Summer 2015 - Even More Things To Do!

These are activities that may be available all year, but are particularly good to do during summer when the weather is better and students have less academic pressure. You might be surprised by some of the things you can do within easy reach of the University – surfing, skiing, diving and much more.

Surfing U.S.W.

We recently published a list of some of the many summer events in South Wales. There are of course many other things to do that aren’t specific events on specific dates.

Avoiding The Crowds

If you’re less keen on organised events, you can, of course, make the most of the summer with a group of friends, or on your own. Here’s some inspiration for making the most of what Wales has to offer:

  • The Valleys – an interesting visitor guide to the valleys, though it is not always easy to navigate.
  • Tripadvisor’s Things to do in Cardiff – did you know there are regular ghost walks taking place in Llandaff (Cardiff)? Glance through Tripadvisor to see if there are any attractions around Cardiff that you haven’t yet tried…
  • Tripadvisor’s Things to do in Pontypridd – Pontypridd, very near to the Treforest and Glyntaff campuses, has a lot going on throughout the year and some great things to do during the warmer and drier (with luck!) summer.

Summer Seasonal Excursion Opportunities

  • Brecon Bike Bus runs between Cardiff and Brecon every Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from May 25th until September 28th this year. This is in addition to the regular year-round Traws Cymru T4 service that connects Cardiff, Brecon and Powys.
  • Flat Holm Ferry Services – There is a ferry connecting Weston-Super-Mare with Cardiff and travelling onwards to Flat Holm Island on some days.

Other (Surprising?) Summer Fun Things

The Beach and Water!

While none of the USW campuses are exactly on the coast, the beach and white water is never that far away.

The closest sandy beach is at Barry Island, a small, friendly seaside resort with arcades, candyfloss, beach huts and a promenade.

The Gower, near Swansea, has larger, wilder beaches and a great reputation for surfing. There are lots of other opportunities to do watersports in Wales.

Cardiff International White Water lets you get wet with the convenience of being near a city centre, and just the other side of the road you could pop into “Cardiff International Pool” which has a full sized olypmic pool and some extremely fun slides!

Nearer Newport, “The National Diving & Activity Centre” runs scuba courses, has open air cinema and other fun activities, including The Wire, one of the UK’s longest and tallest ziplines, and the chance to ride a segway.

Lido Pontypridd is due to open this summer following a major restoration project, right on hand for students at Treforest and Glyntaff and sure to be worth the trip for people on other campuses.

Walking and Hiking

Walking is one of the best, most accessible and cheapest forms of exercise.

South Wales is a great place to get out and about in using your feet. There are countless hills to walk up and and woodlands, valleys and coast to explore.

Visit Wales has a lot of information about walking and hiking paths and routes around Wales, but feel free to just get outside and wander around. Some of the best places are just around that next corner.

Ever been on holiday to some exotic destination and taken a walking tour to get a taste of the local culture and architecture? Well Cardiff has that too, Cardiff Walking Tours offer several differnt walks of different distances and with different emphasis.

Cycling

Bikeradar includes South Wales as one of its ‘Top 5 Places to Ride a Mountain Bike, Worldwide’, and a lot of that riding is within easy reach of the University’s campuses.

Cwmcarn is about an hour’s cycle ride, mostly by cyclepath, from Newport City Campus. Bikepark Wales in Merthyr is a short drive or train ride north of the Treforest and Glyntaff campuses and there are numerous other great trails and trail centres nearby.

Great scenery, sweeping A roads and mountains of just the right size make South Wales a great place to ride on the road too. If you’re quick you might still be able to enter the inaurgal Velothon Wales on 14th June, or at least go watch what is going to be Wales’ biggest ever road cycling ever.

For more recreational cycling check out the National Cycle Network in Wales.

Rock Climbing

The USW Treforest sports centre has a climbing wall and there’s a Climbing Pontypridd student society. In Newport, Newport YMCA has a wall and runs courses in climbing. For bigger adventures, in Cardiff Boulders is close enough to the Atrium to walk and Summit Centre is about 8 miles from the Treforest campus.

There are also many outdoor places to climb, see Visit Wales for more details.

Skiing and Snowboarding

You don’t have to go as far as the alps to get involved in snow sports.

There’s an artificial slope in Cardiff, Cardiff Ski & Snowboard Centre where you can learn the basics or get in a bit of practice.

Maybe you’ll want to join USW Snowsports – Ski & Snowboard society when term starts back. You can also check out USW Snowsports on Facebook now.

Skating (With Wheels)

There are a lot of small council run Skateparks Around Wales, suitable for skateboards, rollerblades, scooters and sometimes BMX.

One of the larger parks, near Newport, is Tredegar Park Skatepark. Also in Newport check out Fear and Rolling, a large indoor park wih associated shop. The homepage has a video showing someone doing a backflip and a flair(!)

Ramp World Cardiff has a large custom made wooden set of ramps and offer coaching – even for comlpete beginners.

Further Reading

There are several guide books intended for travellers to Wales, including a Lonely Planet Guide. Here’s a list on Amazon and a similar list on Blackwells site.

There are also guides focussing on the immediate vicinity of Cardiff including a recently published one by UniLife’s own Robert Holbach, Cardiff – A Guide for Visitors and Newcomers [Robertorial Note: Written and published in my spare time, this guide does not adhere to the same editorial policies as UniLife.] .