Sites in Vale of Glamorgan

Ogmore Castle Stout Bay St Quintin’s Castle Southerndown Beach
Vale of Glamorgan, the southernmost county in Wales, extends from the west side of Cardiff to just east of Bridgend, and includes a scenic, 30 mile stretch of coastline, between Penarth and Ogmore-by-Sea; all the area is south of the M4. Adjacent counties, all to the north, are Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Cardiff. Most of the land is fairly flat, or gently undulating, crossed by little rivers, which often form shallow, steep-sided valleys. There are some low ranges of hills, and patches of woodland, but all the best landscapes are along the coast.

The most visited section of the coastline is around Barry, site of a large holiday park, facing Whitmore Bay. The stretch to the east, extending to Cardiff, is also quite developed, but to the west the coast becomes steadily more rural, and more photogenic. The best section is around Southerndown, centred on Dunraven Bay, but there are plenty of lesser known locations. The coast is characterised by golden sand beaches backed by thin-layered limestone cliffs, also rich yellow/brown in colour - unlike the usual greys of other cliffs along the Bristol Channel - alternating with pebble beaches and rocky patches where the level or slightly inclined strata are eroded to form parallel or curving ridges, flat terraces and other photogenic shapes. The most spectacular part (14 miles), from Porthcawl in the west to Aberthaw in the east, is recognised as the Glamorgan Heritage Coast.

Vale of Glamorgan is noted for its unusually large number of castles or castellated mansions, for a relatively small area; also of interest are two burial chambers (St Lythans and Tinkinswood), and the monastic church of Ewenny Priory.


, including manors

Barry Castle - gatehouse and walls, the limited remains of a fortified mansion in a residential suburb of Barry

Boverton Place - substantial ruins of a large country house, built in the late 16th century

East Orchard Castle - overgrown remains of a sizeable mansion, with fortified wall sections

Fonmon Castle - 12th century castle, renovated and altered in the 18th century, surrounded by gardens, and still occupied. Tours available

Penmark Castle - minor, overgrown ruins of a 13th century castle, including walls and a small tower

Ogmore Castle - small but picturesque ruins of an early 12th century castle beside the Ewenny River

Old Beaupre Castle - large medieval mansion, nearly complete, with fine carving and masonry

St Quintin's Castle (or Llanblethian Castle) - a substantial gatehouse and various lesser structures remain from an early 12th century castle, extended in the 1300s; on a hill above the River Thaw


Ewenny Priory - parish church with a partly ruined fortified exterior, occupying the nave of a 12th century abbey; many original Norman features


Aberthaw to Stout Bay - cliffs, terraces and pebble beaches along the easternmost portion of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast

Dunraven Bay - sandy beach backed by spectacular cliffs, adjoining other beaches and limestone formations, part of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast

Nash Point to Stout Bay - varied, little-visited section of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast; cliffs, terraces, caves and inlets

Ogmore-by-Sea - wide, sandy beach leading to eroded limestone cliffs with caves, terraces and other formations

Sully Island to Lavernock Point - cliffs, terraces, beaches and a tidal island, accessible at low tide

Map of Featured Vale of Glamorgan Locations