Cardiff

Cardiff

Cardiff’s extraordinary transformation over the past decade has been such that it now comfortably ranks alongside Britain’s most inviting cities. Today, the Welsh capital boasts a wealth of exciting, family-friendly attractions, high culture, superb restaurants and some seriously cool nightlife. Best of all, however, is the magnificent Millennium Stadium, a sporting amphitheatre to rival any in the world, and home to the currently vibrant Welsh rugby team. A short walk or boat ride away, Cardiff Bay has been similarly rejuvenated, its core of venerable old buildings newly juxtaposed with some superb architecture, notably the awesome Millennium Centre and State Assembly building – in summer the waterfront is the place to hangout in Cardiff. The perfect city break destination? You bet.

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Eat and Drink

Cardiff’s gastronomic renaissance has been every bit as dramatic as anything else that has happened here in recent years, as illustrated by the success of restaurants such as Bully’s and the Potted Pig, arguably the two finest foodie fixtures in the city. The best of the rest of Cardiff’s restaurants are located a little further out of town, in particular Mint and Mustard in Whitchurch, and Ffresh and Mimosa, both down in the Bay, but they’re well worth the trek. The city abounds in cutesy cafés – with the Plan, Madame Fromage and the Waterloo Gardens Teahouse all exceptional – but if you’re seeking more alternative fare, or just fancy a night out on the tiles, make tracks for the rugby-oriented City Arms, the banging Buffalo Bar or the quirky but very cool Gwdihw.

Shop

Cardiff now offers a shopping experience to rival any city in the UK. Occupying a vast space right in the heart of the city, the gargantuan St David’s Centre mops up most of the local trade, along with adjacent Queen Street, the main open-air shopping precinct. For a more authentic shopping experience, look no further than Cardiff’s splendid Arcades – the Royal, Morgan, Castle and so on. A warren of covered lanes wedged in between the city centre’s two main thoroughfares, these Victorian gems conceal a mine of wonderful shops and galleries, specialising in everything and anything, from vintage and retro clothing to antique books, wacky jewellery and luxury cigars.

Things to Do

Cardiff is blessed with around half a dozen key city centre sights, two of which utterly dominate the skyline – namely the Millennium Stadium and Cardiff Castle. Beyond here, immerse yourself in the endlessly fascinating National Museum and Gallery or the Cardiff Story, while, slightly further afield, there’s the wonderful St Fagan’s National History Museum and the sturdy twin fortresses of Caerphilly Castle and Castell Coch. There’s plenty more to grab your attention down in buzzy Cardiff Bay, the focal point of which is the brilliant Millennium Centre – in summer this is a terrific place to hang out. Though easily reached on foot, the best way to reach the Bay is via waterbus, or there’s an excellent bike hire scheme courtesy of Pedal Power, which is otherwise a great way to get around this easily navigable city.