We told tha there were dinosaur footprints to be seen in the rocks at Sully. It was quite difficult to find accessto the bach, and then to find the special rocks where the prints can be seen. It was especially interesting for the children.
Since pour visit I have taken other vistors from abroad to see the prints.
When I arrived in Penarth, I first saw this interesting historical building that has been converted into two restaurants, but still has the words Custom House shown at the front.
It is a grade II-listed building, and was once housing the offices of the harbour officials. The architecture is really splendid and I think it bears witness of Penarth's more glorious days as an important harbour.
It was a nice welcome to see this building when I arrived, and just the first of several grand buildings I discovered while walking around the town.
Address: Penarth Marina
An easy way to get from Cardiff to Penarth is to walk across the Barrage. If you are at the waterfront at Cardiff Bay and from the Norwegian Church continue walking, you will get to this large kind of dam that was constructed in the 1990s, when Cardiff Bay (then named Tiger Bay) was totally transformed, and was changed into a large freshwater area - the dam keeps the seawater out. One reason for this was to create a nice waterfront where there would constantly be water, as opposed to the tidal sea that would leave large, unappealing mudflats for half the day.
The pedestrian and cycle way along the barrage was only opened in 2008, so now you can walk or cycle along it and enjoy views of the Bay on one side, and of the open sea on the other side. It is a nice walk, and there is also a playground on the way, as well as a café. Arriving in Penarth, you will first walk past the Custom House, and continuing into the same direction you get to the Marina.
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
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.
Cosmeston Park is about 5 miles from Penarth, on the B4267 road , on the way to Sully. The park is in an area where there were once landfill pits. These have now been turned into lakes , and the area has become a park where there are walks through the tree- lined paths, areas of grass-land and wild flowers, and where water birds nest. There are two walks , one of a mile and a half, and a second more difficult. It was a nice to see so many elderly people walking as couples or with a dog, mothers with their babies in prams, as well as younger people, nature photographers, men with remote contolled model ships, and casual visitors like us. There are paths assigned to dogs, and for horses.
There is a cafe with beverages, cakes and sandwiches all at reasonable prices. There is a shop with nature-related souvenirs. It is here that you get the tickets and guide for the Medieval Village [see separate tip]
On a warm sunny day it is a most enjoyable place to spend a few hours.
Warning: swimming is not permitted as the water is dangerous.
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.