Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, is a relatively small city by UK standards. Despite it’s size, however, it is Wales’ cultural and political centre, with plenty of things for tourists to see and do. It is easily accessible with it’s own airport and rail links all across the country, so it’s a great place to visit for a short weekend trip away. Here’s a guide to 24 hours in Cardiff:
Arriving into Cardiff train station in the morning, take the short walk into the city centre. Cardiff city centre is located around two central spots, firstly, the Millennium stadium and secondly, Cardiff Castle. Follow the signs for Cardiff Castle, a medieval castle dating from the 11th century. Explore it’s turrets and banquet rooms and learn more about an important feature of Welsh history. Free audio guides are in place to make your visit all the more informative.
After visiting the castle, backtrack into Cardiff’s centre for a spot of retail therapy. Cardiff shopping is fantastic, with every high street store you could ever need. For a more authentic shopping experience, head to the arcades that connect the main streets. Within these Victorian and Edwardian arcades live a plethora of independent shops and cafés, including Wally’s Delicatessen, a deli selling foodstuffs from all around the world. Stop by Uncommon Ground Coffee Roastery for a quick coffee and lunch stop, or head to Pieminister for – you guessed it – delicious and filling pies.
Refuelling done, head to another of Cardiff’s other hotspots, the Millennium stadium. The home of Wales’ most popular cultural export – it’s national rugby team – the stadium comes alive on match day, with choruses of Tom Jones’ ‘Delilah’ echoing through the stadium. If there are no matches on, visit the stadium for a tour. It is a spectacular building in it’s own right.
In the afternoon, head to Cardiff Bay. Cardiff’s regenerated home of the arts is packed with plenty of museums and cultural experiences; perfect for those all-too-common rainy Welsh days. For anyone who follows the TV show Doctor Who, head to the Doctor Who experience and see the location for the filming of this popular TV show. The bay is also home to many restaurants and bars, perfect for seeing the evening in with a drink and dinner.
Cardiff has a large student population, so the night is when the city comes alive. Head to some of the bars that populate the student area, for example, 29 Park Place, before moving into the city centre for a night out in one of the many nightclubs. Crash out in one of the many hotels in the central area of the city – the whimsically decorated Bunk House is a good and cheap choice for those wanting to rest their heads.
For a small city, Cardiff has so many things to see and do. Its a lot of fun, the people are extremely friendly and the city is relatively cheap, so it’s a great alternative to some of the more expensive European cities.
Cymru am byth! – Wales Forever!