Penarth, Wales: Top Spots for Broke Travelers

A few of our daily habits have started to point to an inevitable new truth: you live here now, in this foreign country. I’ve stopped carrying a map, my camera lays on the shelf, often forgotten. Jackie and I have developed favorite spots to visit, to hang out, areas to avoid. Since we are in the works of becoming established locals, here’s a list of the best (and for the most part, free) places to check out around Penarth, Wales:

Ocho Lounge, Penarth

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The reclaimed furniture, a couch that engulfs you, and warm colors make anyone feel right at home.
Seating street-side makes it easy to bump into any friends or to meet some new ones.
Seating street-side makes it easy to bump into any friends or to meet some new ones.
Outdoor seating for those sunny days we miss so much!
Outdoor seating for those sunny days we miss so much!

Why is it so good?
-Free wifi
-Great food for reasonable prices, especially the tapas menu and meal deals
-Really friendly staff
-Community book shelf, open for anyone to borrow a copy and happy to adopt used ones (the ones too heavy to make the trek back to the states)
-Garden terrace for patrons to soak up the sun, or get a breath of cool, autumn air
-Welcomes us loungers who need a free place to hang out

Cosmeston Country Park, Penarth

This massive park has two lakes, an interwoven trail system that seems endless, and is easily accessible for all.
This massive park has two lakes, an interwoven trail system that seems endless, and is easily accessible for all.
This wooden carving from an old stump is just one of the cool perks hidden within the park.
This wooden carving from an old stump is just one of the cool perks hidden within the park.
Ivy growing wild!
Ivy growing wild!

Why is it so awesome?
-The trails go one for miles, to walk the entire park would take a few hours at least
-Two gorgeous lakes full of wildlife, including swans and other waterfowl glad to snack on any offering
-Many of the trails run along operating farms, which means anyone can hang out with horses and sheep
-Blackberries grow freely, and are available for picking
-Ivy grows everywhere and creates a green canopy, a photo-op every second of the way
-This park hosts a reconstructed 14th Century MEDIEVAL VILLAGE

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay

The Centre's stunning architecture alone is a sight to see.
The Centre’s stunning architecture alone is a sight to see.
Elaborate woodwork and creating seating arrangements make this theatre one-of-a-kind.
Elaborate woodwork and creating seating arrangements make this theatre one-of-a-kind.
Lord of the Flies, the classic tale of schoolboys abandoning societal norms when they are left on an island, was one of the most recent performances.
Lord of the Flies, the classic tale of schoolboys abandoning societal norms when they are left on an island, was one of the most recent performances.

Why is this theatre a must-see?
-It’s the leading location in Wales for theatre, art, and vocal performances
-The Centre and theatre architecture are AMAZING
-Jackie and I saw Lord of the Flies on Wednesday, and it was an incredible performance by young, mostly local talent that rivals most large theaters in the states
-The gift shop has the most unique souvenirs
-Students tickets are sold at only 10 pounds ($16) for any show on certain nights

Mermaid Quay and the Cardiff Bay Barrage

The barrage has a few historical spots along the way, including this one that imitates sails of the famous Captain Scott's ships.
The barrage has a few historical spots along the way, including this one that imitates sails of the famous Captain Scott’s ships.
The Mermaid Quay at dusk, a beautiful site!
The Mermaid Quay at dusk, a beautiful site!
The free, outdoor gym located on the barrage.
The free, outdoor gym located on the barrage.

What’s so good about it?
-Easy access into downtown Cardiff from Penarth by foot or bike
-The barrage is a gorgeous pathway across the bay, great for an afternoon walk
-There’s a free outdoor gym along the barrage and is flat terrain, great for anyone looking for a free place to workout
-The Dr. Who Experience and BBC Wales are located just after the barrage
-Mermaid Quay (the area on the water near Cardiff) is a cool place to window-shop, people watch and offers a restaurant for any type of food or drink you could crave

Alexandria Park, Penarth

A small terrace and patio surrounded by elaborately trimmed hedges, creating a  leafy work of art.
A small terrace and patio surrounded by elaborately trimmed hedges, creating a leafy work of art.
Grassy areas surrounded by colorful flower beds give a lovely place to relax, read or socialize surrounded by nature.
Grassy areas surrounded by colorful flower beds give a lovely place to relax, read or socialize surrounded by nature.

Another park? Why?
-This park is gorgeous, with trimmed hedges that are reminiscent of the Queen’s gardens in Alice of Wonderland, a view of the ocean, and colorful flowerbeds all over
-The perfect place to bring a book or relax in peaceful silence
-It’s located just above the Penarth Pier and is very close to Penarth city centre, making it a nice resting place from a busy day

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list! It is just a compilation of the sights that Jackie and I have seen thus far. Any to add? Comment, and we will check them out!

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