Recognised as one of the UK's surf hotspots, adored for its long sandy beaches, and rugged hills, it's easy to forget that Bridgend County is home to friendly towns and villages bursting with fascinating independent shops to uncover.
Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion from local designers, historic family-run businesses dating back generations or delicious local Welsh produce, there’s something for everyone in Bridgend County.
Here’s a guide to some of our top independent businesses for Independents' Day 2021...
Rediscover your passion for independent fashion
In Porthcawl, head to Well Street, located only moments from the Esplanade, to find The Closet, a boutique shop ideal for finding your new favourite piece from the carefully curated collection of outfits available. If you're looking for luxury jewellery, KoKo's is the best place in town. Offerings include a wide selection of independent jewellery makers, including the owner Sophie's own brand, you will fall in love with the sparkling amethyst rings and delicate floral necklaces. No Porthcawl shopping spree would be complete without a stop at Divine, a home for bright and colourful accessories and the winner of Bridgend's Independent Retailer 2013.
Think small, think local
Given that it offers a wide range of contemporary designs, you may be amazed to discover that Ewenny Pottery has been in the family for eight generations and that the earliest record of clay being used on this site is all the way back in 1427! Today, the oldest established pottery in Wales offers a variety of unique handcrafted items perfect for your own collection or as a gift.
For a one-stop-shop of local goodies look no further than Pyle Garden Village, which offers up a well-stocked garden centre for green-fingered garden lovers, as well as a variety of shops plus a restaurant - all located on one eight-acre site.
Here, we reduce, re-use and recycle
Not only is Bridgend County a haven for independent shops, but it is also waving the Eco flag with amazing ambitions to make Porthcawl a plastic-free town. In a collaboration between Bridgend County Borough Council, Porthcawl Town Hall and Surfers against Sewage, many of the local businesses across the town are committing to reducing major single-use plastics such as straws, bottles and cutlery - so you can shop with a clean conscious!
Opened in 1881, Maesteg Town Hall housed the market in the basement for 137 years. Now a grade II listed building the Town hall is undergoing major refurbishment and the town now has an open air market at the heart of the town centre, alongside the historic Town Hall. Bridgend's indoor Market Hall also has a long history. The old hall was demolished and the new market opened in its current location in 1972. This traditional market is home to a number of long established family businesses and new traders.
Food and Drink:
A sweet treat to curb the cravings
Fancy something sweet? Bridgend County is brimming with locally-made sugary delights. If you are a chocoholic, Maple Confectionery is your heaven. Selling treats for every occasion, find luxury gift boxes, totally edible animals, Welsh goodies and even chocolate pizzas! If you are feeling extravagant, Coffi Co. Choose from moreish creations such as the cookies and cream cappuccino, the curly wurly latte and the chocolate orange hot chocolate.
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.
Located along Bridgend’s old bridge, Sheffs serves up a world of luxury handmade patisserie and confectionery ranging from shortbread and brownies to indulgent cakes and even an afternoon tea box.
Just a short hop from Sheffs is The Little Bar On The Bridge, where you’ll find a huge selection of Welsh ales including everything from popular favourites courtesy of Cardiff-based Tiny Rebel to a delicious-sounding ‘Gingerbread Crème Brulee Imperial Stout’. Stop for a quiet drink and you’ll be pleasantly spoiled for choice!
Take a break with Welsh cakes and waterside wanderings
There are few smells as pleasant as freshly baked bread and fresh coffee, so take a break after your shopping spree and grab a bite to eat at some of Porthcawl's best foodie break spots. Known locally as an Aladdin's cave of food, Home & Colonial Fine Foods bakes 60% of its produce on-site each day, selling everything from home-made pies to slow-roasted meats. Refuel with one one of their best-selling Welsh cakes and steaming coffee from the iconic Porthcawl Grand Pavilion Cafe which is best enjoyed with seaside views.
Decompress with a locally-sourced dinner
Bridgend County doesn't lack for a range of unique spots to spend the evening enjoying a much-earned dinner and drink. The village of Laleston between Bridgend and Porthcawl has established a reputation as one of Wales most exciting new foodie destinations. Perhaps best known is The Great House’s award-winning Leicester’s Restaurant, which holds two coveted AA Rosettes and has twice been named Country Restaurant of the Year.
Then there’s the Black Rabbit, established in 2018 where chef Jonathan Lewis creates delicious dishes using fresh Welsh produce. It’s tucked away inside the traditional cosy Laleston Inn, a 14th century stone house, converted into an ale house with all the charm remaining.
The latest arrival in this quiet corner of Bridgend County is the Purple Sage who moved in to the traditional 18th century pub, the Mackworth arms in March. The Purple Sage Kitchen was established in May 2020 to offer top restaurant quality cuisine at home during lockdown.
El Prado is long established in Laleston, but reopened as part of the Martinez group of restaurants first established in Cardiff in the early 90’s offering a traditional brasserie concept specialising in fresh local fish. And that's just in one small village.
Independents’ Day UK supports and promotes independent retail businesses with an annual focus on July 4th: ‘Independents’ Day’