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Springtime in Cardiff: 5 Things We Miss

Updated: May 22, 2020

It has now been five weeks since the last walking tour of Cardiff took place. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has restricted mass gatherings and public travel. As a result, tourism has come to a standstill for everybody, including for us at Fogo's Free Tours. Almost coincidentally, the weather for the last few weeks has been spectacular, and Easter passed in a blaze of sunshine. However, because of Covid-19 there have been no tours, no tourists and no photos like this...

Cardiff Bay free walking tour
Cardiff Bay free walking tour

All this time away from Cardiff city centre in recent weeks, in addition to the glorious weather, has seen missed opportunities. Not just from a business perspective of course, but even in terms of what we are all missing out on. Cardiff in the sun is a beautiful place, a Victorian gem surrounding an iconic castle unmatched across the UK. The time away from the city has led to a time of reflection. What exactly have we missed and what do we miss seeing from the city after the last five weeks away.

1. Spring bloom in Alexandra Gardens

Right about this point in time Alexandra Gardens, in the heart of Cardiff's civic centre, should look like this...

Alexandra Gardens, Cathays Park, Cardiff, in full bloom in Spring
Alexandra Gardens, Cardiff

Already something of a hidden gem in the city anyway, April is potentially peak season for this park, named after Queen Consort Alexandra of King Edward VII. It is already one of our favourite spots on any walking tour of Cardiff anyway, containing interesting war memorials, great photo opportunities containing nature and some of the city's prettiest backdrop buildings, and also plenty of peace and quiet. For a location so close to the centre, it is often forgotten or overlooked, and April is a special time to be there, with blossoms in full bloom.

2. A Walk Through Bute Park

Continuing on the theme of parks and greenery, Cardiff is, perhaps surprisingly, one of the greenest cities in the UK. That may come as a surprise even to visitors more used to Queen St, The Hayes, Mary St and the Principality Stadium. Heading north from Cardiff Castle is a vast landscape of green space, parks and vibrant colours (particularly in Spring and Autumn). As well as Alexandra Gardens there is of course the vast expanse of Bute Park, Roath Park, Sophia Gardens and more. Bute Park, though, is just a real icon of the city; 135 acres in size, seven miles long from Cardiff Castle to Castell Coch, 3,000 different species of tree, 43 Champion Trees that are the biggest of their species in the UK, and named after Cardiff's most famous family. Walking through the many pathways that bisect the trees, open fields and the Taff River, you can feel the history of the city, the Castle's historic families and of course feel that fresh air and the smell of the grass.

The Castle St. entrance to Bute Park in Cardiff.
Entrance to Bute Park, Cardiff

3. The view from Cardiff Castle

Over the last few weeks the clouds have cleared, the storms have disappeared for another year thankfully and the sun has become a regular visitor to south Wales. As a result, the views from the Norman keep of Cardiff Castle have improved. While it may not be the highest point in the city, and the city itself may not have the world's most spectacular skyline. The reason it is such an appealing and unique cityscape is because of the different visuals at every angle. To the south there is the city centre stretching towards Cardiff Bay. To the south-west is the Principality Stadium and the river. To the west and north is Bute Park and its endless trees, and to the east we have North Road, the civic centre, the Kingsway and Queen St. Ultimately it is a vast array of architecture both under our feet within the castle itself and on all sides beyond its walls.