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Vendor City Guide: Cardiff, Wales

Street secrets revealed by the people who know them best. This week’s we’re off to the Cardiff with Big Issue vendor Maurice Richards

Our guide this week: Maurice Richards, 59, was born in Cardiff. Apart from some time working on fairgrounds he has lived there all his life.

“Welsh people are very nice,” he says. “I’ve got regular customers and I love them.”

Why I like living in Cardiff

There is so much to see

We’ve got Cardiff Castle as well as the Millennium [since 2016 officially called Principality] Stadium. You can go up to Bute Park, what a lovely park that is. The River Taff runs all the way through it. We’ve got the three white houses – better than America – the City Hall, the Crown Court and the National Museum, all in granite and built in the early 1900s.

The best part of town

Cardiff Bay

The first migrants came into Cardiff on ships at Tiger Bay [as it was then known], one of the first places in the country, and there’s always been racial harmony. There are over 50 different nationalities down the Bay at the moment. I knew a man, he’s dead now, who came in as a cabin boy in 1942 and he stayed. He came from Malta during the war and he never went back.

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Where to eat

Pillars

There are loads of restaurants in the city. I love Pillars, I like Wetherspoons. There’s a cafe in the Central Market that has the best bacon and eggs in the world. If you eat the Ultimate then you don’t have to pay for it: three sausages, four bits of bacon, six eggs… eat that and they give you a free meal. I’ve never managed it.

Best time to visit

When there’s a big international rugby fixture

You can’t move in the city when there’s a big game on. Believe me, you can’t move. So many people come into town. All the pubs are full. The atmosphere is incredible at the Millennium Stadium. We’ll always call it the Millennium Stadium whether they change the name or not. Wales have done so well, they beat all the other teams in the Six Nations [Wales did the Grand Slam in the tournament this year]. What an awesome team.

Escape the city

Visit Barry Island

You can go to Barry Island, which is a seaside resort. There’s a lovely big fairground. Sully Island has the old Triassic park. Some of the rocks fell down the other day and they found a dinosaur there. Porthcawl is the place to be seen, especially down the bay. If you’ve got bad weather you can see the waves go over the lighthouse.

Must do

Go to the best flower show in the world

In April we’ve got the Cardiff Flower Show. It’s £12 to get in [advance booking, it’s £15 on the day] but it doesn’t matter. I love going, it’s unbelievable. It’s the best show in the world.

By the market there’s a place called the alleyways – it’s all graveyards around there. And there’s an orchid tree that flowers twice a year. The May blossoms came out early this year. It will flower again in September.

My favourite time of year

Winter

I have a snowball fight every year. Last year we had the deep freeze. M&S where my pitch is was the only place that was open, and I was just throwing snowballs at everybody. Going back to the Big Issue office I slipped and it took three people to help me up. It was so cold it was unbelievable. But I took a lot of money so it was OK. It can snow, it can rain, whatever. I’ll still be out there.

READ ALL OF OUR VENDOR CITY GUIDES HERE

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