Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, has been transformed over recent decades, and no part of the city has sparkled in that revival more than the old dockland area of Cardiff Bay. Right at the heart of the Bay lies Mermaid Quay, an exciting and vibrant area packed with venues for eating, shopping and leisure, along with some of the most important cultural centres of modern Wales. If you were lucky enough to live in or near Mermaid Quay, how could you fill your days?
Situated right on the edge of the Bay, Mermaid Quay is an ideal base for fun on the water. The Bay is now a completely enclosed lagoon, where the strong tidal flows of the Severn Estuary are controlled by the Cardiff Bay Barrage, making this an exceptionally safe area to enjoy the water.
From Mermaid Quay itself there is a constant passage of pleasure boats and ferries to all parts of the Bay. Not far away on the west side of the Bay is the Cardiff Yacht Club, and near that is the Water Activity Centre where sailing is supplemented by rowing, canoeing, windsurfing and power boating. Sea fishing is available from the barrage.
Mermaid Quay and the surrounding area were designed with cycling in mind, and there are traffic free routes all around the Bay. The Quay is also the start of the delightful 55 mile Taff Trail, a cycling route that takes you from the sophistication of the waterfront to the wild windswept heights of the Brecon Beacons.
For walkers there are extensive open spaces, including the barrage itself and the Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve which is a haven for wildlife just metres away from the Quay.
Shopping, Eating and Drinking
Mermaid Quay is a first class shopping area. The main chains are represented, but most people seek out the many smaller boutiques selling fashion, accessories, crafts and unusual gifts.
In keeping with its reputation as one of the brightest waterfront locations in the country, the Quay is packed with outstanding restaurants, cafes, nightclubs and bars. You would never be stuck for somewhere to go for an evening out, whether you were looking for a quiet romantic restaurant or a dynamic bar rocking with live entertainment.
A Great Place to Live
Mermaid Quay is at the beating heart of one of the Europe’s most exciting places. For those seeking to combine all the freshness of a home by the sea with all the facilities of a modern and vibrant city, it is well worth taking a look.
Holidaying here will tempt you to consider the lifestyle more closely. If it is property you are after, Taylor Estate Agents are the only agents in the heart of Mermaid Quay, and can take you through all the advantages of buying or renting in this exciting part of the world.
Culture and Sights
This is an historic area in the story of Wales’ economic development, and enjoys visitor attractions which help to flesh out the facts. The Norwegian Church Arts Centre is located in a building which embodies the Bay’s long involvement with international seafaring, and the Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre has popular exhibitions and displays about the area and its story.
Some of Wales most iconic modern buildings are also within walking distance. The Wales Millennium Centre is the home of the Welsh National Opera and an internationally renowned venue for the performing arts, hosting some of the greatest musicians and actors in the world on a regular basis. Nearby is the National Assembly for Wales, the historic Pierhead building, and Roald Dahl Plass (named after the Cardiff-born author) which is the location for open-air concerts and drama throughout the season.
Although the atmosphere of the Quay is mainly of interest to adults, there is plenty for all ages to enjoy. Techniquest, by the Quay, is a superb hands-on exploration of all things technical and scientific. Make smoothies on a special pedal machine, or explore engineering concepts with Lego and computers. On the other side of the Quay is the Doctor Who Experience, where you can be part of an interactive adventure and discover behind the scenes a huge collection of sets, props and costumes from the show, filmed largely in Cardiff.
When you tire of what Mermaid Quay has to offer, you are less than two miles from the centre of Cardiff, with its shopping centre, parks, national museum, castle, university, world-famous stadium, and all the facilities that a modern capital city has to offer.
Jay Ashton, despite his non Welsh name, was born and raised in Wales and recently moved back after several years away. He's enjoying visiting old haunts and discovering new places, sharing this picturesque place with his online audience.