Pontypridd, or ‘Ponty’ as it is affectionately known, is a pretty University town 12 miles North of Cardiff. Nestled on the banks of the River Taff and surrounded by lush greenery, Pontypridd translates into English as ‘bridge by the Eastern house’, a reference to the wooden bridges that once crossed the river as it meandered through the town.
Visitors to Pontypridd are often struck by its natural beauty and welcoming community. The town has a country feel but boasts an array of amenities, including enough shops, restaurants and leisure activities to keep the locals, student community and visitors busy from dusk ’til dawn. Pontypridd has a surprisingly impressive musical pedigree, including being the birthplace of the Welsh National Anthem and having produced some of Wales’ most famous musicians, most notably Sir Tom Jones himself.
With so much to fit into a visit to this pretty Welsh town, we’ve pulled together our pick of 3 things you need to see in Pontypridd.
Rhondda Heritage Park
Pontypridd underwent an incredible transformation during the Industrial Revolution, becoming a hub of industry and earning the nickname ‘The Wild West’. The town remains fiercely proud of its industrial past, and visitors can immerse themselves in an authentic Welsh mining experience at Rhondda Heritage Park.
Rhondda Heritage Park sits on the former Lewis Merthyr Colliery site, which was established in the 1870s. Visitors can go back in time and head underground to the shafts with their tour guide, an ex-miner whose knowledge and tales help bring the experience to life. With a host of original mining artefacts, a traditional shop and parlour and virtual coal dram, Rhondda Heritage Park is a fascinatingly unique tourist attraction.
World of Groggs
Repeatedly noted as a must-see when visiting Pontypridd, this family run craft shop is a treasure trove of hand sculpted figurines known as ‘Groggs’. Groggs depict celebrities from the worlds of sport, music, cinema and popular culture, as well as animals, dragons and other fun characters!
A fixture in Pontypridd since 1965, the shop and small museum attract visitors from all over the world eager to get their hands on a Grogg before they’re gone – each piece is usually limited to 300 or 500 pieces.
A real jewel in Pontypridd’s crown, Ynysangharad War Memorial Park is a large 13-hectare open space in the centre of Pontypridd. Opened in 1923 as a memorial to the local soldiers who lost their lives during World War I, the park is a tranquil oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Ynysangharad Park is home to the lovingly restored National Lido of Wales, Lido Ponty, which has three pools for visitors of all ages and abilities to enjoy.
For those who prefer to have fun on dry land, the park has a fantastic industrial-themed play area, a bandstand, a sunken garden, football and cricket pitches and tennis courts. With an array of walks through grassland and woods to enjoy and acres of well-maintained lawns, flower beds, and a picturesque lake, the park is ideal for an invigorating run or leisurely stroll.
Various events are hosted throughout the year, including live music, theatre performances, and outdoor cinema screenings during the warmer months, making it an ideal place to experience the local culture.
A mere stone’s throw from the Welsh capital, Pontypridd is very much a destination in its own right. The town invites you to discover the essence of Wales, both past and present, in a setting that will capture your heart and create lasting memories. So, when planning your next trip, include Pontypridd on your itinerary – you won’t be disappointed.