Rediscover the joy of train travel through the eyes of your kids by heading off on a train from Bridgend. An off-peak return day trip to Cardiff, for example, (less than half an hour each way and around £12 for one adult and two children over five – under fives go free) can be turned into a day’s adventure.

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Merthyr Mawr, Vale of Glamorgan After a scenic drive past thatched cottages, blow the cobwebs away with a two-mile walk to the sea, or sledge down the amazing dunes (including one of the largest dunes in Europe) and picnic on the sand. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the Welsh rugby team training or see a movie being filmed.

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Fountain Road, Tondu CF32 0EH. Tel: 01656 724100 A fantastic place to go cycling or walking, see wildflowers and watch birds in woodlands, wetlands and grasslands. There are some charged facilities. For example you can sample the refreshments in the coffee shop, rent an Explorer Backpack from the Visitor Centre, make a bird-box or sign up for activities such as pond-dipping and bug-hunting.

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St. Bride's Major, CF32 0TF Although the beach is officially called Dunraven Bay, the locals in this county call it Southerndown beach. Whatever you call it, the views will blow your mind.

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Ton Kenfig, Bridgend CF33 4PT. Tel: 01656 743386 Learn to identify birds and plants with the help of the reserve’s rangers and interpretation boards, spot rare orchids and wander round Glamorgan’s largest lake at this stunning Site of Special Scientific Interest.

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Coity, Bridgend CF35 6BH Cross the bridge that spans the dry moat and picnic amid the impressive ruins. Walk in the footsteps of Owain Glyn Dŵr’s besieging army, and see if you can spot which parts of the site date from the twelfth century and which from the fifteenth.

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Bridgend, CF35 5BW Touch hands with the past at this castle-like Norman church which has remained in use for nearly 900 years. Once garrisoned by soldiers and tended by monks, it features a fortified curtain wall, a gatehouse and castellations.

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Picnic amid the castle ruins, prominently situated on a grassy mound overlooking Bridgend. Budding history buffs and architects will appreciate the well-preserved Norman gateway and thick curtain wall and square mural towers, and younger children will enjoy the opportunity to run about in the footsteps of knights and kings like Henry II.

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Nr Bridgend, Bridgend, Vale Of Glamorgan About ten minutes drive from Bridgend near Ogmore, you can explore the castle ruins (often populated by sheep or ponies), then use the stepping stones to cross the River Ewenny at low tide.

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Graig Fawr hillside, Margam, SA13 2TA The monastic trail north of Margam Abbey takes you through heavily wooded slopes behind an Iron Age hill fort to the medieval Chapel of Cryke (also known as Hen Eglwys and Capel Mair). Feed ducks at the fishpond along the way, eat a picnic, and enjoy views across Swansea Bay and Port Talbot.

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Llandow Trading Estate, Cowbridge CF71 7PB. Tel: 01446 795568 Simply Arrive and Drive around the 1,050m track, or join the Race Academy to improve your technique and lap times. Under-eights can join in the fun in a twin-seater, while the single-driver karts reach up to 45 mph.

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