Cardiff is a blast from the past, into the present and into the future. It’s ironic that I put it in that way as Cardiff has been a home to many locations used for Doctor Who, which I’m a major fan of, and those locations include the Cardiff Bay and Wales Millennium Centre. Going around Cardiff actually gives you the vibe that you’re time travelling.
Although one of the smallest capital cities in Europe, it is one of the most popular alternative travel destinations in the world.
The city of Arcades has everything that a traditional tourist can ask for: major leisure districts to shop till you drop, parks and gardens to walk through in joy and wonder, food restaurants and bars to juice yourself up with energy and chill, museums and architecture for absorbing the history and heritage.
And you’ve probably guessed it by reading the title already – we’re making Cardiff our next addition to the “5 To Do” series. Once again these activities are just my personal preferences so feel free to comment your own suggestions in the comments below:
1. Conquer Cardiff Castle
Over 2000 years of Cardiff’s is packed into the castle located right in the heart of the city.
It was site of attraction (pun unintended) for the Norman empire as they used it to expand into new territories.
Throughout the year, particularly the warmer seasons, the castle plays hosts to banquets and fun fairs and music concerts strangely enough so the entertainment the attraction becomes more modern.
Unfortunately I only got as far as the entrance given my limited budget and the poor weather that followed me all the way from London! But as you can see in the pic above the medieval-gothic architecture and landscape around the castle is an awesome sight
Underneath all that land though are air raid bunkers for civilians to hide from the dangers of airstrikes during World War II and are now of access to the public.
Prices are pretty pricey with an adult ticket £13, with the option of a house tour for an extra £3.25.
2. Stroll around Cardiff Bay
Cardiff bay doesn’t leave you disappointment in terms of the amount of things to do and catering to different tastes: there’s Techniquest, a science plantarium, Wales Millennium centre, which plays host to music, classical and opera concerts, and various water activities including white water rafting and guided boat trips. You could literally spend a whole day there.
I was so unlucky that I decided to go Cardiff the time I did as the weather was very windy and drizzly. On a sunny, warm day there are fewer sites that can compare in terms of scenery and leisure. There’s also a few parks (e.g. Waterfront and Britannia Park)
Along the bay there’s also various restaurants, bars and shops (a la Nandos, Zizzis, Wagamama, one of many wetherspoons) in case you get a strong appetite or get thirsty
Another case of bad luck for myself was finding out that Doctor Who Experience, which used to be by the bay, had closed its doors last summer. Maybe Cardiff isn’t that kind to me :p
3. Then take a boat from there around Cardiff
As mentioned above, at the Cardiff bay there are many boat taxi services such as Bay Island Voyages and Cardiff Cruises that provide boat tours around Cardiff itself. Very similar to the Rover service that the TFL offer across many famous, touristy areas of London (e.g. Greenwich, Embankment, Westminster) and can be compared to your City Cruises
Unless you often get seasick or have a medical conditions that prevents from being exposed to the sea, “Cardiff by boat”. Again when I got to the Cardiff bay all of the ticket kiosks and offices were closed and with the weather being very cold and windy I think they had good reason unfortunately.
4. Have a drink at the Coyote Ugly
I admit – its more promiscuous, explicit and raunchy atmosphere and setting in comparison to an ordinary bar may not be to everyone’s taste. Although for the sake of nostalgia or finding a touristy to visit, you won’t do yourself any harm after a long day sightseeing to get a drink and have a sit down at the Coyote Ugly saloon bar, inspired by the musical drama flick Coyote Ugly.
Like majority of bars they also do decent food if you have an appetite for bar food, and of course sources of entertainment such as pool tables, arcade game machines and satellite TV on Flatscreens.
There’s also a Coyote Ugly saloons in London (Soho to be precise), Manchester, Moscow, Korea, Las Vegas amongst other locations in the US and around the world.
5. Grab a sandwich from Bombers or New York Deli
Two sandwich bars that I’d highly recommend, and are quite in close proximity to one another, are New York Deli cafe and Bombers sandwich. Some of the staff at the Gin and Juice Palace Bar advised me to check out New York Deli and I didn’t regret my visit 🙂 Their portion sizes are MASSIVE! To the point where you’ll be getting your value for money, not to mention their. I talk more about this in my in-depth review of Cardiff.
At Bombers Sandwich House, there are different prices for different sizes. One of them being “small boy” (£2.95) and it was the size I had for my BBQ and Porkcomb chicken sandwich (because I’m healthy) and it was the s***.
What’s interesting about Bombers is that they rotate their menu choices daily which they post on their Facebook and Twitter (do give them a follow). It has its positives too as it freshens up the options but can alienate potential regular customers I think. Not that I’m a businessman anyway. Mind you they’re only open on weekdays and close at 3pm so they don’t hang around for long.
Special mentions are walking the Bute Park and visiting the various shopping arcades (e.g. High Street Arcade, Queens Arcade, Castle Arcade).
I really enjoy doing the 5 To Do series at the moment. They’re nice, concise add ons to my long, comprehensive review which can sometimes be too long of a read so it’s great I can be diverse with my types of posts.
Having mention that, I would love to hear some suggestions of different types posts you’d like to see from me or ones you’d like more of. Getting commenting below!
Johnny | The Travel Connoisseur