Category Archives: Entertainment

Castle Coch and the Taff Trail

Are you faced with the dilemma of what to do on a summers day in Cardiff? Do you ever think – as the weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, I feel like going on an adventure to a fairy-tale castle?
Well, although this may sound like wishful thinking or the beginning of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, just outside Cardiff City centre lies a castle that looks as if it has been plucked out of a Disney fairy-tale and is easily assessable by bus or bike.

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On a sunny day in Cardiff, I like get on my bike and go for a ride along the Taff trail. The Taff trail is a route between the Southern Cardiff Waterfront, Cardiff Bay to the Northern Market Town of Beacon. Throughout the trail there are many ‘green fingers’ where the trail appears to bring the countryside into the town. In such an area, only 6 miles along the trail (it is over 55 miles in length) lies Castle Coch.

The trail is mostly flat and an easy ride for everyone, until you get to the castle. Fools (myself included) have tried to cycle the hill to the castle, but it is a very steep incline and not for the faint hearted. It is probably quicker to just get off your bike and push it the last 200 meters up the hill.

The first time I got to the top and saw the castle, I gasped at its beauty (in-between pants from walking up the hill!). When you get to the top, there is a grassy area, with great views, where I sat and enjoyed a much deserved picnic.

The castle, which translates to the Red Castle, is named after the rough rubble sandstone in which it was built. The history of the castle is intriguing; the castle was probably founded by a Welsh lord in c1240-65 but although its foundations may be ancient, the castle that lies on top certainly is not.

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Built by Victorian ‘eccentric genius’ William Burges, he let his imagination run wild when he was building the castle for the the 3rd Marquess of Bute, John Patrick Crichton-Stuart. He was inspired by the Romantic view of the middle ages and was influenced by gothic trends of the time.

This is reflected in the interior of the castle which, is in one word, breathtaking – the furniture is opulent, the wallpaper handmade and the ceilings wouldn’t look out of place in the Notre Dame.

Although it is free to visit the outside and walk round the grounds, there is a small entrance fee to get into the castle itself (adults: £6, children: £4.20) but you definitely get your admission’s worth. It is open all year round, 10am to 4pm most days with extended opening hours in the summer.

A visit to Castle Coch is lovely way to spend a summers day; you get to see a bit of Wales, get some exercise and learn some Welsh history.

I know what I will be doing next time the sun visits Cardiff!

Castle Coch is located Tongwynlais, Cardiff CF15 7JS. All details were correct as of Feb 2016.

By Elouise Hobbs

Infinity Trampoline Park

 

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If you are looking for something exciting and different that will make your heart pound loudly in your ears then look no further than Infinity Trampoline Park, Cardiff.

This centre is a new addition to Catherine Park and is right next to Boulders Rock Climbing Centre. I hadn’t been on a trampoline since school and the thought was a bit daunting but I had the best afternoon, it was so much fun and there were giggles all round.

When you arrive, the place looks a bit like an industrial estate with grey buildings and massive shops but when you enter, you are greeted by something completely different. The center is covered in trampolines and the bright yellow and red padding and foam pits bring lots of colour and this emphases the pleasure that simmers in the air.

The centre advises you to arrive 20 minuets before your session begins so you can put your shoes and socks into the boxes, sign the waiver and listen to a safety talk by one of their trained supervisors. It costs £7 for an hour off peak and slightly more (£9) during peak times. The centre is open from 10am most days and closes between 9pm-10pm during the week and is open until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

 

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Although there were children at our session, I was surprised by how many groups of adults there were. There is no age limit but you have to make sure you can still participate on health grounds. They run a three strikes system which works really well to prevent people acting dangerously in the center but apart form that, its really relaxed and you have freedom to do what you want.

There is the main court in which ‘open jump’ is encouraged. It has tumble tracks, boxes, walled trampolines and vaults, which mean that the possibilities of what to do are endless. But, if you are like me, you can just have competitions with your friends to see who can jump the highest!

There is a basketball area where you can do your best impression of Michael Jordan; a dodge ball area where you can have a game (or just fall over trying to pick up the balls) or just make up your own game.

If you fancy yourself the next best free-runner there is a vertical trampoline wall, which allows everyone to experience the thrill of parkour. The center also has fitness classes (it is the best workout I have has in a long time), which run on a weekly basis.

The foam pit is a great area to dive into whilst practicing your flips. I honestly thought there is no way I can do a flip (due to my highly inept acrobatic and general co-ordination skills) but by the end of the session, with some help from the on hand instructors, a bit of sweat and a lot of hard work, I was doing backflips! Not bad for an hours work!

I had such a great time at the centre, it was really fun, felt like a real workout and it was just great to do something different. Best of all, it is only a short ride from the city center and it is a great opportunity to make some great slow motion videos to show off your new skills to all your friends!

One important thing to note is that the park is changing locations as of the 31st January 2016. Please ask Staff for updated details. All details are correct as of 6th December 2015.

By Elouise Hobbs

http://www.infinitytrampolinepark.co.uk/

Treetop Adventure Golf

Bored of going to the cinema? Want to do an activity that’s a bit different and not too expensive? Look no further! Treetop Adventure Golf has just opened in St. David’s 2 Shopping Centre – located 5 minutes from Bunkhouse. Treetops is situated on the 3rd level of the shopping centre, and backs right onto the car park.

Our adventure began when we entered the 3-story building – I was already a bit apprehensive as my sense of direction is borderline non-existent – so following the trail lead by an enthusiastic cartoon Monkey was a great start.

We came out of the lift and right before us was only what I can describe as a wilderness rain forest wonderland – it was awesome!! I instantly felt like a child in a playground again, and couldn’t wait to get started.

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A friendly face, who described the rules and scoreboard to us, welcomed us in. The fact you actually get given a scoreboard instantly set my competitive streak off. The adult price was £7.50 for 18 holes, we were given the clubs and had to choose between two separate courses – Tropical Trail or Ancient Explorer. We chose Ancient Explorer; just because there was a group of shall we say “half cut” middle-aged businessmen starting the other one.

There is a bar /café there – with THE BEST cocktails. Staff are new and polite, very enthusiastic and really want you to have a good time. However, for obvious reasons you cannot drink and play at the same time – so we thought we’d get a little pick me up first. Cocktails are £6.95 (bit steep, but expected) I went with the Tropical Smash, which is a mix off London Dry Gin, Fresh Coriander, Lime Juice and fresh Pineapple juice smashed together and served over crushed ice. My Australian Competitor went with the Bamboo Cooler, which is Vanilla Vodka and Passion fruit Liquor served with Lemon juice and Vanilla Syrup. Beautiful and quirky presentation.

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After we’d refreshed ourselves, we made our way over to Ancient Explorer and away we went. From start to finish the whole thing can only be described as FUN! The maybe charming or frightening competitiveness makes the whole thing better – a lot of laughs were shared and it was something completely different.

They have talking statues that speak when you hit them – one of which sounded like a rough welsh Robin Williams that had just come back from Chippy Lane (Caroline Street) at 4am on a Friday.

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It has suspended lights and a waterfall running though the course with ambient lighting and surround sound of what I imagine being right in the heart of the rain forest would sound like. The effort and interior design of the whole place is really something special.

All in all a great date which was extremely enjoyable. Even better because I somehow managed to win!? Definitely would highly recommend to anyone who wanted to do something a little different.

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Jessie x

http://www.adventuregolf.com/

Cardiff Castle

Perhaps the most photographed building of the Welsh capital; Cardiff Castle is located right in the centre of town, about a 10-minute walk from the Bunkhouse.

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We took a tour on a lovely spring day, the sun bellowing down on the old castle stones, with every inch of it looking perfectly picturesque. It was the perfect occasion to climb onto the motte to see the whole of Cardiff below, and to really appreciate the vast ground that the castle sits on.

But if you happen to be in Cardiff during winter; don’t fear. Being one of the first places to have central heating in the Victorian era; the extravagant gold decorated rooms are warmer than you would expect.

The average entry tour (£12) allows access unto the grounds of the castle and the fort but perhaps is a little limiting. So we opted for the guided house tour instead. Although being an additional £3, gave us access to the opulent rooms Lord Bute and his family occupied, as well as an enthusiastic tour guide; who was filled with knowledge about every aspect of the castle and its previous occupants.

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If you visiting Cardiff in the spring and summer months, take advantage of the Wartime Shelters tour, which gives you insight into what it was like to hide in the castle during the air raids of the Second World War. Although there is no additional charge for this tour, it is however only available on the weekends, and on school holidays.

The café situated in the visitor centre is nothing to rave about, good for perhaps a quick coffee or to rest after an afternoon of wandering around the grounds. But you are looking a good lunch then we suggest heading over to Pettigrew Tea Rooms in Bute Park for some lovely afternoon tea (have a look at our review of Pettigrew Tea Rooms below).

As an introduction into Cardiff and its origins, the Castle is your best option. The décor will mesmerise you, its religious history will charm you and its ancestral history will enlighten you.

Vanessa

http://www.cardiffcastle.com/

Got Beef?

Yes, and it was delicious. Mikey

I love burgers, they’re awesome but I’m always disappointed by what I usually get served at restaurants In Cardiff…They never quite live up to my expectations. Today, that changed!Got Beef is a Burger restaurant situated on Whitchurch Road and is one of a couple of new burger places that have sprung up in Cardiff over the past year or so.

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Me & Jess visited at around 6pm on a Thursday afternoon so we were the only customers there when we arrived.We were greeted by a girl who handed us a menu and told us to order at the bar when we were ready..It’s a pretty relaxed set-up,with the staffmoving around in the background,there if you need them but not constantly on top of you. The kitchen is open plan so you can see your orderbeing cooked if you like. You get the feeling that this is a new place and not everything is in place just yet but I like that and it makes it more comfortable and less scripted if that makes sense.

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The restaurant itself is pretty small and modern with wooden tables, faux brickwork and the widest benches I’ve ever tried to sit on. I like it and it fits the food.

Toilets have been mentioned in previous reviews and now this one does to! The toilet is weird! I’m not sure why but you walk from the modern restaurant with its clean lines and yummy smells into a toilet that looks like it’s from a showroom house. Again, I like it and it adds to the charm :) Anyway! Enough about the toilet, lets talk Burgers. There are around 7 burgers on the menu and I think they may do specials but I’m not sure.

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I opted for the Heisen Burger;

A beef patty with Blue drunken onions (I don’t know), crispy bacon & Blue Cheese. All of the burgers are served on a toasted brioche bun, like the ones on Man V Food… the shiny buns. I don’t know what makes the bun shiny but I think it makes it taste better!

Jess had the Soprano;

A Beef Patty with crispy bacon, Chorizo, Monterey jack cheese and jalapeño mayonnaise.

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On the side we had sweet potato fries & Cajun Onion rings.The burgers came on a wooden platter about 10 minutes after ordering which was awesome and they looked exactly how I think A burger Should. Big but not so big that you can’t hold it with the Juicy ingredients poking out of the shiny, shiny bun. One thing I always find when I order a burger is that the beef is under seasoned but my burger tasted perfect and the blue cheese gave it a salty kick. The onions were a bluey, green colour which was unusual but not off putting and the bacon was crisp and worked well with everything else. The Onion Rings were big, crispy and complimented by the Cajun mayo that was drizzled on Top. Sweet potato Fries were cooked to perfection and no extra sauce was needed! Actually, I think you can judge a good burger by how much ketchup you need to add to make it taste of something. The bottle of Ketchup was there on the table for me to use but it wasn’t needed. So that’s it! The best burger I’ve had in a long time and not just by default but because it was actually, really, really delicious…

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Will go back again and will recommend it to guests.

Our Total Bill for two burgers and two sides with a bottle of water & can of ginger beer came to £23.80

Sorry for any grammar mistakes. I did check , but not too much.

Mikey…
Got Beef
83 Whitchurch Road
029 2061 7534
www.facebook.com/gotbeefcatering

Milgi

Vegetarian restaurant and cocktail lounge by Efa Thomas

Milgi is a popular vegetarian restaurant and cocktail lounge, right in the middle of Roath, a lively multicultural student area and even if you’re not a veggie, it’s definitely worth a visit! Check their Twitter (@Milgi) before you head over, because as well as their tasty food and awesome drinks menu, Milgi plays host to a great variety of events. From DJ’s in the main bar and restaurant area; to live bands or poetry sessions in the Yurt out the back; to interactive art exhibitions and ‘£1 jumble sale’ in the Warehouse, which hides in the alleyway behind the restaurant.

Milgi Outside

It’s about a half hour walk from Bunk House, and the most interesting way to walk is around the castle, past City Hall and the Museum, through Cathays and across to City Road. If you prefer to take a bus, take the 38 or 38A (towards Heath Hospital) from Westgate Street and get off at the top of City Road, the bus stops right outside Milgi, and you can get the bus back from the opposite side of the road (get the ‘Day to Go’ ticket).

If you love the decoration in Bunk House’s bar, you will love Milgi too. They have flamingo wallpaper, comfy couches, Russian doll ornaments, retro neon lights and other colourful quirky things. They also have the coolest toilet I have ever seen, with cinema seats and a TV inside!

I would recommended making a booking beforehand if you’re planning on eating, as it’s often very busy. We went there on a Sunday evening and were lucky to get a table for two! Luckily we did though, so we sampled some of the dishes, so we could recommend them to you!

I had a Berry Collins cocktail (£6) to start off with, a long drink with fresh berries, raspberry vodka, black raspberry liquor, ginger beer and plenty of ice to make it go down easily! My partner had the vegan hot chocolate (£2.40), which was super tasty and convincingly creamy!

Berry collins cocktail

For our starter we shared the Middle Eastern Plater for two (£6.95), which includes falafel, sweet potato dip, baba ganoush, olives, pickled vegetables and fresh flat bread. This was a great palate of tastes, and the sweet potato dip was especially delicious, I’d never tasted anything like it before!

Middle Eastern Platter

Above Milgi’s kitchen, it reads ‘recipes from around the world, ingredients from around the corner’, and they have a strong focus on using Organic and local produce, so the prices are reasonable as you’re paying for a quality, ethical meal.

For our mains we had the Chickpea and Sesame Burger (£8.95), and one of the Seasonal Specials, the Wholefood Bowl (£6.95). The burger is served in a wholemeal seeded bun with a delicious, fresh salad and tasty chunky wedges. The burger itself is a great recipe – it tastes amazing and chickpeas are full of protein and good for us veggies! The Wholefood Bowl comes with roasted sesame root vegetables, brown rice, wilted greens, sprouted seeds and a lemon dressing. This is a super-healthy option, full of goodness. By the time we’d finished our mains, we were too full to sample the desserts, but there are a few sweet options, and plenty more tasty drinks on the menu!

Chickpea and Sesame Burger Wholefood Bowl

So, whether you go for drinks, food, art or music, Milgi is one of Cardiff’s most interesting bars, where you can relax in the company of the city’s creative creatures, in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Aggressive burger eating.

Efa

Milgi, 213 City Road, CF24 3JD
02920 473150
www.milgilounge.com