Alexander Park and Around
Penarth has some great gardens and walks, to enjoy the views of the Bristol Channel as far as England and to soak up the sea air.
Probably the main gardens is Alexander Park high on a hill that cascades down to the pier and esplanade below. It is a particularly well kept garden with colourful arrays of flower beds and topiary bushes cut into all sorts of creative shapes, although many of the benches are in dire need of replacement.
The other main gardens in Penarth are Windsor Park and the Italian Gardens along the Esplanade.
A particularly good walk is along the cliff tops from Penarth Head to Lavernock Point, which is a walk over about 4kms
The Captains Wife
The Captains wife pub is ideally positioned overlooking Sully Island - just a few miles down the road from Penarth Town Centre. It is a great looking pub both on the inside and has a stunning beer garden with some great sea views on the outside. We called in here for a drink after visiting the nearby Medieval village at Cosmeston. We were very fortunate to visit on a sunny day and were able to sit outside and enjoy the views. I have eaten here in the past and can recall that the food was of a very high standard. On this occasion we only glanced at the menu which looked very nice indeed.
The pub has some gruesome history behind it, the pub as we see it today was originally Sully House, owned by a captain. Legend has it that when his wife died, her body was kept in a box that was mistaken for treasure and stolen. A small fleet of fishing vessels were located at Swanbridge harbour and it is likely that that the row of cottages, that became the pub, were later the traditional homes of the local fishermen and their families.
Address; Beach Road, Swanbridge, Penarth, CF64 5UG
Modern architecture comes to town
If you ever get tired of the green leafy streets of Penarth, with its many wonderful Victorian seafarers' mansions and beautiful stained-glass windows, then wander along to Raisdale Road. No.6 Raisdale Road is a brave piece of modern architecture by a local architect, Chris Loyn. The small multicoloured house won a design award from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2001. In the middle of a Conservation Area the house was quite an acheivement. What a shame it is hidden by the front wall and forbidding gates!!
Loyn & Co. also designed the new St Donats Arts Centre (see my Barry 'Off the Beaten Track' tip).
DIRECTIONS: To find Raisdale Road climb up the hill west from Penarth Esplanade.
Cosmeston Medieval Village
In 1978 Archaeologists discovered the foundations of this medieval village and have reconstructed it. It is set as it would have been during the Hundred Years War after the Black Death, about 1350..
The buildings are few but well worth visiting. A guide in medieval dress can be had, but we preferred to wander alone , following a printed guide lent at the Centre.
The largest buildings are the Tithe Barn and the Reeve's house. Another house is beside a beehive. Across the road alongside the Reeve's house is a bakery, another barn, and a byre for the pigs . On the village green is the whipping post, the block for branding and cutting off limbs. There are also the village stocks nearby. Beyond the green is the pasture where rare animals [sheep] graze. A large cockerel was also somewhere around.
Some of the doorways are low, so watch your head; and take time to accustom your eyes to the dim light within. The buildings are lit by candles, as would have been the custom at that time. In one house bread was proving, which would then be taken across the street to the bakery where there is an oven. Candles were to be seen langing up to dry. The cooking trivet, utensils, barrels are all authentic.
At the entrance to the village is a small museum with pictures , books, exhibits [sherds , coins, pots etc]
Admission for adults in £3,50, for children and pensioners £2, children under 5 are free,
Open from 11am-4pm November to March
open 11 am to 5pm April to October
Interactive events are held most months.
Incredible View from Penarth Head!
Worth going to Penarth just for the view over Cardiff Bay and the Barrage. On a clear day you can see the whole of (what was) South Glamorgan. And Castell Coch. And as far East as the Severn Bridge to England.
Penarth Head is the highest point in (what was) South Glamorgan, 230 feet of limestone and pink alabaster.
Penarth's St Augustine's Church is nearby.
The French Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley visited Penarth in 1897 and painted from Penarth Head. So you will be in good company!
Best views from Pembroke Terrace - the locals gather here to watch the firework displays in Cardiff Bay.