The small, pretty South Wales town of Pontypridd was given a much-deserved boost when it was named as one of the top eight towns in the UK at the prestigious ‘Let’s Celebrate Towns’ awards. The town received £20,000 to invest in community projects plus a business aid package.
The ‘Let’s Celebrate Towns’ Awards
The ‘Let’s Celebrate Towns’ Awards are an initiative launched by Visa and the British Retail Consortium designed to celebrate those towns throughout the UK who show a real commitment to helping their local businesses and communities prosper. Applicants were encouraged to showcase the measures they had implemented to support commerce and personal achievement through investment and mentoring programmes.
A panel of judges comprised of leading individuals in business and industry, including Tony Danker, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry, reviewed the applications and selected a ‘Champion’ and ‘Rising Star’ from each part of the UK: Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England. At a glitzy awards ceremony held at the Palace of Westminster in March 2023, Pontypridd was victorious as the Welsh ‘Champion’, with the nearby town of Mountain Ash crowned as the ‘Rising Star’.
Pontypridd – the ‘Champion’ of Wales
Pontypridd, or ‘Ponty’ as the town is affectionately known, scooped the award in recognition of its extensive redevelopment of the area, which has enabled it to adapt to new challenges and thrive in a changing, and sometimes challenging, environment. Specific highlights include its investment in Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, a beautiful green space in the heart of the town and a focal point for the community, and the renovation of numerous properties to create new homes and leisure venues.
Pontypridd’s popularity has been on the rise in recent years, thanks in part to its convenient location just 12 miles north of Cardiff, and its affordable property prices. The town is easily accessible by road and rail, making it an excellent base for those commuting to the Capital for work and from which to explore the delights of South Wales. It’s also made its way onto the radar of visitors seeking a getaway packed with picturesque landscapes, vibrant culture and adventure.
Pontypridd has a long and fascinating history, dating back to Roman times. Visitors can explore the ruins of the Roman fort that once stood in the town, or visit the Pontypridd Museum, which tells the story of the area and its people. The town was a powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution, and its industrial past is brought to life by the Rhondda Heritage Park, a tourist attraction situated on the site of the renowned Lewis Merthyr Colliery. Visitors can experience life as a Welsh Miner, taking a tour of the mining shafts with an ex-miner and riding a virtual coal dram.
Modern day Pontypridd has a lively cultural scene, with an annual calendar packed with festivals and community events. The town is set to host the Welsh National Eisteddfod, a celebration of Welsh culture and tradition, in 2024, with Ynysangharad Park being the focus for most of the festival’s activities and pavilions.
The town is surrounded by stunning countryside, offering plenty of opportunities for walking, cycling, and other outdoor pursuits. The 93 km long Taff Trail, which runs alongside the River Taff from Cardiff to Brecon, cuts through Pontypridd and offers visitors a scenic way to explore the local area.
Pontypridd locals and visitors alike have long been aware of the town’s unique charm and special blend of history, culture and natural beauty. They are delighted that this charming area has now received the recognition it deserves and has been declared one of the UK’s finest towns.