Monday, 24 February 2014

A Vintage Guide to Cowbridge, South Wales

I love old-fashioned towns where you can have a good potter around for a day.  Here in South Wales we are lucky to have a few such places.  On the weekend I took a trip to Cowbridge, a posh town in 'The Vale' (the Vale of Glamorgan), not far from Cardiff.  It's in a rural location, and surrounding villages are pretty to drive through.

If you are looking for somewhere to take a day trip to, here are my tips on what to see and do in this lovely town.

vintage guide to Cowbridge

Points of Interest
Cowbridge is an historic town that enjoyed somewhat of a heyday in the 13th century, and some of the original town walls are still standing.  Wandering up and down the main street - and diving down side streets - can lead to the discovery of some really beautiful historic buildings.

Take a turn down Town Mill Road (passing 'Happy Days' for some shopping and/or cake later...) and you'll come across a few blue plaques on buildings, indicating their historical significance.  The Physic Garden, a beautiful walled garden dating from the 18th century, is through an enticing doorway in a stone wall, leading to a park beyond with a pond.  If you can resist this and walk further down the road you will pass through the South Gate, a rare Medieval town gate.

Eating & Drinking
Pubs - You might want to try 'The Bear Hotel', my personal favourite.  It does good food, and is fresh, contemporary and light inside.  For a more traditional pub, the Duke of Wellington is opposite.
Delis - The Elephant & Bun, despite the rather odd name, does reliably good deli food including home-made pies and welshcakes.
Cafes - There's quite a selection up and down the main street, including one inside the aforementioned 'Happy Days' as well.
Restaurants - Try Oscars or Bar 44.

If you're after antiques, Cowbridge Antiques is small, but has some rather lovely pieces.  Staff there are friendly.  There's also Havard & Havard that specialises in Welsh country furniture.

Hunting down vintage clothes and homewares is easy in Cowbridge - you'll find it hard to miss 'Happy Days', a sort of sprawling indoors assortment of stalls, including vintage clothes and homewares, next to the church on the same lane as The Physick Garden.  There's also Capel Jones (mainly homewares) just off the main street.

If charity shops are more your thing, then there's a Tenovus and a Dog's Trust, and because it's an affluent area you are likely to come across some good brand names.  On our trip we found brands such as Reiss, See by Chloe, Versace, Boss, Mulberry, Burberry, Pierre Cardin and more.  The population of Cowbridge is also a bit older, and so you can find lots of vintage brooches, handbags and tweed.


Throughout the year there are a few events worth making the trip to Cowbridge for - top of the list has to be the Cowbridge Food & Drink Festival, an established event held every October that has a big draw.  There's also the Cowbridge Book Festival for the more literary minded, that runs events throughout the year.

I hope that's given you a little taster of this lively market town - I certainly think for the vintage lover there's a lot on offer.

Have you ever visited Cowbridge?  What do you look for on a day trip to a new place?


  1. Oh this looks wonderful, bookmarking this page!

    1. Thank you Lisanne (hope I got your name right!) P x

  2. What a splendid sounding charity shop scene. I would just about faint dead away if I walked into a thrift store around these parts (or anywhere for that matter) these days and saw such a beautiful selection of vintage brooches (and had I been in the one where that photo hails from, I would have purchased the banana looking brooch on the bottom row in a heartbeat).

    Great post - this Canadian armchair traveler enjoyed it immensely.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. We are a bit spoilt for choice when it comes to vintage brooches here in the UK Jessica, they're EVERYWHERE!! Glad you enjoyed the armchair travel! P x

  3. Thanks for sharing this, I love visiting little Welsh towns and am yet to visit Cowbridge! x

    Leanne - A Slice of My Life

    1. Definitely worth a visit - it's very pretty on a sunny day! P x

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you lovely, and thanks for stopping by! I like your blog too! P x

  5. Did you resist the brooches? It looks like a pretty town!

    1. I did resist - it was in frugal February after all!! P x

  6. I'd love to visit someday.
    The farthest north of europe i have been is London.
    I adore old cities, they have a charm that the new modern ones lack.

    1. I agree there's certainly a charm to be found in out of the way little places! If you do ever end up visiting, please drop me an email and I can prepare an itinerary for you! Px

  7. This is really interesting to see Cowbridge from another perspective, it's my hometown and I haven't actually visited some of the shops you mentioned, perhaps I should spend more time in my own area! x


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