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Built in 1894, and opened a year later, the 658-foot-long Penarth Pier is reminiscent of more gentle times and is one of only two surviving pleasure piers in south Wales, the other being at Mumbles. The pier is still as popular as ever with visitors and is a port of call for the cruise ship Waverley, the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world.
The newly restored Penarth Pier Pavilion is open to the public and brings a unique facility to Penarth Esplanade as a multifunctional art and learning building. It boasts a 70 seater community cinema, arts, events and exhibition space, cafe, bar and restaurant and meeting spaces.
From Penarth seafront and the Esplanade, it is only a short uphill walk back to the town centre where you will find a Victorian shopping arcade, a number of unique family-owned stores, as well as the usual popular high street names.
The Wales Coast Path heads south to Lavernock Point. It was from here in 1897 that Marconi received the first radio transmission over water from Flat Holm Island and a plaque recording this historic event is set in the boundary wall of the nearby Lavernock Church.
Less than a mile away is the stunning tranquility of Cosmeston Lakes Country Park which contains more than 200 acres of lakes, woodland walks and natural beauty, while Cosmeston Medieval Village provides an enthralling glimpse of C14th life.
Penarth has a railway station which is the terminus of a branch line from Cardiff Central.