On Friday 16th October me and 4 friends flew to Cardiff from Inverness for my Hen weekend. My review will be based purely on what I did down there which was mainly the nightlife and eating out. (I was too hungover to go shopping!)
Friday evening we arrived in Cardiff at 7pm at the Central train station which took us from Bristol. I noticed that it was really busy and just as the name on the train station it was very central and over the weekend once I got used to the place I would realise just how close it was to everything.
On our way to the hotel from the train station we stopped off to get some things for the hotel, I noticed there was several small convenience stores dotted about so for small things like magazines, juice etc we would be ok but I'm assuming for a bigger shop you would have to travel out of the centre a bit.
We walked to the hotel, we were staying at the Travelodge Central which is located on St Mary's Street, again it was right in the middle of the city and close to everything which was perfect for us. A few of the girls were a bit unsure about the hotel at first as they thought it might be noisy with all the clubs being so close.
Checking in and going to our rooms we were happy to see that our rooms were at the back of the hotel so there was going to be no problems with noise at all. We got ready in our rooms and decided to head out as it was already getting late.
Walking out of the hotel I took a minute to take my surroundings in, the best way to describe what I was seeing is to say it was similar to a holiday resort in Spain. There was loads of pubs and there was girls walking up and down the street handing out leaflets to the pubs stating you get a free shot with the leaflet.
I also noticed that the road had been blocked off and there was only access for emergency vehicles making the road just for pedestrians to walk. Making things a lot safer especially with the amount of people falling about.
We decided to go into the bar nearest the hotel which was Walkabout, it was free entry and we got chatting to the bouncers, they offered us free entry the next night if we gave them one of our tiaras we all had in our hair. (thankfully we had extra ones up in the room) so we promised to take them down the next night.
Once in the pub we noticed it was quite quiet for a Friday night, we didn't know if it was just that pub or if all would be the same. There was a live band playing and it really got us into the spirits of going out for the night. When we went in there was no charge for the night but I know later in the night it was £3 entry.
Onto the next pub, we headed down the road and I thought it would be a bit of a trek but 2 minutes later and we ere outside the Yard, we ordered our drinks and then walked to the back of the pub. We noticed there was seats outside so we settled in the seats out there.
Once out there we noticed it was like a courtyard with a couple of other pubs around, these are not seen from the street outside and I probably wouldn't have noticed them if we hadn't walked to the back of the Yard.
There was several pubs in Cardiff which you can expect from a City. The good thing is that most pubs are close together so there's no need for taxi's anywhere and the public transport is also very close by at very cheap prices so you don't need to worry about spending a lot of money.
One thing I couldn't get my head around was the 24 hour drinking. I didn't realise that a lot of pubs were open right through, I know this is a way to stop people binge drinking but for me it meant that people would get more drunk as they'd have more time to do so and wouldn't think about going home. I'm sure people in Cardiff are used to it now but it was something that I didn't have time to get used to.
Another thing that is open all night is the kebab shops and there was a small side street which had 4 or 5 shops all in a row. How do you choose which one to go to when they all sell the same things? Mcdonalds is on the main street as well and it seemed to be open until the early hours as well.
We went back to the hotel about 5am and I noticed that the road workers were out starting to clean the streets making it look decent again in the morning. I felt sorry for them as they still had to dodge all the drunken crowds in the street.
In the morning feeling slightly worse for wear we decided to go and find something for breakfast and again on the same street we came across a Wetherspooons with there breakfast starting off at £2.80, I thought this was a great price for a cooked breakfast. The pub was very noisy with the football on and for 11am in the morning it was really busy we struggled to find a table.
For the rest of the afternoon we decided to head over to Barry Island for a tour of the beach and to have a quiet day. We got the train from Cardiff Central train station and it only cost us £2.80 for a return.
That evening we decided to have a quieter night due to flying home the following day and we went down to Cardiff Bay for dinner. There was a big centre which had a bowling alley a couple of pubs and a couple of restaurants.
We went to an all you can eat Chinese restaurant, it was £12.95 per person which I thought was a bargain. Unfortunately there was a huge queue so I would advise to phone in advance to book a table. We booked a table and then went for a drink in the bar beside to wait.
Down in the centre seemed to be more for families and younger people compared to Cardiff City. It wasn't overly busy down in the Bay which was nice to get away from the bus lifestyle that's seems to be in place in the centre.
Once we had our meal (which I have to say was the best Chinese I have ever eaten) we went for a walk along the Bay to walk of our meal and visit a couple of the other bars.
There was several photo opportunities including a water feature in the middle of a roundabout, a tall water wall, that is basically a wall with water continuously running down and next to this there was a large open are with tall stands which were lit up red and blue. I don't know what this is for and I have still to look into this as I am curious to find out. A lot of these places would probably have been better in daylight but I enjoyed it all the same.
Finally we went to a couple of pubs in the Bay and as soon as I walked in I felt completely under dressed, I also felt that everyone was staring at us when we walked in. Ok I was dressed up with balloons and a bride to be t-shirt which people could write on but I felt uncomfortable all the same. We ended up only having one drink and leaving.
Without sounding rude I would say that this was more for conservative people for a night out and I didn't feel it was a place I fitted in. The bars were very nice looking and they were really busy but I didn't feel you could be wild and have a laugh.
I had a brilliant Hen weekend in Cardiff with loads of places to choose from which I'm not used to as I come from North of Inverness so we were all really spoilt for choice. There was lots to do for a drinking weekend but I don't know if I would enjoy it as much for a weekend away with my partner.
One thing that really stood out about Cardiff was how friendly people were. Even the police officers stood with us to get photos taken (they have different hats to Scottish police men so we wanted a photo!)
I would love to go back again with the girls for a weekend as it definitely was a city that made us feel welcome and I felt comfortable being in a City which really just felt like a town to us.
Now I am biased having lived in Cardiff but it is one of my favourite cities in the world. If you've never been to Cardiff but are thinking of going this review will put down some of the places I think it's important to see and some information about the city I think may be useful. This is subjective and I hope it's of some use.
Cardiff is a pleasant city, with good transport links to the rest of the UK. It is a safe city in comparison to other UK cities but it does have its dodgy areas. You don't want to end up wandering in Ely or Grangetown really but unless you get hopelessly lost you are unlikely to. Saying that it is safe to drive and get lost in Cardiff, you are unlikely to end up anywhere dangerously rough.
The city centre is right next to Cardiff Castle, which provides an excellent focal point in case you get lost because you can't miss the castle! The main pedestrian shopping area "Queen Street" starts opposite the end of the castle. The second main shopping area "St Mary Street" is opposite the length of the castle (hmmm not sure that is entirely clear!)
Queen Street houses a couple of big arcades with plenty of major shops like H&M, Oasis, Warehouse, Debenhams, M&S, Warehouse, Goldsmiths etc. I can't think of any mainstream shop missing bar John Lewis (and Mothercare has closed now in case you are a breast feeding mum seeking refuge in their feeding room!) The main pedestrian street has Lush, Next, Boots and all the other usual suspects.
St Mary Street is more interesting. There are a couple of smaller arcades with independent boutiques and shops. They are always worth a look in. Also Howell's the last remaining massive superstore that has an excellent make up department and a big clothes department with various designers and outlets like Coast.
When you're fed up of shopping then you can head to the museum to look around their exhibits or even into the Castle to look around. The university buildings and City Hall are worth a photo opportunity and there are some gardens opposite that are lovely to have a picnic in if the weather is nice. If you come to Cardiff in the winter you will also find the winter wonderland here.
Let's not forget the millennium stadium and the CIA if you're after entertainment. Both host music concerts and the former has of course, the rugby! If you like ice hockey then you must see the Cardiff Devils and for those footie fans you might like a trip out to the new Cardiff City stadium also home to the Cardiff Blues (rugby).
After you've explored the centre I think it's well worth a trip either by bendy bus or by the water taxi that you can get from Bute Park to Cardiff Bay. There are plenty of restaurants and pubs here on the waterside. There is minimal shopping and most are independent shops and galleries. If you like cake then definitely walk around to the norwegian church for some lush home made cakes. Of course the Senedd (sorry my spelling is shocking) because the architecture is gorgeous. And the millennium centre of course to stop the locations used in Torchwood.
Things to avoid: this rock and roll restaurant thing in Cardiff Bay the food is often a bit dodgy.
Things you have to do: the Dr Who exhibition, millennium stadium tour, boat trip to Penarth from cardiff bay (so you can eat ice cream on the pier).
Best places to eat: The Brewery Quarter (top of St Mary Street), best tapas is in Pica Pica (opposite Millennium Stadium), best curry (Mango House also opposite millennium stadium).
Hope there is some useful information here.
I really like cardiff as a city. it's fun, vibrant, has a great friendly atmosphere to it and is really modern, as you'd expect a capital city to be.
Cardiff has a good selection of shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and a really buzzing nightlife, perfect for all the students there.
I've always found it to be a really friendly city, with great places to explore like cardiff bay with the welsh assembly buildings and thea local markets.
We went to a great sushi place called Zushi, which offers every plate for £1 after 9pm - who can resist bargains like that? The local market is brilliant as well, with lots of fresh food and produce as well as permanent stores (including a fantastic record store, great for enthusiasts).
If you're looking for nightlight then Cardiff has it all, from cheap as chips student ventures to upmarket bars like Buffalo.
Definitely worth exploring if you've never been before.
[Originally posted on www.helphound.com]
I am from Cardiff and having been around the U.K I find it one of the nicest and attractive cities without being too biased but there is no place like home. Cardiff has many attractions such as one of the best stadiums in the world millenium stadium, cardiff castle, cardiff university and the millenium centre. With Cardiff being such a small town it is very easy to navigate your way around.
Cardiffs main train station is Cardiff central which is located right next to Cardiffs main bus station where you find both local buses and the national express coaches which travel around the U.K. There are 8 platforms at Cardiff station and it is the 10th busiest station in the UK. Whilst waiting at the station you could always pop into M&S, Whsmith, Upper crust or Starbucks.
I find Cardiff very good for shopping. Cardiff has all the main shops you would expect to find in a capital city. All the main shops are located on one street being Queen street or in the shopping centres which can be accessed on the same street. Cardiff benefits from two shopping centres - Capitol centre and St Davids Centre. Towards the end of 2009 the new St David's development will open, with a new John Lewis store and over 100 more new shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. This will benefit Cardiff and the shoppers in the area. Cardiff has a two floored indoor mark where you can get your fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. There are also pet shops, baby clothes shops and little cafes for a snack.
Entertainment and sports
The Millenium Stadium opened in 1999 and has been the reason for many visitors to Cardiff since its opening. It is the home ground of both the Welsh rugby and football team. It is also host to many other events such as Wales Rally Great Britain, Boxing and many music concerts, including Madonna, The Rolling Stones and Tsunami Relief concert. If you are visiting Cardiff the Millenium Stadium is simply a must see. If you get the chance to watch a rugby match there then do go - it will be one of the best experiences and atmospheres you will witness.
Many other gigs and concerts are played at Cardiffs International Arena or St Davids Hall. Cardiff International Arena has a capacity of 7,500 is very easy to get to and holds many concerts throughout the year.
The millenium centre opened in 2004 and is such a beautiful building. It is known for holding events such as international opera, ballet and musicals. I have been to this building on three occasions to see musicals and must say it is spectacular. The view is great no matter where you are seated, there is plenty of leg space and the seats are very comfy. The centre also has restaurants and bars where you can just go in without seeing a show.
Cardiff Castle has been there for over 2000 years and tours of the castle interior take place throughout the day, or visitors can just enjoy a stroll around the picturesque Castle gardens.
There are many other attractions which you can visit whilst in cardiff such as cardiff bay, techniquest, st fagans, castle coch and the museum.
There are many places to eat in Cardiff but the restaurant I would recommend would be pillars which is on Queen Street itself. The food is excellent quality and the prices are excellent.
With the construction of the new Wembley Stadium, the need to come to Cardiff for sporting events is about to be vastly reduced. Many people will already have visited Cardiff for some kind of event or other. Hopefully my home city left you with a good impression and the desire to return. If so, I hope what is written here is of some use in getting to know Cardiff better.
THE TRAIN STATION
The main inter-city train services to Cardiff arrive at CARDIFF CENTRAL, which has eight platforms, including the somewhat oddly numbered platform zero!
On arrival, you will see that Cardiff Central has had new automatic ticket barrier equipment installed.
On weekend nights ''walk-through'' metal detectors are in use. You may be expected to empty out your pockets into a plastic tray. Police sniffer dogs are also in evidence. This is mainly on Friday and Saturday nights due to trouble makers travelling in from nearby valley towns. A small inconvenience for the sake of safety. The station ticket hall has a Spar store, pasty shop and Upper Crust buffet bar. Immediately in front of the main station doors are 2 ATM machines. There is also a Marks & Spencer food shop built-in to the front of the station.
As you emerge from the station doors you come out into a small 'plaza' called CENTRAL SQUARE. This area is frequented by 'goth' kids on skateboards who can be a bit of a pain, but more worryingly, the local drunks and beggars hang around there. They can be a bit intimidating at times but spend MOST of their time fighting with each OTHER!!
Facing Central Square is a row of offices, below which, are shop units which include Burger King, Londis, O'Briens sandwich bar and a couple of charity shops.
Forming part of Central Square itself, is the Bus Station with stands A-F... There is a single, central zebra crossing which runs through the bus station - USE IT!!
Near stand A2 is a small newsagent kiosk. Public toilets are located near stand A2-A3. These are not the cleannest in the world and are best avoided other than as a last resort. Better facilities are always available in the nearby pub THE PRINCE OF WALES. (Wetherspoons)
National Express Coach Service is found at stands A4-A5. There is a check in lounge open from 7am. Tickets can be bought over the counter subject to availability.
The local buses cost £3.00 for an adult all day.
£6.00 for kids gets you a 12-journey ticket which is very useful. A weekly adult ticket is £13.00. All tickets can be bought from the driver as you board. NO CHANGE IS GIVEN ON CARDIFF BUSES.
Cardiff City AFC is within 20-30 minutes easy walk. Out of Central Square, turn left, over the river, straight ahead for 3/4 mile to car sales, turn left, under bridge, turn left onto SLOPER ROAD, stadium is 200 yds down on your left (floodlights clearly visible).
Cardiff is awash with quality shopping. You have Royal Arcade, Castle Arcade, Duke Street Arcade, St. David's Centre (with phase 2 soon), Queen Street, Queens Arcade, Capitol Centre.
There is also Cardiff Central Market (indoor) for fresh fruit, veg, meat and fish. There are 2 floors to the market which also includes, cafes, 2nd hand records, toy stalls, fortune telling, christian bookshop and pet stalls.
STOPPING FOR A BITE TO EAT?
Try the LOUIS on High St or PILLARS on Queen Street. Both are good, clean, reasonably priced with good customer service.
There is also, CHINA CHINA on High Street offering '' all you eat'' Chinese buffet for around £7.99
A quick cuppa can be had at the outdoor HAYES ISLAND SNACK BAR if you dont mind pigeons!
Alternatively, try the TEA ROOMS at the nearby ST.JOHNS CHURCH. Home made cake and sandwiches with proceeds to the Church fund.
For major rock concerts we have The Millennium Stadium. Smaller concerts are at Cardiff Indoor Arena. Even smaller events are at St.David's Hall.
Cardiff University great hall also has live bands (last band I saw here was Motorhead)
In a nutshell - the Welsh language. Its a pain. Bi -lingual everything including train announcements. I have missed my train on a number of occasions because last minute platform changes have been given out in Welsh FIRST!!.... the sad thing? .... nobody actually NEEDS it!!... especially for a train going to Nottingham!! Notice that I said, '' NEEDS'' before all you mis-guided Welsh language activists get angry!!
Welcome to what will probably be a very biased review. Cardiff is my home city and I love it. So biased I may be, but let me tell you why and maybe you'll agree that Cardiff is a great place to live and to visit.
I've lived here all my life (apart from University up in London) and always picture myself coming back here after moves away. It has a draw for me, like the proverbial Mothership calling me home!
HISTORY AND LOCATION:
Cardiff is the capital city of the small Principality of Wales. It has only been the capital since 1955 and has only been a city since 1905. Cardiff was settled by the Romans, and invaded by the Normans. It remained a small town until the Industrial Revolution when it came into its own. Cardiff was, once upon a time, one of the most important cities in the world. It may be a cliche to say that Welsh people live down mines, but at the beginning of the 20th century the mines made Cardiff one of the richest cities in the world. The docks were constantly bustling, transport was expanding to ensure the coal could reach the docks. It was in the Coal Exchange that the world's first million pound deal was signed in 1907. The docks were developed by the Bute family, who owned much of the land within the city, including the Castle. Although the Butes have long since left to return to Scotland, their names live on in place names such as Butetown and Bute Square.
After the decline in the coal industry the docks area of the city fell into disrepair. In 1987 the Cardiff Bay Redevlopment Corporation was set up to turn the unused docks into housing and a leisure space, with a huge new barrage over the bay. Development continues but the area is almost unrecognisable from what it was.
Cardiff is located off the M4, junctions 30-33. It takes about 3 hours from central London to drive there. Remember that you have to pay to enter over the Severn Bridge (currently £4.90), but we will let you out for free! The train from Paddington takes 2 hours and stops at Reading, Swindon, Bristol and Newport and arrives at Cardiff Central which is right in the heart of the city. The connections to other parts of the UK are also very good. Naional Express and the Megabus also run into the city centre.
The city is not very big, it only has around 300,000 inhabitants, but it has everything you need.
There is so much to see and do in Cardiff. I'll give a few of my own highlights:
CARDIFF CASTLE: This castle has parts dating back to the Romans. It is located right in the centre of the city, on Castle St (clever eh?). It costs £6.95 for an adult and this gets you into the Castle and grounds and includes a guided tour. The castle itself was owned by the Butes and the interiors are their work. The interiors are very high Victorian, very colourful and highly decorated. I love the decoration, there is so much to see. Within the grounds lies the keep which is Norman. If you've got a head for heights then you can climb to the top of this. Great entertainment for the whole family I think. Also look out for the peacocks which inhabit hte grounds.
TECHNIQUEST: Located in Cardiff Bay this is a science museum. You could spend a long time in here. Rather than looking at the exibits this is a hands on museum where you can experiment with all sorts of science. It costs £20 for a family, but it is worth it, I always got a lot out of it on my visits when I was younger.
MILLENIUM STADIUM: 'And we were singing, hymns and arias'. Yes this is the home of Welsh Rugby. Built to house the 1999 Rugby World Cup, I think of it as the best stadium in the world (again, biased!!). It is great though. There are tours around the stadium which cost £5.50 for adults. They give you all sorts of information and take you into the dressing rooms and let you sit in the comfy seats in the VIP area. The tour is good, but nothing can beat the atmosphere of match day and if you ever get the chance of a ticket then take it. When the roof is closed there is nothing quite as loud as a Welsh crowd singing Bread of Heaven. OK so I'm getting carried away with my Welshness again, but it is a great stadium and the atmosphere will astound you. You can't miss the stadium, it can be seen all over the city. The entrance is on Westgate St for tours.
NATIONAL MUSEUM: Best of all, its free!! If you're an art lover then the National Museum and Galleries of Wales is a must. Located in the city centre in Cathays Park, it houses the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside of France and the Monets are very impressive. The Welsh history section always disappoints me, but there are plans to move this to a new home in St Fagans. There is a fantastic section called the Evolution of Wales, which charts the geographical story of Wales from the Big Bang. This is very well done and children will love exibits such as the moving woolly mammoth (beware, it made me jump!)
MUSEUM OF WELSH LIFE: Again this is a free museum, located in St. Fagans (follow the signs from junction 33 of the M4). Here they have taken houses and other buildings from throughout Wales and rebuilt them in St. Fagans. You can walk into various buildings, ranging from chapels, schools and houses to farms, pig stys and cock fighting pits. There are family play areas and animals around to keep the children amused. My favourite part is the Rhyd-y-Car Cottages. This is a row of six cottages which have been decorated in chronological order, going from 1800-1980. To see what is basically the same house decorated so differently, moving from larders to dishwashers, is very interesting.
LLANDAFF CATHEDRAL: The city's cathedral is located in the village of Llandaff, about 2 miles outside the city centre. The cathedral dates back to 1107, with many additions since. The cathedral contains the tomb of St. Teilo,a sixth century welsh saint. I find the cathedral a lovely place to visit, very peaceful and beautiful. There is only one thing that I don't like about the Cathedral and that is the statue which is suspended from the centre of the nave roof. It is a huge statue of Christ, by Jacob Epstein, which is on huge concrete pillars. Personally I can't believe it was ever allowed to be put up in such an old and beautiful church. I spent every school carol concert looking at it expecting it to fall on us any minute!! But if you ignore this then the rest of the cathedral is as it should be!
I also love Castell Coch and Caerphilly Castle, which are both just outside Cardiff.
If i'm honest I don't know that much about the public transport in Cardiff because I live outside the city with no links to the system (my nearest bus stop is 2 miles away). I'm sure that the buses are good, but I'll give you some information if you drive into the city. There are park and rides in outside the centre, which are all very well signposted. The main one for me is off junction 33 of the M4 then follow the signs off the A4232. There are lots of multi-stories in the centre and there is usually a space in them, but they are very expensive, between £1-2 for 1 hour. To park on the street you need vouchers. These can also be pricey depending on how far from the centre you park. Park and ride is the cheapest option by far.
Cardiff has most of the shops that you would expect of a city in the UK. Chains such as New Look, H&M, Oasis, M&S, Next and Coast. The list goes on. The main shopping street is Queen St, a pedestrianised road in the city centre. There are two shopping arcades off this street, Queen's Arcade and St. David's Arcade. Department stores include Debenhams, BHS and Howells (our House of Fraser). John Lewis is supposed to be making an appearance soon as well. For more specialised shopping visit the arcades such as Castle Arcade and Royal Arcade. Cardiff is not famed for its designer shops, but there is a designer outlet in Bridgend (about 15 miles from Cardiff, Westbound). For Welsh gifts visit the Welsh Crafts shop opposite the castle, where you can by anything from teatowels to love spoons.
Cardiff has a big student population and therefore has lots of pubs, bars and nightclubs to choose from. I always like Wetherspoons pubs and there are many in the Cardiff area. The most central include the Prince of Wales , on St. Mary St and Central Bar on Windsor Place. Both of these are very popular so prepare for a wait at the bar. If you fancy bumping into some Welsh stars then head to the Yard on St. mary St, where I've seen some of the rugby team. The local beer is Brains (sponsors of the rugby team) so sample that if you get a chance.
If you're in the city centre and like Italian food, then I really like Trattoria Pulcinella on Park Lane. Its a little out of the way, on what looks like an alley but the food is very tasty. There are also chains, like Henry's which does very nice food but is slightly expensive.
Mill Lane is nice for sitting out in the summer and there are lots of bars and restaurants there.
One of the biggest clubs is Creation, on Greyfriars Rd, which has two clubbing rooms and a VIP area. Good night out!
More sedate entertainment can be found at the New Theatre, which shows some of the best touring productions. run of Blood Brothers has just finished and in June Cats is showing there. It has plays and musicals as well as children's entertainment (George's Marvellous Medicine is coming soon). There is also the Wales Millenium Centre (which I think looks like a giant armadillo!) which hosts opera and recently hosted a production of Edward Scissorhands. For concerts there is the Cardiff International Arena and St. David's Hall as well as the Millenium Stadium.
WILL THERE BE SHEEP AND WILL EVERYONE SPEAK A FUNNY LANGAUGE??
Ok, maybe I exaggerate! But I have heard all of the jokes about Welsh people! No there are no sheep lying around in Cardiff. Some people do speak Welsh, but if they do they will also speak English, and they will transfer easily between the two. The people of Cardiff and Wales in general are very friendly. Even on match day, when we play host to the old enemy across the Severn, people are generally happy to mix and chat with the other side.
WHY I LOVE CARDIFF:
Yes I'm Welsh and therefore biased, but I really do think that Cardiff is a lovely city. I live just outside and feel like I'm in the country, but it only takes 10 minutes in the car and i'm next to the Millenium Stadium. Imagine trying that in London!! It is a very metropolitan city, while keeping some of that small town atmosphere. For the visitor there is lots to see and do. Young people enjoy it for going out. There are lots of shows and concerts which come to Cardiff. Overall, this is a great place to visit and highly recommended.
Twenty-four hours in a city normally means whistle-stop tours, rushed meals and a pocket full of expensive bus and train tickets. Thankfully, things are different in Cardiff, the capital of Wales. The city is so compact that nothing is more than 15 minutes away, which means visitors can spend a more leisurely time exploring the city.
Within the one square mile of Cardiffs bustling city centre are the big three attractions: the Millennium Stadium, the National Museum and Gallery and Cardiff Castle. These attractions sit alongside luxury hotels, a network of shopping malls and arcades and a wide range of restaurants, bars and cafes.
The Millennium Stadium, built in 1999, helped place Cardiff firmly on the world sporting map and has played host to the Rugby World Cup, super-groups including REM and U2 as well as the FA cup final for the past five years. Now no visit to the city is complete without a tour of the 74,000-seater stadium, which offers visitors the chance to explore the changing rooms and even try out the Queens seat in the Royal Box.
Cardiff Castle is just around the corner from the stadium, but has been there a little longer - around 2000 years. A fort was first built in Cardiff by the Romans in AD55 and further fortifications were added by the Normans in the 11th Century. Then, in the late 19th Century, the 3rd Marquess of Bute spent a portion of his vast fortune on an extravagant refurbishment, transforming the castle interiors into a Gothic, mock-Medieval palace.
A couple of minutes walk from the castle is another surprising find; the National Museum and Gallery of Wales. Two wealthy Welsh sisters bequeathed their large art collection to the gallery in the mid 20th century, resulting in Cardiff owning one of the largest collections of Impressionist paintings outside of Paris, with works by Renoir, Monet and Cezanne amongst others.
A 10-minute journey South of the centre, either on the hop-on hop-off tour bus or by train, is Cardiff Bay, the capitals newest development. One hundred years ago the docklands were the hub of the worlds coal industry, transporting millions of tonnes of coal across the globe. The docks were left to decay after the decline of the coal industry, but have now been reborn into a popular tourist attraction.
The Bay boasts a 200 hectare freshwater lake for sailing and watersports; the five star St Davids Hotel and Spa, cuisine from around the world in the restaurants in Mermaid Quay, and the new home for Welsh National Opera the Wales Millennium Centre.
The centre was inspired by the Welsh landscape, language and culture, much of it was built with Welsh materials and it provides a suitably impressive stage for Welsh opera singers such as Bryn Terfel and Katherine Jenkins as well as a wide variety of international musicals, ballet, theatre and modern dance.
Another short 15-minute drive from the Bay takes you out to the beautiful Vale of Glamorgan. Nestled here are championship standard golf courses at the Vale Hotel, acres of vineyards producing award winning Welsh wines, and one of Britains most interesting and ambitious museums.
The Museum of Welsh Life at St. Fagans is home to a variety of historic buildings from across Wales all of which were taken apart brick by brick and carefully reconstructed in the museum to present a view of life in Wales over the last 500 years. The museum village features a working bakery, blacksmiths, saddler, tea shop and store, and you are guaranteed to hear Welsh, the language of heaven, in everyday use.
A visit to Wales doesn't have to end after 24 hours of course. Cardiff's main train station provides links North to the Brecon Beacons national park, West to the Pembrokeshire Coast or a quick 2 hour journey East to London. A trip to Cardiff is a capital idea.
For more information on short breaks in Cardiff go to www.visitcardiff.com or phone the visitor information centre on 0870 909 2005.
Now, Cardiff is not the most brilliant of towns or citys but it is good. The History is not much but has a Castle which does, hotels are plentiful, restaurants are good in general and it is a quite pleasant town... STAYING HERE Now, there are lots of hotels to go to. Popular ones are like the St.Davids Hotel and Spa- a luxury hotel from Rocco Forte. There are 2 Holiday Inns- the Cardiff-City one(opposite the Millenium stadium), the Cardiff-North one in Pentwn(on the motorway in the suburbs) both used to be Posthouses but as Posthouse has been bought by Holiday Inn are now Holiday Inns There is the MoatHouse on the motorway, The Hilton in the centre is also a luxury hotel, opposite the castle like the Holiday Inn City CEntre, The Marriott- another luxury hotel. There are individual hotels like the Angel, there are budget ones like a few Travel Inns, Travelodges, The Big Sleep, Innkeepers Lodge, Express by Holiday Inn and more. EATING OUT Eating out shouldn't be too much of a problem. There are plenty of highj street brands like burger King, McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Bella Pasta, Upper Crust, Sizzling Pub co. restaurant/pubs(from Six Continent Retail), Toby Carvery, Harvester, Cafe Gardino and more. Most of these have a few in Cardiff in and in the suburbs of Cardiff. So eating and drinking isn't bad. FOOD SHOPPING Food shopping is very good- choose from ASDA, Sainsburys, Tesco, Tesco Extra, Iceland, Marks and Spencer and lots more- too hard to think. These are well known brands so if you have one of these near to you and they are good- well they are a chain so they SHOULD(can't guarantee) be good. Tesco Extra is a kind of big or massive Tesco- there are 2. CLOTHES AND OTHER(toiletries, toys, books, magazines ect) SHOPPING You will find shops like Marks and Spencer, Primark, Peacocks, MotherCare, Debenhams, BHS(British Home stores) and in the Food Stores there are plenty of clothes and accessories like
toys, games, toiletries bla bla bla. So that shouldn't be too much of a problem. TRAVEL STORES Looking to escape somewhere- well in Cardiff there are well known brands suich as Going Places/MyTravel, Lunn Poly, Bakers Dolphin, Thomas Cook you know. Also, in Cardiff Bay there is a Holiday Hypermarket(part of First Choice) with lots of brochures and desks aswell as a Cinema place which is set like a plane with a choice of videos- choose from Cruises from various companies, Holiday videos from a selection of places aswell as an Air 2000 Safety Video. You can view these on www.holidayhypermarket.com and go onto info and holiday videos(if this is not right, then tell me in the comments box and I will update). Oh, where are you everyone- I can't see you, oh right I see, you have gone to book a holiday- think I will do that too! BUS SERVICE- CARDIFF BUS Well oh well, the bus service is terribly rubbish! They are usually too late which results in you waiting for longer. Then they could always be too early which makes you miss the bus as when you leave it is already gone. Some stops have shelters, many have a screen telling you when the bus is due in. Step onto the bus and be greeted with nasty drivers- well usually, you can get one which is really nice and greets you with a hello. Most are impatient and rude. The buses are adopting a new livery of a dark blueish green with orange but some are not and all double deckers are still in the orange colour. Most buses are old and rattly. Some easyriders are just that- nice and smooth. There is a blue bus called airbus- a bus which takes you from the Centre to the Airport in Barry. A very infrequent service. So enjoy or endure a service. Sometimes when you are russhing aswell, they go slow but when you have all the time in the world then expect to be whizzed around the route as quickly as the can! None of the buses have seatbelts- well ones I have been on. CARDIFF CENTRAL This has rece
ntly been done out- well not the platforms, and is ice with some shops, cafes and a few ticket desks with timetables of certain companies. If you want to go to the toilet then I reccomend you go to the ones in Upper Crust which are more modern- the ones on the platforms are horrible! PEOPLE Now, I can't really say- oh Cardiff people are good or Cardiff people are bad. It is totally varied- you get your pleasant ones- you get your rough, sly or rude ones or maybe all the bad points put together. So, expect to find a varied number of standards of people. IN GENERAL In general this is a good town. If your looking for somewhere to live then you can go to the suburbs like Pontprennau- I live there so I can tell you that it is modern, Pentwyn, Llanederyn, Whitchurch, Cyncoed or choose the Inner City or the new Apartment blocks in Cardiff Bay or Town. Cardiff is good- it has its bad points, it has its good. Also, if your visiting then maybe you may consider Cardiff Castle- dating from the Roman Times. also the town sometimes is a bit showy offy and bigheaded. Well, I hope you found this useful. Please if possible could you leave a comment and rate. Thank you very much!
I have travelled all over Europe, and seen some amazing places, but, as they say, there's no place like home! Although I'm not originally from Cardiff, it is such a lovely city with such a friendly atmosphere that right from the word go, I felt perfectly at home there. I loved Cardiff as soon as I started university in 1998, and since then, the place has continued to grow and prosper. Well, where do I start to tell you about it? I'll break it down into sections, because you won't all be interested in everything the place has to offer. 1. Shopping 2. Other daytime activities 3. The Stadium 4. Food 5. Evening activities 6. Getting there 7. Accommodation 1. Shopping As you would expect with a capital city, there is everything you could possibly want to do in the daytime. The shopping centre is fantastic, it has the full range of shops, from little designer boutiques on St. Mary's street, right through to the big department stores in Queens Street and the out of town shopping centres and supermarkets. The one thing it was lacking shopping wise until recently was H & M, but luckily, that was rectified a couple of years ago! The Queen's Arcade is where the majority of shops can be found, and this is a huge indoor shopping centre, which is great when it rains! The other main arcade is the Capitol arcade, which has recently been renovated and now looks stunning- really modern. This has shops like the Gadget shop, Oasis, pilot, a few cafés, the virgin megastore and of course H & M! 2. Other daytime activities For those of you who are not shop-a-holics, there are plenty of other things to do! If you can manage to pick a day when it's not raining, then take a leisurely stroll around the stunning Castle, or head for the Bay. Alot of work has been done on the bay over the last few years, and it has gone from the place to avoid to the place to be. It's lovely for a walk arou
nd, and there are now loads of new restaurants and shops there, which you should definitely check out. The shops aren't up to much, but the restaurants are amazing. There is a lovely Turkish restaurant on the waterfront, which I'm not sure of the name of but you can't miss it, it's on stilts so you completely overlook the water. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you could always head for Roath park, where there is a lovely lake where you can hire a little rowing boat for a couple of pounds, and row around the lake. Even more adventurous than that? Well there's always the ice-rink, when the Cardiff Devils are not training there, it's only a few quid to skate, which is always a good laugh! There is also a ski slope not too far out of Cardiff, but you would have to be able to drive to get there. 3. The stadium Of course, the one thing that is a must if you visit Cardiff, is a visit to the Millenium Stadium. I went to watch a rugby match and it's amazing. They also have some great gigs there, for example, the Manics played there Millenium Eve. If it's gigs you're after though, St David's hall also has some good ones, aswell as the Students Union and the Cardiff Indoor Arena. And if you'd prefer to watch sport, but you're not keen on rugby, the Cardiff Devils are always worth a look, they're supposed to be one of the best Ice Hockey teams around. 4. Food As far as food goes, there are a million places to eat. An old favourite is Old Orleans, there is one of these in town, but I prefer the one in the bay- you get more food and it's better quality. If you just want a cheap pub lunch, the Prince of Wales is a Weatherspoons pub, fantastic. Need I say more?! The list goes on and on, just decide what kind of food you want, it'll be there somewhere. The only thing I have to recommend as a student is a greesy spoon cafe called Ramon's on Salisbury Road. Try it, if you
're into that kind of thing, you'll love it! I do! 5. Evening activities As for things to do in the evening, again, it's take your pick. There are a couple of theatres, loads of cinemas and clubs and even more pubs. As far as cinemas go, I would pay a bit extra for the comfort of the UCI in the bay or the UGC in town. They're both great, and the UGC is not quite so expensive as the UCI, and it's easier to get to. The pubs and clubs are again a matter of personal choice, and there really is something for everyone. My particular favourites are the Tafern in the Union, Henry's for cocktails and then on to Zeus, liquid or evolution to dance the night away! 6. Getting there As far as getting to Cardiff is concerned, it's easy as pie. It's not a bad drive from any angle I've arrived at, and even the trains seemed to get there OK! You can also fly there, it has it's own airport about a £15 taxi journey from town. This is also useful for getting away when you've had enough of the rain! 7. Accommodation If you are looking for somewhere to stay, the Hilton comes highly recommended, although unfortunately I wouldn't know!! There's plenty of hotels about though, but book early, it's a popular little place, especially during the rugby! So, there you are, that's Cardiff! All that remains to be said is go there, see for yourself!
I am currently studying at Cardiff university and living in halls of residence in term time. Cardiff is a compact city (maybe that's just my opinion as I've come from a city 20 times bigger)and easy to get around. The land is fairly flat so it is good for cycling and walking around town. It has all the big shops you would expect from a capital city and also lots of lovely arcades with one-off shops, second hand or gift shops selling original products. The main shopping centre is all based down the main street (Queen Street) which is cool as you don't have to do too much walking! The annoying thing about Queen Street is the millions of salespeople/marketing people that pace up and down, looking for victims. I don't know why, but they always seem to pick on me (I must look kind hearted and rich. Or more likely, a sucker!) Unless you actually like talking to these people, learn to say a swift "No thanks!" My favourite shop in Cardiff is Blue Banana, which is located on Chippy Lane. So called because it has loads of chippies, believe it or not! Blue Banana sell jewellery, incense, bedroom accessories and T Shirts. It's the only place I have found that sells decent nose studs so I can be found traipsing there every few weeks (because I always, without fail, lose my nose studs. My record must have been about 2 weeks without losing one!)They also do piercing in there, of all varieties (not for the timid then!) There are loads of pubs, clubs and restaurants, something for everyone, from cheap student nights at the tacky Zeus or Dylans, to garage nights at Vision 2K, to indie at the Barfly (read my opinion on that if you want!) to Drum n Bass at Evolution every Saturday. The film Human Traffic was filmed entirely in Cardiff so if you have seen that and want to visit some of the venues, you need to get down to: Evolution, and The Firedrake and Firkin! There is also Card
iff Bay, a fairly new development, with Techniquest (a science museum for kids), hotels, a Sports cafe and a few clubs. There are 2 big cinemas, UGC on Mary Ann Street and a UCI at Cardiff Bay. The UGC does £2.99 tickets for students and £2.99 tickets for all showings before 12 so get up early to save some money! There are concert venues including the CIA and smaller venues such as The Bar Fly and of course, Cardiff Students Union, where bands such as Embrace, Wheatus and So Solid Crew play have put on gigs. As for theatrical entertainment, the main theatre in town is the New Theatre, where many nationwide tours stop off. Coming this Spring (2002) are Five Guys Named Moe and To Kill a Mockingbird (to name a few). Smaller venues include the Sherman theatre and Crwys Theatre. Look out for plays and productions put on by the students of the Welsh College of Music and Drama, as they are usually cheap and full of future stars! Anthony Hopkins studied at the Welsh college of music and drama. What with Cardiff University, UWIC and the Welsh college of Drama and Music, it can sometimes feel as though the city is overrun with students. If you are not a student, avoid Cathays- the "student ghetto", an area full of leftover takeaways, baggy clothes and crowds! You might want to also give Grangetown a miss, as it's not a very nice area. Cardiff is ideally located-you can go to Bristol, the Gower peninsula and the Brecon Beacons, all within an hours drive. The nearest seaside resort is Barry Island which is nice enough if a bit like a mini Blackpool! Good if you like that kind of thing. It gets very crowded on the few (very few) hot summer days. It's an attractive town, most of the centre is pedestrianised and the castle makes an impressive sight! The annual fireworks at the castle are amazing and well worth going to. There is a huge park (Bute Park) just behind the castle which is ideal to go and munch your sandw
iches in after a serious shopping trip. For a city it is also relatively safe. The civic centre, made up of the old university buildings, the city hall and Welsh museum and art gallery, is a very attractive feature of the city. Incidentally, it is the civic centre that appears on all the university brochures. So why don't I have any of my lessons in those nice white Georgian buildings, huh? The main forms of public transport in Cardiff are the bus or Valley Line train. The buses are quite old fashioned (compared to the nice modern ones in Birmingham) and an average journey is 90p. The valley line runs from Cardiff to Myrthr Tydvil with many stops along the way. The main station in Cardiff is Cardiff Central. Beware when getting the train locally-it is very crowded at peak times! The advantage of this is that the inspector can not get down the aisles to ask for fares! I don't think I will miss Cardiff when I leave university , as although it is nice enough, it is nothing amazingly special. All cities in the UK seem to be becoming more alike, which is a shame. The trouble with Cardiff, I think, is that there is not enough to do there for visitors. When my Dad came to visit me, he asked me what there was to do and there weren't really any attractions to go and see (other than my messy bedroom!) If you ask someone on the street for directions or help, the vast majority of people will be only too pleased to help. Cardiff residents on the whole are very friendly and approachable. They are proud of their city and only too pleased to direct you. In the day time I feel perfectly safe in the city centre, whether I am on my own or with others. Night time is a different story. I have seen a number of incidents at night when the bars are closing and there is not a very good atmosphere at this time. Avoid being alone after dark and do not hang around the streets when you come out of a pub or club, get home or g
et a taxi quickly. There's quite a lot of fights and drunk people being rowdy on the streets on a Friday and Saturday night, so be aware of this. Cardiff is developing rapidly and really feels like a buzzing capital. There are lots of available jobs and the increasing power that the Welsh Assembly has creates more pride in its residents. Apparently a very high percentage of Cardiff University students want to remain in Cardiff to work once they graduate as they like it so much. Well, you won't catch me doing that, but it's not a bad place at all. I have returned to this opinion to pose a question in the hope that someone will be able to answer it: What is that smell in Cardiff Central Train Station? I use this station at least twice a week, and it reeks of a smell I can only describe as mouldy fresh bread! Please, someone reply and put me out of my misery!
Although city center of Cardiff seems an unlikely place to find a castle, Cardiff Castle is located in the city center of the capital city of Wales. Originally built as a fort in around the first century AD by the Romans. Around 1000 AD, the Normans built the wooden part inside the castle. The design of the improvements made in late 1800 were a mixture of Gothic and Greek designs. I really enjoyed the castle tour I joined a few months ago. There is another part of the castle in the middle of the castle area. It is surrounded by water. It looks unbelievably nice. It takes around three hours to drive there from London and I think it is worthwhile to go to Cardiff and see the casle.
I had packed the kids off at 8:20am to Groveland with the Youth club so decided to go down to Cardiff with my partner as normally the only time we go is for rugby or pop concerts. As we were approaching Cardiff I could see the signs for Cardiff Bay well posted. Having read a bit about how it had been rejuvenated I though lets have a quick look. On arriving down at the bay I was surprised at the cost of the ‘Pay and Display’ only £1.20 for four hours a damn site cheaper than Swansea. We got out of the car and wandered over to the front. The area was littered with all sorts of cafes and restaurants, Chinese, Italian, Indian, Mediterranean, Japanese and of course a Harry Rambsden. We were to early to eat but looking at the menus in the windows the prices look very reasonable. From there you could also either take a river taxi or a tour of the harbour. We wondered further around to the National Assembly building. A large red building that looks like a cross between a county hall and a church its difficult to miss. Inside we browsed on the computers as to what current topics are being discussed and who is who, quite informative. Further along is the Norwegian Church, which is more of a cultural centre with regular art exhibitions and events. We didn’t go in this time but I’m told its very good and that the coffee shop serves fantastic food, some other time maybe. By then I was starting to get hungry and we headed off down ‘Bute Street’ a notorious part of Cardiff and had breakfast in a lovely Italian café at a reasonable price. We then crossed the road to the ‘Centre for Crafts’ where we spent an hour and a half amongst the various exhibits. It’s free to get in but I would have gladly paid as they had a variety of displays from woodcrafts to local painters and hand made clothes, pottery etc. We then rounded the corner to the ‘Atlantic Wharf’, whi
ch housed a twelve screen UCI Cinema, a twenty six lane bowling alley and a number of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, I would imagine the place would be packed on the weekends. We then had to head home but I will visit again to maybe take in the Cardiff Bay Barrage, the visitor’s centre and to take the children to Techniquest, which is a science discovery centre. A day that I thoroughly enjoyed and I believe that the area has something for all ages.
Cardiff,the national capital of Wales is a very pleasant and interesting city to visit. My father took me on holiday and we stayed at the gorgeous Angel Hotel,which is bang slap in the centre of the city ovelooking the Castle. The Welsh capital has a romantic castle right in the centre of the city,,a brand new Millennium Stadium,where the recent World Rugby cup final was held, superb art galleries,museums and outstanding shopping facilities. The National Museum and Gallery is a great treasure trove with its first-rate collection of Impressionist paintings. Shopping facilities in Cardiff comprise a mix of branches of high street multiples,department stores, and speciality shops and stalls in some six attractive Victorian arcades. I really enjoyed browsing in the shopping complexes and in the very attractive arcades;unfortunately,my father-like most men I suppose-soon got bored and went off for an afternoon cup of coffee. These arcades are a lovely feature of the Castle Quarter and have a very special charm and atmosphere,complementing the modern shopping areas.Not for nothing did Cardiff win an award as the best shopping centre in BritainFrankly I am not surprised and I rate it as the best shopping centre in UK ,outside of London,although I havent been to all the cities in UK. This thoroughly cosmopolitan city,which enshrines Welsh culture,was for a long period of time the largest coal exporting port in the world. As an important port Cardiff naturally attracted large numbers of immigrants many of whom,it seems, settled in the Tiger Bay area of the Welsh capital.Now the area in and around Cardiff Bay is being rejuvenated with new spa hotels,up -market residential properties and eateries and a fascinating,interactive science centre known as Technoquest. As the national of Wales,Cardiff is home to the Welsh Assembly and this city has one of the finest and
most elegant civic centres anywhere in the United Kingdom. Built of white Portland stone at the turn of the century it is elegance personified. Cardiff also seemingly has more green space per head of population than any other city in Western Europe.Roath Park,for instance,is a verdant green lung very close to the city.,and has lovely rose gardens,boating lake and a lighthouse memorial to Captain Robert Scott of the ill-fated Antarctic expedition. Another characteristic of the Welsh capital just has to be its colourful,multi-ethnic,population.This famous old historic port city,now undergoing massive re-development,houses sizeable communities of Irish,Indians,WestIndians,Portuguese,Italians,Arabs and Chinese and , I guess,expatriate Englishmen. The cosmopolitan nature of Cardiff is displayed in the wide assortment of ethnic cuisines available in town.The Mill Lane area of the city houses many good eateries and when the weather is fine you can dine al fresco in some of them. This cosmopolitan,attractive, city also happens to be a excellent base for exploring the attractive South Wales coastline .Seaside resorts such as Penarth ,Porthcawl and Barry,the Valleys and the hilly Brecon Beacons,are all within easy reach.Further away is the delightful Gower Peninsular and the birthplace of the famous Welsh poet,Dylan Thomas.Do try and visit Cardiff if you have yet to do so-I think you will be surprised just how nice it is !
The UCI cinema is located in a leisure complex in the excellent Cardiff Bay area. The complex is made up of a few bars, restaurants and a bowling alley. The immediate area of Cardiff Bay is top notch and getting better every week. However, the UCI cenima itself is not worth the price. Every time I go there the price seems to have gone up. It is currently £5.65 per ticket. If there's two of you, it would almost be cheaper to go and buy a DVD and keep the film forever. By the time you stock up on ice-cream, popcorn, sweets, nachos, coke (whatever you prefer)you're looking at quite an expensive night out. (Let's hope the film is worth it). This last point brings us onto the next complaint. The concession staff have to be the slowest, most poorly trained sales staff I have ever come across. The stuff is overpriced and you have to wait an age to get served. If you want to eat or drink during the film, make sure you get there early enough to stand in a queue for 20 minutes. Having said that, the seats are large and confortable, the screens are excellent and so is the sound system. However, with the Showcase at Nantgarw and the Odeon at McCarther Glen both within 20 minutes drive and both a lot cheaper and just as good. It's not worth the price.
I spent 4 long happy years in Cardiff whilst at university. The city is one of the prettiest and cleanest city's in this country. Cardiff is served by a good public transport system which makes it easy to get in and out of Cardiff at all times of the day. The only thing that let's Cardiff down on transport is the lack of facilities for the late night reveller to get home, without forking out a fortune on cab's that is. Cradiff is served by a vast range of shopping area's with all the large high street brand's present. Cardiff also support's a number of shopping arcades which are home to "the more fancier" clothes shop's if that your thing. Since Cardiff hosted the rugby world cup, things have steadily improved with a vast amount of night spot's and eateries opening up all the time. The huge information screen in Queen Street is also very usefull for advertising local events. There is a huge range of nightspots to suit everyones desire from hardcore dance, too cheezy 70's night's and quite local's. Cardiff is a very open and green city, as there is a vast areas of open park land, and playing fields dotted all around the city, its easy to get away from the stress' of city life need be. If history and architecture is your thing, then Cardiff won't dissapoint, their is a vast range of site's ranging from the magnificent castle, to the more civic venues of the museum and town hall. What really makes Cardiff special is the friendly outlook of its' natives, they are are really what makes the city special.