If you’re travelling to Pontypridd or Ponty, as the locals call this beautiful market town, for work or pleasure, the easiest way to get there is via the train. Sink into the comfortable seats, relax with our free onboard Wifi, and stream the latest blockbuster, or catch up with your friends.
Pontypridd, north of the Welsh capital of Cardiff, sits where the River Rhondda merges with the Taff and flows onwards towards the sea. Surrounded by the picturesque river valleys, it derives its name from the Welsh 'bridge by the earthen house'. This refers to the succession of wooden bridges built to cross the River Taff; once each bridge rotted, a new model was born. Proud of its industrial importance as suppliers of coal and iron in the 19th century, Pontypridd’s Museum shows how the industries shaped the region, in terms of landscape, infrastructure, architecture and employment. With fascinating interactive displays and plenty of hands-on experiences, it’s a great place to visit.
Ponty has made its mark on the contemporary world, too, and has appeared on screen countless times. Torchwood, the Dr Who spinoff, Belonging, the popular Welsh drama and favourite of kids everywhere, Fireman Sam all feature Pontypridd in the starring role. But the major claim to fame of this unassuming town is in the music industry.
Sir Thomas John Woodward OBE, born in 1940, has travelled the world, cashing in on his much loved and admired vocal talents. Now known as Tom Jones, the It's Not Unusual singer has sold more than 100 million records and been in the top 40 with in excess of 30 singles. He is often spotted, when not touring the globe, browsing through the boutique market stalls. Showcasing local talents, including skilled silversmiths, bakers and knitters, if you’re after a one-off gift or unique artisan piece, this is the place to be.
If you prefer cute and fluffy, look no further than the Pit Pony Sanctuary. With well-kept fields and plenty of care and attention, needy neddies have the perfect place to spend their days. Pit ponies kept the mines going with their hard work, and were used between the 1750s through to the mid 20th century to haul heavy loads of coal. At the height of their use, in 1915, there were more than 70,000 ponies, donkeys, and mules working in the UK’s mines. Most were well looked after as the success of any mine depended on these hard-working beasts; however, working lives were around 3 - 5 years, while their above-ground cousins would remain in work for around 20 years. The ponies living at the Pit Pony Sanctuary have generally never been underground, but do need some TLC, and if you fall in love with a particular pony, you can sponsor him, or her. This gives you posters, newsletters, photos and cuddly toys, and is a perfect gift for a horse mad girl!
Hop on the train back to Barry Island, and start planning your return visit now with our downloadable app. Allowing access to all our special offers, including discounts on group travel and the flexible Anytime tickets, you’ll love having more in your wallet for your day out.