Magnificent sand dunes, beautiful hills and forests, lovely pub dinners, hand-crafted chocolate and luxury camping, not to mention hiking trails and golf. These are some of the things Bridgend, Wales has to offer. We spent a sunny, chilly spring weekend in the area and got a film star treatment.
We arrived to Cwm Tawel camping site on a Saturday afternoon and were welcomed by a handsome, shy cat. Soon after arrived our friends Tom and Sophie who we’d agreed to meet for some promotional filming, and we were taken to our yurt. And boy, it was so much nicer than we expected! Comfy sofas, warm blankets and a very easy-to-use wood burner.
On top of the normal comfortable things that come with the yurts, we got a special red carpet treatment from Tom & co: A Hollywood dressing table, roses and fairy lights. Way to get us fangirls in the right mood!
After Cwm Tawel’s Sasha showed us how to keep the fire going, we relaxed in our toasty yurt for a little bit, then headed out for a very lovely dinner at The Great House. Wow. What a beautiful building! From their website:
Originating from around 1550, the hotel is believed to have been a gift from HRH Queen Elizabeth 1 to Robert Stanley, Earl of Leicester who used it as a hunting lodge. The hotel is located in the pretty conservation village of Laleston, Bridgend, and is now one of the leading hotels in Bridgend.
Here are some photos we posted on our Instagram that night:
While waiting for our table we had a glass of nice wine and chatted about our favourite tv shows – what else? – and admired the feel of the place: beautiful rooms, furniture, decorations and old pictures on the walls. After a while we were shown to our table and we spent a good moment trying to decide what to order. The reason we only have a photo of my starter of goat’s cheese, beetroot and fancy trimmings is the simple fact that we completely forgot in the middle of it all… guess some things are just too good to be photographed!
The drive back to our camp was a hilarious one. Let’s just say we made some wrong turns, sang the Game of Thrones theme (badly) all the way and it was getting very dark, cold and slippery on the roads… but we made it back safely in the end!
A good night’s sleep was quaranteed with full bellies. The night in the yurt was mostly very warm and cozy, although we did get up a couple of times to keep the fire going.
Next morning we enjoyed a very carb-y (read: delicious) breakfast in the indoor kitchen and started for the sand dunes with our little film crew and Brent from Bridgend Bites. Now, this guy knows a lot about all the film crews that have worked in the area. We talked about Lawrence of Arabia, Torchwood and Doctor Who, but especially about the new adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover as it stars Richard “Robb Stark” Madden (or, Richard “actual Disney Prince” Madden, if you will!) Needless to say, we were just a little bit disappointed by the fact that we missed him filming in the area by just a couple of weeks! Richaaard!!
We’d been to Merthyr Mawr before (not at all trying to locate the Doctor Who cast and crew, nooo….) and Dunraven Bay, but somehow always missed the beautiful sand dunes. Well, this time we didn’t! After a looong climb we finally reached the top and admired the view for a good moment, basking in the early spring sunshine. We witnessed a beautiful horse making the climb and several families with their sliders having a pretty perfect day in the sand.
Unfortunately, we didn’t bring any sliders, so we had to rely on our feet getting back down. We had a couple of screenshots from Torchwood on our iPad, and luckily Brent recognised the beautiful tree in the photos. It stands right next to the dunes! Excellent sceneframing spot, but you don’t have to be a Jack Harkness fan to appreciate the beauty of the spot.
As if the day wasn’t sweet enough yet, we grabbed a quick lunch on our way back to Bridgend where we were promised a candy shop visit.
Ella Riley’s Sweets is the cutest little candy shop with an amazing backstory. Not only that, one of their old toffee tins was featured on Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince. We weren’t at all excited about this fact, seeing as we don’t care much about the books or the films… (I’m lying, we were totally geeking out.)
After we were done with admiring the Harry Potter prop twin and all the tempting sweets on the shelves, our candy shop papa Steven & mama Freya showed us how to mold fresh, handmade chocolate into different shapes. Plus, we found a new Supernatural lovin’ friend in her while making a big mess in their kitchen with the chocolate! The SPN family really seems to be everywhere, and this time we found them to be – it has to be said – extra sweet!
(Freya, maybe you should consider Castiel or Impala shaped chocolates?? Just sayin’!)
After our chocolate molding session we headed back to the yurts with our pockets full of sweets and a jar of handmade toffee sauce. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to our amazing film crew at this point, but we still had one more stop to do before going to bed: dinner at The Old House Inn.
The Old House Inn turned out to be a very cozy pub half-full of happy locals sharing stories over pints in the warmth of crackling fire in the fireplace. We enjoyed quite a traditional pub dinner and had a chat with the owner afterwards. Turned out David Bowie himself once had a pint at the very same bar we were currently stuffing ourselves full with chicken and chips! Phew. We certainly needed a second to digest that.
After another cozy night in our yurt with a TARDIS blue door we headed to London to see a couple of mind-blowingly good West End shows… but that’s a whole different story altogether!
Until next time, Bridgend!