From 1893 Henry Oakley created these labyrinthine paths which twist around above and below ground. James Pulham & Son constructed the man-made dark mysterious grottoes, interspersed with caverns into which natural light filters allowing water lilies, fuchsias and begonias to flourish. After WW11 the gardens were neglected, to the extent that the grottoes were earthed up. More recently they have been re-discovered and renovated.
There are ponds, a fountain, a bog garden with an Indian bean tree and giant rhubarb. Magnificent pine trees are dotted about, formal flower beds and fairy signs for children to seek out.
They sell a small selection of plants next to the friendly cafe where our sandwiches were made for us. A lovely day out in an extraordinary setting.
A lovely park with a huge lake to feed the ducks or hire a boat. There’s a great playground for children, lovely rose gardens and an impressive greenhouse. Also in the park is a memorial lighthouse dedicated to Captain Scott, the South Pole explorer, who set sail on his final, ill-fated voyage from Cardiff.
Down between Cardiff Castle and the River Taff is Bute park, an adventure playground of standing stones, ruins and trees. It’s right on the edge of the city centre, and is a great place to take the weight off your feet after some shopping. The park extends north along the river and becomes Sophia Gardens, where you’ll find Glamorgan cricket club’s ground and the Welsh Institute of Sport, and the wide open playing fields of Pontcanna and Llandaff fields.
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