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An introduction to the town

Penarth is a predominantly Victorian seaside town situated in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales.  With a population of just over 22,000 it is a vibrant and exciting place to live, work and play.  


Penarth lies approximately four miles from Cardiff’s city centre with excellent transport links by rail and by bus.  Many choose to live in Penarth and commute to the city.  Cardiff’s Bay Barrage offers a safe traffic free route for much of the way for those wishing to cycle, scooter or walk.


With five primary schools and two secondary schools Penarth is a popular place to raise a family.  There is also a wonderful Additional Learning Needs secondary school, Ysgol Y Deri, which featured on the BBC’s series “A Special School” in 2020.

In recent years Penarth has featured in many TV series. Its close proximity to several production companies and both the BBC Wales and ITV Cymru headquarters and its variety of mid to late Victorian architecture and coastal and countryside landscapes have made it a natural choice. Series to have been filmed here include cult sci-fi drama Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Torchwood, Gavin and Stacey and His Dark Materials to name but a few.

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With access to many outdoor and some traffic free areas such as the beach, esplanade, cliff tops, railway path and Cosmeston Lakes & Country Park there’s plenty of choice for walkers and joggers.  There are rugby, football, hockey and cricket clubs as well as a monthly Repair Shop, a Ramblers Society and U3A just down the road in the neighbouring village of Sully.

The thriving town centre offers a vast variety of shops from stained glass, gift shops, health food, delicatessens, organic food to the usual high street supermarkets and one of its most recent additions, a zero waste shop within the beautiful Victorian Arcade.

Penarth is lucky enough to have within its boundaries a number of architectural gems from Victorian and Edwardian through to modern buildings.  

These buildings are listed in “ Vale of Glamorgan County Treasures” which contains buildings and structures of special local or historic interest.  They contribute to the environmental and cultural heritage of our town and, although not of national importance, are deserving of preservation.  You can read more about the  County Treasures here.

There are also telephone boxes and post boxes within our town that have this status and in fact, the telephone boxes are listed as being of national importance – the smallest “grade II listed” structures in the town.  You will find them on Clive Place and alongside Belle Vue Park on Albert Road.

Many of Penarth’s buildings from the 1850’s to c1900 were built from local lias limestone which was quarried locally and yellow brick.  After the turn of the century we see more use of red brick during the era of the arts & crafts movement.  By 1930 Penarth had its first reinforced concrete buildings.  Modern architecture and sensitive renovation can all be seen in the town.

We have included an interactive map of Penarth which allows you to delve a little deeper into the history of some of the buildings included in the County Treasures list.  

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