Cardiff Castle

The lioness watches over Cardiff Castle

Keeping watch over Cardiff – Darren Waters

Cardiff Castle was featured prominently in the news recently. It was the host venue of a dinner at the 2014 NATO Summit held in South Wales in September 2014. It’s a great castle situated right in the centre of the city. The castle has a long history of development from a Roman fort to a Norman castle through to the modern Marquess of Bute incarnation. It has imposing stone walls and a wonderful shell keep in the centre.

Of great interest and held in great affection by the locals is the Animal Wall which was designed by William Burges and built in 1890. The photo shows the lioness which is one of 15 animals that stretch along the wall from the castle tower to the River Taff.

The Castle is well worth a visit and you can even visit the animals for free as you walk along the pavement towards the river. Entrance to Cardiff Castle is quite expensive at ¬£12 for adults. If you do visit make sure you pay the small extra charge for a tour of the Castle itself. It’s well worth it to see some amazing rooms! The tour takes about 50 minutes.

Thanks to Darren Waters for the photo from his Flickr collection. Click on the photo for a better view.

Cardiff Castle is located right in the centre of Cardiff at the west end of the main shopping street of Queen St.

View of the iconic Eisteddfod pavilion

Eisteddfod 2012

Last week we went to the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Llandow, in the Vale of Glamorgan. We were invited as guests of the Principality Building Society which was very nice. ūüôā ¬† The Principality is Wales’ largest mutual building society and is the main sponsor of the National Eisteddfod choral competitions.

The Eisteddfod is a cultural festival and is held annually in Wales. Its location alternates each year between north and south Wales and is normally held at a new site each time. This year Llandow between Cowbridge and Llantwit Major was chosen. read more

Path approaching St Illtud's Church, Llantrithyd

Llantrithyd Church and Manor House

We stopped off today at Llantrithyd Church. It’s situated in the centre of the rural Vale of Glamorgan half way between Cardiff and Cowbridge. It’s off the beaten track along a small lane that runs from Bonvilston through the countryside eventually ending up in Llantwit Major.

The church appears to date from the 1500s and is a beautiful place. The inside of the church is well worth a visit when it’s open – “Here is a massive 16th century family altar tomb dominating the tiny interior. It retains its colourful paint and gilded detailing and shows a man in armour laying next to his wife, both with their hands together in prayer.” – Wales Online
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Ogmore Beach and the view across to Porthcawl

Things to do and where to go in South Wales

One of the most popular pages on this site is my Things to do and where to go in South Wales
page.

South Wales has loads of great places to visit and this page lists just a few places that you may find interesting and entertaining. It’s constantly being updated and checked so it’s worth coming back to again in the future if you’re looking for fresh ideas.

If you want to suggest somewhere else for the page please contact me.  My contact details can be found on the About page.

Penderyn Distillery

View of Penderyn Whisky bottlePenderyn Distillery is one of South Wales’ home-grown successes. The distillery is based in the village of Penderyn just north of Hirwaun and Aberdare.

Penderyn Single Malt Whisky was launched by Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, on 1st March 2004 at St. David’s Hall in Cardiff.  Since then, Wales’ only whisky has become very popular in Wales, and worldwide. read more

Cardiff Armed Forces Day 2010

HMS Kent in the Roath Basin

This weekend Cardiff Bay is buzzing with visitors to the Cardiff Armed Forces Day with a large number of activities planned for the day on Saturday 26th June 2010.

The day is focused around the Roald Dahl basin and the area in front of the Senedd in the Bay.

There will be various displays, shows and static stands.

HMS Kent is also moored in the Roath Basin alongside the Atradius building and it will be possible to have tours around this Type 23 frigate.

Well worth a visit. read more

St. Augustine’s Church, Penarth

We visited St Augustine’s Church in Penarth last week.¬† The church is set high up on the headland between Cardiff Bay and the Bristol Channel.¬† Its prominent position means that it’s clearly visible for miles around.

I see the church almost every day but have never visited it before.  It has stunning views back across the Bay towards the Pierhead building, Mermaid Quay and the city centre, and then on to the hills and mountains north of Cardiff.

The church is pretty impressive, though the graveyard needs a bit of love and attention.
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Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre

We visited the Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre today just south of Brecon.  The centre gives you some background information on the National Park and best of all, as you can see, gives you a great view of Pen y Fan. Pen y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales (886 metres / 2,907 ft above sea-level).

The visitor centre also has some nice tea-rooms with seating outside which is great when it’s sunny – just watch out for the hungry sparrows and chaffinches which pester you for crumbs!

Plenty of car parking if you’re travelling by car though there is a small charge. You can find a location map below.

Cardiff Bay Barrage Art Illusion

A walk across the Cardiff Bay Barrage is a great way to spend a few hours in Cardiff. If you’re in a car then access the barrage from the Penarth end where there’s a large carpark.¬† If you’re on foot then either walk from the Cardiff Bay visitor centre near the Norwegian Church, or catch a boat across the Bay from Mermaid Quay near the National Assembly Senedd building.

There’s lots to see, there are 3 boat locks between the Bay and the sea that operate every 30 minutes.¬† From the sea-ward side of the barrage there’s a great view in clear conditions across to Penarth pier, Flat Holm and Steep Holm and the English coast across the Severn. read more

St Illtud’s Church, Llantwit Major

View of St Illtud's church with a snow covered graveyard

St Illtud's Church - north

St Illtud’s church in Llantwit Major is a remarkable place. A church was first set up here by St Illtud in AD520 when he created the first collegiate church and monastery.

It has often been called “the oldest university in the world”. Llanilltud Fawr became the centre of learning throughout Christian Britain.
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Christmas Travel

winter sceneWith all this bad weather it’s worth highlighting a post I did earlier this year on travel information if you’re travelling by road to, or through, South Wales – http://www.south-wales.org/2009/m4-motorway-traffic-cams/

My Useful South Wales links page also has other travel resources that you may find useful – http://www.south-wales.org/useful-south-wales-links/ especially if you’re travelling by train, coach or plane.

Nice view of Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay

We had a nice walk around Cardiff Bay last weekend just as the sun was setting.  The light was really nice though it was a bit cold for me!

You can see the Pierhead Building to the left, the Senedd next to it and the Atradius building with the sloping roof to the right.

It’s well worth a walk around the Bay and now that the pathway across the Barrage is open you can now walk all the way across to Penarth.

Be warned though that the path gates are closed at 8pm so make sure you are back before then.

Click on the picture for a larger version.

Mumbles and Mumbles Pier

Mumbles Pier

Mumbles Pier

We’ve recently had a few days in Mumbles staying at the excellent Patrick’s With Rooms hotel.¬† Mumbles is a great place to visit – it’s right on the seafront with fantastic views right round Swansea Bay.¬† You can promenade around the Bay for several miles if you wish.

Mumbles Village is great for just spending a few hours – it has lots of little shops, quite a few pubs and great caf√©s and restaurants.¬† There’s a good children’s playground and crazy golf (just opposite Patrick’s) and the kids will love the beach at Bracelet Bay and rock-pools when the tide is out.¬† Note: when the tide is in there’s no beach at all and be warned – the tide comes in quickly here. Check the tides here before you visit. read more

Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve

St David's Hotel, Cardiff Bay from across the Cardiff Bay Wetlands ReserveThe Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve is an area of piece and quiet right in the middle of Cardiff Bay.   It was formed from the salt marshes and mud flats on the edge of the Bay in front of Windsor Esplanade after the bay was permanently flooded.

There was some concern that when the Cardiff Bay barrage was built that the wildlife would all leave but the Wetlands Reserve has proved to be a popular area.

Although totally man-made it has become a haven for birds in the Bay.

It also provides a quiet place to walk or cycle just away from the hustle and bustle of the Bay. read more