I believe adventure begins on your doorstep and there’s many ways you can experience your home town or city like you would a foreign destination. After all, it’s easy to take for granted all the wonderful places local to us when we pass it day after day.
VISIT MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
When was the last time you visited your local museum or art gallery? I’m lucky that Cardiff has several that are free, including the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagan’s and National Museum. The trouble is you never feel a sense of urgency to return to these places and put it off for another time.
In-fact, until last year I had never stepped foot inside Cardiff Castle or visited the Art Gallery yet they hold so many fascinating stories about where I live. Make it your mission to visit a local museum to learn something new, the vast collection of Medieval and Impressionist art in Cardiff was such a surprise for me.
SHOW A FRIEND AROUND
Showing a friend or family member who’s not familiar with the city is a good incentive to enjoy the sights, as well as revisiting some of your favourite haunts and appreciating it through their eyes.
EXPLORE THE FOOD SCENE
When I holidayed in Rome I tried pizza, pasta and all other typically Italian foods I could get my hands on in Trastevere, so in Cardiff the best way I could eat like a tourist is finding places that offer a truly Welsh experience.
One of the best spots in UK cities is a market and despite suffering from modern lifestyles there’s still an abundance of community spirit to be found here. Cardiff Indoor Market is full of stalls selling Welsh cakes, faggots, laverbread and curry.
EXPERIENCE A GUIDED TOUR
I was invited to join Loving Welsh Food on one of their city tours and thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history and seeing what struck a cord with the rest of the group. The enthusiasm from Joe and Michael from California helped me appreciate the little things that set Cardiff apart from other cities – like the access to green space just minutes from the high street.
The tour also opened my eyes to new places and old favourites in the city, like Wally’s Delicatessen for Welsh produce and The Cottage for locally brewed ales.
JOIN A COMMUNITY GROUP
Other ways to take in the city sights is on a bus tour or joining a walking group. In the past I’ve hosted photowalks with Instagram communities @IgersWales and @TheSouthernCo as it’s a fun way to use my photography passion, meet new people and discover what ideas and places they like. I never knew about Jacob’s Antique Centre or just how amazing the arcade architecture is before I did a photowalk.
VISIT THE TOURISM OFFICE
It’s worth calling in to the tourism office or website and seeing what they can offer you. The £4 Visit Cardiff Visitor card gives you discount in selected restaurants and attractions for one month, and there’s nothing stopping Cardiffians taking full advantage of these savings as well. Similarly the Cardiff Castle Key grants locals free entry for three years for a one off fee of £6.
TAKE THE SCENIC ROUTE
A cycle through the parkland or a river walk are small ways to transform your commute into a mini adventure. For a trip to Cardiff Bay I have swapped the train for a boat from Bute Park, one of the best ways to leave the city centre for an evening by the water.
BOOK AN APARTMENT OR HOTEL
It may seem nonsensical to stay somewhere near your home, but for a special occasion like a birthday, a nearby apartment or hotel may be a refreshing break from routine when you’re short on time. A fellow welsh blogger Pip has shared her experience of staying in a local Cardiff apartment.
Disclosure: My Loving Welsh Food Tour was complimentary, all opinions are my own.