From browsing through the vast shopping arcades of the city centre, to ambling across the stunning beaches of the Heritage Coast or fine dining in one of Cardiff Bay’s fantastic restaurants; the choice of facilities, experiences and wondrous places to visit is endless. With 12 clubs in easy striking distance, golfers are spoilt for choice. Cottrell Park with two 18-hole courses and driving range is just a mile and a half from Lakeside; while The Vale Resort, again with two courses, but also a great restaurant and Wales’s largest Spa, is just three and a half miles away. Alternatively, just 4 miles away, St Fagans, one of Europe’s leading open air museums, invites you to wander, free of charge around Wales from Celtic times to the present day. Its 40 plus re-erected, original buildings set in 100 acres of parkland, undoubtedly deserves its place as Wales’s most popular heritage attraction.
With plenty of way-marked routes for walkers to enjoy, the village and its immediate vicinity offers all that’s needed for the perfect day in the countryside. The terrace at the Sportman’s Rest, just half a mile from home, provides a great place for reflecting on adventures and feasting on hearty portions of local, seasonal produce.
Fantastic city centre shopping lies just 6 miles east of Lakeside but why not begin your adventure in Cardiff Bay. Since the creation of the barrage in 2001 and the resulting 200 hectare freshwater lake, development in the old dockland has rocketed; yachts and the innovative architecture of new hotels, bars, restaurants, shops, galleries, government buildings and an incredible theatre, now lie intermixed with the grand relics of the past.
The Cardiff Bay Barrage Coast Path takes visitors right around the Bay to the Barrage itself and Penarth Marina and offers the perfect place to look across at this vibrant area and city beyond. While there, why not enjoy the great food on offer in one of the two restaurants found in the Old Custom House overlooking Cardiff Bay: La Marina serves a vast array of fresh fish dishes while carnivores will love the fine selection of meats in El Puerto. Don’t miss the opportunity to trundle up the hill and discover Penarth itself. This Victorian Seaside town, with its elegant pier stretching into the Bristol Channel, has a timeless appeal. The Fig Tree Restaurant on The Esplanade offers sea views and yet another great place to dine. From Penarth Barrage take the Water Bus back to Cardiff Bay or into the city centre. A great way to avoid the traffic, the Water Bus ferries commuters and visitors every half an hour, across the vast, fresh water lake and up-river to Sophia Gardens, the large parkland alongside the City’s prominent medieval castle. From here it’s just a short walk through the City to the UK’s largest John Lewis or lunch in Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant.
Just 5 miles west of Lakeside, the picturesque market town of Cowbridge offers a more genteel shopping experience: antique shops, farmers’ markets and real ale pubs give the town a timeless rural appeal, while a vast selection of bars, restaurants and stores full of city chic provide for all needs. With a busy local events diary, from garden festivals to classic open air concerts, it’s worth checking out what’s on before visiting: The Food and Drink Festival of 30th and 31st October is one that shouldn’t be missed! Fresh, locally produced food is guaranteed in most of Cowbridge’s restaurants and Huddarts, a small, family run place on the High Street, with fine food and wine, great atmosphere and friendly service, certainly won’t disappoint. On route back to base, why not call at Llanerch Vineyard, just 3 ½ miles from home and the oldest and largest vineyard in Wales (There are many!) Here, not only can you indulge in their award-winning Cariad Wines but also great food.
Whatever your passion or interest this fascinating part of Wale