24 hours in Pontcanna – Cardiff’s urban village
Pontcanna Fields

Pontcanna is well known as one of of the most desirable areas of Cardiff.

With the hustle buslte of city centre just a mile away, it’s hard to believe that this city suburb can have such a close-knit community vibe, but there’s a reason why these leafy streets are known as Cardiff’s ‘urban village’.

Local blogger and Pontcanna resident Jane Cook has put together a list of things to check out in this cosy district if you ever visit, to help you make the most of all there is to see, eat and do.

Take your morning coffee with a view

Perched on the edge of Llandaff fields, sits Cafe Castan, a homely little cafe serving freshly ground coffees and a simple but tasty menu of panninis, jacket potatoes and cakes. There’s provide plenty of inside and outside seating, both with great views of the park. Grab a latte to go and take a morning stroll through the fields while you wait for the caffeine to work its magic!

5 Cathedral Rd, Llandaff Fields, Pontcanna, Cardiff CF11 9QJ, www.cafecastan.co.uk

Ride a horse through a park

At the top of Pontcanna fields (which are conveniently adjacent to Llandaff fields) sits Cardiff Riding School, a council-run facility that boasts both indoor and outdoor facilities and can accommodate riders of all ages and abilities. It’s hard to believe that a forty horse riding school could exist in what is essentially still the city centre; but this location next to the meandering river Taff, plus the accessible pricing, is what makes this place so special. A half hour group lesson costs from £9.15 per person, including helmet hire.

Fields Park Road, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF5 2AX, www.cardiff.gov.uk

Indulge in a pamper session

This boutique hair and beauty salon based in a terraced Victorian townhouse is as gorgeous from the outside as it is on the inside, and is a one-stop-shop for those in need of a touch of luxury. As well as a full list of hair styling services, guests can also choose from a selection of waxing, nail, and Elemis beauty treatments, or simply relax with a hot stone massage. Apparently it’s even popular with the well-groomed lads of Cardiff too.

113 Cathedral Rd, Cardiff, CF11 9PH, www.belletoujours.co.uk

Catch a play over lunch

This ambitious multi-artform centre was founded by local artists over 40 years ago, and these days manages to mix hard-hitting drama and performance art with family shows, comedy and arty cinema. There’s also a fully stocked bar and restaurant on site, serving craft beers and local, seasonl produce. There is fierce debate about whether or not Chapter actually sits in ‘posh’ Pontcanna, or within the bosom of nearby Canton, but with less than a few hundred yards making all of the difference, who really cares?

Market Road, Cardiff CF5 1QE, www.chapter.org

Visit a local microbrewery

Pipes Brewery is based in a tiny headquarters in Pontcanna, at the end of a little lane on a residential street. Known locally for brewing some of the most unique and least known beer styles from all over the globe, their bottles are now available in independent bars and restaurants all over the capital. For the real Pipes experience, head to one of their ‘Bar Open’ days once a month, when the mini-brewery opens it shutters and fills the courtyard outside with tables, chairs, and thirsty drinkers.

183A Kings Rd, Pontcanna, Cardiff CF11 9DF, www.pipesbeer.co.uk 

Play skittles in a pub

Right at the top of leafy Cathedral Road sits this Brains Brewery pub, The Halfway, with a name which is rumoured to reference the fact that the pub is halfway between Llandaff Cathedral and Cardiff Castle. Inside, it has all the usual features of a traditional pub, but what makes it different is the old-school skittle alley, which is also available for private hire and group functions – great for working up an appetite before dinner!

247 Cathedral Rd, Cardiff, South Glamorgan CF11 9PP, www.sabrain.com/halfway

Eat in an award-winning restaurant

Over the last 15 years, Bully’s has developed a reputation as one of Cardiff’s hidden treasures. Crowned 2014-15 winner of the AA Welsh restaurant of the year, it offers a fusion of Welsh produce and French cuisine in a relaxed and eclectic dining room. The two-course Sunday dinner (£16) is especially good value; highlights include a delicate smoked duck breast starter and generous portion of topside Welsh beef for the main course. Regular ‘gourmet evenings’ also offer wines matched to seven courses.

5 Romilly Crescent, Cardiff, CF11 9NP, www.bullysrestaurant.co.uk

Main image: Tom Harle / cc / Flickr