“January is my favourite month of the year,” said no one. Ever. I mean, come on, it’s bleak. Christmas is over, it’s suddenly extra dark without all the fairy lights and decorations, and everyone’s either on a diet or hibernating in the dark. It’s a depressing time of year. But it doesn’t last forever, thank goodness. A few little pick-me-up’s this time of year can go a long way to fending off the January Blues until Spring comes back around.
▲Go Trampolining at GoAir! If getting fit or starting an exercise routine is top of your list of goals for 2017 then this will ease you right in. GoAir! in Ty Glas is a trampoline park – a whole warehouse full of trampolines to spring and somersault around on to your heart’s content (…or until your legs turn to jelly). Not only is it great fun, but I staggered out of there red-faced and spluttering for air, so it’s a great way of working off all those Terry’s Chocolate Oranges you scoffed for breakfast at Christmas (…oh no wait, that was me).
▲Walk across the Cardiff Bay Barrage. One of my favourite walks. Park up somewhere near Penarth Heights and walk down past the Custom House, over the Barrage and into Cardiff Bay for food or coffee. The walk takes you past the BBC studios, the Doctor Who Experience (which isn’t sticking around for much longer, I’ve heard), the Norwegian Church and the Senedd.
▲Escape Rooms. Instead of staying in and Netflixing it with your mates or your family on a Friday night, why not lock yourself in a room with them instead? There are several Escape Rooms in Cardiff to choose from (Check out my review of Escape Reality here), all with themed rooms in which teams have an hour to solve enough clues and riddles to be able to escape. You’ll either be laughing or arguing by the end of it!
▲Museum Hopping. And there are plenty of Museums in and around Cardiff to hop to. In the centre of Cardiff there’s the National Museum of Wales (free!) and The Cardiff Story in the Old Library (free!). Down the Bay there’s the Pierhead Museum (free!) and Techniquest, and just outside Cardiff there’s also the Museum of Welsh Life – also known as St Fagans (free!).
▲Go Karting. If you’re a fan of classic games like Mario Kart and Crash Bandicoot then why not try the real thing out? I took Sunny Go Karting for his birthday and we had a blast trying to beat each other round the track.
▲Eat! There are so many great places to eat in Cardiff these days, it’s hard to pick a favourite. There’s Hangfire in Barry when I’m feeling extra carnivorous, Joe’s Ice Cream on Wellfield Road when I’m craving ice-cream… Signor Valentinos for Italian food, and Antlers at the Thornhill Farm Shop for tea and cake with a view… As for the rest, I’m still discovering them myself 🙂
▲Chips and 20p Machines at Barry Island. Okay, technically, it’s not in Cardiff – but it’s close enough. I’ve blogged about Barry Island so many times; it’s my favourite place for a walk along the beach. Be sure to stop in at Bay 5 for a hot chocolate, or O’Sheas for Fish and Chips – take in the view from the top of the Barry Eye/High, and cash in your tokens for a Barrybados Mug in one of the Arcades.
▲Go bird watching at Forest Farm. This place is a total secret and one of the best places to get out, walk and watch the birds. Not far from Coryton, Forest Farm sprawls alongside the M4 (though you wouldn’t know it, it’s so quiet), and is a great place to explore on a clear and frosty winter’s day.
▲Explore a Castle. We’re lucky that Wales has more castles than any other country in Europe. Just in and around Cardiff alone there are at least three, and there are even more lurking close by if you cast your net a little wider. Castle Coch (above) will probably always be my favourite, but there’s also Cardiff Castle, Caerphilly Castle and plenty more out in the Vale; like Coity Castle.
▲Catch a Show or Live Music. We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to places to see drama and live music. In the centre there’s St David’s Hall, The Motorpoint Arena, Clwb Ifor Bach, The Sherman Theatre and The Chapter Arts Centre. There’s also the Millenium Centre down the Bay, and the Welsh National Opera. Did I miss anything?
What’s your favourite thing to do to fend off the January Blues?