Cardiff - Birthday 2018
For the second time, I celebrated my birthday in the UK, this time in Cardiff. A quick drive through and stop for coffee/dinner on our way back from Mid-Wales a couple of years ago prompted the choice.
Cathedral 64, the hotel, or rather B&B, is one of the best we’ve stayed in, and we’ve stayed in some classy joints this year alone! It’s just a ten minute walk from the small city centre and a few minutes from where to pick up the water taxi that takes your straight to Cardiff bay - the real reason I wanted to come back. This is a fantastic example of regenerated neighbourhood where the stunning Millennium Centre sits alongside a Norwegian Church and as it’s where Dr Who regenerated, there are lots of references to that iconic programme.
We popped here on my actual birthday where as per tradition, (apart from rain in Quebec) I enjoyed the day in glorious sunshine. The Nelson Mandela exhibition was a huge bonus from the late October chill as was a return to Quantum for a coffee.
A shout out to Steak of the Art who served up a fantastic Sunday roast on our first day after we discovered the pub next door had a 45 minute wait and the highly-rated Park Plaza unapologetic and unfriendly staff turned us away without a glimmer of a smile. And we only paid £12.50 - fabulous!
Llandaff (recommended by a fellow guest) is worth a visit and not just for the cathedral which gave us the warmest welcome I’ve ever had from a place of religion. The locals are rightly proud of this piece of heritage as we had a lovely welcome at Jasper’s Tea Rooms afterwards too. We managed to walk there, after a hearty breakfast and through the beautiful Bute Park. As with any park, great for a bit of dog-spotting.
On the way back, we popped into Insole Court, another recommendation from Cathedral 64. We practically had a personal guided tour from the lovely person who greeted us and gave us lots of inside knowledge. What a fantastic building, I’d love to have a gathering there!
We had planned a birthday afternoon tea, giving as my day fell on a Monday and restaurants are often closed, but both of our top choices let us down. Even though we’d contacted in advance to check about booking, Barkers were packed (half-term) and had no tables for the rest of the day at 2pm and Pettigrew also moved the goal posts during the day and could only try and get us a table if we turned up.
So thankfully, Elgano, the place recommended by Cathedral 64 was next door and took bookings so I reverted to the traditional Italian birthday dinner and it was ace! We had a (little drunken) walk in the local neighbourhood and did the usual peak at estate agents and had the ‘could we live here?’ discussion. We bumped into one of the owners on our return to the B&B and of course she offered us a drink again. One of us accepted (not me) a gin & tonic which arrived looking beautifully rose coloured in a huge glass with a bowl of chocolates. I just love this place.
We did get a cream tea during the day at the renowned and friendly Waterloo Tea although this is the one day we managed to miss out on a visit to the institution that is Tim Hortons.
We did on the other days, along with a visit to the excellent Corner Cafe and the Little Man Coffee Co where the drinks were served in lovely cups with a smile but the coffee was a little murky. Still, as this was our last afternoon and we’d checked out, it seemed seeing Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema around the corner was a lovely way to round-off our 3 days in Cardiff.