Cardiff is a great city. There are no two ways about it. The capital of Wales, it’s packed with everything you’d expect from a major city. History, famous stadiums, shops, restaurants, parks, hotels, museums and a couple of cathedrals. And it’s on the water, so it’s also got Cardiff Bay. This destination guide is intended to help you plan a visit. And we recommend you do!
How to get to Cardiff
Cardiff has great transport links. Just off the M4, the main motorway from London to South Wales, the city also has good train links from London, Manchester and beyond. Furthermore, Cardiff has an airport which is approximately 15 miles from the centre. Many airlines fly into Cardiff Airport. We always use Skyscanner to check out the best current deals on flights.
Transfer time to the city centre depends on which way you choose to travel. A taxi will take approximately 30 minutes and cost around £35. There is a rail link which runs every hour from Monday to Saturday (and every 2 hours on a Sunday). A shuttle bus from the airport to the train station is available for passengers. There is also a regular T9 bus service to Cardiff Bay and Cardiff City Centre.
Where to stay in Cardiff
We’ve stayed in Cardiff many times. The City centre is home to most of the big name chain hotels and plenty of independents, guest houses, B&Bs, Air Bnbs and serviced accommodation. Hotels include Hilton, Radisson Blu, Copthorne and Novotel.
If we’re paying out of pocket we use booking.com to see what’s available. The Hilton is in a fantastic location overlooking the Castle but we’ve never stayed here. The Marriott is in a great central location in the Hayes area right in the heart of the action. It can get a little noisy outside on the weekend. Probably our favourite hotel around the city is the Novotel. It is a little outside the centre but only around a 10 minute walk and is ideal if you want get away from the hustle and bustle. Great for families, it also has a pool.
When we stay in Cardiff Bay we stay at the voco St. Davids Hotel and Spa. A 5 Star hotel right on the waterfront. It, too has a pool and offers fantastic views of the water and Cardiff Bay. We often book through Hotels.com as they offer a great bed and breakfast deal on this hotel and you can pay using Tesco vouchers (but not for the taxes and fees).
How to get around Cardiff
The centre of Cardiff is fairly compact which makes it a great city to explore on foot. We think this is the best way to explore any city. There is also an abundance of public transport. You can catch a bus or train to Llandaff or bus, train or boat to Cardiff Bay. Navigation is pretty easy and there are plenty of good city guides out there.
There are plenty of car parks available in the centre but none are free. The main Central train station and bus station are located in the same place. They are literally a stones throw from the Principality Stadium which is very convenient if you are visiting for a sporting event or concert. The transport links are also close to the main arena in the city, The Motorpoint Arena.
Shopping is quite convenient as the main stores are located in a covered shopping centre (St David’s 2) and the arcades with their independent shops are close by.
Cardiff Bay has a train link into the City Centre which stops at Cardiff Queen Street station. This is one of the main shopping streets in Cardiff. You can also take an Aquabus from Cardiff Bay to the Castle grounds (and back) which runs every hour, weather permitting. Aquabus also stops at the Barrage by request.
When to visit Cardiff
Cardiff is a year-round destination which means it’s great for a visit at anytime. We visit regularly in all seasons. Of course you can’t guarantee the weather but there are plenty of things to do in Cardiff in the rain so it’s no problem if it does.
We enjoy visiting cities in the Summer. Along with the locals, we find less need to wrap up against the elements. People seem happier. There also tends to be lots more going on then. That, along with the pleasant weather makes for a more enjoyable time. We get to see the sights without getting wet. And eat and drink al-fresco. What’s not to like?
Eating in Cardiff
As you would expect from any major city, there is an abundance of places to eat and drink in Cardiff. Cafes, bistros, large fast food chains and fine dining restaurants including The Ivy.
We’ve eaten in Bills in Cardiff Bay. It was reasonably priced with good service and a decent menu.
Things to do In Cardiff
If you’d like more information feel free to contact us via one of our social media channels. If you enjoyed reading this why not leave a comment or check out our posts on Wales.
Disclaimer. This page may contain affiliate links but only to sites we use ourselves. Clicking through and purchasing via them will result in no additional cost to you but may earn us a small commision.