Roath essentials

Facilities & Services: hospital, police & schools

Nearest Hospital

Heath Hospital

Location: Heath Park , Cardiff , CF14 4XW
Heath Hospital - University Hospital of Wales. 10 minute walk from Cathays, or a short couple of minutes’ drive.

Local Police Station

Roath Police Station

Location: Clifton St , Cardiff , CF24 1LZ

Schools

Cardiff High School

Location: Llandennis Road , Cyncoed , Cardiff , CF23 6WG
Driving & walking distances are taken from our Albany Road office, CF24 4RR. Walking Time: 30 minutes Drive Time: 6 minutes

Albany Primary School

Location: Albany Road , Roath , Cardiff , CF24 3RR
Walk Time: 1minute – it’s on the same street, central Roath Drive Time: 0 minutes – no need for a drive

Marlborough Primary School

Location: Marlborough Road , Cardiff , CF23 5BU
Walk Time: 6 minutes Drive Time: 1 minute

Roath Park Primary School

Location: Pen-Y-Wain Rd , Cardiff , CF24 4BB
Driving & walking distances are taken from our Albany Road office, CF24 4RR. Walk Time: 6 minutes Drive Time: 2minutes

St Peter's R.C Primary School

Location: Southey Street , Roath , Cardiff , CF24 3FP
Walk Time: 18minutes Drive Time: 3minutes

Willows High School

Location: Willows Avenue , Cardiff , CF24 2YE
Driving & walking distances are taken from our Albany Road office, CF24 4RR. Walk Time: 35 minutes Drive Time: 5 minutes

Ninian Nurseries

Location: 40-41 Ninian Road , Roath Park , Cardiff , CF23 5EH
Drive Time: 1 minutes Walk: 7minutes

Getting around Roath

bus

Bus

Roath is served well by bus links to the city centre (all routes end up here sooner or later!), Heath Hospital (routes 38 and 39), Pen y Lan (routes 52/57/58) and Cardiff Bay (via the city centre). Main pick up points are on City Road and Albany Road.

Rail

Unfortunately there is no rail station in Roath making bus, cycling or even walking the popular choice for residents. The nearest stations to Roath are Cathays and Queen Street, which are typically around 20 minutes walk away.

Major Road Links

M4 links very close via Crwys Road northbound to the A470 and via Newport Road Eastbound A4161.

What's on in Roath

roath-park

Roath Park

Location: Roath Park
A truly stunning park with so much to offer its visitors, whatever the weather. The park has the famous Roath Park Lake where people live the Olympic dream by hiring rowing boats for the day and you’re bound to find the perfect spot for a picnic whether you go in the spring or summer. Built on large grounds, the park is also ideal for a leisurely walk or jog.

The Gate

Location: Keppoch St , Cardiff , CF24 3JW
The Gate is a Community Arts Centre located in a grade two listed former church. A beautiful setting which holds regular live music, art events, classes and also an onsite café, holding music events such as a monthly Jazz session.

farmers-market

Roath Farmers Market

Location: 38 Keppoch Street , Roath , Cardiff , CF24 3JW
If you like your fresh, local produce, get down to this weekly gem of an event. A perfect alternative to Tesco Express, The Farmers Market is a unique event held at the Mackintosh Community Centre every Saturday. It hosts stalls boasting local food, clothing, jewellery and other arts and crafts.

Roath Park Recreational Ground

If you’re looking to walk the dog or go for a run, RoathPark is the place to go. The large green open space is the most visited park in Cardiff and hosts rugby and football matches when in season. The park also has workout stations dotted around the outside track, so it’s a one-stop shop (or park) for the full workout…and it’s free!

Made in Roath Festival

Location: 1a Inverness Place
Madeinroath is a community arts festival based in the heart of Roath, Cardiff. The festival aims to take art out of the gallery and into the community, through an exciting programme of events and activities. Regular interactive exhibition can be found on the streets of Roath.

Eat in Roath

Juboraj

Location: Lake Road West , Roath Park , Cardiff , CF23 5PG
Indian or Chinese? It’s a hard question for many Brits to answer but once you’ve tasted the food served at the Joboraj you’ll want more! An exotic dining experience that explores dishes from Bangladesh and India. Well recommended!

Juno Lounge

Location: 14 Wellfield Road , Cardiff , CF24 3PB
Want to wind down but don’t know where to go? Head to Juno Lounge. It boasts a cosy interior setting, ambient atmosphere and a lovely menu to ease the day’s stress. Tidy!

pear-tree

The Pear Tree

Location: Wellfield Road , Cardiff , CF24 3PE
If you’re after a good pint in a quality setting, The Pear Tree is perfect. There are many frantic bars in Roath, so we chose this place for its quality and tranquillity. The free Wi-Fi on offer makes it great for students and business people in the area.

Globe – Cardiff Music

Location: 125 Albany Road , Cardiff , CF24 3NS
Globe is an intimate, cosy, hip and trendy live music hangout for all things music and music-related. Located on Albany Road near a selection of local bars, there is potential for a great night out in Roath.

Sushi Life

Location: The Globe Centre , 5 Wellfield Rd , Cardiff , CF24 3PE
Owned by the former head chef and manager of the excellent Yakitori #1, Sushi Life's prices are exceptionally reasonable. Popular dishes are freshly prepared maki rolls as well as other typical Japanese ramen and rice, Sushi Life is another favorite on Wellfield road of food lovers.

Sticky Fingers Street Food

Location: 199 - 201 Richmond Rd , Cardiff , CF24 3BT
Relocated to Roath in September 2019, SF Street Food is a physical space for pop up street food kitchens to collaborate under one roof. Following other successful street food venues like Depot and Street Food Circus in Cardiff, the opening of SF Street Food is much welcomed by the local Roath residence.

Roath Park

Multi-cultural and bustling, sometimes shabby but always exciting, you have to love Roath. And fair play, plenty of us do.

Words by: I Loves The 'Diff

Convenient for so much of what Cardiff has to offer, and a vibrant, commercial hub and residential district all of its own, Cardiff without Roath is barely worth contemplating.

"There's a theory, which I like enormously, that the city should never have been called Cardiff in the first place," writes Peter Finch, life-long Roath resident and Real Cardiff author. "Its original name was Roath."

It's perhaps ironic then that isn't even on the modern political map: wards of Penylan, Adamsdown and Plasnewydd deny Roath's claim to this swathe of northeast inner-city Cardiff, which was created as part of Cardiff's rapid, coal-powered expansion in the late 1800s and early in the 20th century. And on the ground these days, Roath's boundaries – with Cathays and Penylan to the west and north, and Adamsdown and Splott to the south and southwest – are blurred, like ink on a letter left out in the rain.

Despite this, Roath certainly has a sense of place – and excitement. "It's like a city within the city," says Matt Appleby, a director at Golley Slater and one of the creators of 'hyper local' blog, RoathCardiff.net. "I was finding Pontcannaa little dull, and Roath was the obvious answer. I love Roath's diversity – from grand, leafy park-side Victorian mansions to the more urban edge of City Road. It may be a cliché, but it really is the people that give Roath its edge, its sense of fun and the feeling that anything could happen."

All roads lead to Roath

It's not known for sure whether the name Roath (Y Rhath in Welsh) stems from the Irish word ráth, meaning 'fort', the Welsh word for gift (rhodd), or is derived from the ancient Roman settlement of Ratostabius. It was the latter to which Peter Finch was referring when he said Cardiff should be called Roath. Egyptian-Greek geographer Ptolemy, no less, placed the name here on a map in the second century.

Nearby Newport Road formed part of the Roman military route known as Via Julia Maritima. Along this ancient route one of Roath's oldest registered buildings existed – a 12th century chapel dedicated to St Margaret (demolished and rebuilt as the St Margaret's we know today, by the Third Marquis of Bute in 1868). Near to the chapel, Roath Dogfield (or Roath Manor), was built. It's now the Grade II listed funeral home.

At the other end of Albany Road from St Margaret's Church is a more grisly reminder of Roath's past. Contrary to popular belief, it's not because traffic can be particularly hazardous here that locals call this Death Junction. Cardiff's gibbet once stood in a plot known as the Cut Throats, where today City Road, Albany Road, Richmond Road, Crwys Road and Mackintosh Place converge.

A plaque on the wall of NatWest Bank is the only permanent reminder of these happenings. It recalls the execution of two innocent Catholic priests, Phillip Evans and John Lloyds, on 22 July 1679, as do stained glass windows in nearby St Peter's church, the city's oldest surviving Catholic church. (Pope Paul IV declared Evans and Lloyds saints in 1970.)

Before the 1st Marquis of Bute acquired Roath in 1793, Roath was largely pastoral farmland and known as Roath-Keynsham, having belonged to Somerset's Keynsham Abbey since the Norman Conquest. A map of 1886 shows growth of terraced housing west of what is now City Road, but there is nothing of today's A-Z beyond Oakfield Street. Tracks that soon became Albany Road and Wellfield Road existed amid fields.

Fortunately, not all the green space became streets: Roath Park, which stretches from the Wild Gardens in Lakeside to Waterloo and Mill Gardens along the top of Roath, and is beloved of generations of Cardiffians, was opened in 1894, soon to be enveloped by suburbia.

Killings, kilts and kebabs

Anyone familiar with Roath and Cathays will have recognised a Scottish influence in the street names, especially around the Mackintosh Institute (locally known as The Mack), known for its bowling green and tennis courts.

Originally a grand house called Plasnewydd built by John Matthew Richards (1803-43), it passed to a relation whose daughter and heiress, Harriet Diana Arabella, married The Mackintosh of Mackintosh, Chief of Clan Chattan. Under the Mackintoshes, Plasnewydd had battlements added so it garnered the name Roath Castle (City Road was until 1905 called Castle Road).

The house and its estate were bestowed upon the local community in 1895. Along with the adjacent Gate Arts Centre, created from Plasnewydd Presbyterian Church at a cost of £2.8m and open since 2004, they are now valuable community resources.

For many, since the demise of City's Road's car showrooms in the 1970s and the Gaiety Cinema (opened in 1912 and a bingo hall from 1961 until closure in 1998), the street has become known mostly for Indian restaurants and fast food takeaways. However, as the popularity and excellent reviews of some of the street's newer Middle Eastern and Asian restaurants shows, the culinary scene is thriving, well supported by long-term residents and newcomers alike.

"When Roath is mentioned one thing that springs to mind is its diversity," says Luke Rice, who went to school in Roath and helps run a community sustainability programme called Cynefin. "It has such an interesting variety of people and cultures, all living side by side. It's great."

"After returning from stints living in Bristol and London, I knew Roath was the best area for me to live. There are so many different things going on in the area. It's fun and exciting. If Roath had a cinema I wouldn't need to leave." Sadly, long gone are the Gaiety and Albany Road's Globe Cinema.

Melting memories

Roath Lighthouse

These days, mention Albany Road and you think of charity shops. Roath has also seen a recent invasion of chain supermarkets, the most recent of which heralded the demolition of Meeks original shoe shop with its shrapnel scars from Second World War bombs.

"One of the things that gives the area its character is the ability for people to set up restaurants, shops, bars and galleries. It's increasingly difficult for them to find affordable premises to start up or grow in the area," says Matt Appleby, whose award-winning blog was established in what surely is one of the city's best pubs, The Albany.

Having opened in 1895, The Albany is possibly the third oldest surviving Roath pub, with the first being The George (1878) followed by and The Claude Hotel in 1890. Since then Roath has become well known for a vast and rich menu of pubs, cafes and restaurants, with seemingly every other property on Wellfield Road now food-related.

Russell Street-born and bred Vicky Pinnell is a switchboard operator with fond memories of growing up in Roath. "Wellfield Road seems to have always offered a slightly higher end type of retail and independent shops and cafes," she says. "Albany Road I think as more for your necessities, whereas Wellfield is more for life's luxuries, as it were."

And one of life's luxuries, then and now, is ice cream. "We used to love Thayers," recalls Vicky. "After visiting the Rec or Roath Park Lake, Thayer's was always number one pit stop on the way home (even in winter)." With the recent opening of Joe's Ice Cream in Wellfield Road, let's hope a revival of the popular local tradition is underway.

Made in Roath

Made in Roath

Since the 1960s, Roath has had a vibrant poetry and literary scene – and these days the arts have caught up. "The art scene has definitely grown," says local artist Gail Howard, co-founder of Made in Roath, the annual Roath arts festival. "Galleries like g39, CardiffMADE and the Warehouse at Milgi all show contemporary work, and there's lots of non-gallery based stuff happening through us."

Held every October and now in its fifth year, Made in Roath has proven incredibly popular, hosting a mini street festival, creating street art, and organising an open house trail on which you can enter local artists' homes for a glimpse of their work (and a nose at their homes).

Creative types are found on Roath's street too, of course. Many a morning Boyd Clack can be seen enjoying a coffee on Wellfield Road. And the late Flying Picket singer and actor Brian Hibbard, a friend of Boyd's, was also one of Roath's more recognisable faces.

Where shopkeepers are friends

"I often think there are a lot more of us in Claude Road than there used to be," says Lionel Fanthorpe, who could well be in line for Roath's most interesting resident award (were it to exist). A TV and radio presenter, priest, media studies lecturer, author of some 250 books, former journalist, head teacher and weight training instructor (among many other things), Lionel is Roath's Renaissance man.

"When we moved into Roath, few of the big old houses had been converted into flats. The area certainly seems to have become more heavily populated and parking has become a problem," says the 79-year-old member of Mensa who has lived in Roath for more than 30 years.

According to Lionel, having good neighbours and its convenience for nearby shops is what makes Roath great. "We're like a friendly little enclave here. We really love it," he says.

When in 2008 Lionel was convalescing in hospital after heart surgery, the owner of the convenience store on Arran Street paid him a visit. "It really was an unexpected surprise," he says. "Where else but in Roath would that happen?" We're not sure, Lionel.

CPS Homes last edited this page on 13/09/2019. All details listed were correct at the time of publishing. Reviewed every six months.