Our rolling countryside not only looks amazing, but is also the gorgeous setting for farms, market gardens, vineyards and artisan producers.
We caught up with the Norris family who pioneered the revival of viticulture in Wales and established Glyndwr Vineyard back in 1979. Wales’ oldest vineyard has since diversified- producing award-winning wine is just one part of this thriving family business. Manager Louis Norris is as much at home hosting weddings and other private events, as leading vineyard tours and tastings.
“The past year has been extremely busy year behind the scenes. We’ve extended our barn so that we can host larger events, and renovated the two self-catering holiday apartments in the garden cottage. And we also found time to plant another 400 vines”, explained Louis.
Caring for nature is hugely important to the Norris family: the vineyard is home to a menagerie of chickens, ducks, sheep, wild pheasants and, unexpectedly, lamas! On a tour of the vineyard, you get to meet them all, as well as tasting the splendid wines and enjoying a home-cooked lunch.
On the rare occasions that Louis isn’t at Glyndwr Vineyard, he’s probably out with his dog, Jerry. “We love walking up Llanblethian Hill (known locally as Mount Ida), near Cowbridge. St Quentin’s Castle, which is on the hill on the other side of the River Thaw, is another excellent spot with great views. Perfect for a picnic with a bottle of chilled wine”, recommends Louis.
An alternative way of quenching your thirst is with a bottle of something from Vale Cider orchards. Using traditional methods, the Craddock family produce award-winning ciders, juices and vinegar from the 53 apple varieties grown in their orchards. You can get your order delivered to your home, collect it from the orchard or head for their stall at Cowbridge Farmers’ Market.
Held every Saturday from 9am to 1pm, this farmers’ market is foodie heaven. Not only can you select freshly-picked vegetables, stock up on locally-reared meat, and choose a sweet teatime treat, but you can chat to the friendly bunch of people who tend the land, look after the animals, bake the cakes, and much, much more!
Forage, is both a farm shop and a restaurant in a stunning, contemporary building. Much of the produce comes from their own Penllyn Estate Farm, with the remainder sourced locally, where possible. Outside there’s a wooden playground to keep the children happy, and events such as Hog Roasts take place from time to time.
At the Goodsheds in Barry, you’re spoilt for choice and their Shipyard eating area hosts an array of independent food and drink venues including homemade ice cream to Greek and Mexican street food, plus local Craft Beer and Gins - book a table or grab a take out!
Hang Fire Southern Kitchen just across the road, is an award winning restaurant serving authentic US BBQ dishes with warm Welsh hospitality. The owners Samantha and Shauna, travelled across America learning how to create the perfect Southern Style BBQ, which they brought home to Wales.
Now that we’ve whet your appetite for the Vale of Glamorgan, take a look at what else you can see and do here.