My Favourite Places in Cardiff & The Vale

My Favourite Places in Cardiff & The Vale.

In a previous post I talked about getting out and about to help ease depression, with this in mind I’ve put together a list of my favourite places to go in Cardiff & The Vale. The best thing being that all these places are free to enjoy!

Insole Court

Growing up attending nearby Llandaff City Primary school meant Insole Court Gardens were always a precious part of my life.  A botanical wonder rich in history, this beautiful Manor House and it’s grounds are the perfect place to regain some clarity.

Charlie enjoying a tasty hot chocolate at The Potting Shed.

Friends of Insole Court have worked tirelessly to breathe life back into the building and thanks to funding it now boasts a completely revamped main building and The Potting Shed cafe. There are also beautiful light spaces to hold meetings with the most wonderful timetable of community classes, courses and events. There’s something for everyone from art classes to baby massage, yoga and drama classes. Insole Court is now blooming like the beautiful flowers it grows.

Penarth Pier

Penarth, a special place that holds deep sentimental value for me. Walking along the pier always brings me peace.Nothing beats the fresh sea air whilst taking in the incredible views across Cardiff. The delicious ice cream and the vintage sweet shop that sells fresh sugared doughnuts are always a hit with the kids (and me!) We have a sort of tradition that whenever it’s a rainy day we come here, park up and eat ice cream in the car (brave, I know) but I’m just glad that my children are making memories like the ones I hold so dearly!


Cosmeston Lakes

Whenever I’m feeling a bit down, I love to come and walk around Cosmeston Lakes. It’s so peaceful and serene, especially at this time of year. A great place to go walking especially if you want to go off the beaten track, but not before you’ve been greeted by the geese! You’ll see plenty of wildlife too! It’s a great place for history too with its very own medieval village, if you’re in to that sort of thing. My favourite thing is the beautiful different coloured dragonfly’s that whizz around, this place is definitely a haven for nature!

Llandaff fields/Bute Park

I come here often to meet my sister, we walk the dogs around from Llandaff fields to bute park and come back to Cafe Castan for a coffee and a bite to eat. It’s a dog friendly cafe so we can relax knowing the dogs are welcome. My dad lived in a street adjacent to Llandaff fields and I have fond memories of scorching hot summers at black weir bridge splashing in and out of the shallow water. The fields would be full of people with their picnic blankets, the smell of a throwaway BBQ never far away. Me and the boys like to walk through the woods and skim stones on the river. It’s a beautiful place full of wonderful wildlife, and it’s right on the doorstep of our city.

Cefn Onn

Another favourite of mine is Cefn Onn. It’s especially beautiful in the autumn. The colours are just so pretty. It’s a little hidden gem in Lisvane that you probably wouldn’t spot it if you didn’t know where it was. Always quiet with the exception of dog walkers but it really is a lovely place to do a quick walk, with a lovely little stream running through and plenty of picnic benches to park your bum and enjoy the lovely views.

Thompson’s Park

Another place with a lot of childhood memories for me. When I was younger my mum decided to have the house renovated so we moved in with my uncle for a while on Radnor road. I loved being there with my uncle and all my cousins but what I loved the most was the park at the end of the street, Thompson’s park. A lot like Cefn Onn, but smaller. The park boasts beautiful flowerbeds and a lovely little lake to feed the ducks. As a kid I loved all the different paths and hiding places, it reminded me of a big secret garden. I still love coming here with the kids, they seem to do exactly what I used to, straight for the trees!

Barry Island

Ah, the home of Gavin & Stacey! I’ve been coming to this beautiful place since there was a Butlins! My dad used to get us in free because he was a fireman. It’s been a firm favourite ever since. Butlins is now long gone but there’s still remnants of the tacky seaside holiday vibe it left behind, and I love it! The fayre, The fresh doughnuts, the 2p slot machines. The feeling of excitement getting my bag of coppers and watching those tickets come out of the machine so I could buy something way under the value of what I spent. It was the best and it still is. I prefer it in the winter when it’s less packed, a hot cup of coffee to warm the hands and a brisk walk in the fresh sea air does me the world of good.


So, there you have it – just a few of my favourite places to visit in Cardiff & The Vale of Glamorgan! If you get the chance, I’d highly recommend giving some of these beautiful places a visit – you won’t be disappointed! 


  1. Andrea Reply

    Love you blogs Laura.
    Your favourite places are also mine along with walks through Cwm George and Salmon’s Leap in Dinas. Keep up the good work lovely xx

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