovers. Folklore states that Ann, a local Welsh maid of the 18th century was pressured to marry into the wealthy family of the Maddocks despite her love for the poet and thatcher Will Hopkins. Despite being locked in her bedroom at the Manor House, the couple still sent one another love letters which were hidden in an old, hollow oak tree on the Cefn Ydfa estate. Retrace the lovers steps with a hike from woodlands of Margam Forestry one mile towards the St Cynwyd's Churchyard, to find the final resting place of Ann Maddocks. Keep and eye out for the memorial cross outside the church which is dedicated to her love Will Hopkins. Head to the legendary Corner House Inn, home to delicious dishes and steeped in local legend. Once home to poet and thatcher, William Hopkins, the Corner House is a fascinating pitstop for historians and foodies alike. Why not try homemade pies or freshly caught fish dishes whilst sipping on Welsh ales.
Stay a while. For a tiny village you are spoilt for choice in Llangynwyd, from cosy cottages to luxury yurts and newly converted guest bedrooms located amongst the eaves of a 12th century Inn. Pentre Farmhouse, a grade-II listed building less than a mile from the historic village centre, is one of the oldest farms in the valley. The rural location of the rustic converted milk house makes it the perfect place to unwind and soak up the surrounding silence. Wake up to exploration straight from your doorstep with rugged bridleways lined with wildflowers, miles of cycle paths and acres of forestry to discover. Cwm Tawel Yurts is a hidden glamping haven suitable for all ages. Unwind with a local ale and a dip in the wood fired hot tub after a day of exploration, or enjoy a little alfresco dining with the authentic food-fired pizza oven. Soak up the beauty of the rural star-filled skies around the campfire before a deep night’s sleep in one of the colourful mongolian yurts which sleep up to five happy campers. The Old House 1147 is South Wales’ oldest pub which has been beautifully restored and redeveloped in recent years. Surrounded by an abundance of nature and steeped in history, The Old House 1147’s new guest accommodation provides the perfect opportunity for a couples countryside retreat in Wales. With a choice of rooms which are nestled in the eaves, featuring original wooden beams or in the new extension and open up on to landscaped gardens and spectacular views of the Gadlys valley each unique room promises pure comfort.
Wherever you choose to stay, have that extra special meal while enjoying expansive views of the valley with your dining experience at The Old House. Enjoy everything from a traditional afternoon tea to speciality vegan dishes, all crafted using fresh local produce. Choose between Y Gadlys, an open plan dining area with stretching views of the vast grounds and valley beyond, or The Cwtch, the ambient, thatched roofed 12th century restaurant.
Cosy up in Coychurch
Take a secret escape to Coed-Y-Mwstwr - Nestled deep under a canopy of woodland, this Victorian mansion is one of Bridgend's hidden gems. Stay overnight to enjoy the Valentines Date & Dine package which includes a glass of Kir Royale on arrival, a scrumptious 3 course dinner, overnight accommodation and breakfast the following morning. What sounds better than relaxing in the cosy lounge area, listening to the crackles of our roaring log fire whilst sipping on a glass of fizz.
It’s not open yet, but when it does, you can enjoy a private, log fired hot tub under the stars on your own wrap around seating area on your pod at Bryn Glamping. Each pod is equipped with all you will need throughout your stay including a welcome pack of essentials waiting for you on your arrival and the hot tubs are log fired and will be ready for you to jump straight in once you check in.
If you can tear yourself away from your cosy home for the weekend, step outside to enjoy the wonderful woodlands when you walk the 2.5 mile Nant Bryn Glas Circular walk starting in the village of Coychurch, home to 13th century St Crallo church and taking in the Norman castle in Coity. For a small village Coychurch has plenty of options for a well-earned post walk lunch or pint by a roaring fire.
L’amour in Laleston
Spend a short break at Laleston. Midway between Bridgend and Porthcawl and a short drive from the dunes at Merthyr Mawr lies Laleston, a small village establishing a big reputation as a foodie hotspot with no less than four really special places to eat. Stay a while at The Great House, an incredible hotel located in a stunning rural setting. Whether it's the comfort of the bedrooms featuring Myddfai toiletries and 300 thread luxury sheets, or the rustic setting allowing guests to surround themselves in the beautiful Bridgend County surf summits and scenery, there's no better place for a much-needed escape.
Not quite in Laleston, but a stones throw away new restaurant L’Amour is a must if you’re going the whole hog with the romantic theme.
Places to tie the knot!
If you’re planning a wedding we have some fabulous venues in Bridgend County.
• The Old House 1147 offers a peaceful, rural wedding location with spectacular views of the Llynfi Valley. A grade 2 listed building steeped in history, which has been renovated to offer a gorgeous, modern venue with cottage-style accommodation.
• Nestled at the foot of the beautiful Garw Valley, Court Colman Manor boasts incredible Georgian architecture and 6 acres of private gardens surrounded by tranquil woodland. A secluded, rural spot but easily accessible from the M4.
• A charming Victorian Mansion set in on a leafy, wooded hillside - the Coed Y Mwstwr Hotel in Coychurch offers bespoke wedding packages from their luxurious Elliot Suite & Hendre Suite. A warm, welcoming venue set in Bridgend's countryside.
• A delightful venue with beautiful surroundings to enjoy your big day. Steeped in history and with a top reputation for exceptional food, The Great House is set in the idyllic village of Laleston and also offers luxury accommodation for you and your guests.
• The Heronston Hotel & Spa offers an elegant setting for your big day with its newly refurbished Ibis Court Suite and spacious Kingfisher Suite. Conveniently located near to many of Bridgend County's scenic beauty spots.
• If you're planning a theatrical wedding, what better place to hold your reception than The Grand Pavilion? A unique setting for your big day and situated on Porthcawl's iconic promenade, a perfect location for those who want wedding photos with a sea view!
• A beautiful country house set in over 100 acres of gorgeous parkland, Bryngarw House offers a charming and elegant wedding venue, located at the foot of the picturesque Garw Valley.