DIANE AND I have just passed a delightful few days with Micky and Graham, my sister and brother-in-law, in Wales, with a lovely day out at Cardiff Bay.

Europe’s largest waterfront development, formerly known as Tiger Bay, is new territory for me, and I was extremely impressed at the obvious transformation.

2015-07-17 11.07.54We parked by the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, where Roald Dahl was christened. By all accounts, he was named after the explorer Roald Amundsen. There is a dark sense of humour at play here, for close by is a spot dedicated to Sir Robert Falcon Scott, whom Amundsen beat to the South Pole. Scott and members of his British Antarctic Expedition had, of course, aimed to be the first to reach the Pole, setting sail from Cardiff aboard the SS Terra Nova from the Roath Basin on 15 June 2010. Scott’s links with Cardiff are commemorated by a lighthouse erected in 1915 in Roath Park Lake, and a bronze plaque of 1916 on the staircase in City Hall. In June 2003 a commemorative sculpture was unveiled in Cardiff Bay.

2015-07-17 12.19.12The birth of the renewal of the area as a leisure and business hotspot and the founding of the National Assembly for Wales began in the 1990s.

2015-07-17 12.20.57The docklands have since been completely transformed by the Cardiff Barrage, which impounds the Rivers Taff and the Ely to create a massive freshwater lake. The Cardiff Bay Barrage itself is 1.1km long and extends from Cardiff docks in the north to Penarth in the south.
2015-07-17 11.16.08This major civil engineering construction project subsequently led to the impoundment of the Bay that has over 13km of waterfront. It is possible to enjoy a circular walk or bike ride.

2015-07-17 12.34.15We opted to stroll partway round from the Norwegian Church to the impressive Barrage at Penarth, where we hopped on one of the many boats which operate from Mermaid Quay.

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2015-07-17 12.49.44Our knowledgeable skipper ran through a brief history of the area, giving us a song as we disembarked for lunch at Nando’s, one of the many restaurants and cafés which line the pierhead.

2015-07-17 11.12.362015-07-17 11.14.14The Bay is certainly not short on attractions, one of the most popular undoubtedly being the Doctor Who Experience, offering an interactive journey with the Doctor through time and space. By the building which houses the exhibition with its props and artefacts is the World of Boats, complete with a café where we enjoyed a coffee by the water’s edge.

2015-07-17 14.35.472015-07-17 14.36.05Back at Mermaid Quay, we were tempted by the merry-go-round, but after that splendid lunch, our stomachs quite rightly thought the better of it!

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  • All images © Essential Journeys/Michael Cowton