Victoria Park is one of Cardiff’s most popular open spaces and has plenty to entertain visitors of all ages. Full of charm, it is perhaps most famous for one of its former residents – a seal called Billy.
Covering nearly 20 acres and located at Cowbridge Road East in the Canton district of the city, the park was created in 1898 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee, marking her record 60 years on the throne.
It was the first municipal park in Cardiff, and one of the first in Wales, and is still home to the original boating and paddling pool which are always a big draw with youngsters in the summer.
One of the city’s most prized assets, Victoria Park is the proud possessor of a coveted Green Flag Award, the benchmark standard for green spaces in the UK. It has also been used as a filming location for Doctor Who and the Sarah Jane Adventures spin-off.
The park, open from 7.30am to 30 minutes before sunset, is home to a bowling green, children’s playground, refreshment kiosk, multi-use games area, basketball and tennis courts, a recast iron bandstand and toilets with baby-changing facilities.
Victoria Park’s best known inhabitant was Billy the seal. It is believed he was accidentally caught in trawler nets in 1912 and was subsequently brought to the park to live in the lake now used as the paddling pool. Billy lived there until 1939 and a sculpture in his honour, by artist David Peterson, was unveiled in 1997.