I love this time of year when the autumn sun is shining. When the leaves are golden brown and crisp and perfect for crunching underneath your feet. When you treasure each and every sunny day because as winter gets ever-closer, you know they will become more infrequent.
We had a day of visiting family on Sunday in my hometown of Barry and, wanting to make the most of the sunshine and let the children burn off some energy so that they’d be on best behaviour for various relatives, managed to squeeze in a trip to Romilly Park.
I have so many memories of this park as a child – sunny days out with family and friends; roller skating around the paths for hours on end with my childhood best friend; my primary school sports days were held here, as was the annual Barry Scout and Guide fete. I love taking my own children here and creating new memories with my own family.
It was built on land owned by the wealthy Romilly family, who owned much of the west end of Barry, and was fully completed in 1911. It’s a Cadw Grade II listed park and is so well-kept park, with plenty of original features and beautiful floral displays all year round.
My eldest two children – Little Miss E, age 6¾, and Little Man O, age 5 – had their bikes with them, while Toddler Boy I, now 2½, had his scooter. Romilly Park has some fantastic paths for cycling and scootering on, a couple are a bit steep in parts, but they had great fun. In warmer weather, the grassy field is great for picnics and ball games.
The playground itself is relatively new with different elements for different age groups. There’s a red metal climbing frame with slide, baby and big swings, a smaller slide for younger children, a wooden obstacle course and – my favourite – an old fallen tree, perfect for climbing on.
We had hoped to collect some conkers but although we found lots of empty shells, I think we had been beaten to it, because we only found one!
What I’ve always called ‘fairy land’, behind St Aubin’s nursery (which is within the park itself) is a beautiful area to explore. Small streams and ponds are surrounded by rockery, including a little bridge. I’ve always found it a really magical place to visit, and although we’ve never seen any fairies, my children still love looking.
There are toilet facilities just outside, lots of roadside parking around the park, tennis courts you can book out for free, and an adjoining bowling green.
If time is on your side, then you can walk under the bridge to the Knap Lake to feed the swans or grab a coffee and a bite to eat in one of the little cafes. There’s a great skate park which is really popular with local children. The pebble beach is perfect to explore with families – the pebbles themselves are obviously not good for buggies, but the promenade/path is perfect for a family stroll.
From there, you can walk around to the Old Harbour beach, and even up on to the headland. Once upon a time Barry used to be home to the open air swimming baths – which was the best place to be on a sunny day – but the pool has since been filled in and covered with grass. It’s pleasant enough to walk around, but you can’t help but wish it had been turned into something more exciting (or never closed in the first place… but that’s a whole other article).
Romilly Park, Romilly Park Road, Barry, CF62 6RN.
You can see more from our trip to Romilly Park on the Cardiff Mummy Says Instagram feed.