Despite being a coastal city with an army of seagulls on every corner, Cardiff doesn’t have a proper beach. Not a sandy one anyway, just some mud flats and rocky pebbles. We do have the pleasure of living nestled along an amazing coastline, with epic beaches an easy drive away such as Porthcawl, Barry, and the Gower, but nothing in the immediate vicinity of the city itself. Cardiff Bay Beach is a summer event that is running from July 28th to September 3rd, 2017. It ran in 2016 also and I really hope it’ll be back in 2018. Roald Dahl Pass (next to the Welsh National Opera) is converted into a funfair and beach for the summer!
We headed there with our 4-month-old on a Thursday afternoon. It was certainly bustling, but not packed by any means. As someone who suffers from social anxiety, I deliberately avoided going on a weekend and picked what I thought would be a quiet time of day and didn’t find it too stressful at all. If you get overwhelmed or need a break, the Welsh National Opera is just to the side of it and has a quiet cafe as well as quite a few quite seats indoors, toilets and baby changing facilities. William is a little bit too young to actually do anything yet but we like taking him out where he can see people and other kids and just get used to noise and activity generally – plus of course fresh air is always good!
There are a ton of small rides – way more than I expected actually, including a tiny roller coaster, mini pirate ship, and ghost house! There was also mini water-boating and water-zorbing as well as carousels, helter-skelter, bouncy rope things (sorry I don’t know their technical name!) and a climbing wall. There’s even a swimming pool for kids in one section.
The beach is a fenced off area of clean sand. It was a little damp when we got there as it had been quite wet over the last few days, but being Welsh I have no problems braving a bit of wind and rain in my life. There are loads of deck chairs and plastic chairs which you can use for free! We pulled Williams socks off and had him stand (supported) in the sand. He didn’t seem phased by the feel of it between his toes, but when we sat him down and he grabbed a fist full of it his face turned into one of disgust and horror. Oh my God, what am I touching? What is this? It’s cold and rough and it’s in my hand! Waaahh!! Mummy! Get it off!! Hopefully, he didn’t eat any whilst we weren’t looking.
Whilst that might seem like a bit of a bust, I think that getting used to different feelings is definitely a bit part of life and a bit of baby talk and a cuddle made him forget all about his five-minute trauma. We walked around and looked at the very overpriced gift shop selling tat (including fidget spinners to kids, hmm) and generally just had a relaxing hour. Whilst the actual event is free entry and the beach and chairs are free to use, everything else has a price tag of between £1 and £4. With a number of rides packed into a small space, I think a family could end up racking up quite a bill if they wanted to try everything. If you’re on a budget, bring a picnic and enjoy the beach and the surroundings and you can still enjoy the atmosphere for free but I did think that £4 for a few minutes kids entertainment was quite expensive. Now imagine if you’ve got three kids…
There are also basic food stalls – burgers and chips, slushies and soft drinks and lots of tables to sit at, but as we were about to head to a restaurant we didn’t sample any of the food.
I didn’t really go to a lot of events with children in them before William, dealing with fertility issues and not being able to start a family didn’t really make me want to spend a lot of time with other families, so this was a bit of a new thing for me. I can’t wait until he’s old enough to enjoy events like this, as the kids looked like they were having a fantastic time. It makes me realize how much fun we have in store in the future and how many new things I’m going to get to experience with him.
I’d highly recommend any families heading down for a visit.
After we’d worn the baby out – which admittedly didn’t take long – we headed over to Bill’s to meet friends for an awesome meal. Check out my review!