With a beautiful green, a small row of shops and a spire sticking out above the rooftops, it would be easy to imagine that i’m describing a pretty village in Britain.
Except this isn’t a village, or a town.
Llandaff, with a population of around 9,000 is a ‘city’ in Wales, although now incorporated as part of the country’s capital, Cardiff.
It’s the birth place of one of the UK’s most famous writers, Roald Dahl, who was born here in 1916 and would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year.
The famous author went on to write classic tales such as Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Matilda and James And The Giant Peach, and sell in excess of 250 million books.
He spent many of his early years here in Llandaff, where he went to school, and there’s even a blue plaque above an old sweet shop where Dahl supposedly put a mouse in a jar of gobstoppers.
The shop is now a Chinese takeaway but it’s still possible to see the blue plaque outside.
Llandaff is home to a stunning cathedral that is hidden from view and sits low down, as well as a Bishop’s Castle.
This ‘city within a city’ lost its independence in 1922, but still feels like a very unique place to visit.
It is home to the Bishop of Llandaff, who is currently the archbishop of Wales.
The cathedral is one of the oldest Christian sites in the UK, and is situated in a dip – so hard to see from the path or road – and its history goes back as far as the 6th century, while the present cathedral dates back to 1107.
It was badly damaged during World War II but has been carefully restored.
It’s really striking when you get up close and beautifully peaceful when you get inside.
The ‘village green’ and houses surrounding are beautiful to admire and walk around.
If you’re in Cardiff, Llandaff is well worth a visit.
It’s also well worth visiting the ruins, one of which is the Bishop’s Castle, which was built between 1265 and 1287.
It has a beautiful and dramatic gate house with a small tower, and inside is now home to a gorgeous public garden.
The ruined Bell Tower stands in front of the cathedral, and once held a 5.5 tonne bell.
Once you’ve spent time walking around and soaking up the village-feel of this fabulous little place, check out the small high street which has some wonderful little cafes.
I checked out Porro – a lovely Italian restaurant which prides itself on serving good food from simple, quality ingredients. Well worth checking out if you’re feeling peckish!
Llandaff is also home to BBC Wales, and the mini-city has even featured in episodes of Doctor Who.
To get to Llandaff, it’s possible to get a train or bus from central Cardiff (which is around 2 miles away). It’s also possible to take a short drive or walk along the river Taff, but be aware that there’s limited parking in the area.
To find out more about Llandaff, check out this website.