Cardiff, United Kingdom

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Cardiff Guide: Spend Less, Do More

Welcome to Cardiff

Cardiff-CastleCardiff is the capital city of Wales and attracts tourists from all over the UK, as well as abroad. It has a number of great attractions and lots of things to do including shopping, sports, and nightlife, as well as an amazing assortment of fabulous historic architecture. Cardiff Bay is a very popular area in the city and offers lots to see and do. As the Welsh capital, Cardiff is a commercial hub that also has a strong historical influence. If you're looking for a mix of culture, shopping, sports, and history, Cardiff is the place for you!

Cardiff is especially popular with lovers of architecture and the city and surrounding area provides many stunning historical buildings to explore. One of the town's biggest must-sees is the Cardiff Castle, which sits atop Ancient Roman ruins, right in the middle of the city. The castle's lavish décor is an impressive sight for even the most sophisticated of travellers, and it is well worth a visit. There is also another castle to see called Castell Coch (Red Castle), which is a 19th century Gothic Revival castle built on the remains of a 13th century fortification.

One of the best ways to explore the city and learn about its history is to take a guided tour, and there are a number on offer. For a spooky sightseeing experience, head to the Llandaff Ghost Walk. Llandaff is an ancient city that lies inside Cardiff. Most of the hotels in Cardiff are not close enough to Llandaff to get there on foot. However, Llandaff is only a 10 minute bus ride from Cardiff's city centre. Between the Ghost Walk's marshland and mysterious lights, you and your family can have a truly "ghostly" experience.

Arts and Entertainment

Cardiff-Bay-Pierhead-BuildingArt lovers will most certainly enjoy the beautiful works at the National Museum Cardiff which offers a huge collection of historical, archaeological, and geological exhibits and artefacts, as well as sculpture and paintings, including one of the largest collections of Impressionist works in Europe. The museum displays pieces by famous international artists such as Picasso, Monet, and Rodin. The museum is free to enter, and is less than a twenty-minute walk from the central train and bus station.

Cardiff Bay is a stunning area of the city which draws tens of thousands of visitors every year. It is home to the Wales Millennium Centre, which offers all sorts of cultural and arts based shows and exhibitions including plays, opera, dance performances, and concerts by a number of performers and troupes including the National Dance Company Wales and the Welsh National Opera. Recent performances have included The King and I, The Phantom of the Opera, and Oliver! There are also a number of cafes, bars, and dining establishments located in the Wales Millennium Centre, offering visitors a complete evening out.

Cardiff plays host to a number of major annual events each year that are certainly worth checking out if your visit happens to coincide with them. Six Nations Rugby matches take place throughout February and March at the Millennium Stadium and are very popular with both seasoned rugby fans and spectators new to the sport. For a more peaceful and relaxing experience, the RHS Spring Flower Show has a lot to offer. The show takes place each April, and there are a huge number of beautiful and exotic flowers and plants to enjoy.

For a fast paced and exciting experience, sports fans can do no better than the FIM British Speedway Grand Prix race that is held in June. The Summer Concert Season also starts in June and extends through July and August, and features some of the biggest names in music performing each year. Past concerts have seen the likes of Oasis, Bruce Springsteen, and the Manic Street Preachers take to the Millennium Stadium stage. The Cardiff Summer Festival also takes place throughout the three summer months; it is the largest free outdoor festival in the country and features performances by local and international artists working in many different musical and performance genres.

Eating Out

Fine dining is growing in popularity in Cardiff, and there is currently an excellent selection of top restaurants at which to enjoy an evening meal. For an upmarket and special experience, a visit to one of the many restaurants at Cardiff Waterside will provide both excellent food and a stunning view overlooking Cardiff Bay.

The Parc Hotel has a brand new restaurant called The Social which has been given 2 AA Rosettes, making it one of the finest places in the city to eat. The restaurant only uses the freshest ingredients from the local area, and the dining areas offer a stylish and inviting atmosphere.

There is a lot of diversity in the city when it comes to cuisine, with eateries offering all sorts of international food as well as local Welsh fare. The Brewery Quarter, Mill Lane, Eastside in St David's and St Mary Street all offer a wide range of restaurants which will suit most any taste and budget. Mill Lane in particular is home to an array of international cuisines ranging from South American food at Las Iguanas to Italian fare at Gio's, and most everything in between.

Nightlife

With its wide range of pubs, clubs, and bars Cardiff offers a selection of nightlife venues that will suit most tastes, lifestyles, and budgets. If you need a way to calm your nerves after the Ghost Tour, head to one of Llandaff's many pubs. The spirits there are far less the frightening! The area around Cardiff Bay and the city centre offer some of the more up market places to chill out and have a drink. Mimosa Kitchen & Bar, situated in the heart of the Bay area, offers a comprehensive selection of drinks from all around the world, including top wines, unusual cocktails, and popular spirits and beers to whet your appetite, plus a high quality food menu. Mill Lane is known for being a chic area for cocktails, while Greyfriars Road offers lots of interesting bars and clubs to start your party off at. It is always bustling and full of life, making for a perfect night out.

If you are after a more chilled out experience and traditional food and drink, you can opt for one of the many cosy pubs that are spread throughout the city. St Mary Street in particular is an excellent place to find a large selection of both classic and more modern-style pubs.

Parks and the Great Outdoors

As well as there being many activities to do indoors, Cardiff has a number of parks and outdoor places spend time visiting as well. Bute Park is right in the heart of the city centre next to Cardiff Castle, making it a perfect destination to go to before or after doing some sightseeing at the castle itself. It has many walking and bicycle paths, and provides a green oasis in the midst of the urban hustle and bustle.

The Friary Gardens are another beautiful outdoor area to visit, and although this garden is quite small it contains a lovely topiary and beautiful, clipped hedges around its perimeter. Roath Park is exceptionally well kept and offers a peaceful retreat surrounded by stunning period houses and lush greenery. There are also relaxing boating trips on offer at the nearby lake.

Cardiff Hotels

There are a wide range of hotels and other types of accommodation to choose from in Cardiff, providing visitors with an excellent selection of choices - one of which is certain to suit their needs and budget. A good portion of the hotels in Cardiff are situated on the south side of town, so if you're looking for cheaper accommodation, that's the best area to search. However, you don't have to worry about being confined to that part of town, thanks to Cardiff's easy-to-use public transportation.

On the other hand, if you are after somewhere luxurious to stay, there is an excellent selection of four- and five-star hotels in the city, most of which are located in close proximity to many of the top tourist attractions.

Even if you choose one to stay in one of the homey guesthouses or hostels located slightly off the beaten path, there are plenty of local trains, buses, and even water transportation that can get you where you need to go. If you want a regal experience of your own, there are plenty of Cardiff hotels near to the castle. Since it is right in the city centre, it's not hard to find accommodation in Cardiff with a royal view. Additionally, visitors with large families or who are planning an extended stay can find a number of self-catering options, including apartments, dotted throughout the city.

Getting around by car

Cardiff Airport to Cardiff CBD: 32 min (12 mi) via A4232

London to Cardiff: 2 h 52 min (150 mi) via M4

Manchester to Cardiff: 3 h 50 min (188 mi) via M6

Accommodation, driving and car rental

At Cheaperthanhotels and Cheaperthancars we have a wide range of car rental discounts at convenient locations and accommodation to meet all budgets and taste. We really do believe that the less you spend, the more you will have to do when you get there.

Your Cheaperthanhotels Team

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