If you are in the Cardiff area, Emma Killick recommends The Captain’s Wife pub for a memorable outing.

Legend has it that The Captain’s Wife was originally owned by a captain and when the captain’s wife died, her body was kept in a box that was mistaken for treasure and stolen. As Sully Island, just outside the front door, has been known as a favourite haunt for pirates and smugglers since Norman times, it isn’t too much of a stretch.

Sully Island

Frankly, with a beautiful building and dramatic location, for once I don’t care about the history (plus, it’s a bit creepy). But I do like the dorky fact that this place has the second highest tidal change in the world. (For those of you interested and still reading, the biggest is in Nova Scotia … I feel a bit like a trainspotter!).

Anyway, there’s also a coastal path in front of the pub; great for a stroll. I’d walk east of the pub (you can get all the way to Penarth) and wouldn’t venture further west toward Barry unless you are a fan of the sitcom Gavin and Stacey. Or a fan of retro, divey seaside towns (I drove there and didn’t even want to get out of the car).

And you can reach Sully Island by foot for a couple of hours when the tide is low – but be quick – because the access completely disappears and it does so rapidly.

Ah, The Captain's Wife...

You can watch the tidal drama unfold sitting inside The Captain’s Wife looking out through the lovely little cottage windows or, in the summer, from the large garden and seating area.

The pub is a series of small rooms, each with a slightly different character to it, all of them charming (ignore the pictures on the website because they make the place look like a soulless Holiday Inn). In the back is a large, long bar with a proper range of beers and ales, for those who partake. They also make an awesome mulled cider in the winter and they mix a mean Bloody Mary.

We tried most things on the menu over the course of our visits and everything was excellent. Even if you haven’t saved room for dessert, go for a little walk, check out the island and the tide, and come back for one because they are worth it. Photographs Karen Thorland.

Vintage Inn

Beach Road, Swanbridge, Penarth, CF64 5UG

Telephone 02920 530066

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