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vale of glamorgan

Vale of Glamorgan Cardiff

Take a short drive west of the hustle and bustle of central Cardiff and you’ll feel like you’ve entered a whole new world, as you stumble across the beautiful Vale of Glamorgan.

Here you can stroll along the beach, go rambling in the hills, do a spot of shopping, take a boat trip or visit a trendy art gallery.

For starters why not visit the coastal town of Penarth, a picturesque Victorian resort, with gift shops, restaurants and an old-fashioned pier.

A walk up to the cliff top takes you alongside landscaped gardens dating back to the last century, and there are plenty of benches for those who prefer to just sit and watch the sea.

Alternatively you can take in the sights on the promenade, a 250-metre-long pier that prides itself on being one of the best remaining Victorian piers in Britain. Here you’ll find magnificent views, plenty of seating, a refreshments area and amusements for the children.

Penarth is also home to the 19th century Turner House Gallery, which is part of the National Museums & Galleries of Wales. The gallery currently plays host to the Ffotogallery, which offers visitors temporary art exhibitions as well as an educational programme where you learn the ins and outs of photography.

If it’s a picnic by the lake you want then head to the Cosmeston Country Park [map], which, believe it or not, was once a limestone quarry. Parts of the area were flooded when quarrying ceased, forming an extensive area of lakes and wetlands, which combined with the landscaped countryside around, form the main attractions of the park.

This site is also home to the Cosmeston Medieval Village, where visitors can see a fully working village, with actors in costume playing out life as it was 600 years ago.

If you enjoy the odd glass of wine then you’ll feel right at home in the Vale of Glamorgan, because it is also home to the Llanerch Vineyard [map], Wales' biggest vineyard. Here you’ll find over six acres of vineyard where Cariad Wines are produced, and a ten acre country park with woodlands and lakes to explore. Guided tours for groups of 25 or over include wine tasting and lunch, while the visitors’ centre has a coffee shop and wine bar.

If you’re looking for a fun day out with the kids then get along to Barry Island [map], an old-fashioned seaside resort with a beach, Pleasure Park theme park and a wealth of amusement arcades, shops and cafes on the sea front.

For those who fancy a boat trip along the Severn Estuary then head for the Steam Cruisers, which depart Barry Docks [map] on a daily basis. You can enjoy a day trip or an evening cruise aboard the pleasure steamers Balmoral and Waverley, which operate right through the summer until the end of October and take you along the rivers Wye and Severn.

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