I’ve got into a bit of a weekly routine with my littlest of heading to Roath Recreational Ground playground, Penylan Library, and then on to gymnastics at Somersault.
Gymnastics starts at 10.45am and as we are already out and about in the car after dropping his big sister and brother to school, I figure we might as well fill in that time with something fun. He’s off to full-time school in September so I’m making the most of these opportunities.
Roath Rec, as it is more commonly known, is a park I’ve been going to for years, ever since Miss E, the eldest of my three children, first started toddling.
I mentioned the park – which is near Penylan Road, Ninian Road and Penylan Road and a mile from Roath Lake – to a friend recently and she’d never heard it. Given the amount of times I’ve visited over the years, I thought it deserved a post of its own. So for that friend, and anyone else yet to experience this playground, here are seven reasons why Roath Rec is one of my favourite playgrounds for toddlers and preschoolers
1. All the equipment is suitable for younger children
Miss E is eight and a half now and Little O, my middle child, is six and three quarters – and, as I realised on our last visit, sadly they are getting too big for this playground. But for my youngest it’s perfect.
The big slide is not as huge as the one at nearby Roath Park, and the rotating spider’s web climbing frame is a lot more manageable for younger children.
Elements of the climbing frame may be tricky for the youngest children – but it’s all in arms-reach and easy to help children navigate the rope bridge or pole.
2. It’s not too big and is fully-enclosed, making it easy to navigate if you have more than one child
There were a few playgrounds I stopped going to when my three were younger and it was just me in charge because I found it too stressful keeping an eye on the three of them. But I always found the Rec playground a good place when I was outnumbered in this way. It’s big enough that there is plenty to keep them entertained, but small enough to keep them in sight if they excitedly wander off to the next bit of equipment. There are metal fences all the way round and heavy gates that make it difficult for little ones to escape.
3. There are huge playing fields to explore
These can get busy at weekends with local football clubs, and on sunny days the fields get overtaken with students drinking in the sun. But generally these fields are great for playing and picnicking on, with the area near the tree-lined stream offering plenty of shade.
4. You can combine it with a trip to the library or soft play
Roath Rec backs onto Penylan Library and Community Centre. This means it’s easy to combine a visit to the park with a trip to the library. Here, you’ll find a lovely children’s reading area, colouring sheets if you ask at the library desk, and a programme of preschool rhyme time classes in Welsh and English. You can also combine it with a visit to soft play. Held in the centre’s sports hall, it has a bouncy castle, a few small play structures and ride ons. It’s great for toddlers and younger pre-schoolers and perfect if you have a baby and toddler because they are always in view. See the website for session times.
5. It has convenient parking
There’s a car park attached to the community centre and roadside parking all around the Rec. Naturally, it can get busy, but ever since the car park introduced display parking to stop nearby workers parking all day, we’ve never had any problems. It’s free for the first two hours, 50p for 2-3 hours, £1 for 3-4 hours, and £5 for the maximum four hours.
6. And toilet facilities (when the community centre is open)
An essential factor for when you are out and about with young children! They also have recycling bags at the reception desk.
7. Wellfield Road is close by
Wellfield Road has a lovely blend of shops, bars and restaurants including a Tesco Express, Central Pharmacy and Perfumery with a Clarins Gold Spa, a card shop, an independent toy shop, Lloyds and Barclays Banks, a few clothes boutiques, a couple of cafes, coffee shops, and child-friendly bars including Cosy Club, Cameo and Pear Tree, plus Joe’s Ice Cream parlour, and more. We often combine a trip to the Rec playground with a babyccino at Coffee #1 and a spot of errand running.
What do you think? Have you been to Roath Recreational Ground playground with your children? Let me know in the comments below on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy.
Plus see more of our adventures on the Cardiff Mummy Says Instagram feed.
You might also like this article – 15 playgrounds in and around Cardiff my children love