It’s become a tradition for me during the last two years for me to travel somewhere new on my birthday, and this year I went to Cardiff in Wales for a long weekend. My birthday was actually in February, which shows how far behind I am on this blog, but I thought I would share the details of my trip, since travel posts are my favourite kind of post to write!
Where We Stayed
We stayed at Premier Inn Cardiff City Centre. I often like to stay in Premier Inns when I get the chance, as I love their comfortable beds (I swear they have the perfect mattress for my back, though I know writing that makes me sound like an old woman) hearty breakfasts and central locations. Premier Inn Cardiff City Centre was just a few minutes walk from the town centre, but despite this, it still managed to be quiet enough for me to get a good night’s sleep, which is something that is important to me when I travel. Whilst they are not usually the cheapest option, I always find Premier Inns to be a pretty safe bet when it comes to choosing accommodation, and Premier Inn Cardiff City Centre was no exception.
What We Did
Cardiff is an ideal sized city for just pottering around, so on our first afternoon we walked through the town centre to take in the lie of the land. Cardiff is a lively, young city with a great energy to it, and almost everywhere I looked I saw restaurants, pubs and bars that immediately appealed to me.
I believe that Cardiff is a great city for foodies, I certainly enjoyed some delicious food there during my trip, though I must admit we didn’t try any traditional Welsh cuisine, mostly because I didn’t really see it on any menus. One of our most interesting meals was at a restaurant called Viva Brazil, which served Brazilian barbecue, involving copious amounts of different types of meat, ranging from chicken hearts to Brazilian sausages. What made the restaurant especially entertaining, was that you could vote whether you wanted to try a particular kind of meat by laying a green placard on the table. If you didn’t like the look of a piece of meat, you could turn the placard red instead. I loved being able to sample such a variety of food in Cardiff – in addition to our Brazilian barbecue, we also ate Indian, French and British food.
Due to the sheer number of restaurants, clubs and bars, some people might find Cardiff to be a bit too loud, and somewhat intimidating, but overall I thought it was a fun city. I do think if I lived there though I might get tired of all the revellers, but for a long weekend, it was enjoyable to explore its nightlife.
On the second day we decided to head to Cardiff Bay, which is home to Wales’ Millennium Centre, as well as the Doctor Who Experience. Since my boyfriend had never seen Doctor Who at the time, we decided to give the Doctor Who Experience a miss, though by all accounts it sounds like an interesting attraction. We decided to walk along the quay, where we discovered some unusual sculptures and statues:
as well as a cute art gallery/coffee shop which used to be a Norwegian Church:
Due to the overcast weather, we mostly had the bay to ourselves, but I imagine that on sunny days the place must become crowded, since there are yet more eateries and bars along the Mermaid Quay.
Having walked to the bay from our hotel, we took a boat back from the bay, along Cardiff’s River Taff, which was a great way to see more of the city.
In the afternoon, I decided to make the most of Cardiff’s excellent shopping malls and bought myself a birthday dress!
On our third day in Cardiff (my birthday) we checked out Cardiff Castle. It’s an impressive castle, one that really captures the imagination, as some of the rooms are still left furnished as they were. The Castle also had an engaging World War 2 Exhibition, since it was used as a bunker during that time. I would really recommend it for families, I saw several excited children running around who were genuinely interested in exploring the grounds.
After we left the Castle, we decided to explore some of the park that surrounds it, which is called Bute Park. The park was so huge we only saw a small fraction of it, but if you like long walks then I suggest you pay it a visit!
Cardiff is ideal for a short weekend break, especially if you like going out a lot, I think it would be a terrific place to visit in a group. I’d particularly recommend for university aged students as it is a relatively affordable destination with a bustling nightlife.