Your Family:Your Adventure

Glamorgan Heritage Coast & Countryside

15 free things to do with the kids on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast

If you haven't already discovered the amazing Glamorgan Heritage Coast and Countryside, you now have no excuse, as here are 15 free things for you to do as a family. With rolling green countryside, and a dramatic coast with sandy beaches, you and your children will never be bored.

1.    Build a sandcastle

This is a classic activity that usually ends up with dad taking over! There are lots of sandy beaches in the area but here are some of our favourites:

Bridgend and Vale of Glamorgan beaches have big tides, so make sure you check BBC Tides website: Porthcawl or Barry before you go, to make sure the tide is out and there's plenty of sand available.

building sandcastles on Glamorgan Coast

2.    Go rock pooling

Another classic! Kids love 'creatures' and you only have to lift up a rock on one of our beaches to discover crabs, shrimp, fish, sea snails and starfish. Rest Bay, Pink Bay (a few minutes walk from Rest Bay heading west) and Dunraven Bay near Southerndown are all good spots.

rock pooling on the Glamorgan Heritage coast

You'll be amazed what you can discover.

Anywhere is good but please BE CAREFUL of the tides, we have some of the biggest tides in the world and they come in fast.

Buckets and nets ready? GO!!!

3.    Go bodyboarding

The smallest waves and bit of sunshine are all you need to have a lot of fun. The sea here is a lot warmer than you'd expect in summer, and a 'shorty' wetsuit is a bonus if you have one. If you've never bodyboarded before, timing is the key. Jump onto the wave and board at the same time just as it's breaking and kick with your feet. You'll then be whoooshed onto the beach.

body boarding Rest Bay

4.    Attack a castle (or just visit!)

Wales is famous for its castles and we've got our fair share in the Glamorgan Heritage Coast and Countryside area.

Ogmore Castle is one of the best because it's easy to get to and has a stunning setting in a river valley. There's also a tea rooms next door just in case your knights and princesses get hungry. Download our kids tracker packs with loads of free activities to get the kids imaginations working on a visit.

You could also visit Coity Castle and Newcastle in Bridgend

Ogmore Castle Glamorgan Heritage Coast

5.    Search for priceless treasure

The Glamorgan Coast has had its fair share of shipwrecks and there's no telling what treasure might get washed up. Newton Beach (East from Porthcawl and Coney Beach) is a nice place to find sea glass which could easily be mistaken for precious jewels.

6.    Discover dinosaur fossils

The Glamorgan Coast is blessed with being an amazing place to search for fossils, with Jurassic Cliffs that are more than 90 million years old, and beaches that are home to a variety of fossils, including 'Devil's Toenails.'

The coastline also contains some of the best preserved dinosaur footprints in Europe at the Bendricks in Barry.

Here are some places for those budding young palaeontologists. For detailed information try this website: Fossil Hunting South Wales.

Dinosaur fossils Glamorgan Coast

7.    We're going on a bear hunt... where to go for a family walk

The well known children's book could well have been written on the Glamorgan Coast as, with the exception of the bear, there is everything else to discover on a family walk in the area. Here are three family friendly walks for you to discover:

Garw Valley Walk

8.    Get stuck into nature and see some wildlife

Here are some of our amazing country parks and nature reserves that have regular events and some of the best wildlife the UK can offer:

Feeding the ducks at Cosmeston Lakes

9.    Visit Penarth pier

The pier is another classic from a bygone Victorian era. Stoll along the wooden boardwalk, watching sailing boats and looking out towards the islands in the Bristol Channel. Now fully restored to its former art-deco glory, with a fantastic café, gallery, cinema and more.

Ice cream on Penarth pier

10. Run down a big sand dune

Merthyr Mawr Nature Reserve is the second biggest sand dune in Europe, and a fantastic place to head to with a family. You can sledge down it, explore the nearby ruins of Candleston Castle and look for mini beasts.

Take a look at a video the GlamAdventure video to see what we mean:

sand sledging Merthyr Mawr

11. Go medieval for the day

Travel back in time 600 years and explore Cosmeston Medieval Village that was uncovered in 1978. The buildings and artefacts allow you to see, touch and even smell what it was like to live then. Guaranteed to get young minds interested in the history of the Glamorgan area.

Free of charge between 10am - 12am. Read more about it here: Medieval Village

Or download the Digital Bridgend app from the app stores and try anyone of the 17 interactive trails on offer, find hidden hot-spots, videos, treasure hunts, quizzes and games through exciting interfaces and augmented reality.

digital Bridgend

12.    Build your own troll!

Visit the pebbly beach called The Knap in Barry and pile stones on top of each other to make stone 'trolls'. Then have a competition to throw small stones to knock them over. First one to do it wins! Directions can be found here: Find Knap Beach and Gardens

13.    Have a picnic

Get a sunny day and there's nothing better than a BBQ or a picnic! So where to go? Well anywhere on Glamorgan Coast or inland is perfect but here are a few spots we recommend:

Please check you are allowed BBQs before lighting up and ALWAYS take your rubbish home.

14.    Go on an amazing bike ride

The Glamorgan Coast and Countryside has some great family friendly bike routes opening soon the coast route from Trecco Bay, Porthcawl to Rest Bay, and near Barry you'll find the lovely Porthkerry Country Park route.

There is also the Garw community cycle route with spectacular views further inland above Bridgend at Parc Calon Lan.

15.    Discover the Nature Keepers

The Bridgend Nature Keepers are the guardians of the story of the land; a story written in the landscape and natural environment of the county borough's countryside. The Keepers help us realise what a fantastically diverse landscape Bridgend has, from the mountain uplands to expansive untouched beaches - and this is why there's such a variety of Keepers to be found. Each Keeper will also provide information on local wildlife to look out for on your exploration.

nature keepers Kenfig National Nature Reserve

To find the locations of all the Bridgend Nature Keepers, download the Dare to Discover App from the Android or Apple app stores.