The hidden gems just waiting to be discovered
THE county’s rich history and diverse communities means there are always new hidden gems for visitors to discover.
From lesser-known beaches to quirky furniture shops to ruined castles, there really is something for everybody...
Hilary & Iain’s By The Se e restaurant in Ogmore-by-Sea is run by husband and wife duo Hilary and Iain who serve up freshly cooked meals.
It’s a hit with locals, who praise its welcoming and cosy atmosphere, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re heading down to the beach for the day.
It’s even been described as “a little gem” by one happy diner on review site Trip Advisor.
The reviewer says: “Great little gem. Lovely friendly service with straight forward food cooked well and of good quality. Cheers guys!”
St John’s House St John’s House Trust on Newcastle Hill is possibly Bridgend’s oldest habitable property and is likely to have been built when Henry VIII was on the throne at the beginning of the 16th century.
The building has been used as a dwelling – eight families lived there in Victorian times – and also as a business when boot maker Edward “Ted” Barrington occupied a workshop which had been added onto the front of the house in the early 1900s. The extension was demolished in the 1930s and the house and an extension at the rear were used by St John Ambulance until the 1980s.
Ken Hinton, chairman of St John’s House Trust, has described it as “Bridgend’s heritage gem” and the trust holds regular open days where you can look around for yourself.
Adi’s Dessert Bar Adi’s Dessert Bar in Wyndham Street, Bridgend is highly recommended by many of its regulars.
The family-run dessert bar serves hot and cold desserts, light lunches and afternoon tea and is described as “welcoming with wonderful desserts”.
On the menu, you can find sweet treats such as waffles, crepes and cakes which are topped with ice cream, sauces and sprinkles – and there’s also a vegan-friendly menu.
One rave review online said: “We owwed and awed over how nice they looked, then we had a little taster of each other’s order. Next we sat in silence for the longest time since we had met. I loved this. I did not leave a drop of ice cream.”
Bang-On Brewery This is one for the beer lovers. Bang-On Brewery is a microbrewery based in Bridgend and it creates original, unique and delicious beers. In fact, they’re so good Bang-On has even had Great British Menu finalist Tommy Heaney on their order list.
Craig Jackson, the head brewer, is a classically trained chef who uses his knowledge of flavour combinations and ingredients to test the boundaries of beer creation to make exceptional beers available in cask, keg and bottles.
The brewery collaborated with a bottle shop to create an advent calendar which features beers from around Wales and they launched personalised beer bottles with your name (and your face) on them. You can buy their ales from the bottle shop at the brewery at Unit 3, Bridgend Industrial Estate and can find more information on their Facebook page.
Coity Castle Coity Castle is a Nor- man castle built by Sir Payn “the Demon” de Turberville.
Although the castle was originally built soon after 1100, much of the castle dates from the 14th century and later, according to Cadw.
Parts were rebuilt following the siege by Owain Glyndŵr in 1404-05 and while the Latrine Tower is closed to the public, the remainder of the castle is open to visitors.
Parc Calon Lan Parc Calon Lan lies at the top of the Garw Valley in Blaengarw and is the perfect place to go for a walk, bike ride or peaceful hike.
The site has been transformed over the past few decades, with stunning lakes and greenery replacing the former pits.
There are also various paths, cycle routes and mountain bike trails to take advantage of, along with children’s play areas and a memorial garden.
Peter Wood & Sons Butchers in Bridgend Indoor Market
If you’re looking to shop local, it will come as no surprise that Bridgend’s Indoor Market is a great way to start. Inside, you’ll find various market stalls and shops, including Peter Wood & Sons Butchers which first opened in 1972.
The family-run butchers has more than 50 years experience in the trade and you can pick up all sort of meats, as well as homemade cooked ready meals, chutneys and jams and cheeses.
Candleston Castle Candleston Castle on Merthyrmawr Road was originally built as a manor house in the 14th century by the de Cantelupe family and remained occupied until the 19th century. However, it was later abandoned and drifted into an “ivy-covered ruin”.
The ruins of the castle can still be seen today and wildlife, including butterflies are known to live in the area.
Ella Riley’s Sweetshop The family business was first started by Bridgend resident Freya Sykes-Bletsoe’s great, great uncles back in 1907 and Ella Riley’s exported sweet treats around the world. After production ceased in the early 1990s – Freya and her husband Steve Bletsoe bought back the rights to the company and kick-started production again.
There are shops across the UK, including the Bridgend shop on Nolton Street, where you can find the classic Riley’s Toffee Rolls, a soft caramel toffee coated in milk, dark, white or sea salt chocolate.
Wooden Tops Furniture
If you pay a visit to Wooden Tops Furniture, which specialises vintage and retro up-cycled goods, you won’t be disappointed.
Located on the Bridgend Industrial Estate, the family-run business has been going for more than two years after husband and wife Sophia and Matthew Davies gave up their careers in the police force to take on the task of upcycling furniture.
Happy customer Sally Hoy said: “It’s a fantastic business selling the most amazing secondhand furniture.
“They also sell everything you need such as paint, brushes, knobs etc to DIY and they’ll even tell you how.
“It’s run by a lovely couple who go that extra mile to give the best service.
“It’s a real asset to Bridgend.”
St Mary’s Church, Coity, and Coity Castle