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Visit Rest Bay. Later.

May 26, 2020

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Watersports Centre

It’s eerily quiet at Rest Bay. Launched just six months ago, the new Watersports Centre overlooks Porthcawl’s Blue Flag Rest Bay beach, and when it is safe to do so will open its doors again to provide the perfect base for adventure seekers eager to sample South Wales’ outdoor activity offering. 

Between October and March, local experts Porthcawl Surf School were using the new centre as a base to offer year-round surf lessons and hire as well as stand up paddle board lessons. They also have a fleet of thirty vehicles for hire including mountain bikes, fat bikes, e-bikes, California cruisers and a beach wheelchair.  

The centre was just beginning to offer bike tours to points of interest throughout Porthcawl and Newton, as well as a tour based on the legends of Kenfig Dunes. It also benefits the local community, acting as a base for beach cleans and courses on environmental education, outdoor learning and ocean literacy. It also acts as a training centre for lifeguards and surf instructors and as the base for the Welsh Coast Surf Club.

The opening of the new water sports centre had cemented Porthcawl as one of the UK’s fastest growing surfing destinations. Less than three hours from London, it is the closest, most consistent water sports destination from the capital.

And so while we observe the rules and remain in doors whenever possible, here’s an insight into the eventful history of Rest Bay and how it got to where it is today:

Rest Bay gets its name 

  • 1878 - 'Long Bay' offers a resting house for ill and injured workers, becoming known as Rest Bay. Florence Nightingale is one of its keen supporters.
  • World War I & II - Requisitioned as a hospital in use for the war effort
  • 2018 - The Rest is converted into luxury studios and apartments.

A golfing hot spot is born 

  • 1895 - 9 hole course is founded on Locks Common by Cardiff businessmen attracted by the location.
  • Relocates to its current position and becomes the first 18 hole course in South Wales
  • 1909 - The course is granted Royal status and during the First World War, is turned over to agriculture for the war effort.
  • 1951 - Hosts its first major tournament, The Amateur Championship. The competition has returned a further six times since. 
  • 2014 - Hosts the Senior Open Championship for the first time, Bernhard Langer wins by an amazing 13-stroke margin.

Tourists discover the perfect holiday spot by the sea

  • 1900's - Thanks to charabancs and the railway, Porthcawl sees an influx of day trippers drawn down to the sea.
  • 1930's - Pines Airways based at Locks Common, offers tours of the sky and an air taxi service.
  • 1960's - Porthcawl begins to develop as a water sports destination, particularly for speed boat racing and surfing. Fulgoni's cafe (later known as Malc's) offers ice cream and stunning views over the bay.
  • 2014 - Rest Bay features in the Lonely Planet 
    "When the swell is up - delighting local experts with clean barrels  topping 2m - this Welsh beach can rival any surf spot in Europe. But Rest Bay boasts rideable waves on any given day, which is all that learners need."
  • 2019 & Beyond - Exciting new developments such as the Watersports Centre lead the regeneration of the resort.

Porthcawl's incredible waves give birth to one of the first UK surf clubs 

  • 1969 - One of the oldest surf clubs in the UK, Welsh Coast Surf Club was founded as the CREST Surf Club, its name inspired by the local breaks of Coney, Rest, Esp, Sker and Trecco. Re-named the WCSC in 1971, the club continues to underpin Porthcawl's vibrant surfing community, organising competitions as well as the legendary Surfer's Ball.
  • 1973 - Tonyrefail Lifeguard Club is founded. The name reflects the fact that the club is formed by families from the Valleys who have holiday caravans in Porthcawl.
  • 1991 - The name is changed and Rest Bay Lifeguard Club is officially established
  • 1997 - The lifeguard station is opened following the efforts of local fundraisers and the council.
  • 2016 - RNLI lifeguards take to their posts for the first time at Rest Bay, supported by Porthcawl lifeboat as required. Following the successful pilot scheme, they will continue to guard the beaches until at least summer 2021.

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Feels like summer☀️⁠
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Where does your evening stroll take you? Ours took us to Tythegston’s beautiful bright yellow rapeseed field.⁠
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Don’t forget to share your best shots with us from across Bridgend County using #VisitBridgend 📸⁠
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#VisitWales #FindYourEpicFeels like summer☀️⁠
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Where does your evening stroll take you? Ours took us to Tythegston’s beautiful bright yellow rapeseed field.⁠
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Don’t forget to share your best shots with us from across Bridgend County using #VisitBridgend 📸⁠
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#VisitWales #FindYourEpic
Coffee with a view☕⁠
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🗺️Cardiff 40mins⁠
🗺️Bristol 1hr⁠
🗺️Bath 1.5hrs⁠
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What are you waiting for? Plan your trip to Bridgend County now!⁠
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#VisitBridgend #VisitWales #FindYourEpic⁠Coffee with a view☕⁠
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How good does this look? 📸 @taylorowenmason 
⁠
Jump in the car and head down to Bridgend County for a weekend in the sun, we’re pretty close to some big cities you know…⁠
⁠
🗺️Cardiff 40mins⁠
🗺️Bristol 1hr⁠
🗺️Bath 1.5hrs⁠
🗺️Birmingham 2.5hrs⁠
⁠
What are you waiting for? Plan your trip to Bridgend County now!⁠
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#VisitBridgend #VisitWales #FindYourEpic⁠
This #EndangeredSpeciesDay we’re celebrating the wonderful wildlife that thrives across the County🌳⁠
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📸Early Purple Orchid⁠
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On a ramble across Bridgend County, you might even come across the Shrill Carder Bee!🐝⁠
⁠
 Don’t forget to tag us in your adventures #VisitBridgendThis #EndangeredSpeciesDay we’re celebrating the wonderful wildlife that thrives across the County🌳⁠
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 Attracting botanists from across the world are the Wild Fen Orchid, which can be found in Kenfig Nature Reserve amongst 14 other species, all prospering here due to the thriving sand dune system.⁠
⁠
📸Early Purple Orchid⁠
⁠
On a ramble across Bridgend County, you might even come across the Shrill Carder Bee!🐝⁠
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 Don’t forget to tag us in your adventures #VisitBridgend
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Don’t forget, the Run4wales Porthcawl 10k is coming up in July…why not make it a weekend away? With surf, summits, and scenery galore, there's something for all the family.⁠
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📸Dianna Tudor⁠
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#VisitBridgend #VisitWales #FindYourEpicIf only all runs had these surroundings 😍⁠
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Don’t forget, the Run4wales Porthcawl 10k is coming up in July…why not make it a weekend away? With surf, summits, and scenery galore, there's something for all the family.⁠
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Stroll down to the harbour and see if you can spot the old Lighthouse, Watchtower, and Lifeboat Station ⛵⁠
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#VisitBridgend #VisitWales #FindYourEpic⁠📍Porthcawl Harbour | 📸@callumgillingsphotography⁠
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Stroll down to the harbour and see if you can spot the old Lighthouse, Watchtower, and Lifeboat Station ⛵⁠
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#VisitBridgend #VisitWales #FindYourEpic⁠
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Fancy a road trip with a view this weekend? Head to Bridgend County where you’ll pass by surf, summits, and lots of scenery along the way.⁠
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📸 @welsh.walks 

#VisitBridgend #VisitWales #FindYourEpicStand up and enjoy the sunset 🌅 

With warmer evenings on the way, get out on the water in Rest Bay. 

📸 @welsh.walks 

#VisitBridgend #VisitWales #FindYourEpic
Calling all photographers 📷 it’s competition time! 

We’ve teamed up with local businesses to give away the ultimate bundle of prizes worth £500. TO WIN:

👉🏻 Post your favourite photo of Bridgend County and tag us using #WinVisitBridgend 
👉🏻 Like this post
👉🏻 Follow @visitbridgend @mcarthurglenbridgend @breweryfield @theplacetostay.wales @fablasltd 

Swipe to see what you can win!👀

Giveaway ends midnight 26/05. One winner with our favourite shot will be contacted via DM. T&C’s apply. 

#VisitBridgendCalling all photographers 📷 it’s competition time! 

We’ve teamed up with local businesses to give away the ultimate bundle of prizes worth £500. TO WIN:

👉🏻 Post your favourite photo of Bridgend County and tag us using #WinVisitBridgend 
👉🏻 Like this post
👉🏻 Follow @visitbridgend @mcarthurglenbridgend @breweryfield @theplacetostay.wales @fablasltd 

Swipe to see what you can win!👀

Giveaway ends midnight 26/05. One winner with our favourite shot will be contacted via DM. T&C’s apply. 

#VisitBridgend
Looking for a relaxing outdoor activity now that the weather's brightening up?⁠
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Re-connect with nature and unwind with Bryngarw Country Park's Outdoor Gong Bath this summer🌞⁠
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📍Bryngarw Country Park⁠
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📅12th May - 9th June⁠
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#VisitBridgend #VisitWales #FindYourEpicLooking for a relaxing outdoor activity now that the weather's brightening up?⁠
⁠
Re-connect with nature and unwind with Bryngarw Country Park's Outdoor Gong Bath this summer🌞⁠
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📍Bryngarw Country Park⁠
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📅12th May - 9th June⁠
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#VisitBridgend #VisitWales #FindYourEpic
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Take a lesson at @porthcawlsurfschool, grab a drink at @restbaycafebar and enjoy the views when you surf at Rest Bay 🏄🏽‍♀️⁠
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#VisitBridgend #VisitWales #FindYourEpicA surfer’s paradise 🌊⁠
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Take a lesson at @porthcawlsurfschool, grab a drink at @restbaycafebar and enjoy the views when you surf at Rest Bay 🏄🏽‍♀️⁠
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#VisitBridgend #VisitWales #FindYourEpic