We make many journeys in our life which just take us from A to B. In today’s blog however, I would like to share one with you which is reserved for special occasions. For those times when I have been a very good boy. And it is one which I believe many others will enjoy. What’s more, it is a must for lovers of traditional ales and ‘olde worlde’ pubs.
I am talking about those time warp establishments with undulating stone walls, flagstone floors, black timber beams, thatched roofs and crackling log fires. They are usually hidden away in windy lanes so only people ‘in the know’ are ever able to find them. The perfect places to kick back with a pint and a pie in pursuit of some of life’s simpler pleasures. Reminders of life in an earlier age.
But as with so many traditional, simple pleasures in life, the modern world has conspired to confound.
Most of us don’t live in little country villages where we can simply walk to such places and for very good reasons, driving is not an option. And if you’ve ever tried to get a taxi to drive out to pretty well anywhere I am about to talk about you will know it’s like pulling teeth. If you tap your Uber app it will tell you that your nearest driver is in a different century. So whether by design or accident, it is great to see that Adventure Buses have stepped up and provided us with a solution to this problem. And it only costs £6.90! Or if you have a bus pass – absolutely nothing! Which is my favourite price.
It is something I wrote about a few years ago in my book; Historic Pubs of Wales (published by Candy Jar Books). A bus route that passes through some of the most beautiful and dramatic countryside Wales has to offer. But more importantly, one which trundles past most of the best old pubs in Glamorgan. Today, it has been split across two bus routes, (when I first wrote about it, it was a single route) but none the less, it is a brilliant way of enjoying some of these unique and characterful old pubs, in out of the way places.
So, how do you take advantage of this? First off, if you either visit the Adventure Buss website, or download their App (or even get on a bus and talk to a driver) you will find a ticket available called a “Glamorgan Coaster Day” Ticket. This gives you unlimited travel on the 303 and 304 bus routes for a single day. The 303 runs between Bridgend and Llantwit Major, and the 304 runs between Llantwit Major and Cardiff. And for the middle part of most days, there is an hourly service.
My recommended itinery would be as follows. I would suggest beginning your travels from Bridgend and work your way east. If you do so, these are some of the glorious establishments and landmarks on your route:
- The Coach, Cowbridge Road (winner of numerous good ale awards)
- Bus stop at Ewenny Road, Bridgend (1 minute walk) Catch 303 eastbound to Llantwit Major
- Pass historic Ewenny Pottery and the village of Ewenny with its medieval fortified priory
- The Watermill (Converted water mill – pub/restaurant)
- The Pelican (Pretty vernacular style cottage converted into a pub with nice views)
- The historic remains of Ogmore Castle and the stepping stones over the river Ewenny opposite the pub
- The estuary of the Ogmore, the beach at Ogmore-By-Sea and spectacular views across the Bristol Channel
- The Three Golden Cups (pub with camp site and beer garden)
- Southerndown Beach, Dunraven Castle, Dunraven Bay
- The village of St Brides
- The Farmers Arms
- The village of Wick
- The Star and the Lamb and Flag (Sixteenth century inn)
- The Plough & Harrow (Smugglers inn)
- Remains of a Fourteenth Century Monastic Grange, Monknash Beach
- Nash point lighthouse
- The Horseshoe in Marcross
- St Donats Castle and spectacular views along the Heritage Coast towards the Quantocks
- Llantwit Major church, old town, town square and beach
- The White Hart (sixteenth century inn)
- The Old Swan (Sixteenth century inn)
- The Tudor Tavern (sixteenth century inn)
- The Kings Head
- The White Lion
- Change for the 304 Llantwit Major to Cardiff bus at the station or catch a train from Llantwit Major to either Cardiff or Bridgend.
- The Boverton Castle
- On the 304, between Boverton and St Athan you pass through the middle of the old RAF base in and can see all the planes now at the site awaiting dismantling. Also, Aston Martin and the South Wales Aviation Museum (well worth a visit)
- The Three Horse Shoes (traditional old inn)
- The village of Aberthaw and its nature reserve and remains of old lime works
- The Blue Anchor (established in 1381 – one of our oldest pubs)
- Fontygary beach and camp site
- The Fontygary Inn (where John and Charles Wesley were frequent guests – before it was a pub!)
- If it was me, I would call it a day at Rhoose where there is a railway station. But if you are feeling intrepid, there are numerous more places the 304 passes before it gets to Cardiff. Worthy of note that the last bus from Rhoose to Barry/Cardiff passes the Fontygary Inn at exactly 11.30 (chucking out time). It’s as if it was meant to be.
Now, I am fully aware that I have just listed 17 pubs above. Please do not think that I am advocating drinking in all of them in one day. Some might consider that irresponsible. But rest assured if you were to spread them out across a brace of summer weekends I think it’s fair to say that a good time might be had by all.