I'm going to walk you around my favourite places in Cardiff, in a
methodical way, so you could print/read/walk and see some sights.
You've arrived at Cardiff train/bus station: And Welcome, or "Croeso" to Cardiff!
1. Central Station: Turn Right, walk past taxi rank and, turn right
again, down Penarth Rd, under the railway bridge, turn left at West
Canal Wharf, and you should see Jacobs Antique Centre. (0.2 miles. 4
minute walk). Does what it says on the tin: amazing four floors of
antiques, collectables, trinkets, records, war memorabilia, 60s
furniture, clothes and so on. Open 9.30am - 5pm only on Thursday,
2. Back up on yourself a little, back down Penarth Rd (under railway
bridge). At the end of Penarth Rd, if you see the Marriot hotel head
towards it, crossing to the street opposite. This is Mill Lane, in
itself once a bit of a café quarter, and few interesting shops and
galleries lie around here, but we are continuing on, cross over
Caroline Street (also known as Chippy Lane, the best place for late
night kebab and chips while sat on the floor having lost your shoes
and your mind), do not stop for chips, and just past a church and an
Italian Restaurant is the legendary Spillers Records
The Oldest Record Shop in the World (36, The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1AJ /
0.3 miles - 6 minute walk).
Spillers was possibly one of the reasons I chose to move to Cardiff to
University - I fell in love with the city thanks to places like this.
Still family-run, still passionate about music, still legendary, and
sporadically has amazing acoustic/instore sessions.
3. Come out of the shop - turn to your left, enter your first Cardiff
arcade - its what really makes the city special, and feel free to weave
your way a little around the arcades, however for now, keep in a
straight line as at the end of this arcade is two lovely vintage
clothes shops, one upstairs as you near the exit/entrance to St Mary's
Street (the name escapes me now, but you'll see the curiosities in the
window), then just to the left of the arcade exit/entrance to St Mary's
Street is the newly opened Oxfam Boutique
Its not cheap, but it is designer wear, and there's some amazing finds (and stunning bags and cake stands too).
4. Go out of the Oxfam Boutique and take a right and walk about five minutes up the
large St Mary's Street, till you hit Cardiff's Indoor Market
. It is
mainly fruit, veg, fish, acres of fabrics and crazy fluffy toys, but
upstairs you'll find Kelly's Records
, a must for any vinyl junkie.
5. Out the same way you came in, turn right again, and continue up St
Mary's St (now becoming High Street for pedants), you should be now
seeing the castle before you, in a few paces, and two minutes max, on
your right, you'll hit another arcade, High Street Arcade which joins
Duke Street Arcade, this has great clothes shop Lunacy Boutique
only specialist dance record shop in Cardiff, Catapult
, a fab American
Deli for all your bagel needs, and cool vintage shop, Hobos, plus
plenty of other little delights, like gift shop Nice and a Harp shop!
6. If you haven't wavered too much and you've come out the other end of
the arcade, I'd like you to turn right on St John's Street, follow the
buildings around the church, to Church Street, and there is a nice
little bar for gigs, music and lunch - 10 Feet Tall
7. Left out of 10 Feet Tall, walk down Church Street, cross over, and
to the right is the entrance to Castle Arcade. Down here you'll find
clothes, City Surf, Madame Fromage
, cheap haircuts, Troutmark Books,
and my favourite eaterie Café Minuet or also known as Marchellos after
the eccentric and happy owner chef. The food is the best in Cardiff.
One visit here is a must!
8. At the end of the arcade turn left again, and you'll come to one of
the most important streets for Swn festival: Wombany Street - you'll
know you've got there as Dempsey's Irish Bar is on the corner. Clwb
(Cardiff's leading live music venue), Y Fuwch Goch
, and The City Arms and Model Inn are all here, and all worth a
visit while in Cardiff (sly plug - I'll be DJing Saturday night at Clwb
Ifor Bach with the Vinyl Vendettas
for the big Swn party, last year it
was a melting pot of madness!)
9. Retreat the way you came, unless you fancy a good gawp at the
stadium, (in which instance you can swing round the bottom of the
street and back up Westgate Street), and head across the road towards
the Castle grounds (to the left of the Castle if you are facing it).
Find the big Oak gate and go through into Bute Park, a beautiful place
- do have a wander if you have time - but I want you to walk from the
entrance down to your left - to the Aquabus station. The water taxi is
£3.50, goes every hour, only holds 24 people, so do queue early, and
takes you to Penarth or Cardiff Bay. Both amazing places to visit - are
literally a spit away, and you can get buses back from both really
easily. Or come back on the boat! Go on, have some fun - the Aquabus
If you go to the Bay - see the Norwegian Church, Millenium Centre,
National Assembly building, lots of eateries, Doctor Who/Torchwood
expo/waterfall and techniquest.
If you go to Penarth - check out the lovely old Pier, streets of
charity shops, the art deco building of the Washington Gallery, and
really amazing exhibitions at Ffotogallery, just down the street from
10. Finally a couple of places still in walking distance, and pretty
close to each other, but not in a nice tidy map like route:
: 11 Windsor Place. My weekly gig venue & nicest beer garden in Cardiff.
: 6 Guildford Crescent, Cardiff. Quirky and cool café bar and
location for the big Dim Swn party on Sunday.
Milgi Kitchen Lounge Gallery
: 213 City Road. Café, music venue, comedy,
and art, check out the Yurt in the backyard.
D'Vinyl Records: 4 Mackintosh Place (Off City Road) An Aladin's Cave of Second Hand Records, CDs, DVDs and Books.
Gosh that little lot should keep you busy for at least a day - and do
let me know if you have your own Cardiff corners that I should know
about - cafes/shops/galleries/parks. Feel free to leave a comment.
Hope the map and the route works, happy walking!
BBC Introducing In Wales Swn Gig is held at Chapter Arts Centre,
tomorrow, 22 October, from 8pm, full details here
There's also a great video tour of Cardiff's music venues by Huw Stephens on the Guardian website - take a look