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CARDIFF | Visiting Cardiff - Questions and Suggestions

11635 Views 25 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  cardiff
Weekend in Cardiff

Hiya everyone,

Me and a few friends are coming down to Cardiff to stay from the Thursday 26th July through to Saturday the 28th. I was wondering if anybody had any good ideas of things to do in the city over a couple of days. Bearing in mind that none of us have ever been before (well... once for the football) we don't really know whats good and what isn't. I've heard Cardiff castle is supposed to be very good?

Also, we are staying at the Premier Inn in Roath. What are the connections like between the hotel and the city centre? Is it within walking distance?

Cheers dudes :D
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I think the Premier Inn Roath is in a fairly unappealing retail / business park type area, but it's a short walk to Newport Road from where there are lots of buses to the centre. To walk all the way to the centre is probably around 25 minutes or so.

Definitely recommend the castle. Pay the full £11 for the guided tour - it's well worth it and necessary if you want to get the most out of the full craziness of the Victorian decor. Also the new interpretation centre will give you a good background. Reckon on 2 hours at least to give the castle a good visit.

Depending on what you're into, the open air National History museum at St Fagan's can be a pretty fantastic place.
Full of reconstructed Welsh buildings from the last several hundred years, transplanted from across the country. Also plenty of ancient trades on show and you can buy a lot of the stuff they make.

The other 'must see' museum is the National Museum and Gallery of Wales in Cathays Park - slap bang in the civic centre adjacent to the castle. The art galleries contain one of the best impressionist collections outside Paris. You should have a walk around the rest of the civic centre complex itself as well - there are a lot of very attractive buildings and the War Memorial / Alexandra Gardens at the centre of the complex are beautiful.

You should definitely try Cardiff Bay if you have the time. Pop into the Millennium Centre (again, tours are available and worth it if you like theatres - it's pretty impressive). Also have a wander round the new Assembly chamber designed by Richard Rogers. The bay (Mermaid Quay especially) is also good for an evening out. It's more focused around restaurants than bars so tends to have a more laid back atmosphere than the city centre after dark. There are a smattering of good bars / pubs down there though. Bar Cwtch is delightfully cosy and independent-feeling, The Waterguard is smart, Salt loud, Eli Jenkins traditional, so there's a decent variety.
Also the Cardiff Bay barrage is a terrific piece of engineering and actually a very pleasant place to be as much of it is landscaped. You can either get a boat across the bay to the barrage from Mermaid Quay, or simply walk across it (takes about 20 minutes). If you like that sort of thing, it's fun watching boats locking in and out of the bay through the barrage locks - when the tide is out the difference in water level between one side of the lock and the other can be around 10 metres.

Otherwise if the weather's nice a walk through Bute Park (behind the castle) is a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon. If you have an hour or two to spare you can walk through the park along the river to Llandaff Cathedral, which is small but architecturally pretty interesting. The cathedral green / Llandaff high street are pretty, and you can bus it back into the city centre easily from there.

Hope that's a start!
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I'd echo what Dai says. The city centre is compact and easy to navigate. You should check out the arcades which offer a different shopping experience to the main shopping streets which concentrate on chains.

If you go to the Bay (which you should) have a look around the Mount Stuart Square area which is the older bit of the Bay. It's architecturally very nice yet often overlooked by visitors. A walk on the Barrage is also well worth the effort and gives tremendous views of the Bay and the City.

As for going out the southern end of St Mary St is where to go for huge cavernous drinking holes blasting out cheesy shit music. I personally detest it but there is no denying that you will find all human life there.

Around the corner Mill Lane is a bit more upmarket and has a pretty pleasant vibe. The Brewery Quarter is a mix of bars and restaurants - mostly chains - but not a bad place. Womamby St has a couple of trad pubs at either end, a couple of bars, a Revolution and two Cardiff institutions in the Toucan and Clwb Ifor Bach where you can usually find live music. Ten Feet Tall, Buffalo, Gwdihw, Glo are also decent independent bars.

If the weather is nice a pub crawl down Cathedral Rd is a very pleasant way to spend a late afternoon. There are about 5 pubs (plus a couple just off the main drag) with the last of them (the Westgate) situated just where the city centre begins.

I also thought that Premier Inn Roath was on the ring road and nearer an estate called Llanederyn. If I am right you would probably be better off jumpng in a taxi than getting a bus. Will be about £7 to the city centre.

Hope that helpsand enjoy your visit.
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There is a Premier Inn up there, but the Roath one is on Ipswich Road, just off Colchester Avenue.
Ah, you learn something new every day. What an odd place to put a hotel....
Visiting Cardiff for the first time...


I'm Visiting Cardiff for the first time this Aug & am really looking forward to it. My day will revolve around taking photos, which I'll eventually post on this forum.

Can anyone give me a general round up of things worth seeing & doing. Any buildings to look out for, or special areas to check out etc ?...

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go to a site called trip advisor and post on forum there.

there's a guy called jim from cardiff who could advise you.
Starting at Central Station, take a walk up St Mary St / High St towards the castle. The street is undergoing pedestrianisation at the moment, this and the fact that it's where most of the bars and fast food joints are located means it's a mess right now but it does contain a great collection of individual Victorian buildings many of which are well worth a photo. The pedestrianisation work is complete at the Castle end and is looking great.

Definitely visit the castle itself. Unfortunately there are also substantial roadworks going on outside here for the next few months which might make it tricky to get a decent photo of the exterior, but if you go inside you'll be able to go up the keep which affords some decent views and photo ops. I'd also recommend spending the 11 quid or so on a proper guided tour of the interior if you have the time. I don't think you can take photos but the wacky Victorian decor is one of the must-see sights of Cardiff and it's only with a proper tour that you can appreciate all the symbolism - or indeed get into all the rooms.

To the East of the Castle is the Civic Centre, which is another must-see, especially for photos - lots of great architecture and statuary. This is where City Hall, the National Museum, the Law Courts and the main Cardiff University buildings are located - it's a neo-classical planned civic centre with the buildings arranged around the beautiful Alexandra Gardens which contains a stunning war memorial.

Bute Park to the West of and behind the castle I would also recommend. You can get some great shots of the castle towers through the trees if you go into the arboretum entrance off Castle Street (just before you get to the river).

Definitely take a trip down to the Bay. You can get there on the number 6 bus from almost anywhere in the City Centre, or by train from Queen Street station - or you can just walk of course. However, if it's photos you're after the best route might well be by waterbus, which you can catch from Bute Park just inside the Castle Street entrance I mentioned above.It only runs once an hour so can be over-subscribed if the weather is good, but I'd try it. This will take you down the river Taff just past the Millennium Stadium and down to Mermaid Quay which is the main bar / restaurant area of the Bay. Once in the Bay the Millennium Centre and the Senedd (Welsh Assembly Building) are the standouts. I'd go inside both for a look around and some photos.

Again if you have the time, take a walk from Cardiff Bay past the Norwegian Church and out onto the barrage. If you walk to the far (Penarth) end you can get up close with all the locks and sluice gates if big engineering stuff is your bag, otherwise you can get great shots back towards the city over the Bay from anywhere on the barrage, or out to sea facing the other way!

Those would be my main recommendations. Other stuff - when you're in the city centre you can't miss the Millennium Stadium. If you aim for the walkway along the river you can get some good photos of the towers. A final suggestion would be Llandaff cathedral, not the world's most spectacular (!) but a lovely corner of the city. You can get there in about 15-20 minutes on the number 25 or 62 bus, or (my recommendation) walk there in about 45 minutes through Bute Park along the river.

Cardiff's a compact place an easy to walk and navigate, so I'm sure you'll have a rewarding day! Let me know if you want any specific info.
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Cheers DaiB, Really useful info! :)

Just taken notes,

Expect an update soon...
I agree with all of those reccomendations, but would also add in Castell Coch on the northern outskirts of the city and the National Folk Museum (or whatever it is called these days) at St Fagans on the west of the city.

Of course if you ar saddo you could just go the St Davids shopping centre....
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Definately the city centre areas that DaiB has mentioned.

These are some more suggestions if you have time to spare:
*Museum of Welsh Life in St. Fagans - has quite a few traditional Welsh buildings reconstructed on the site
*Roath Park - if you like photographing floral displays, ducks, swans and geese

Both accessible by bus from Central bus station. You will need more time to explore the Museum of Welsh Life.
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I agree. Go to the Parliament building it's free and very good (well the glassy bit a the front) ;)

and the Millennium Centre is next door. Tours are £5.50
As you walk up St marys street check out the Arcades as they are like stepping back in time and really give an idea of what makes Cardiffs shopping special. it also links onto the hayes where the new shopping center is (which is quite a good comparison to bristols new one as both differ significantly but built at the same time). Also the indoor market is great which also crosses between St Marys street and the hayes. I recomend a drink on mill lane as well in the sun. Concur with the trip to the bay by boat, it worth the wait and really makes a trip to the city (buses back to the center depart from directly outsdie the millennium center). I'd recomend Roath over llandaff as it has some great non comercial architecture and the park is stunning (as well as a nice shopping area).
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Nice photos, thanks. You've caught some stuff that I walk past almost every day and have stopped noticing!
Rather than start another thread I thought I would resurrect this one ...

Since I am going to be in the area I am thinking if taking the family to Cardiff for a day. I don't think I have been myself in 20 years so it will be new to me too.

Is Cardiff castle worth a visit? The website looks good. I thought we could spend a few hours there and then have a wander around the city. When I was there last was a school trip to see the beginning of the bay redevelopment. I would like to see what it is like now but it seems a bit of a trek. Is there anything worth seeing there?
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Rather than start another thread I thought I would resurrect this one ...

Since I am going to be in the area I am thinking if taking the family to Cardiff for a day. I don't think I have been myself in 20 years so it will be new to me too.

Is Cardiff castle worth a visit? The website looks good. I thought we could spend a few hours there and then have a wander around the city.
Yes, definitely worth it. The National museum & Gallery is also a must.

When I was there last was a school trip to see the beginning of the bay redevelopment. I would like to see what it is like now but it seems a bit of a trek. Is there anything worth seeing there?
Depends on the weather I guess. In all honesty it's not that interesting down there imo, beyond a couple of architectural sites like the Pierhead, Senedd, Millennium centre, as well as the lake itself. Focus on the attractions in the city centre before heading off down the bay I would say.

It's not too arduous to get down there though; there's bus, train and ferry services that you can get from the centre.
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