There’s been a lot of hype about Cardiff Bay Beach this year – so what’s it all about?
It takes a lot to impress me. Just ask my poor husband. But after visiting Cardiff Bay Beach, I was really impressed. Visiting in the sunshine with my family on launch day, I was proud that Cardiff had created something so innovative and oozing of success on day one. It’s clear that this isn’t a half-baked attempt at a kiddies summer holiday activity, they’ve gone all out produced a quality affair which transforms the Bay.
What is Cardiff Bay Beach?
In it’s third year, Cardiff Bay Beach is set up from now until the end of the school holidays outside the Wales Millennium Centre with a giant sandpit complete with deckchairs, fairground rides, entertainment and a carnival atmosphere. The beach spans the entire breadth of Roald Dahl Plass with 300 tonnes of sand is hauled in – that’s the equivalent weight of around 25 buses. It’s estimated that the beach will attract 250,000 visitors throughout the summer.
What can I do at Cardiff Bay Beach?
Build sandcastles: It was pretty cool to see families lying back in their deck chair, toes in the sand eating fish & chips as if they were genuinely at the seaside.
Take a dip: There’s a shallow swimming pool which gleamed in the sunshine and looked very inviting before it opened on the first day. It’s not huge though so you can definitely see it getting pretty rammed (cue fear of big kids trampling over my tiny little toddler).
Go wild at the fair: The rest of the basin is filled with fairground rides which includes a carousel, Ferris wheel, bumper boats, helter skelter, jungle trampolines, those huge balls you climb in and try to walk on water before falling on your face, a little train ride and a car ride. There’s also the standard hook a duck game, crazy mirrors and what I have to award the best fun house I’ve ever seen – usually these things look a bit lame but this pirate themed one had moving steps, a hamster wheel, bridges and water shots.
Beach games: I didn’t see it on my visit but the beach is also set to feature goalposts and nets for football and volleyball matches and tournaments.
Eat & drink: Food wise, you can grab yourself the likes of burgers, hot dogs and fish & chips at the BBQ grill, treat yourself to a cone or milkshake at the ice-cream parlor or visit a sweet stall that your teeth hurt just by looking at. Want something more? Then the Bay’s plethora of restaurants and cafes await you.
There is a rainbow of slushie drinks for kids and the Tropical Bay Bar for adults – essential if you’re combining hundreds of kids, the school holidays, sunshine (we can hope) and a load of sugar. It’s not the cheapest bar and everything is in obligatory plastic glasses but a good selection of cocktails, wine, beer and spirits. Among the choice was a pint of San Miguel for £4.50, a Pimms for £5 or a frozen cocktails for £6. I was immediately conned into buying an awesomely tacky palm tree cocktail glass – complete with strawberry daiquiri – for £8 on the promise that any refills all summer long were only £5 and guaranteeing my return to capitalise on my investment.
What else: Face painting, games, street entertainment, picnic benches and music with Radio Cardiff. Want to get fit? There’s also beach boot camps every Wednesday in August at 6.30pm.
How much does it cost?
Visiting the beach is free which includes the sandpit and pool. However, if you want to hire a deckchair, it’ll set you back £3. The rides aren’t cheap and can spend a small fortune especially if, like mine, your toddler doesn’t understand the words “four times on the horsies is enough” – and that was on the carousel at £2 a pop.
When is Cardiff Bay Beach open?
The beach is open 10am – 8pm from Sundays to Thursdays and 10am – 10pm Fridays and Saturdays.
What do I need to take to Cardiff Bay Beach?
- Sun cream and hat
- Buckets and spades
- Picnic – if you’re on a budget
- A portable deckchair if you have one
- Lots of money
- Your camera – although you’re not allowed to take pictures at the pool
- Your refillable palm tree cocktail glass
Where can I park?
- Havannah Street car park (by St David’s Hotel), CF10 5SG, £2.50 for 2 hours, £5 for 4 hours
- Pierhead Street car park, CF10 4PH, £2 for two hours on a weekend or £4 for 24,on weekdays it’s £3.50 for 2 hours and £6.50 for 4 hours
- Mermaid Quay car park, CF10 5BZ, £2 for 2 hours, £4 for 4 hours