Cardiff is a modern, vibrant city with trailblazing architecture and new urban cityscapes. However, it is also home to some truly beautiful parks and gardens. Dotted about the city, these green islands provide wonderful examples of Cardiff’s natural environments, and are well worth a visit.
Relatively small but nevertheless beautiful, the Gorsedd Gardens are situated directly in front of the architectural marvel that is the National Museum of Wales. Gorsedd Gardens contains a number of statues, including several by the Cardiff-born sculptor Sir William Goscombe John. In its early years, this space, just minutes from Cardiff Castle, was referred to as the Druidical Gardens, but the name Gorsedd Gardens was later adopted.
Alexandra Gardens is a rectangular space comprising formal lawns with island flower beds and specimen trees, placed between Edward VII Avenue and Museum Avenue, and surrounded by the buildings of the Civic Centre. It was planned as a formal garden featuring a fountain at its centre, which still stands proudly.
Pontcanna Fields is a well-preserved central urban park that gives the Cardiff area an unusually large amount of open space in the heart of the city. It can be accessed by the beautiful Taff Trail that runs parallel with the River Taff. The magnificent, axial lime avenue forms a very striking feature of the parkland.
This former landfill site has been developed into a wildlife haven in partnership with local groups. Relict estuarine habitat is a major feature of the reserve, but the 13-hectare site also includes woodland, wetland, meadows and ponds providing homes for more than 500 species of wildlife. Amazingly, it is located only 1.5 miles from Cardiff’s city centre.
Located on the banks of the Taff just south of the M4 motorway, Forest Farm is full of surprises. Sections of the former Glamorganshire Canal still survive here and a wide range of habitats including woodland, scrub, hay meadow, ponds and marshland. The Taff Trail runs through the site and to the south is the recently restored Melingriffith Waterpump – a relic of the industrial past of the area.