Recently I realised that it has been four years since we moved here to Cardiff. It feels like so much longer, memories of my home town where I spent the first 22 years of my life are getting a little hazy now. I feel totally at home here and I’m so glad we chose this city to move to. In celebration of this milestone, here are some of the things I love about Cardiff:
- The people. Yes, like anywhere else, you get grumpy people and angry people and generally rude people but on the whole, Cardiff people are friendly, helpful and quite laid back compared to other places. I was in shock when we first moved here and complete strangers kept saying hello to me in the street – nothing like the grumpy silence that was the norm in my home town.
- The Bay. Gorgeous views, lovely places to eat, a wildlife reserve and the Doctor Who Experience. What more could you want?
- Cardiff Castle. Even on a normal day it’s a great place to visit with it’s lovely architecture and stained glass windows. Big occasion days are frequent with lots of fun stuff going on for everyone to enjoy. Plus, owls live there, which just doubles the awesome, in my opinion.
- Shopping arcades. Filled with brilliant little independent shops and cafes, selling everything from board games to ice cream made with liquid nitrogen to liqueurs in pretty bottles, all sold by some of the friendliest shopkeepers I’ve ever come across. I also love the look of the arcades, they’re so wonderfully Victorian.
- The Museums. I was concerned that living further away from London would mean fewer trips to museums. I was totally wrong. In the city centre alone there’s the Cardiff Story Museum and the National Museum. We make frequent visits to both. Slightly further afield there’s St Fagan’s open air museum and Cosmeston medieval village and Techniquest in the Bay (a bit like the Science Museum in London).
- Green Spaces. Cardiff has lots of parks and other outdoor areas. My favourites are Heath Park (for the miniature railways) and Roath Park (for the boating lake and terrapins in the conservatory).
- Great for keeping active. You never seem far from a leisure centre, swimming pool or community centre in this city. My favourite swimming pool is the Cardiff International Pool in Cardiff Bay. For the kids, there are tons of play centres all over the city. If you’re looking for an activity for the whole family, Treetop Adventure Golf is in St David’s shopping centre.
- Christmas. Cardiff city centre turns into a magical place at Christmas time with pretty lights and decorations everywhere, Christmas markets with all sorts of independent businesses selling unique gifts and decorations and plenty of events going on. Cardiff Castle goes particularly Victorian – the Santa’s grotto there is enchanting.
- Independant cafes. From Selah in Llanishen to Cafe Barker in the Castle Arcade, Cardiff is home to so many gorgeous little cafes, each one with a unique feel to it. As a writer, there is nothing I love more than a peaceful hour in a corner of a cafe with my laptop and a big mug of hot chocolate. Simply wonderful.
- Patriotism. No, that is not a dirty word. I know these days it conjures up all kinds of ideas about racism and xenophobia but it doesn’t mean any of that here. The crowds on St David’s day, the support for the Welsh rugby team, the pride of calling such a brilliant city home. I really admire the Welsh for how much they love their country and capital. You’ll now regularly find me cheering at the television at a rugby game!
So there we have it. My ten favourite things about Cardiff. I hope to live here for many years to come and discover lots of other things to love about it.
Did I miss out your favourite things about Cardiff? Do share the love and comment!