7 Things To Do In Cardiff This Autumn - South Wales Family Photographer
It’s raining. I wanted to go out location scouting today at a beautiful new spot I’ve discovered in the Vale of Glamorgan, but as soon as I woke up this morning I knew I’d have to change my plans. We didn’t really have a long hot summer this year like last year, but the weather was dry enough to get outside. I’m not really sure of the science, but I definitely think that the bouts of rain we had during July and August have helped Autumn on its merry way this year. I remember thinking in late September last year the trees were still very green and that the temperture was still high. Well, not this year! I do love Autumn - the colours, the chill in the air, the crunch of the leaves. It’s also a really busy time of year in my business as clients are keen to have the colours of nature reflected in their family photos and start to think about using the images from their Autumn Sessions as gifts for their family Christmas presents (click here to learn more about these exclusive sessions).
Running a business and juggling family life is definitely a balancing act and I try to make lists of activities at the start of each season or school holiday to make sure that I make the most of the time I have to spend with my family. So at the start of this season, I thought I’d share with you some of the activities that I’m hoping to do with my daughter this Autumn.
1. Go blackberry picking. This should be the first thing on your list to do! If you leave it past mid-September, they’ll probably all be gone. We love picking blackberries, but because I have a bit of a thing about germs, we always take them home, soak them for a few hours in salt water and then use them to bake! Our favourite recipe is for apple and blackcurrant flapjacks but instead of using the dermerera sugar, we use half a tin of condensed milk. Yum!
2. Collect conkers, pinecones, leaves and acorns. We love going out to the park in search of autumnal goodies, and this activity is so easy to adapt to the age of your children. We find that Llandaff Fields are usually full of conkers and pincecones from mid-September onwards, while Pontcanna Fields are laden with acorns. After collecting, get creative! We love the ideas on The Imagination Tree for autumn crafts, as well as using pinecones to create Christmas decorations. Two years ago, my daughter planted an acorn she’d found with her Grandad, and it’s growing nicely into an Oak tree, measuring around 40cm this year!
3. Pick and carve a pumpkin. Okay, so this isn’t something you can do in Cardiff exactly, but if you don’t mind travelling a bit, then there are a few options where you can PYO. Pencoed Farm near Blackwood and Penyfodau Fawr on Gower are very popular choices and also offer extra activities to turn pumpkin picking into a whole day out. If you’re stuck for ideas on how to carve your pumpkins once you get them home, this blog has some really good tips and photos for inspiration.
4. Make soup with local produce. If you don’t fancy carving your pumpkin, you could always add it to a lovely warming veggie soup. We are really lucky in Cardiff that even though we live in a city, we have quite a few places that stock locally grown veg. Thornhill Farm Shop is one of these, and while you’re there stocking up on veg for your autumn soup, the children can go and see the animals in their paddocks too. When I was a teacher I used to love making these hedgehog bread rolls with the children. They’re so easy to make, even toddlers will be able to help, and they’re perfect for dipping into the soup.
5. Go for an autumn walk. This might seem like a really obvious thing to do, but when was the last time you went for a walk just to go for a walk? Not to take the dog out, not to get to somewhere, not on the way to the park, but just to get some fresh air. I discovered last year this amazing area on the My Cardiff website that lets you input your postcode and find out loads about local area. But it’s not the bin collection days that I got excited about (I’m not that old yet). After inputting your postcode, click the ‘My Maps’ tab at the top of the page. After clicking ‘Transport and Travel’, choose ‘Public Rights of Way’ and watch the map light up with all the purple paths that are accesible to the public across the whole county! It’s so easy from there to plan a walk that’s suitable for your family and you can make it as short or as long as you like. If you think there are loads of options on the Cardiff website, wait till you see the My Vale of Glamorgan website…
6. Visit Margam Park. Margam Country Park is lovely at any time of year, with the animal trail, adventure playpark, fairytale village and castle to explore. But in the autumn, not only do you get to experience the beautiful scenery changing colour, but if you’re lucky, you might see the deer rutting too. The park rangers are really helpful and if you’ve never been before or are unsure where to spot the deer, they will usually point you in the right direction and give you advice on how to keep safe when you’re close to these majestic but powerful animals. This is on my list of things to do this year and I’m planning on taking my camera so that I can get some shots like this! Dusk and dawn are the best times to see the deer, and as the park doesn’t close until 4pm over the winter season, the chances are you might catch a glimpse of these lovely animals at last light.
7. Watch an autumn sunset. As the nights draw in and sunset gets earlier during the countdown to the shortest day, this could be the perfect time of year for your children to see a beautiful sunset without having to get to bed at 10pm. Cardiff Bay barrage is a lovely spot for watching the sunset, but if you can head further afield, being out of the city makes sunsets that little bit more magical. There are several apps and websites that will tell you what time the sun sets on any given day, and you need to aim to be where you want to be 30 minutes before the sun actually sets (it sinks below the horizon quicker than you’d imagine!). Places that we love to watch the sun go down are Kenfig Nature Reserve, near North Cornelly, and Dunraven Bay, Southerndown.
Hopefully you’re found at least one new thing on this list to try this Autumn! If you’ve got an activity that your family loves, please do let me know in the comments section below - we love exploring new places and trying new things!
Hi, I’m Clare, a South Wales family photographer who loves working outdoors with natural light. I cover Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan for maternity, newborn, child and family photoshoots. Get in touch if you’d like to book your family’s photoshoot, I can’t wait to meet you!