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The local area guide to living in Porthcawl

Porthcawl is a little town in South Wales, located directly on its beautiful coastline. It is just 25 miles from Cardiff and 19 miles from Swansea, and is a highly popular holiday resort as a result. Porthcawl's long promenade, collection of Blue Flag beaches, excellent hotels and golf courses make it an attractive destination.

The town is also known as the site of the ruined Kenfig Castle, which sits in the dunes just behind the town itself. It, and the town around it, was an important stronghold in the Norman times and one of the more important administrative centres in the area. It and the residential buildings around it were abandoned in the late fifteenth century because of the creeping sand dunes, which eventually swallowed and ruined it. Despite this, what still stands today is beautiful in a stark way.

Porthcawl's promenade is a particular highlight of the town. It was constructed in the 1880s as a commemoration to Queen Victoria's Golden Jubillee, and features a huge selection of restaurants, bars and cafes, and has a fantastic atmosphere during the summer months. Porthcawl is also very famous for its seven beaches - Newton Beach, Trecco Bay, Sandy Bay, Seafront Beach, Rest Bay, Pink Bay and Sker Beach.

Information about the local residents

Porthcawl has a population of around 16,005 people, according to the 2011 census, although this obviously swells during the summer as tourists flock to enjoy its beaches.

The town's mean age is 40.7, which is almost exactly the same as the mean age for Wales as a whole, and the median age is 41. Around 18% of the population are over the age of 65, while 21% are under the age of 18. As of the last census, the self-reported states of health were good - 46% of residents said their heath was 'very good' and 30% said 'good'.

Porthcawl's social grade profile is fairly representative of Wales as a whole, if a little lower. 16.5% of households, when judged by the occupation of the main earner, belong to grade AB and 28.2% C1. Around 55% of people belong to the lower two social grades, which is about normal for Wales but higher than the norm for the UK. This is reflected in the proportion of the population who claim some form of benefit - 19.7% do, which is slightly higher than the Welsh rate of 17.4%. However, only 3.3% of people are on Jobseeker's Allowance.

Property ownership, however, is fairly high. 72% of households are owner occupied, of which half are owned outright with no mortgage. Only 10.8% of households are privately rented, and around 15% are designated as social housing which is less than the Welsh average.

Sources: Office for National Statistics & Department for Work & Pensions.

Nearby schools

Porthcawl has 6 schools - 4 primary schools, 1 comprehensive and 1 independent school.

The comprehensive school, which has around 1,500 pupils, has illustrious former acolytes, including Rob Brydon and Ruth Jones. It also performed well under inspection in 2013.

The independent school, St Clare's School, is coeducational and is in the eastern part of the town. It takes children all the way up to 18 and has performed extremely well in terms of exam results.

Getting around

As a tourist destination Porthcawl is equipped with good transport links. By car it is easily reached by the A4229, which connects to the M4 artery road. It also has good bus services, run by First Cymru.

By train, the nearest mainline station is Bridgend railway station (Porthcawl's own station closed in the 1960s) and it offers direct connections to all major nearby towns and cities.

Local shops

Porthcawl has a range of different shops, both chain-owned and independent, to suit different shoppers.

It is best known for its small gift and artisan stores, which offer all kinds of beautiful and interesting trinkets, but it also has some excellent book stores, antique shops, and fashionable clothing outlets.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.