City breaks are the best way to make the most of a long weekend. Even better when you can road trip there. Just chuck some luggage in the back of the car and go, and when you have done a shopping spree, or want to get back without relying on transport, you can.
Recently I got to explore one of the largest cities in Wales, and took a trip to Cardiff.
I have been many times in the past, and each time I have found something new and excitng to do.
If you are planning on visiting Cardiff, then this is my guide on how to maximise your experience.
After arriving into Cardiff, the first thing you need to do is to check into a place to stay. That way, you can go about exploring, and be able to fall into a cosy bed at the end of it.
Where to stay?
Cardiff has a array of accommodation options, from high end hotels, to hostels, and air bnbs. On this visit, I chose to stay at YHA Cardiff Central. A hotel like hostel in a handy location, with a great price tag.
Once checked in, get into your glad rags and hit the town. The first thing you’ll need is a bit of food. Cardiff has so many amazing food options to choose from. The World is literally on the menu.
Best for brunches
If you have arrived around midday and still fancy a breakfast, then this is still entirely possible, with many places serving all day brunches.
Coffee Barker is one of those quaint little cafes, tucked away in an arcade (Castle Arcarde). It is cosy, with an eclectic style. Think mix-matched furniture, exposed brick walls and antler horns hanging up. The lighting is atmospheric and there is good background music playing. Sitting in Coffee Barker is warming and comfortable. Its food and drinks are top notch too. If you are in the mood for brunch, then you won’t be dissappointed.
29 Park Place
29 Park Place is on the edge of the main city streets. It is modern and spacious, and not only great for brunches, but also serves great cocktails and is available for events.
If you love ice cream, and you are a fan of science, then get yourself to Science Cream. Located in Castle Arcade is one of the coolest ice cream hang outs ever. The ice cream is made with liquid nitrogen by a scientist like server. Resulting in the scrummiest ice cream, which is totally worth the calories.
One thing Cardiff is well known for is pop up food events. This past month, Cardiff hosted a street food circus in Sophia Gardens.
Decked out like a circus, with a tent in the middle, and quirky places to sit, such as hay bales and tuk tuks. We were able to sample an array of internatioal foods including tacos, thai and souvlaki, as well as drink from various pop up bars.
Escape Rooms are a craze which has risen in popularity over the years. Escape Rooms Cardiff is a great place to channel your inner Sherlock Holmes, by solving puzzles within the allocated time slot to escpape the room. Perfect for hen/stag parties, where you can be competitive with friends, and work as a team.
Cardiff Bay is an area that I have seen change and develop over the past few years. There are a number of great things to see and do in the Bay, from walking or cycling around it, to wining and dining in the bayside restaraunts and having a ride on the Ferris Wheel.
Cardiff Bay is a sightly more tranquil area in the city to hang out, with a similar level of entertainment on offer to the city centre.
Wales Millenium Centre
When you are in the Bay, you can’t help but stroll past the Millennium Centre, especially at night when it is all lit up.
The Millennium Centre is the nations home for performing arts, hosting events from Opera to Ballet as well as Theatre shows.
Bathe in Bute Park
Bute Park is undoubtably my favourite park in the city. Nestled beside Cardiff Castle, Bute Park has wide open spaces, where you can stroll through alongside the River Taff, or take a bike through to the otherside of the city. It is a real green heart of the city, boasting a nationally significant tree collection. An ideal location for picnics and a spot of yoga.
Cardiff has a number of options if you’re a shopper. There are three big shopping centres within the city centre. The St David’s Centre, Capitol and Queens Aracde are where you can get your fix of high street and upmarket brands.
Cardiff Central Market
If you want something a little different, then a visit to Cardiff Market is a must. Here you can buy everything from fresh meat and produce to vinyls and other nik naks.
Here is where I got my first taste of welsh cakes, and they are something you should really get your hands on. They are a drier version of a scone, and come in a variety of options, including flavours such as chocolate and strawberries and cream. They also sell them in cute little heart shapes.
If you want some alternative shops, then while away your time by strolling through the arcades. Here you can explore some really quirky and independent shops in a relaxed environment.
Cardiff Castle recently celebrated its 70th anniversary. In September 1947, the Castle was gifted to the citizens of Cardiff by the fifteh Marquess of Bute.
As you go through the castle walls, you’ll see the Castle perched up high on a hill.
After a bit of a climb to the top, you’ll be treated to an incredible view of the city.
Whilst within the castle grounds, with your admission ticket, you also gain free access to the firing line; a military museum which documents a 300 year history of the Welsh solider. This is located below the shop.
Visit the Senedd (Wales National Assembly)
The Senedd is the Wales National Assembly, and is a public building with a range of facilities. It is located in the Bay area, and is beautiful inside and out.
There are often art displays at the Senedd. Whilst I was there, the wepping window of poppies was on display, to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
The Norweigan Church
Did you know that Roald Dahl, infamous childrens book author was born in Cardiff? I didn’t until I stumbled upon the Norweigan Chruch Arts Centre. Roald Dahl was born to Norwegian parents and was baptised at this church.
It is worth a visit whilst visiting the Bay.
I really love Cardiff, and it is a city that I could return to time and time again, not just to see to sister.
If you are planning a visit to the city, hopefully this list will give you an appetite for what you can see in a weekend