5 sustainable / eco-friendly ways to enjoy Cardiff
Hungry City Hippy's guide to a sustainable visit to Cardiff!
Cardiff, the capital of Wales, is currently the fastest growing city in Europe. It’s full of exciting and interesting things to see, do and of course, eat; and getting to Cardiff with a clean, green conscience has never been easier thanks to Snap’s eco-friendly coach travel around the UK.
If you’re thinking of checking out this eclectic young city for yourself, we asked local Cardiff food and sustainability blogger Jane Cook, of hungrycityhippy.co.uk, to give us her top tips for enjoying Cardiff in an eco-friendly way.
First of all, make sure you’re packed for a sustainable trip. Bring your own, refillable water bottle with you, and pack that re-usable coffee mug or cocktail straw*; loads of cafes in the city will give you a discount for bringing your own coffee cup and / or will fill up your water bottle for free.
Wear comfortable shoes that you’re happy walking in and get ready to explore the city on foot or by bike; you’ll be able to see more, get some exercise in, and be eco-friendly all at the same time!
*If you don’t yet own a reusable mug / water bottle / straw, check out @ripple_living on Twitter, a new zero-waste shop soon to be opening in Cardiff where you’ll be able to find loads of plastic free and sustainable packaging ideas.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
Ditch the fast fashion found on the main high-street and head into Cardiff’s old Victorian arcades to find independents selling artisan products that have been made to last.
For heavenly-scented, soy-based candles; crumbly, perfumed shower steamers and piles of rainbow-coloured baths bombs, head to Miss Patisserie. The packaging at this vegan skincare store is beautiful too – this is a great place to pick up gifts for your loved ones.
Alternatively, pick up some pre-loved ‘new’ threads at Hobos. This independent vintage clothing shop, specialising in 70s, 80s and 90s clothing and accessories; from Levi denims and boho maxi dresses, to bum bags, badges and jewellery.
More of a foodie than a fashionista? Cardiff’s central market has been trading in some form or another since the 1700’s, and to this day, you can find everything from traditional Welsh cakes to freshly made Thai green curry; as well as staples like spices, fruit, veg, sustainable fish, Welsh meats, bread, cakes, and gorgeous Welsh cheeses. Alternatively, head to one of the Riverside Farmers markets at the weekend for your pick of the best local, artisanal produce.
Pop Along To A Pop-Up
The pop-up event scene is alive and kicking in Cardiff; and there’s plenty to keep conscious consumers happy whilst enjoying something a little out of the ordinary.
The Repair Café Wales is an amazing organisation which reduces landfill and improves communities by running regular pop-up ‘repair cafes’ where people can bring their broken items (clothing, electricals, furniture etc) and have them repaired by volunteers at no cost whatsoever. To find out where they’ll be next, check out @RepairCafeWales on Twitter.
If pop-up restaurants are more your idea of fun, DIRT is a new fine-dining vegetarian supper club, founded by chef John Cook, (formerly the owner of the critically acclaimed Arbennig Restaurant in Pontcanna). Now he prefers to cook entirely without meat, sourcing most of his ingredients from a pesticide-free, independent veg grower from a village just outside Cardiff. DIRT pops up in venues all over south Wales and tickets usually sell out fast - to see where it will be next, check out @dirtpopup on Twitter.
It’s also worth checking out the latest events being run by Green Squirrel, a local organisation who run a regular, affordable and informal workshops and events which aim to make greener living achievable and enjoyable. From bee-keeping to soap-making to upcycling old clothes and other textiles, there’s bound to be an event that takes your fancy.
Get Some Fresh Air
Cardiff recently introduced the NextBike cycle hire scheme, meaning it’s now easier than ever to get around the city in an enjoyable and eco-friendly way! Hundreds of bikes are situated in key spots across the city, catering to locals who want to commute sustainably, just as much as tourists. To register to use the NextBikes in Cardiff, visit www.nextbike.co.uk, and once you’re signed up, journeys of less than 30 minutes are completely free.
Prefer to stay on two feet rather than two wheels? Cardiff is an extremely walkable city; this article provides some great suggestions for city walks of various lengths and difficulty.
If you’d rather do something productive whilst you explore, you might enjoy one of Wildfood UK’s foraging trips. In Cardiff, these take place in the massive Bute Park which sits right behind the city centre’s impressive castle, and depending on the time of year, you could come away with a basket full of berries, mushrooms, edible plants or nuts to take home for your dinner.
Eat Your Greens
Reducing the amount of meat and dairy in your diet is one of the easiest ways to lower your carbon footprint, and Cardiff has a great mix of vegetarian and vegan restaurants which make skipping that steak a doddle.
Head to Milgi on city road for fresh, vegetarian food made using local ingredients; the Sunday nut roast with a side order of cashew cauliflower ‘cheese’ is to die for. The yurt in the back garden is also a lovely place to sit and sip a cocktail or two.
Also in Roath you’ll find Anna Loka, Cardiff’s first ever fully-vegan restaurant which is still going strong, serving up everything from tacos, to burgers and satisfying salads to a mixed crowd of students, families and professionals. Just around the corner, the Blanche Bakery are serving up some of the most instagrammable vegan donuts the city has ever seen.
On the other side of Cardiff, the Lazy Leek have recently opened a charming little shack on the Kings Road Alley in Pontcanna. Check them out for delicious junk vegan junk food, like giant beetroot and carrot burgers, slathered in sriracha ‘mayo’ and topped with gherkins and rocket.
For more veggie and vegan places to eat in Cardiff, check out this blog post.
Jane Cook writes hungrycityhippy, a Cardiff based eco-friendly food and travel blog.