Top 10 free places to enjoy the sun in Cardiff
We've had such a brilliant and sunny May Day bank holiday here in Cardiff that it would have been a shame to miss it. If you were away for the week-end you also missed the Celebration parade for Championship winners Cardiff City Football Club, which toured the city from the castle to Cardiff Bay where the evening ended with fireworks.
At Capital Properties we have decided to get ready for a nice spring and summer and we’d like to share with you our top 10 best spots to enjoy the sun for free.
1) Cardiff Castle
If you’re renting in Cardiff, then like all Cardiff inhabitants you can ask for the key to the castle and enter the castle and grounds for free whenever you want - during opening hours of course. If you’re a student in Cardiff then ask for your key while you’re studying, and remember that the key is valid for 3 years so try and make the most of it! You have access to the basic (audio-)guided tour with the key, but you will have to pay to take part in special events like the Victorian Day on 18th May, Joust on 22nd-23rd June or Battle Royal on 31st August and 1st September.
A free event to come in Cardiff Castle is the Tafwyl Festival on 15th June which celebrates and promotes all things Welsh: language, produce, music, literature and so on. The festival lasts a week but only one day will take place in the castle itself.
2) Bute Park
It’s hard to live in Cardiff, especially in Cardiff centre, without noticing this gigantic park located right beside Cardiff castle. Bute Park is flanked by the river Taff and a few other green spaces, namely Sophia gardens, Llandaff Fields and Pontcanna Fields which is just behind the Cricket Club. If you like flowers and squirrels and enjoy being close to the water, Bute Park is the perfect place for you. The river brings some freshness to the place and trees give you shade: perfect for a picnic. Also, if you like running or cycling you can start in Bute Park and follow the Taff trail, northbound towards Llandaff or southbound towards the Bay.
3) Roath Park
Roath Park is opposite Heath Park, between the University Hospital of Wales and the Cardiff Metropolitan University. What we love about Roath Park is the beautiful lake which brings a special quiet atmosphere - and wildlife! - to the busy centre of Cardiff. The park has a Victorian feel to it, with a Victorian glass house - home to tropical plants - and its famous landmark, the lighthouse dating back to 1910. After a nice picnic in the park, for a small fee you can also enjoy fishing or boating on the water.
4) Cathays Park – Alexandra Gardens
Cathays Park, which is undoubtedly smaller than Bute Park and Roath Park, stands right behind Cardiff City Hall and it’s a great place to rest after spending a couple hours or more visiting (for free) the National Museum Cardiff. We especially love the floral arrangements of Alexandra Gardens with the beautiful Welsh National War Memorial.
5) Cardiff Bay
Cardiff Bay is home to the Millennium Centre and Torchwood fans will undoubtedly recognise Roald Dahl Plass and in particular the Water Tower. Mermaid Quay is the vibrant heart of the Bay, full of restaurants and shops, and we advise you to go get an ice cream at Cadwaladers if you’re in the area. The Bay, or Atlantic Wharf to be precise, should also soon welcome a Wakeboarding Park. In the meantime you can enjoy the brand new indoor surfing facility at the White Water Centre, for a fee.
6) Cardiff Barrage
Cardiff Barrage links Cardiff Bay to Penarth. You can access the barrage from behind the Dr Who Experience in the Bay and the path will bring you all the way to Penarth Marina, with beautiful views over the River Taff, the Bay and the Bristol Channel. It’s a great walk on a sunny day, but remember to bring a hat and some water to keep hydrated, as there isn’t much shade on the way to the barrage.
7) St Fagans National History Museum
St Fagans is a free open air National History Museum, retracing the life of our ancestors from Celtic times to the early 1900s. You can see demonstrations by traditional craftsmen such as a clog maker and a blacksmith, enter staring competitions with the cows and other livestock living there or buy the finest Welsh foods in the 1880 Gwalia stores. You can also visit the castle - a 16th century manor to be precise - and rest in the castle gardens and grounds, or simply walk around the 100-acre parkland.
8) Cosmeston Medieval Village
Cosmeston Medieval Village and Lakes Country Park lie south of Penarth, about 7 miles from Cathays and Roath. You can walk through the reconstruction of the medieval village, which is set in the year 1350, and enjoy the trip into the past. The Lakes Country Park nearby gives you 100 hectares of woodlands, lakes and meadows to make the most of a sunny day.
9) Barry Island and Whitmore Bay
Barry is a bit like the South of France of Cardiff. It has the closest sand beach to the capital of Wales and is absolutely delightful when the sun shines. Walk in the steps of Gavin and Stacey and find a gazillion of the series goodies in the shops surrounding the beach. Main attractions in Barry Island are the Pleasure Park, the slot machines, the beach, and if you want to do some tourism or prefer pebbles to sand you’ll enjoy the Roman Villa and its pebble beach.
10) Caerphilly Castle
Where there’s a castle, there are castle grounds. Well, most of the time. It is true of Caerphilly Castle which boasts a nice moat filled with water and grounds ready to welcome you for a nice picnic. It’s always great to feed the ducks, walk around the Castle - you need to pay to enter but it is worth the money - and to enjoy this amazing view during a picnic or a day out. Wales has plenty of castles, let’s make the most of it!
If you’re not a Cardiff resident yet and would like to become one, contact us and we’ll make it happen!