With its spectacular coastal setting in the shadow of the Brecon Beacons National Park, the Welsh capital Cardiff is hard to beat if you’re looking for a fun-filled break in the UK. In addition to its beautiful surroundings, the modern centre of the city is bursting with things to do, from exploring ancient castles and monuments, to enjoying bustling bars and restaurants, and making the most of the city’s colourful nightlife.
The Welsh capital has seen lots of investment and regeneration over the last couple of decades, and Cardiff today is a vibrant cultural hub with a whole host of attractions to mix up your trip with.
Of course, you’ll want to get your fair share of that fresh coastal air that Cardiff is known for, and thankfully you can enjoy many of the city’s biggest draws al fresco. So, where’s best to head?
Suitable for: architecture lovers
How to get there: from Cardiff Central Station, walk for 20 minutes towards the coast along Lloyd George Avenue or take the 6 Baycar bus
At the heart of Cardiff’s rebirth is the spectacular Cardiff Bay, which has seen former docklands and industrial works reimagined as cultural quarters and exciting public spaces. It’s here you’ll find The Senedd, the home of the Welsh Government, as well as the architecturally fascinating Millennium Centre and Pierhead buildings. With lots of interesting eateries and shops lining the waterfront, it’s always worth seeing what’s going on at Roald Dahl Plass, a large plaza close to the edge of the bay.
If you don’t mind a stroll, it’s a good idea to follow the bay round, through Britannia Park and out over the water. For your efforts, you’ll be treated to panoramic views back over the Welsh capital, which looks even more spectacular in the early morning or late evening.
Suitable for: thrill-seekers and party groups
How to get there: head for the Ferry Court area on the western side of Cardiff Bay, or take the 304 route bus from Custom House Street near the train station
Price: start at £10 per person for pre-booked Park & Play sessions
For white knuckle thrills, while you’re staying in and around the Welsh capital, Cardiff International White Water is tough to beat. Situated on the western side of the bay, this aquatic complex is the largest of its kind in South Wales, with a range of different high octane activities on offer for both individuals and party groups.
Those a little less confident in the water might enjoy a tranquil stand up paddleboarding or kayak session in the waters of Cardiff Bay, while the Air Trail ropes course is ideal for those who’d rather be over the water than in it. But the bravest visitors will certainly make memories through activities including white water rafting, hot dogging and wave machine surfing among many others!
Suitable for: family walks
How to get there: follow the River Taff to the northern end of the city centre, close to the castle
For a slightly slower pace of adventure, Bute Park is the ultimate place to unwind on your Cardiff city break. In the shadow of both the city’s eponymous castle and the famous Principality Stadium, Bute Park is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city’s streets. Across acres of lush green fields that line the banks of the River Taff, you’ll find everything from tea rooms and cafes, to play trails and beautiful orchards that visitors of all ages will enjoy.
One of the most charming things you’ll find in the park is its sculpture trail. With 21 different statues and installations hidden within the park gates, children will love running around and seeing who can spot the next sculpture first! Each has been created by local artists, hand-carved using dead trees that were collected from inside the park itself.
Suitable for: all ages
How to get there: the boat departs from Cardiff Bay beside the Pierhead Building, which you can reach by walking down Lloyd George Way or taking the 6 Baycar bus, or from the waters’ edge at Bute Park
Price: adults £10.00, children £4.00 and under 3 years go free for a round trip
Make the most of Cardiff’s dramatic coastal setting when you head out on a Cardiff Boat Tour. With the chance to see the city from a whole new perspective, as well as to spot wildlife including swans, coots, cormorants, herons and kingfishers, it’s an experience that visitors of all ages will enjoy.
As you head around the bay and up the River Taff, the boat’s dedicated team of staff will be happy to point out some of Cardiff’s most legendary sights. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to stop and take some snaps to add to your trip’s photo album, with landmarks like the Norwegian Church, Principality Stadium and Pier Head all easily seen from the water.
Suitable for: history buffs and inquisitive young minds
How to get there: drive out of the city along the A4232 Grangetown Link until you reach St Fagans village, or take the 32A/320 bus from the city centre
Price: free (but you’ll still need to reserve your tickets)
Across a beautiful open air site in the countryside to the west of the city, St Fagan’s National Museum of History is one of the best loved heritage attractions in all of Wales. Occupying the eclectic and whimsical grounds of St Fagan’s Castle and Gardens, a 16th-century manner house, this sprawling museum tells the story of Wales and its people through the ages.
Since 1948, more than 40 examples of period properties have been reconstructed at the site, including examples of a working farm, a chapel, a school and even a workmen’s institute. You’ll find live demonstrations of traditional local crafts taking place, including blacksmiths and farmers working with real livestock. If you’d love to learn more about the unique Welsh way of life, there’s no better place than St Fagan’s.
To take in all these fantastic Cardiff attractions and many more, you’ll need somewhere comfortable in the city where you can recharge your batteries. Jurys Inn Cardiff is conveniently located in the thick of the action, just off Queen Street in the Welsh capital’s retail district. With a stylish on-site bar and free WiFi throughout the hotel, we’ve everything you need to make your stay in Cardiff a success.
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