West Lodge, Bute Park

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link to Welsh translationButton link to Bute Park for Kids tour page Button link to kids version of page West Lodge, Castle Street

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Now anyone can take a look inside West Lodge when the Pettigrew Tea Rooms are open. But for 150 years, this neat limestone building wasn’t open to the public.

photo of West Lodge tea rooms
The tea rooms, with reproduction medieval floor tiles

It was built in the early 1860s, when it was described as an ‘ornamental gateway and lodge leading to what will become, in a few years, a great park’. On the ground floor were a living room, kitchen and scullery (where dishes were washed and ingredients cleaned and trimmed for the kitchen). Above were three bedrooms for the park keeper’s family, who grew their own vegetables in the garden behind.

The building was designed in ‘mock castle’ style by Alexander Roos, who was employed by the Bute estate in the mid 19th century. He favoured traditional architecture. Eventually he was dismissed by the 3rd Marquess, who preferred the full-on Gothic style of William Burges, John Prichard and William Frame. Take a look at Castell Coch (Burges) or the Pierhead Building (Frame) to see what we mean!

West Lodge now belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. The 5th Marquess left a portion of Bute Park to the Church in 1947, expecting that a Catholic cathedral would be built on the site.

photo of the West Lodge Gate
Old photo of West Lodge gate before Castle Street widening

Cardiff Council, which has a long-term lease of West Lodge, opened the building to the public in March 2012, after a refurbishment which included laying an ornate floor downstairs in what is now a tea room. The floor features reproduction medieval tiles, made in Victorian times and originally laid to decorate the surviving floor of the medieval friary in Bute Park. For more information on the tiles, see the board beside the tea room toilets (in West Lodge rear courtyard).

When you leave West Lodge and enter the park, turn right behind the lodge and look at the long concrete pad parallel to the Animal Wall. Can you guess why this was built? Click on Footnotes below to find out.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: CF10 1BJ

FOOTNOTES: The concrete pad

Thanks to RNIB for the audio presentation of this page

To continue the Bute Park tour, take the main path from West Lodge and turn left towards the water-taxi landing stage Navigation next button