If you’re visiting Cardiff on March 1st, be prepared for some unusual behaviour. You may spot a child (or thirty) dressed in a black dress, red shawl and pinafore, sporting a pointy hat. You may see armies of Welsh rugby or football tops marching double time in the direction of a Brains pub, despite the absence of a game. You will certainly see a root vegetable or daffodil pinned in the lapels of jackets and coats. In time honoured tradition, all will be celebrating St David’s day; the patron saint of Wales.
Thankfully, we don’t force visitors to the Capital – or any other part of Wales for that matter – to wear a leek or a daff’. But we do like to extend a very warm welcome to Spring visitors and encourage you to make the most of these celebrations and immerse yourself in Welsh life. A ride out to the ancient coastal village of Llantwit Major perhaps, for a cup of tea and slice of Bara Brith (literal translation ‘Speckled Bread’) at the excellent Café Velo. This famous little café is nestled away on a medieval side street and conveniently sited next to Forza cycles (Neal, the proprietor is a strong supporter of the cycle scene in South Wales). With spirits revived, an exploration of the Heritage coastline is a fine way to treat yourself to Jurassic geology and stunning Welsh views (nearby Nashpoint is spectacular). To enjoy this ride at its fullest, budget around 3-4 hours (2.5 hours of ride time) from the hotel. If you have less time on your hands, cycle out to St Fagans for the full Welsh experience (7 miles). Home to Celtic roundhouses, working Victorian shops and medieval churches, the National history museum of Wales is the place to gorge yourself on Welshness (free entry). If you visit here on March 1st and don’t come back sporting a leek protruding from your cycling jacket, then we won’t be entirely convinced you’ve been there.
Of course, if you miss our national holiday there’s no need to fret. Llantwit Major will still be just as fine a destination for the cycle tourist or sportive trainer. St Fagans will be just as perfect for an urban bike ramble and history-gorge-athon. The roads will remain windy and undulating and the weather may even have settled into its fine spring clothes. Just remember not to pin a leek or daffodil to your clothes. Unless you really get a taste for it of course J.