Info for Cardiff Freshers (and newcomers to the city!)

Hey there!

We often get asked for info guides etc for Freshers and other people new to the city, so we’ve gathered everything together in one handy post for you.

Our little guide to Cardiff

Download the Little Guide to Cardiff (right click the link and save as: PDF, 11MG)
Looking for things to do?
Our lady with her ear to the ground is Joy. Befriend her on Facebook and have a look at the events she’s attending. She is literally going to EVERYTHING.
Other posts and info on the site to check out:

Also don’t forget, you can follow We Are Cardiff in any of the following places, to get your fill of stories, pictures, alternative news and good stuff from the city!

Welcome all you newbies! This is what you’ve got to look forward to in this fabulous city … (some of our fav pics from this year)




Meet Zelda, the newest member of the We Are Cardiff crew …

Meet Zelda of the Canine Division!

We’re not quite sure what part of We Are Cardiff Zelda will be working on yet. Possibly Head of Napping and Stress Relief.

Earlier this year I had a mental health run-in that left me thinking that perhaps I needed to add exposure to happy furry things to my life. I registered as a walker with Cardiff Dogs Home and visited the home a few times, taking out various different dogs for walks around the Penarth Road Industrial Estate and over to Grangemoor Park (or Asbo Hill, behind Ikea).

Anyway, fast forward past numerous doggy dates and finding a pooch on Borrow My Doggy to spend some days with. A couple of weeks ago, four ex-racing greyhounds were taken in to Cardiff Dogs Home, and the stars aligned, Saturn returned, etc. We met Zara and Dougie, who were both adorable … flipped a coin … and ended up adopting Zara (who we’ve renamed Zelda, in honour of the magnificent Nintendo series).

Cardiff Dogs Home

Every local authority has a statutory obligation to house stray and abandoned dogs for a period of seven days. After seven days, local authorities may ‘dispose’ of the dog (you’ve guessed what that means). Cardiff Dogs Home has a group of volunteers called Friends of the Dogs, who work tirelessly to make sure no healthy dogs are put down by supporting adoptions and fundraising for the home.

So many wonderful dogs pass through facilities like Cardiff Dogs Home every year – loving animals that could be wonderful pets for people. So this is why they say adopt – don’t shop!

Walking through the kennels is a heartbreaking experience – although the dogs are sheltered, fed, watered and walked, kennels can be a stressful place. All those dogs would much rather be on someone’s sofa. And you can’t beat the feeling of giving an abandoned dog a good home.

How can you help?

Have you got space in your life for some furry joy? Go and wander around the kennels and see if any of the dogs take your fancy and adopt a dog. Alternatively the Friends of the Dogs post photos up on the Adoption Forums, so you can look before heading down there.

Need convincing? These are some of the beautiful animals that went through the kennels that were adopted and given a second chance …

If adopting a dog is too much commitment, you can register as a walker. Just fill in a form online and then head to an induction session, where you’ll be taught how to greet a dog, how to walk them, and a whole range of other things – safely, and with minimum stress to the dogs. Once you’ve been through the induction, you can head down to the home during opening hours and take a pooch out for a walk. More about registering as a walker at Cardiff Dogs Home.

Friends of the Dogs also fundraise, and sometimes have specific roles that you can volunteer for (helping out on the forums, etc). If that sounds like your bag, see how you can volunteer for Friends of the Dogs.

Dogs and mental health

There are plenty of reasons why hanging out with a dog is great for your mental health: they increase the amount of exercise you get, they distract you and keep you in the present moment, petting them reduces stress, and they are always happy to see you. More on this: Psychology Today, Mental Health UK,

Here’s Zelda on her first walk (of many, I’m sure) through the wetlands in Cardiff Bay.

I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from Zelda in the future, but for now, this is her, saying WOOF!

If any of you are on Instagram, you can follow her retirement from racing and integration into society here: @IGZeldaPooch


Splott Beach: my edgeland

A treat for you today: Splott resident Tamsin Stirling tells us about her Cardiff edgeland: the fabled Splott Beach.

My edgeland: Splott Beach

When people ask me, as they often do, ‘is there really such a thing as Splott beach?’, I answer an emphatic yes. It’s not your archetypical white sandy beach, but a beach there is, sandwiched between the Bristol Channel and the Tremorfa waste water treatment works.

I’ve lived in Splott for over 20 years and only discovered Splott Beach a couple of years ago thanks to our wonderful hyperlocal news service Inksplott. I’m now a regular visitor, usually with my camera. I’ve met a few other walkers there and a couple of fishermen hoping to catch cod, but I am usually on my own, accompanied by the rumble of traffic along Rover Way.

Face out to sea and there’s the Somerset coast, the screech of gulls and curlews and, if the tide is out, beautiful skeins of runnels left in the mud. Face inland and there is a fascinating jumble of buildings and tanks that take storm water and sewage from south east Wales and, using oxygen and bacteria, make it clean enough to be discharged into the channel. And further back, the Celsa steelworks, a 24 hour-a-day workhorse which turns scrap metal into steel reinforcing bars, generating noise and dust which Tremorfa and Splott residents are so familiar with.

Splott beach is an industrial archive. Bricks, tiles, parts of the former East Moors steel works –broken crucibles, substances produced by heat, there are endless objects to be found on the beach. It’s a joy for someone like me who enjoys pottering about and taking photographs. There is so much beauty in degraded industrial objects. Less beautiful are current human interventions; the beach and the coastal path are frequently used as an alternative to the Lamby Way tip.

The Wales Coastal Path runs just above Splott beach going east, along the water treatment works fence. Beyond the works, the path rises up a bit and there is a fantastic viewpoint to the city and beyond. This spot demonstrates the location of Splott in a way that I knew logically, but had never seen laid out so clearly before. It also provides a fantastic vantage point for the whole of the steel works – lorries bringing scrap metal, a water truck damping down the slag heap, diggers constantly shifting metal and ash.

Splott beach is physically on the edge of our city. For me, it is also a brilliant example of what Robert Macfarlane and others refer to as ‘edgelands’ – places that do not attract much interest or attention, that are not known by many, but where plenty of beauty and interest thrives.

On and around Splott Beach, an edgeland down the road from where I live, there is constant ebb and flow – of tides, of traffic, water, steel, people … It is a fascinating place, ever changing, always different from the last time. Yes, Splott Beach is most definitely a thing …

Tamsin Stirling has lived in Splott since 1997. She is a freelance researcher, working on housing and regeneration issues. She is fascinated in how places and communities function and particularly in the very different experiences of individuals living in the same city. She loves to walk and take photographs. @TamsinStirling1


Cardiff Book Festival – We Are Cardiff’s top picks!

Cardiff Book Festival started off as a fairly modest affair last year, but this year it’s bigger, brighter, and even has its own literary-themed disco! We’ve combed through the programme (the best value ticket is a weekend wristband for £30, btw) and found our picks for the weekend. So get your read on, and let’s go …

Cardiff Book Festival: Where the written word comes alive, aloud, and off the page in the Welsh capital!

Friday 22 – Sunday 24 September, The Angel Hotel, Cardiff


Friday 22 September


Catherine Mayer – Attack of the 50 Ft. Women: How Gender Equality Can Save The World!


Not a single country anywhere in the world has achieved gender equality. In more than a few countries, progress for women has stalled or is reversing. If gender equality promises benefits not just to women, but to everyone, why aren’t we embracing it? And how can we speed the pace of change? In ‘Attack of the 50 Ft. Women’, journalist and co-founder of The Women’s Equality Party Catherine Mayer tackles those questions and many more, sharing inside views and experiences. In her insightful, revelatory, often hilarious, and hugely inspiring book, Catherine Mayer takes us to a place she calls Equalia. What is it like? Does gender equality make for a society that is more equal in other ways too? Who does the low-paid jobs? How does gender express itself in a place freed from gender programming? What’s the sex like? What’s on the telly? (£7 full price, £5 concessions)

Dylan Jones on David Bowie: A Life in conversation with Mike Williams sponsored by Capital Law


Dylan Jones is the award-winning editor of GQ magazine, a position he has held since 1999, winning the British Society of Magazine Editors “Editor of the Year” award a record ten times. A former editor at i-D, The Face, Arena, the Observer and the Sunday Times, he is the author of New York Times best sellers on musical heroes including Jim Morrison and Elvis. His new book David Bowie- A Life is an engrossing, magisterial biography unlike any Bowie story ever written. It’s an epic, unforgettable cocktail-party conversation about a man whose enigmatic shapeshifting and irrepressible creativity produced one of the most sprawling, fascinating lives of our time. Drawn from over 180 interviews with friends, rivals, lovers, and collaborators, some of whom have never before spoken about their relationship with Bowie, this oral history weaves a hypnotic spell as it unfolds the story of a remarkable rise to stardom and an unparalleled artistic path. By turns insightful and deliciously gossipy, David Bowie- A Life is as intimate a portrait as may ever be drawn. It sparks with illuminating, never-before-seen material from Bowie himself, drawn from a series of Jones’s interviews with him across two decades. Dylan will be interviewed by Mike Williams, the editor-in-chief of NME, himself a winner of the British Society of Magazine Editors “Editor of the Year” award during his time at Kruger Magazine, which is where I also cut my journalistic teeth. RIP KRUGER. (£7 full price, £5 concessions)


Saturday 23 September

Scientists of Wales/Gwyddonwyr Cymru


The University of Wales’ series of books Scientists of Wales/Gwyddonwyr Cymru charts the lives, times and works of Welsh scientists, and of people active in science in Wales. This event will see lively discussion in Welsh and English about Wales’ place on science’s world map, taking in the stories of William Robert Grove, a pioneering researcher who anticipated the general theory of the conservation of energy, and was a pioneer of fuel cell technology and Evan James Williams, whose work included attempting to prove the existence of Hidiki Yukawa’s hypothetical pi mesonparticle, and working on the MDS (magnetic detection of submarines) system to tackle the U-boat menace of World War II. (£5/£3)


35 years of Fighting Fantasy with Ian Livingstone


Ian co-founded iconic games company Games Workshop with Steve Jackson in 1975, launching Dungeons & Dragons in Europe. In 1982, he co-authored The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the first Fighting Fantasy gamebook in the series which has sold almost 20 million copies worldwide. His best-selling titles include City of Thieves, Forest of Doom and Deathtrap Dungeon, and his new book, The Port of Peril, marks the 35th anniversary of Fighting Fantasy. When serving as Executive Chairman at Eidos, he launched global video games blockbusters including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Ian has a passionate belief in the power of play as a contextual hub for learning, and he is a leading advocate for the importance of having Computing on the National Curriculum. His book Hacking the Curriculum is an essential guide for teachers to promote creativity, computational thinking and problem solving in the classroom – meta skills for the digital age. He was awarded a BAFTA Special Award in 2002 and a CBE in 2013. Ian will share a reflection on his career before a Q & A session chaired by BBC Radio 1’s Steffan Powell. (£7/£5)


Sanctuary – Refugee writing in Wales


Eric Ngalle Charles is a poet, dramatist and novelist and a former Cameroon refugee. His first book ‘Asylum’ deals with what it means to be a refugee, caught between two worlds, destitute and unable to move forward with one’s life. He’s joined by others seeking asylum and refuge in Wales whose stories, poetry and essays about their journeys feature the extraordinary histories of the men, women and children who are seeking sanctuary in Wales. (£5/£3)


Sunday 24 September

Merthyr: the crucible of modern Wales? Sponsored by Modern Wales, Parthian


Dai Smith interrogates Joe England’s claim that Merthyr was the crucible in the development of Wales in the 19th Century and moving on a century asks why Huw Lewis’s moving memoir of growing up in Aberfan in the 1960s and 1970s, The Skylark’s Song, has so much to say about the past as a foreign country. (£5/3)


How Bullshit Conquered the World with James Ball


2016 marked the birth of the post-truth era. Sophistry and spin have coloured politics since the dawn of time, but two shock events – the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s elevation to US President – heralded a departure into murkier territory. This is the story of bullshit: what’s being spread, who’s spreading it, why it works – and what we can do to tackle it. This is bigger than fake news and bigger than social media. It’s about the slow rise of a political, media and online infrastructure that has devalued truth. The Pulitzer Prize-winning James Ball should know. He’s worked in political, data and investigative journalism in the US and the UK for BuzzFeed, The Guardian and the Washington Post in a career spanning TV, digital, print and alternative media. (£5/£3)


Neil M.C. Sinclair


Afro-Celtic author and historian, Neil M.C. Sinclair is a native of Tiger Bay, the oldest multi-ethnic community in Wales. He has written extensively on the history of his unique hometown, a place which is now the subject of the new musical ‘Tiger Bay’, premiering in Cardiff this November. Sinclair’s insider’s view of the area draws on personal memories, family history and a lifetime’s worth of connections within one of Cardiff’s most celebrated communities. Supported by Wales Millennium Centre’s Tiger Bay the Musical, 13th-25th November 2017. (£5/£3)


Buy a festival wristband or choose your tickets here: Cardiff Book Festival tickets (on eventbrite)

Cardiff Book Festival website