- Lifestyle & Sports
- 04 Dec 13
Wales’s capital city manages to combine history and modernity to create an experience that has much to offer to visitors both young and old.
Where exactly is it?
Cardiff is a coastal city in south Wales. It is bordered to the north by the valleys of south Wales, and to the west by the scenic Vale of Glamorgan (the “Garden of Cardiff”). Cardiff owes its prosperity to the coal trading that began in the 19th century. The city now has a population of almost 350,000.
How do I get there?
Return flights from Dublin airport are available from €70. Express coaches run to and from the city centre every 20 minutes for just £5.
What language do they speak?
English is the main language and you’ll most likely have to venture further north to encounter many Welsh speakers. Only 11% of the population speak the native language.
What’s the local beer like?
Brain’s is Cardiff ’s most famous brewery and supplies many of the pubs around the city. The Old Brewery, where it all started back in 1882, has been developed into a modern bar and restaurant complex. Their flagship product, Brains SA, is a malty, copper-coloured bitter popular amongst locals. Be warned, however. It is sometimes
referred to as “Skull Attack”: buckle up for a hangover the following morning.
If ale isn’t to your taste, there are plenty of bars around Mermaid Quay in the Cardiff Bay area that offer a wide selection of cocktails and wines. Perfect for sipping while looking out onto the scenic Waterfront.
What is the transport like?
Cardiff Bus is the main mode of transport and is generally reliable and easy to use. There are also tourist-friendly standardised prices: £1.50 for any single journey and £3 for a ‘Day to Go’ pass that allows you unlimited trips for the day.
What is the food like?
Visitors are spoiled when it comes to dining out. You will find the cafes on Mill Street ideal for people-watching while there are also lots of fine restaurants in the
Cardiff Bay area. If you’re looking for some traditional Welsh food, call into Mimosa in Mermaid Quay, where you can sample Cawl, a hearty, traditional lamb broth. Try some of their Welsh cakes, known locally as bakestones.
What’s the nightlife like?
Lots of options in this pulsing, cosmopolitan city. The West End is the nightlife hub. There are bars and nightclubs between Mill Lane, St Mary’s St. and Brewery Quarter. These offer a selection of music and drink promotions, within walking distance of one another. Those looking for something different should check out The Vaults Bar in the Cardiff Bay area. Located in a real vault beneath an old bank, revellers can enjoy house and techno until the early hours or relax in the chill-out
cinema room upstairs.
When should I go?
Most Cardiffians will tell you summer. The truth is Cardiff is ideal for a visit any time of year with each season having its own charms. Winter is ideal for Christmas
shopping trips in the bustling commercial districts. Spring boasts plenty of soccer and rugby fixtures. If it’s sun, music and festivals you’re after, summer indeed has much to offer.
What are the touristy things to do?
The Millennium Stadium, home to the Welsh rugby team, is in the city centre. There’s also the Cardiff City Stadium, home to Premiership new boys Cardiff City FC, and the Cardiff Arms Park which belongs to the Cardiff Blues. Little surprise Cardiff has been named European City of Sport for 2014.
Why not check out one of the many museums? The National Museum houses the finest Impressionist collection outside of Paris with work by Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh and Cezanne. St Fagan’s National History Museum is also worth the trip as it is regarded as one of Europe’s premier outdoor museums.
What should I bring home?
If you’re a vinyl addict, head to Spillers Records in Morgan Arcade to get your fix. Established in 1894, it is the oldest record shop in the world and offers a wide selection.