Recognised as one of the UK's surf hotspots, adored for its long sandy beaches and world-famous Elvis Fest, it's easy to forget that the picture-perfect town is home to friendly streets bursting with fascinating independent shops to discover.
Porthcawl's construction as a town began in the early 19th century when it was decided to build a new harbour to service the expanding coal and iron industries of the South Wales Valleys. A lot has changed since then, now you can treat yourself to fresh Welsh produce from the local deli, or maybe reinvigorate your wardrobe with the season's sharpest apparel from one of the many boutiques dotted around the town.
Rediscover your passion for independent fashion
Head to Well Street, located only moments from the Esplanade, to find The Closet, a boutique shop ideal for finding your new favourite piece from the carefully curated collection of outfits available. If you're looking for luxury jewellery, KoKo's is the best place in town. Offerings include a wide selection of independent jewellery makers, including the owner Sophie's own brand, you will fall in love with the sparkling amethyst rings and delicate floral necklaces. No Porthcawl shopping spree would be complete without a stop at Divine, a home for bright and colourful accessories and the winner of Bridgend's Independent Retailer 2013.
Here, we reduce, re-use and recycle
Not only is Porthcawl a haven for independent shops, but it is also waving the Eco flag with amazing ambitions to make Porthcawl a plastic-free town. In a collaboration between Bridgend County Borough Council, Porthcawl Town Hall and Surfers against Sewage, many of the local businesses across the town are committing to reducing major single-use plastics such as straws, bottles and cutlery - so you can shop with a clean conscious!
Take a break with Welsh cakes and waterside wanderings
There are few smells as pleasant as freshly baked bread and fresh coffee, so take a break after your shopping spree and grab a bite to eat at some of Porthcawl's best foodie break spots. Known locally as an Aladdin's cave of food, Home & Colonial Fine Foods bakes 60% of its produce on-site each day, selling everything from home-made pies to slow-roasted meats. Refuel with one one of their best-selling Welsh cakes and steaming coffee from the iconic Porthcawl Grand Pavilion Cafe which is best enjoyed with seaside views.
Did you know: Porthcawl is only a 40-minute drive to Cardiff, and 32 minutes from Swansea, making it easily accessible for a weekend day trip.
A sweet treat to curve the cravings
Fancy something sweet? Porthcawl is brimming withlocally made with sugary delights. If you are a chocoholic, Maple Confectionery is your heaven. Selling treats for every occasion, find luxury gift boxes, totally edible animals, Welsh goodies and even chocolate pizzas! If you are feeling extravagant, Coffi Co. Choose from moreish creations such as the cookies and cream cappuccino, the curly wurly latte and the chocolate orange hot chocolate.
Step back in time...
The most influential family in the expansion of Porthcawl was the Brogdens from Sale, Manchester. The Brogdens were instrumental in linking Porthcawl to the iron and coal mining communities of the valleys by rail. The Brogden family visualised Porthcawl as a fashionable seaside resort as well as a thriving port for the export of coal. The main shopping area is centred around John street, just a pebbles throw from the esplanade. We now believe John Street is named after John Brogden!
A gift from the heart (and Porthcawl)
Share a bit of Porthcawl with your friends and family back home by seeking out something special from one of the town's gift stores. In addition to its endless selection of sweets, Maple's also offers gifts for everyone, from the coffee lover to the tech wizz.
Decompress with a locally-sourced dinner
Much like the rest of the town, Porthcawl doesn't lack for a range of unique spots to spend the evening enjoying a much-earned dinner and drink. For more-ish Mediterranean dishes, visit Isabella's Brasserie and try a selection of fresh fish, shellfish and meat tapas. Alternatively, head to Dockside Bar and Grill for a high-quality steak, locally sourced from Rosedew Farm in the Vale of Glamorgan and recognised for their superb flavours and tenderness.
For further inspiration and local knowledge on shops, cafes and restaurant throughout Porthcawl, visit Experience Porthcawl at www.experience-porthcawl.com