Situated 22 miles west of Cardiff, the town has a population of around 40,000. Newcastle Castle is located on Newcastle Hill overlooking the town centre and was built in 1106 by William de Londres, one of the legendary Twelve Knights of Glamorgan.
It is one of three castles built in the area at the time as part of the Norman invasion of Wales, the others being Coity Castle and Ogmore Castle. Parts of Coity Castle (located just north-east of Bridgend) were rebuilt following the siege by Owain Glyndwr in 1404-05 and much of the castle dates from the C14th and later; it was abandoned around the C17th and the ruins are now in the care of Cadw.
South-west of the town are the substantial remains of Ogmore Castle; on the south bank of the River Ewenny, it was in use until the C19th including as a court of justice and a prison. Bryngarw Country Park is just a few minutes' drive north of the M4 and has 113 acres of beautiful walks, gardens and woodlands; the River Garw flows through the Park and is fringed by wooded banks and rocky gorges.
A Visitor Centre provides the history of the house and park and throughout the summer months, the Park is alive with a series of events from Shakespeare to opera and from clowns to jazz. Ewenny Pottery is a small pottery that has been run by one family for over eight generations and continues in its tradition of making beautiful hand thrown glazed earthenware pottery for use in the home. Visitors can view the workshop whilst the finished wares are available to purchase in the shop.