A beginner’s guide to Cardiff
If you’re looking for an easy mini-break from London, the city of Cardiff is definitely worth checking out.
How to get there
The capital of Wales is a simple train journey direct from London’s Paddington station, or it’s about a three-hour drive. A modern city with incredible history, there’s a lot to Cardiff than just leeks, daffodils, and rugby.
Where to Stay
There’s a huge range of accommodation options in Cardiff – from high-end hotels to small, local bread and breakfasts.
For something central and modern, then the Hilton Hotel near the castle is a sensible option. For something a bit more luxurious, then you might prefer The St David’s Hotel and Spa overlooking Cardiff Bay. Alternatively, for a bit of country grandeur, then the Manor Parc Hotel is surrounded by green farmlands and has views back across the city and the bay.
If you want something a bit more self-contained, then private rental websites such as Airbnb are a great way to find some local accommodation that really lets you experience life in one of the neighbourhoods of the city.
Where to Eat
Cardiff is blessed with an incredible range of restaurants and food options - from the informal through to the gourmet.
Perhaps surprisingly, you’ll find some of the UK’s best curry houses in Cardiff - my favourite is The Empire on Albany Road. For something a bit more European then the locals recommend El Puerto at The Custom House - overlooking the barrage on the Penarth side of Cardiff Bay. El Puerto is a large brasserie - once you have your table you go up to the counter to select your dinner from the enormous display of meat and fish, it’s then cooked for you, and it’s delicious.
What to Do
When you think of Cardiff, it’s easy to think that there isn’t much more to it than endless rugby matches and pubs full of good cheer, but you’ll be surprised at the wealth of culture in this city.
The obvious starting point is the city’s castle. The site of the castle was originally the location of a Roman fort, but it was the Normans in the late 11th century who began to construct the castle in the form that we see it today. The castle presents a fascinating glimpse into the forces that shaped this region through the ages.
For something a little more modern, the art collection of the National Museum of Wales is extraordinary - with its beginnings in a private collection of the impressionist period, you can easily spend a day here.
In terms of contemporary culture, you can’t look past the Millennium Theatre - a stunning building overlooking Cardiff Bay. The program here is always an impressive showcase of the best events and shows available.