I’ve always wanted to visit Wales to see the Lloyd side of my family, and with the addition of Talley when I married Clinton it was basically inevitable! While Emily and I visited Cardiff Castle as a day trip to see the landscape, I did try to take an extra look for anything that may give me more information about the Talleys. While I didn’t find really anything, I did actually find a key-chain with the name! That is pretty rare!
Cardiff Castle is a medieval castle located in the city center of Cardiff, Wales. The trip from London took a little bit of navigation as we had to take a 3 hour one way bus, but it was not difficult to purchase only a few days ahead of time for pretty inexpensive. The bus station was confusing to find because London does not like to label the difference between a bus, rail, or subway (at least to the average visitor) but we managed! Exiting from the city center stop is only a short walk to Cardiff Castle and the actual city center. We looked up a few places to visit while we were in town and settled on The Alchemist, a cute restaurant not for it’s Welsh food but for its unique flare and amazing drinks. We walked around the town for a few hours before heading back to London. A highly recommend a day trip if that is the only time you have left to visit the country! The bus was extremely easy – once we found the location, finding the correct bus line was very easy and our driver was friendly. We had a nice basic seat with room for our legs to stretch and baggage to be placed above our head. The bus wasn’t full so we were able to stretch out a bit, which was nice for such a long trip back and forth. It was also nice to have someone else drive since by then we were kinda over driving around England and Scotland. Cardiff Castle does charge a fee but it is well worth the price. Of all castles I have to admit – Cardiff was one of my favorites. Not only was it open to the public to view without problems (I felt in London it was rather difficult and not easy if you didn’t play it ahead of time) but there was so much history to view I doubt we learned it all. We paid extra for a historic tour and learned a lot – another thing I recommend spending a little bit extra on!
One of the most interesting things I learned was about the 4th Marquess of Bute, who inherited the castle early in the 20th century. The vast wealth is on display throughout the house – in one room there is paint that is actually gold! The Marquess of Bute was extremely religious, which is evident is the design of the house such as the Roof Top Garden. This area has both an open “roof” as well as a shallow step down into an area that would fill up during the wet season but still allow for meditation in a lovely garden. The bedrooms are breathtaking with their hand painted portraits and paintings, mostly of religious figures from the Bible. By the time World War II started most of the land was either commercialized or nationalized until little was left of the castle. Extensive air raid shelters were built in the walls and when you visit, you can walk through them to get a sense of what it would be like to walk around them in the modern era. When the Marquess died the castle was left to the citizens of Cardiff, who are able to enter the public land free to charge as long as they remain a resident of the city.
We didn’t have a lot of time left over after touring Cardiff Castle, not enough at least to travel further than about a mile on foot around the immediate area. We walked through Bute Park, which was very quaint and beautiful. Surrounded by the city of Cardiff, it reminded me of Baltimore and Patterson Park. You could easily disappear into the park even though if you took a minute to think about it, there was traffic and city noises all around you. They did a great job of removing that atmosphere. We stopped at a little cafe where I got tea (I tried to order that as much as possible, and discovered I like it with milk. Who knew?). It was different than the cafes I was use to in the Netherlands and Germany but I was trying to get use to it. Instead of a variety of breads and cheeses it was mostly teas and coffees juices. Sandwiches were big, but for some reason only flavors that I knew for sure I liked I actually liked – experimenting was hard. I didn’t like the reliance on mayo or fish and chips (super disappointing, I thought it was something I’d like!) but overall I’m glad I tried all the things I did during our travels. I drank a lot of juice smoothies so I didn’t get sick since I didn’t feel like I ate a lot food with substance, and we tried to remind each other daily to eat because there didn’t seem to be much of a variety with restaurants! I digress…Bute Park was a nice, close diversion from the city and a nice walk through nature. The tea was great! 🙂
This post ends the travels of #CuzUK but we hope you enjoyed the ride along the way! Traveling is stressful, logistically difficult at times, and complex. But it is overall enjoyable, breathtaking, and amazing…and worth it. Be smart, but don’t let simple things or the fear of travel stop you from taking the leap for adventures. I hope this blog encourages you to think outside the box and keep traveling!