It’s been 8 months since I’m living in Cardiff as a volunteer, thanks to an Erasmus+ programme. And during this period, I had time to visit, explore, discover and enjoy this amazing city (and to be honest, I still have a lot of things to do… it’s never-ending to learn about this city and this Welsh region).
If have recently come to live in Cardiff and are keen to discover new activities, places, then this list is made for you!
First of all, let’s be a bit touristic and talk about some places you have to know to visit when the sun shows up:
* Roath Park: it’s a lovely place with a lake and an artificial lighthouse, which makes this place really atypical. You can see some ducks, gooses, swans, and of course squirrels when you walk around the park
* Castles: the Castles in Wales are institutions! Sometimes Wales is called the “castle capital of the world”, it’s not for nothing! Of course, you have to visit Cardiff Castle and buy your Castle Key for £6.50, for 3 years. Then, you can come when you want for free to enjoy this place under the Welsh sun. If I had to recommend another castle to visit, it would be Caerphilly Castle. It’s a really impressive castle, with some ruins and some renovated parts.
* The Arcades: I think these are my favourite spots in Cardiff. Go to the city centre, walk randomly through these arcades and discover some lovely shops and café. Don’t forget to go to the balcony to see these arcades from the first floor, this view is really nice.
Ok, now let’s get serious and talk about pub and party!
* Old Arcade (14 Church St): this pub is in the top 5 of the oldest pubs in Cardiff. It’s a really nice place and the best thing about it is: cheap beer! £2 for a Brains, which is the beer made here in Cardiff. You can’t be more local.
* Beer gardens: looking for a nice beer garden/smoking area to drink a beer outside? I recommend two places: Pen & Wig (1 Park Grove), which it’s a really lovely pub with a cool beer garden, and Porter’s (6 Bute Terrace) with I think the best smoking area in Cardiff with cinema seats, big sofas, and you’re sheltered, so even when it’s raining (which is really “rare” here in Wales) you can enjoy it!
* Tandem night: when you’re a new resident in a new city, you don’t know a lot of people. And this kind of party, “Tandem night”, could be a really good solution to solve this problem. The objective of this event is to meet people from everywhere and to talk another language (it was English for me of course as a French person). It’s really nice and everybody is friendly, so it makes this event interesting and a good occasion to discover new culture/language and make friends. UNA Exchange is doing this kind of event and you can follow their Facebook page to keep you informed.
* The Albany (105 Donald St): it’s a typical and old pub, with a cheap beer where you can also play skittles for free!
I’m French, and of course, for me the food is important, so these are some places I really like to go to eat. Bon appétit!
* Wetherspoon: if you want to eat something cheap and good in atypical places, you have to look for a Wetherspoon. For example, the Prince of Wales (81-83 St Mary St) was a theatre, then a sex cinema before it became a pub.
* Welshcakes: If you want something traditional and made here in Wales, go to the bay and enjoy the view with a delicious welshcake from the shop Fabulous WelshCakes (Bute Street, Mermaid Quay).
* Elmer’s: obviously I wanted to eat a traditional English breakfast when I arrived in Cardiff, and I found this amazing place Elmer’s Café on Crwys Road (number 60). Definitely the best one for me and my 5 housemates who come from all around Europe.
I hope you will enjoy these places, as I have enjoyed them 🙂