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Archive for tag: Park

Festive Festival Park

Still stuck for that final Christmas gift, then worry no more.  Festival Park is bound to have something suitable.

Festival Park, Ebbw ValeLocated near Ebbw Vale, Festival Park is one of two branded designer outlets in Southern Wales.  It is home to over 40 high street shops all under one roof.   You will find some of the top brands selling some of their latest goods at discounted prices.

There's plenty to keep you occupied if shopping is not your thing.  It is situated in a 70 acre parkland setting in the heart of the Southern Wales Valleys.  There are cafes and restaurants to keep you fed and watered and even an owl sanctuary.

Visit the website for more details

Best of Bedwellty

Bedwellty HouseTredegar is a small town with a big history.

At the centre of the town is the beautiful Bedwellty Park.  The 26 acre park dates from the 19th century when it was created for the Master of the local iron works, Samuel Homfray.

The parkland is full of interesting features such as cascades, a bandstand and an ice house.  It also boasts the biggest single lump of coal ever mined.

The park's centre piece though is Bedwellty House.  Once home to Homfray, the house has a remarkable history.  As well as being a residence, the house also became the headquarters of Tredegar Town Council.

And it was in this council chamber that a young Aneurin Bevan took his first steps into politics, before he went on to become the local MP and founder of the NHS.  Visitors can take a look inside this historic room and watch a short film as well as browse through a number of other exhibitions.

Bedwelty House and Park is open all year round to the public.

Visitors to the house and park can relax and unwind in the Orchid House tearoom where they can sample a range of homemade specialities, including produce grown in its very own kitchen garden.

For more information please visit the website

Meet the Ancient Keepers of Bryngarw

Bryngarw KeeperIn the tranquil surroundings of the Bridgend's Garw Valley, lies the beautiful Bryngarw Country Park.

113 acres stunning parkland to explore, including native woodlands, formal gardens and secluded glades.

And lurking amongst the flora and fauna are the Ancient Keepers of Bryngarw - four mythical guardians of the park's woodlands, meadows, gardens and river.  Awaken the keepers with your special 'talisman' (available from the visitor centre) and hear the stories, myths and legends of this mysterious area.

For more information on Bryngarw Park visit the website

Discover Rhondda Cynon Taf

Lluest-wen ReservoirNestled at the heart of the Southern Wales is perhaps the most famous valley in the world. Once upon a time, the Rhondda Valley produced the coal that powered the world.

How times change, the pits and heaps have long gone to be replaced by glorious countryside and great mountain top views.

There are still reminders of the area's past, not least at the Rhondda Heritage Park, where in the company of an ex miner you embark on an Underground Experience Tour. Find out what life was like for the men (and indeed boys) who worked in the mines.

Up above the valley, the views from the mountain tops are spectacular. There are many walks and routes to follow, not least from the Dare Valley Country Park. Who knows, they might lead to historic sites or hidden waterfalls.

The valley actually stretches all the way up to the Brecon Beacons.  And it is here, in the foothills of the mountains that you will find the tiny village of Penderyn, home to the only whisky distillery in Wales.

They started production here in 2000 and the first bottle was released on St David's Day in 2004. It was the first whisky to be (legally!) produced in Wales since the 19th century. The distillery is situated on a natural spring and it uses this water, to produce the whisky.

The visitor centre opened in 2008 and gives visitors a tour explaining how the distilling process works. Even better, at the end of the tour you get the chance to sample the whisky (or vodka, gin or cream liquor that they also produce).

For more information on this region of Southern Wales, please visit the website.

Gwent Gems

GuardianBlaenau Gwent…or head of the Gwent valleys if you want to know what it means.  Being at the top of these valleys, it comes as no surprise that the area has a number of lofty claims to fame.

It has the highest town in Wales - Brynmawr, standing at 380 metres above sea level.  It is also home to the highest golf course in Wales, with the West Mon course standing at 457 metres.  It also has one of the tallest sculptures in Wales - Six Bell's Guardian memorial towering 20 metres over the village below.

As well as all these giant geographical landmarks, it also an area that celebrates political giants.  Tredegar was the home town to Aneurin Bevan, founder of the NHS.  In fact, the place where he first cut his teeth in politics, Bedwellty House is now open to the public.  Together with the surrounding parkland, it is now one of the most popular attractions in the area.

Other attractions in the area include the Festival Park shopping village and Parc Bryn Bach, a acres of green space, morrland and lake - ideal for all sort of outdoor pursuits.

Click the links to take a look at what else Blaenau Gwent and the surrounding Valleys can offer.

Proms in the Park

Caerphilly CastleGet your flags and streamers ready as the world's largest classical music festival, the Proms come to a spectacular conclusion this Saturday.  Whilst the main celebrations happen at the Royal Albert Hall in London you can join in the fun at the Proms in the Park event which is being held for the first time ever in Caerphilly.

With the town's might castle providing a stunning back-drop the evening's entertainment will feature performances from Wynne Evans and Elin Manahan Thomas and will be presented by the One Show's Alex Jones.  The evening will then culminate in a live TV link up with the main event in London for the rousing finale and a spectacular firework display above the Castle.

The party in the town however will start much earlier with Fringefest - an eclectic mix of music, comedy, entertainment and art.  From midday the streets of Caerphilly will be full of entertainers whilst the towns Castle will throws open it's rather large doors.

For more information on what's going on in Caerphilly this weekend visit their website www.visitcaerphilly.com/events

Get Mashed in Bridgend

They're at it again.  Not content with alternative food festivals (with the amazing collapsing cauliflower sheep) and taking the world record for the number of Elves in one place from New York, the ever imaginative team at Bridgend have come up with yet another weird and wonderful event.  It's called the Bridgend Mash up.

It will take place in the streets of the town centre on 7th May 2011 and essentially mixes (or "mashes") traditional athletics in the streets with contemporary urban street culture. 

Traditional athletics events are leaving the track and heading for the streets with long jumping, pole vaulting, sprinting and middle distance running.  Add into the mix more contemporary pursuits such as BMX, skateboarding and parkour as well as street dancing and a music stage and you have the Bridgend Mash Up.  It will also feature the Bridgend Bombshells, the area's only Roller Derby team (no, I'd never heard of this sport before either, but it looks great fun)

Plenty of entertainment throughout the day to keep you occupied, so for more information and to keep up with any new events added to the programme take a look at their website, facebook page and use #bridgend #mashup hashtags on Twitter

Valleys Essentials

Big Pit National Coal MuseumThe valleys of Southern Wales have long been known for it's wealth of heritage attractions and castles.  But did you know there are so many other attractions, events and other days out for you to experience.

Now, the people of the Valleys Heart and Soul website have come up with a list of the top 50 things to do in their area.   They teamed up with Rough Guide author Mike Parker to create a list of the Top 50 Valleys Essentials.  Included on the list are the must-see heritage attractions, unmissable eateries and events and scenic walks across The Valleys.

Which is your favourite?  Maybe you're a fan of the area's industrial history and therefore Rhondda Heritage Park, Big Pit National Coal Museusm or the World Heritage Site at Blaenavon will get your vote.  Caerphilly Castle is also in the list as is the nearby Llancaiach Fawr Manor House and Merthyr Tydfil's Cyfarthfa Castle Museum.  The Guardian statue at Six Bells near Abertillery is probably the newest attraction featured.

Food and drink lovers maybe tempted to vote for the Blaenavon Cheddar Company or the Penderyn Whiky Distillery.  There's also plenty of choice for outdoor lovers with the Brecon Mountain Railway nominated as well as the Mountain Biking tracks at Cwmcarn.  There are plenty of walks to choose from too including the Taff Trail and the Iron Mountain Trail as well as some slightly more unusual sights, such as the 200 metre long earch sculpture of a horse at Parc Penallta near Ystrad Mynach.

Don't forget to vote, or if you can't see your favourite on the list you can nominate on the website by clicking here

Festival Park Shopping Village

Festival Park Shopping Village in Ebbw Vale is one of two branded designer outlets in Southern Wales.  It is home to over 40 high street shops all under one roof.  Amongst others you will find Nike, M&S and Gap all selling some of their latest goods at discounted prices. 

There's plenty to keep you occupied if shopping is not your thing.  It is situated in a 70 acre parkland setting in the heart of the Southern Wales Valleys.  There are cafes and restaurants to keep you fed and watered and even an owl sanctuary.

And it is also home to the UK's longest super tubing track.  Super what????  Take a look at these: