Whether Easter for you represents a key time in the Christian calendar or just the first (very welcome) holiday since Christmas, it offers up opportunities for fun and frolics, as well as, for some, the challenge of keeping children entertained for a few weeks. What I’ll cover over the next few paragraphs is a few slices of frivolity, ranging from free activities to ones for the more flush among us.
As Luther and Janet would attest, the best things in life are free, and Wales certainly has a few gratis gems on offer. If Easter serves up some decent weather, you could do worse that hit the paths in one of our parks. We’ve got Bute Park in the city centre, with its arboreal splendour and ample opportunity to walk by the River Taff. In fact, you can follow the Taff up to Castel Coch and beyond if you have the legs for it. Roath Park is another great open space, running up from Roath and Penylan up to Cyncoed, complete with a bird-blessed lake and pedalos for hire.
A couple of smaller spaces I’d suggest are the Howardian Nature Reserve and Grangemoor Park. Howardian is easily missed as it nestles between a couple of main roads and the David Lloyd leisure centre, but is well worth a wander. Grangemoor is a landfill site converted into a green space, though you’d never know it. Now it’s a big verdant hill with views across the bay and sits next to ASDA and IKEA in the bay.
How about the children then? You can keep them entranced, sat on a sofa with a screen, but it’s good to get them out and about and interactive. So what can you do with them that’s free (or nearly)?
They can learn about worms. I mean, who doesn’t want to do that? Well, a lot of adults perhaps, but kids? Kids LOVE creepy crawlies, even if the fits of high pitch screaming suggest otherwise. If this appeals, head down to Cardiff Museum for ‘Wriggle! The Wonderful World of Worms’. It runs every day over the holidays and doesn’t cost a penny. Also at the museum are thrice daily kids painting sessions, running from 8th – 13th April.
Continuing the crafty theme, on the 12th and 19th there are Family Crafts days at the Cardiff Story on the Hayes. There is a £1 charge, but that’s a small price to pay for the joy of having to wash PVA out of your child’s hair and finding glitter in every nook and cranny for the foreseeable future.
Of course, Easter wouldn’t be Easter without an egg hunt and there are a fair few opportunities to have a crack this year. At the time of writing, only a few places have confirmed they’re doing it, but so far I’ve found St Fagans museum, Tredegar House and Dyffryn Gardens. All lovely places to visit in their own right, but the addition of chasing chocolate adds to the allure. I’m sure there’ll be more if you hunt around closer to the time (just try to ovoid over-eating, ok?)
Musically we’ve got The Commitments on at the Millennium Centre, bringing Alan Parker’s classic film to the stage, running over Easter weekend. There’s Disney on Ice on the first weekend of the holiday (5th-9th) at the Motorpoint, where you can also find Mr Banjo himself and his Diversity posse on the 21st.
For the rockers among you, the fabulous Hayseed Dixie (above) are in The Globe on the 18th doing bluegrass covers of legends like AC/DC and Motörhead (it sounds weird but it works..). And I can’t leave off the Cardiff Ukulele Festival on Saturday 8th. It’s free and has a host of pint-sized guitars on show – what’s not to love?
Lastly, if the Welsh weather doesn’t hold, there are a couple of film options. First, there’s a Peppa Pig movie out. Now, if you have a small child then you might want to keep this bit of news quiet or else you could end up watching the little pink porcine and friends more times than is healthy. For a slightly older audience, there’s Fast & Furious 8. Yes, EIGHT. I can only assume that in this instalment, Vin Diesel is long retired from racing and ditches the souped up supercars in favour of maximising use of his free bus pass…
And a few other ideas to check out:
(I’ll throw in some more as I see them!)
NB. This article appears in Cardiff Times – April 2017