10 Alternative Things to Do in Cardiff
Cardiff is the largest city in Wales and eleventh largest in the entire United Kingdom. It’s one of the most developed places in the region. Deciding how to explore a prominent city can be tough especially with dozens of touristy areas. The best and most authentic way to go about it is to ask a local. And when I did, here are the suggestions I got and ticked off my bucket list one after another.
Go record-diving at Spillers Records
If you’re into music and history, don’t pass up the chance to stop by the oldest record store in the world. Spillers Records has been a Cardiff mainstay since 1894 where phonographs were being sold. Now, it is co-owned by the Todd siblings, Ashli and Grace, who took over from their father. Ashli revealed to The Guardian that plummeting vinyl sales almost caused the store to stop selling vinyl records. But thankfully, vinyl is seeing somewhat of a revival and sales have picked up exponentially in recent years.
Take a stroll down Victorian arcades
Shopping in Cardiff is a little bit different, as it isn’t full of your standard chain stores that you see most places. The city’s shopping centers boasts Victorian architecture, which are representative of the massive wealth brought by their coal industry. You can find most of these buildings along St. Mary Street, where the Royal Arcade— the oldest of its kind—stands. Admire the architecture or go on a full-on shopping spree in one of Cardiff’s Victorian arcades.
Visit macro-heaven at ASBO Hill
As a budding photographer, learning about Asbo Hill sparked a lot of excitement. Formally known as Grangemoor Park, this scenic hill is good practice for macro-photography as it is home to some very interesting organisms. You can train your photographic eye as you really have to watch out for insects, slow worms, and nesting birds. If you’re lucky and fast, you might even be able to photograph a skylark while catching its prey.
Have a fine dining experience near a prison
Did you know that one of Cardiff’s finest restaurants stands next door to a prison? The Clink is run by former and current inmates which helps the process of reintegrating them back into society. The restaurant serves dishes like poached quail eggs, herb-crusted cod, and rhubarb and ginger cheesecake with plum chutney. Not exactly your typical prison food, right?
Have a cocktail in an underground speakeasy
To wash down all the gourmet food, The Dead Canary is a hip and intimate speakeasy which serves an array of interesting drinks. They specialize in drinks inspired by famous people from Wales such as boxer Joe Calzaghe and actor Christian Bale (he was born in Pembrokeshire). If that’s not your thing, Business News Wales reported that the menu also incorporates medieval Welsh mythology. The inspiration was taken from a collection of stories known locally as Mabinogion.
Join the circus
Image credit: NoFit State Circus Facebook
Ever dreamt of joining the circus? Welsh-company NoFit State Circus holds classes for those interested in learning acrobatics, aerial hoop, flying trapeze and other contemporary stunts. Don’t be afraid if you don’t have any experience. Their tagline is ‘Ordinary people doing extraordinary things’ for a reason.
Rummage for keepsakes at Jacob’s Market
If you have an afternoon to spare, visit Jacob’s Market for antiques. It has four floors of vintage furniture, small trinkets, and collectibles that you can take home. Afterwards, stop by the Off the Rails Cafe in the building’s basement for their famous grilled cheese and ham sandwich.
Catch a soccer match
Image credit: Cardiff City FC Facebook
Sports are huge in Cardiff, and there are a lot of sporting venues to show for it. If the city isn’t going wild over a rugby match, they’re flooding the streets wearing Cardiff City jerseys. Catch a soccer match at Cardiff City Stadium, which Ladbrokes states is the second largest stadium in Wales. It is home to the Bluebirds, who have just been promoted to English soccer’s top league. Time your trip during the soccer season, and you’ll get to experience the true thrill of match day in Cardiff.
Go indoor rock climbing
My style of traveling always involves physical activity. Cardiff has pretty decent cycling trails that double as running routes but I was itching for a more adrenaline-pumping experience. That’s when I found Boulders Indoor Climbing Centre which boasts dozens of challenges to solve for avid rock climbers. However, there are also some easy vertical walls perfect for novices. Just bring a pair of socks, pat some chalk onto your hands, and get your climb on!
Catch the sunset at Penarth Pier
Make sure you don’t leave Cardiff without driving down to visit Penarth Pier. It’s located in South Wales, an area that Wicked Good Travel Tips previously described as great for cycling. You can pedal to the Pier and appreciate Victorian architecture built in the 1890’s. It’s still recognized as one of the most beautiful piers in the UK by the National Piers Society. Shoot a time lapse of the sun setting across the Cardiff Bay or simply enjoy the majestic view.
About The Author: WanderfulTreasure is 29-year old citizen of the world. She has been globetrotting since 2014 as a digital nomad, looking for the best places to hike, practice yoga, rock climb, and occasionally have a relaxing cup of coffee. She is currently on a mission to explore Europe, with the UK as her most recent location.