The school year is drawing to a close with weeks of long summer sun (we hope!), lazy days and relaxation ahead.
After that initial burst of timetable freedom, there will be days where you may be thinking; now what can I do today?
We’ve sent Freddie, who has been interning with us this term, out exploring to discover the numerous activities, days out, walks, restaurants and many more things to do in and around Penarth and Cardiff this summer.
Here are his Top Tips…enjoy!
Number 1: Cardiff Bay Beach Festival
Cardiff Bay is one of our favourite places, packed with restaurants, bars and handy boat taxis for a trip out to sea, it also serves as a novel location for our school cross country training. Each summer term though, it truly comes to life as the Beach Festival comes to town. Starting from the 6th July, the festival runs for nine blissful weeks.
Located in Cardiff Bay Barrage, Alexandra Head, the event is the largest so far and will be jam-packed full of entertainment for families, teenagers and children.
From evening films to a big wheel and roller coasters to street food – there is something for everyone.
Number 2: Get Down to the Beach
Rain or shine, there are some fantastic beaches located across the Vale of Glamorgan coastline, with jaw-dropping views.
Whether it’s cartwheels in the sand at local Barry Island Beach with an incredible sandy beach and plentiful ice cream opportunities at the Barry Island Pleasure Park, you might even spot the now cult, comedy classic, cast of Gavin and Stacey preparing for their Christmas special.
A little further along the coast from school, Porthcawl is a Westbourne favourite, boasting several beaches, choose from sand, rocks or pebbles and the waves provide some incredible surf.
The seafront beach is a rocky beach with beautiful waves, which makes it a popular surfing hotspot, but beware of the rocks! Rest Bay is a sandy beach with very decent waves so if you’re not an experienced surfer then Rest Bay is probably best for you.
Arguably the ultimate beach involves a bit of a drive, but with a rich reward. Rhossili Bay, 60 miles from Cardiff, has been named Tripadvisor’s ‘Best beach in the UK’, number 4 in Europe and 9 in the World. It is a sight to behold. With long stretching sandy beaches, cliffs and Worms Head which can be accessed during low tide.
Number 3: Be at One with Nature
This time of year is absolutely perfect for getting back in touch with nature – but this doesn’t mean just animals. There are a whole host of stunning country walks and cycle rides which will pair beautifully with the summer sun.
Margam Country Park,30 minutes outside of Cardiff boasts a whopping 800 acres of the Welsh countryside. There are multiple self-guided routes on offer which are all colour coded, with a handy guide available to purchase from the entrance cabin. Furthermore, all of the hikes have differing lengths and difficulties. Whether it is simply a casual walk after a Sunday lunch or an expedition, it has it all. You may even spot a deer or two along the way!
If you’re not feeling like walking, but rather cycle, then the Castell Coch route is certainly the one to go for. Starting outside the Cardiff Bay Water Activity Centre in Cardiff, this route runs along the Taff Trail following the west bank of the river. It takes you from the heart of the city to the picturesque Castell Coch, which looks out over the village of Tongwynlais. If you fancy hanging up your helmet and taking a break mid-run, head to Tongwynlais’ sole pub the Lewis Arms.
Now, if it is just pure animal nature you are after than Bristol Zoo is always worth considering. Located roughly 25/30 miles away from Cardiff, it is fantastic if you want to get up close and personal with the creatures of the wider world. Bristol Zoo has a strong emphasis on, not only promoting knowledge of nature across the planet but also protecting and breeding endangered species. Usually, the park is open from Monday to Sunday, 9-5pm, but, during the summer months they host ‘Friday Twilights’. This is an after-hours opening which allows you to see the animals at a unique time of day with lots of music and food to go with it.
Number 4: Food Festival Fun
As you would expect from a Capital City, Cardiff is home to an abundance of different cultural, local and commercial cuisine.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy meal from one of the UK’s many national food brands, then St David’s Shopping Centre is host to many, restaurants include: Shake Shake, Nando’s, Wagamama, Zizzi and plenty more.
For alfresco dining, as the summer evenings show their charm then Cardiff Bay comes into its own. Mermaid Quay has plenty of good restaurants, ranging from Sushi to Mexican, bars and live music open all year. Cardiff Bay’s Food Festival makes a welcome return at the start of the Beach Festival, from 5th July, with a wealth of street food and independent food providers popping up outside the stunning Millenium Centre.
Number 5: For wetter days
As is typical with the UK summer, it does tend to have its fair share of rainy days. This section will shed some much needed light on what to do if the weather takes a turn for the worse:
There are plenty of indoor facilities for all ages dotted around the Cardiff area. For example, Cardiff International Pool has an Olympic-sized swimming pool, slides and waterfalls for kids to enjoy.
If getting even more wet really isn’t your thing then there are places such as Hollywood Bowl, Go Karting and Ice Skating which are all viable and super fun alternatives.
Futhermore, the Arts are also on offer. Within in the swanky and modern Wales Millennium Centre, there are numerous opportunities to eat, drink and move on to see a play, opera or music concert. Onsite parking is also available.
If the above information still hasn’t got you excited for summer then these final ideas may spark some interest:
- Horse Riding – lessons for all ages and experiences (Sully Road, Penarth)
- St Fagans National Museum of History – Very recently voted the number one museum in the UK. Bookable courses are also available such as ‘Bat Walks’ and ‘Traditional Bread Making’. (St Fagans, Cardiff).
- Penarth Boat Trips – A perfect and unique way to travel from Penarth to Cardiff Bay (Penarth)
- Techniquest Science Centre – Fun, educational and interesting. Techniquest is the one of the oldest science centres in the UK. Tickets are £8 for Adults and £6.50 for Children. (Cardiff)
- Cardiff Castle – Based in the centre of the city it is an insight into one of Wales’ leading heritage sites. Tickets are £11.50 for Adults and £8.25 for Children
- River Taff (Cardiff) – This river runs through the heart of the city and offers spectaular walks and river cruises.