This week’s Tuesday Top Ten is inspired by a new friend. A new friend who I conveniently happen to be taking to one of the places on this list tomorrow night!
Nikki has recently moved to Cardiff, the fair capital in Wales that I have called home for the last 6 (really? That went fast!) years. We were introduced (via Facebook) by my good friend Nat from uni, who worked with Nikki before she moved here. It was a bit like going on a blind date, but hey, if I like Nat and Nikki liked Nat, then we’d probably get on, right?
She’s moved here to be with her Welsh boyf, and I could relate to her situation. While I definitely have some roots here, a lot of my friends left after uni. A lot of the group we hang out with now I’ve met through my other half. Which is by no means a bad thing – I’m proud to call them some of my closest friends – just sometimes it’s nice to have a friend that’s just yours.
It’s kind of cool, showing your city to someone. Telling them about the best bits, the local knowledge, the bits not everyone knows about. It makes you appreciate where you live in a whole new way, and makes you want to grab the opportunity to take your own advice, and visit/see/drink tea at at all the places you recommend!
So this week’s Tuesday Top Ten – my Top Ten things to do in Cardiff!:
1. Cardiff Castle.
This is a great place to start. It took me a couple of years to get round to doing it myself, but now I always recommend it to people who ask what they should do while they’re here. It’s bang in the centre of town, doesn’t take a huge amount of time to get round, you feel like you’re getting a bit of culture, and did you know that Cardiff residents get in free?
An awesome bar / restaurant / exhibition space / indie-tastic snug on City Road. I took some friends here earlier in the year and they loved it. Especially the yurt out the back! The atmosphere is cosy and cool, with incredible flavoursome cocktails and veggie food that I must get round to sampling! Kind of hard when you’ve got a carnivore for a boyfriend…
This is where I’m taking Nikki tomorrow night. Perfectly placed, near enough to town while avoiding the student (read: crappy) part of Cathays. It’s a bit more hip than Milgis – more a place to be seen than to cwtch up in. More great cocktails and come back for the Sunday roasts – ah-may-zing. I was gutted when I found out Race For Life is on a Saturday – I was looking forward to a slap-up meal! (While we’re on the theme of Cool Bars You Won’t Find Elsewhere, try 10 Feet Tall too.)
4. Cheese festival.
This is held in the Castle every September and, err, I’ve never been yet. But in my defence, it’s only really been the last couple of years that I’ve a) started liking cheese and b) had a disposable income that isn’t a student loan! Bit pointless to spend my much-needed loan on cheese when I didn’t like it, right? That’s just cheese logic. Now though, mine’s the stilton-and-cranberry!
5. Bute Park.
The most appropriately-named park ever. I felt so happy once I found this in first year – I know Cardiff’s not a big city, but I had been missing green. We are so lucky to have such an enormous and beautifully-maintained park right in the middle of town. I love taking a magazine and finding some grass to sit on, jogs at dusk, and there’s a sprinkling of excellent pubs and cafes to be found. Try the Mochyn Du (that’s Black Pig in Welsh) when it’s sunny 🙂 . Oh, and Roath Park Lake is somewhere I can often be found, too!
6. The Pot.
If you are Roath Park way, take a detour to this little beauty on Crwys Road. I’ve found other lovely coffee spots in my time here but can never quite shake the feeling I’m cheating on The Pot. It’s also completely what I want my One Day House Kitchen to look like! This was our number 1 choice for treat-ourselves coffee seshes and post-exams stop offs in Uni, and Rob and I spent many hours on the squishy sofa in the window there when he was doing his postgrad. It’s teeny but a real little find – I can’t wait to get to one of their dinner-and-a-movie nights too.
7. Coffee #1 , Wellfield Road
I know, I know, I just said I was cheating on The Pot. But Coffee #1 earnt a special place in my heart at the start of this year. It’s the kind of place you can easily sit for a couple of hours, reading the papers or scribbling in a notebook your one-day-I’ll-finish-it novel. I love the atmosphere – it’s sunny, welcoming friendly, especially in January when you’re boyf’s just moved to Holland and you’re feeling a bit lonely. You can always find a seat and never feel rushed to leave!
8. Bosphorus, Cardiff Bay.
Everyone should visit the Bay when they’re here, but where to eat? This is where I always recommend. I’ve been there twice now and the food is fab, it’s “something different” compared to the other places there (a lot of which are nice, but it’s quite chain-y) and it’s situated on a lovely little pier, so you get gorgeous views over the water. Go in the evening and watch the sun go down. One tiny thing I’ve noticed though – watch out for the weirdly slippy floor!!
9. Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay.
I love this building. It makes me feel proud of Cardiff – and never fails to lift my spirits when I drive past at 6am on my way to our monthly networking event nearby!! I just think the words emblazoned across the front – “In these stones horizons sing”; I studied them as part of my Masters – are so striking, and really quite beautiful. And the windows behind are actually the main Bar – go see a show and look out through the letters. They’ve got Wicked coming next year!
10. Welsh Club
And finally. Ah, Welsh Club. It’s not even called that – it’s Clwb Ifor Bach, but “Welsh Club” to just about everyone. The setting of many fantastic nights out, throughout University and since… If you want a good Cardiff night out, this is where you’ll find it. It’s grimy enough (plus down an alleyway) to feel “cool”, but still music you can’t help but boogie to – indie, motown, cheese – and without any pretentious “nightclubby” attitude. I’ve never been there without hearing “This Charming Man” – the song that will always remind me of this little Womanby St wonder!