Heading out during your short stay in Cowbridge, you will find that the town is almost a mini mecca for independent boutique-style shops and distinctively different restaurants
It may only be a small market town in the Vale of Glamorgan, a little south of the M4 and almost awkwardly suspended between Cardiff and Swansea, but people are coming to stay in Cowbridge serviced apartments in their droves. Could it be the popular annual classical, jazz and folk music festival, or perhaps the food and drink festival, both of which brighten the autumn nights in the vale? Could it be the beautiful countryside that surrounds the town, its genteel, sophisticated nature and the fact that, in March 2017, the Sunday Times (no less) named it as the best place in Wales?
Well, the truth of Cowbridge’s success is probably a little more subtle and full of those factors that can create a continuing upward spiral in a town’s fortunes: Good exam results, for instance, a wealth and variety of interesting shops and even a high broadband speed for its relatively rural location have all played a part and, so it is said, has made it the town with the greatest density of resident millionaires in Wales.
Heading out during your short stay in Cowbridge, you will find that the town is almost a mini mecca for independent boutique-style shops and distinctively different restaurants, most found on or near the High Street and on the first part of Eastgate. Arboreal Restaurant on Eastgate gives a balanced menu and is a good spot to visit for breakfast, while The Market Place on the High Street has special event nights with gourmet menus and entertainment that has been known to include the stars of the Welsh National Opera. Bar 44, on the other hand, gives a quintessentially Spanish experience and is great for a night out with a wide array of tapas and Spanish wine, a combination which won the Good Food Guide readers’ restaurant of the year award in 2015.
If you’re looking for a day out in and around Cowbridge while self-catering there, it may be worth starting with the Old Hall Gardens and adjacent Physic Gardens, which lie just off the High Street and by the medieval town wall. Physic Gardens are of particular interest, as they are planted exclusively with plants that were already present in Wales before the 1800s. Again accessed from the main High Street, Cowbridge Museum is – perhaps a little creepily – located in the cells of the town hall, which may in part date back to the 16th century. It’s only open two Saturdays a month, but admission is free.
Finally, even though Cowbridge does itself have much to offer those in business accommodation, it does need to be mentioned that its ‘awkward’ position between Cardiff and Swansea is also a great advantage. About 11 miles from Cardiff, just under 17 miles from Port Talbot and 23 miles from Swansea, sitting on the A48 and not far from the M4, Cowbridge is also just an 18-minute drive from Cardiff Airport. This gives it the status of a very pleasant and somewhat exclusive commuter town.