Parks and Gardens, Cardiff
Due to its location in the Centre of Cardiff Bute Park contains a lot of historic interest which dates back to Roman and medieval times.
Among these are of course Cardiff Castle, The Animal Wall, the Blackfriars Monastery site and the Gorsedd Stones are just a sample of what this great park has to offer. The whole look of the park owes much to the work carried out by the Bute Estate in the late Victorian era when it was a part of the Castle grounds. It was in 1947 that the then Marquis of Bute presented the park to Cardiff Council
The park is a veritable haven for wildlife with its variety of habitats It is possible to see a great variety of wildlife including Woodpecker’s, Kingfisher’s, Egret’s and Bat’s and of course those cheeky Squirrel’s. The river Taff runs along the edge of the park and provides a great habitat for wildlife. In Autumn, Sea Trout and Salmon can be seen jumping up the weir below the bridge at Blackweir.
Located just northwest of the city centre is the green oasis of Bute Park. This vast area of landscaped flower gardens, lawns and recreation grounds was once a part of the grounds of Cardiff Castle.
The park straddles the River Taff, with footbridges crossing over it. It was landscaped in the 1870s and donated to the city in 1947. It is a lovely place to take a stroll or relax for a while.
Close to one of the main park entrances, just off Castle Road, there is a stone circle, which was erected in 1899. It's not Stone Henge, but worth a look all the same.
There is a wall that runs along the Castle Road side of the park which has sculptured animals sitting on top of it. This 'Animal Wall' became quite famous in the 1930's apparently, when a newspaper cartoon strip brought the animals to life.
Gorsedd Gardens are located opposite of the National Museum. It is a lovely small spot with a few benches, perfect to have a break and relax a little. It also makes a good shortcut if you walk from the city centre to the Civic Centre, to visit the National Museum or see the splendid white buildings and the War Memorial.
The gardens were opened in 1905, when Cardiff was declared a city. They are dominated by a stone circle - not from very old times, though. The stones were used during an Eisteddfod (a traditional poetry and music festival in Wales that is held every year). The Eisteddfod was held in 1899 on the site where the National Museum now stands, and were moved to the gardens when that building was constructed. This is also how the gardens got their name: The Gorsedd is an order of bards connected to the Eisteddfod.
The gardens are also home to the sculpture Girl by Robert Thomas. There are several sculptures and statues by him on Queen Street, but I did not really like them, whereas I really loved this one.
You can see the stones in picture 3 and the sculpture in picture 2.
Bute Park is the huge park that stretches out along the River Taff, from Cardiff Castle all the way to Llandaff. As is obvious, it was named after the Bute family. It is a very nice and green park, with lots of space to do walking or jogging, have a leisurely stroll, sit down and read a book or also do some sightseeing.
In the southern part of the park, there are the Gorsedd Stones, a stone circle from 1899 erected for the Eisteddfod, a national festival where poets and musicians gather.
A little further to the north, you can find the foundations of an old priory. Blackfriars Priory was built in the 13th century and destroyed by the troops of Owain Glyndwr. It was rebuilt later, but then again destroyed during the reformation, so only some stone formations are left.
Even in the beginning of March, Bute Park was a very nice place, and I walked through the park all the way to Llandaff.
Roath Park is by far one of the most popular green spaces in Cardiff. It is situated approximately 2 miles to the North of the City Centre.
It was first opened to the public in 1894 and was created on a former bogland owned by the Marquis of Bute and donated to the City in 1887. The Park today has a wide range of habitats;
In the wildgardens native wild flowers are allowed to flourish, you can smell the wild garlic (Ramsons) as you drive by in the car.
The 30 acre lake is home to many resident wildfowl aswell as some migratory birds, there are four islands at the top of the lake which provide a peaceful haven for nesting birds. There is a lovely path surrounding the lake, this is very popular with walkers, joggers & sunday strollers. At the top of the lake is a lighthouse which was erected in 1915 as a memorial to Captain Scott's ill fated voyage to the Antartic; on top of the lighthouse is a replica of the Terra Nova, the ship he sailed in.
Rowing and pedal boats can be hired from the boatstage during the summer months & there is also a pleasure boat which runs trips around the lake. Next to the boatstage is a small Cafe selling drinks and refreshments.
During the summer months the Cardiff City Council work hard in creating beautiful floral displays on the promenade at the top of the lake. Just below the promenade is a really well equipped childrens play area with plenty of green space around it for playing ball games. Beyond the play area are paths leading to the rose gardens and also a Conservatory which for a nominal fee you can browse around the tropical plants & watch the fish & turtles swimming in a pond. Another feature in this area of the park are the Champion trees - these are the biggest and best of their kind in the UK. Roath Park has 12 Champion trees which are all numbered, during the summer the Park Warden runs a walk to look at the wide variety of Champion trees growing in the Park.
All in all, Roath Park has something to please everyone of all ages, it's definitely one of my favourite places.
The Alexandra Gardens are surrounded by beautiful buildings, as they are located in the middle of the Civic Centre. I went here on a very sunny morning and it was really nice.
This is a very quiet part of Cardiff, and only a very short walk from the National Museum, so it makes for a perfect place for a relaxing break.
The park is dominated by the National War Memorial, a big memorial unveiled in 1928.
I liked the neoclassical style of this memorial, it looks like an old Greek building, and I just think that the white colour is very pure and pretty, especially in sunshine.
In the middle of the memorial there are three statues, a soldier, an airman and a sailor, and above them there is another statue, Victory depicted by the Archangel Michael.
The memorial was first dedicated to the victims of World War One, but like many other memorials was then slightly changed to also be a memorial to the victims of World War Two.
There are several inscriptions given on different parts of the memorial, some are in Latin and some in English, and some of course also in Welsh.
On our way to National Museum of Wales we saw this small beautiful Friary gardens.
The statue that overlooks the gardens and the walls of Cardiff Castle shows John Patrick Crichton Stuart (1847-1900).
He was the 3rd marquess of Bute, a rich, very rich man of that era. His father(John II) was the founder of Cardiff but John III who had great interest in medievalism and architecture and left some great structures behind. He had a lot of money to spend and he cooperated with the architect William Burges(1827-1881) to renovate/restore Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch (a bit outside of Cardiff but really beautiful small castle, check my Off the Beaten path tip)
At the other side of Kingsway Road we saw a much more interesting statue (pic 3) but I didnt find any information about it.
We crossed the street again and we walked into Gorsedd Gardens (pic 4) that date from 1905 just before the opening of City Hall (see next tip). The gardens face the City Hall, the National Museum and the Cardiff Crown Court(pic 5).
Bute Park was given to the people of Cardiff in 1947 on the death of the Earl of Bute.
It is a Park and Arboretum, and has many attractive trees, especially in autumn,It is just beside Cardiff Castle and a well is near the northern wall as well as a bridge crossing a stream.
There are the Gorsedd stones [a stone circle] , Cooper's field and Blackweir Farm.
There are several entrances including North Lodge Gate and Castle Mews Gate. Castle Mews was built between 1874 and 1920. It was originally stables and accommodation for the castle staff, but is now an annex of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
There is a stream running though the park: dock feeder, and the canal follows the line of the mediaeval mill stream which powered the corn mills beneath the west walls of the castle.
The beautiful Bute Park provides Cardiff with greenery in the very centre of the city. Straddling the River Taff, it offers a combination of arboretum, flower gardens, recreation grounds and even some standing stones. Within the park's grounds is the Glamorgan County Cricket Club, Sophia Gardens, the Welsh Institute of Sport and a riding school. The park backs onto a music and drama college so listen out for the sound of strings and oboes as you walk past. Especially busy at weekends, it is also popular with city workers taking a quick lunchtime stroll.
One thing that always impresses me about visiting anywhere in the UK is that their public parks are impeccably maintained.
Roath Park is no exception. I saw this park for the first time on a glorious sunny day in August 2003. It was full of happy, smiling people eating ice cream and was everything that a park is meant to be.
I strolled all around it, drinking in the beauty. It is hard to believe that this sort of natural greenery exists right in the middle of a very busy City centre.
The park is surrounded at every side by beautiful period houses.
There are landscaped gardens and flower beds, a wonderful boating lake with boats available for hire, a seperate kids enclosed boating area (again with boats for hire), and many secluded walkways to be explored.
Returning in April 2011 I see there has been the addition of a bistro type restaurant/cafe. The menu looked great and prices were very reasonable with some meals available for less than £5. There's also a very pretty ice cream stall set up in one of the old buildings in the park. The ice cream is clotted cream based and soooo yummy.
From what I could see, several bus routes accessed this park.
Me? I was happy to stroll, then sit curled up on the grass by the lake with a good book watching the ducks.
Located to the north east of the city, this huge park is Roath's focal point. At one end is an immense boating lake with islands and a floodlit lighthouse - a tribute to Captain Scott who departed for Antarctica from Cardiff. Walking on, you'll come to a garden with scores of different varieties of roses, a tropical conservatory with the most amazing coloured fish and plants, children's play areas, tennis courts, a bowling green and a large recreation ground.
Roath Park stands in a beautiful location at the centre of this busy capital city - a stunning sight at day and night. The park still retains the classic Victorian Park atmosphere where local inhabitants and visitors alike can enjoy their leisure time in many different pursuits.
A visit to Roath park is a must if you have young children and you like flowers. Its few miles outside the capital city and has lovely gardens and large greenhouse housing exotic plants and flowers .
The children can spend hours on the swings and slides, then feed the ducks and swans which are all around the lake, or you could hire a boat and row the family for half hour or so on the water dont forget the picnic..
Among the buildings at the Museum is Fagan?s Castle, a late 16th century manor house generously donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth.
Following a period of conservation work, the ground floor of St Fagans Castle is now open to visitors. The upper floor will remain closed until further notice..
Open all year round except 24/25 December, 10am-5pm, July-September 10am-6pm.
Although we didn’t visit many parks in Cardiff we enjoyed Bute Park a lot.
It’s located in the city centre right next to Cardiff castle (the Animal Wall connects the entrance of the park and the castle).
It was once part of the Castle Grounds but donated to the city in 1947 by the Butes (along with the Cardiff Castle and Sophia Gardens).
There weren’t many people inside but we saw a lot of birds and some squirrels :) The park still has the layout of the Bute’s era but there are a lot of trees that were added after 1947.
We walked a bit along its paths, we saw the famous Gorsedd Stones (they are sandstone blocks that brought here from Penarth in 19th century) that make a typical form of a druidic circle (pic 4).
At the end we walked a bit next to the river Taff (pic 5), there you can find a water bus stop in case you want to visit the Cardiff Bay or Penarth.
Roath park is just a few miles from the centre of Cardiff and with its beautiful gardens and conservatory it is a must to visit and open daily to the public.
The park has a boating lake with many different kinds of birds nesting on and around the lake in spring.
It also has a play area with swings and slides for the children and is worth a visit when in Cardiff.