Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff and spent his childhood in places which you can still visit today. Discover the secrets of our beloved writer of all ages!
“So to Cardiff we go,” Boy: Tales of a Childhood.
Roald Dahl was a storyteller unlike any other. Behind classics such as Charlie, the Chocolate Factory and his book successful sales – more than 200 million to date, Cardiff was the focal point for Dahl’s early life.Embark on a thrilling journey in the footsteps of Roald Dahl, from Cardiff Bay where he was christened, to Radyr and Llandaff where he lived and went to school.
Starting from the heart of Cardiff Bay, it is impossible to miss the large public plaza named after Cardiff-born author. This oval shaped arena is host to some of the greatest events held in the city.
The area is also home to the Wales Millennium Centre where you can enjoy the Wondercurmp World of Roald Dahl – an interactive exhibition until 14th of January 2017.
Whilst you’re in Cardiff Bay take a few minutes to pop along to the Norwegian Church, where Dahl and his siblings were christened. The church, originally located between Bute West and Bute East Docks, it’s now overlooking the Inner Harbour, and it is used as an arts centre hosting regular events. It is a perfect spot to admire views across the Bay and munching Norwegian-style snacks.
Heading to the city centre, the Cardiff Story Museum is a must stop to find out more about Roald and Cardiff’s Norwegian community. And you are also not far to get up close with the Roald Dahl- themed art exhibition in the National Museum, featuring more than 120 works.
Around a 30- minute walk from the city centre takes you to Llandaff where Dahl spent his childhood.
Following the deaths of Roald’s father and older sister, the Dahl family relocated to what Roald used to describe as ‘a medium –sized suburban villa”. The Lodge is now part of Howell’s School.
Elmtree House School
In 1992, Roald began his ‘school career’ attending kindergarten with his sisters Alfhild, Else and Asta. “I loved riding to school in a tricycle,” wrote Roald. The Elmtree former school building has reverted to its previous use as a private house.
When Roald was seven, his mother decided it was time for him to go to a proper boy’s school, and she sent him to nearby Llandaff Cathedral School.
The Llandaff Cathedral School is now on the Cardiff Road/ Western Avenue junction, but when he was a pupil, it was housed in a substantial stone building overlooking the Green. It was also here where he got the inspiration for some of the many characters he used to write about in later life. He spent two years there and his memories of it are described in Boy.
Mrs Pratchett’s Sweet Shop
“The sweet shop was the very centre of our lives. Without it, there would have been little to live for.” It’s now the Great Wall Chinese Takeaway. But in the 1920s, this was the stop where a young and sweet- toothed Roald and his friends drooled over the jar of gob-stoppers and sugar mice.
St John’s Church
An impressive pink granite cross against the boundary wall marks the grave of Roald Dahl’s half-sister Astri, father Harald and Sofie .
Ty Mynydd House and Lodge
The final stop is one of Roald childhood homes. The Victorian house belonging formerly to the family of Roald between 1917 to 1921, and now listed on accommodation site Airbnb. The house has been totally refurbished, and can stay the night in this significant place.
Roald remembers Ty Mynydd in his book Boy as “a mighty house with turrets on its roof and with majestic lawns and terraces all around it.”
No doubt, there are plenty of places for you to explore and learn more about Roald Dahl’s extraordinary life. So visit Cardiff and take on outdoor adventure!
What is Cardiff to you?
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