My friend and I are taking a trip to Cardiff next month and it is our first visit to Wales. We’re interested in sampling the nightlife and seeing as much as we can while we are there. Can you recommend some of the must-see sites for first-time visitors and where would be a good central place to stay?
Cardiff is a wonderful choice of city for a first visit to Wales. There is plenty to see and do and it offers a perfect balance between all things traditional and contemporary. The city has undergone a fascinating journey and has progressed from a small settlement to the world’s busiest port and then to the modern city it is today. Now regarded as one of the liveliest and most cosmopolitan destinations in Wales, you won’t be disappointed with what it has to offer.
Within the city centre you’ll find a wealth of popular attractions, culture and entertainment. Whatever your taste, you’ll find everything from abseiling to whiskey tasting, historic castles to water sports, all waiting to be experienced and explored.
As this is your first visit to Cardiff, why not let someone else take the lead? Taking a guided tour can reduce the leg-work needed for your sightseeing experience and having a guide who knows their subject can really make a difference, giving you an insight to local history, culture, language and legends. Tours can be specific to Cardiff city or you can go further afield to focus on wildlife, ghostly goings-on or Welsh culture.
Cardiff Bay is home to the new BBC Wales studios and is the filming location for Doctor Who and Casualty. The Doctor Who Experience opens this summer and is a must-see for any fan. It offers a multi-sensory experience packed with amazing special effects and exclusive filming with Matt Smith. You’ll also be able to join the Doctor on an interactive journey that takes you on a spectacular adventure through time and space.
Cardiff is a capital for shopping and was recently named the sixth best shopping destination in the UK. With a combination of designer brands, high street names as well as more individual and independent shops, there’s something for everyone. When you’ve had your fill of retail therapy, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars to stop and relax in. With a growing reputation for fine dining, visitors will be spoilt for choice from local Welsh to international flavours.
You’ll find a lively entertainment scene in and around Cardiff, featuring opera, ballet, musicals, and live music from world-class acts. Across the city, there are a range of theatres, galleries, museums and live music venues. From the traditional to modern, from seating thousands to cosy intimate spaces, Cardiff will satisfy every taste.
Going out in Cardiff has never been better, with a huge choice of pubs and bars, from traditional pubs, funky bars and great nightclubs which all give Cardiff a social scene that is world renowned. You can hang out by the waterside in Cardiff Bar or sip a cocktail and partake in a little people watching on Mill Lane.
Where to Stay
The St David’s Hotel & Spa (*****)
Prices start from €109 per room per night on Hotels.com
This stunning five-star hotel is overlooking Cardiff Bay and just a short distance from Techniquest, Wales Millennium Centre and The Doctor Who Exhibition. Relax and unwind in the hotel health club which includes a spa, indoor pool and sauna. Temptus, the hotel restaurant has a menu suitable for every taste and offers guests the option to dine on the terrace.
Hilton Cardiff (****)
Prices start from €84 per room per night on Hotels.com
The four-star Hilton Cardiff is in the centre of Cardiff city and is renowned for its conservatory style Razzi Restaurant which showcases the best of Welsh cuisine. The hotel’s Livingwell Health Club features a heated indoor pool, gym, spa, steam room and sauna. For an evening of cocktails, beer or wine a visit to the Steam Bar is a must and the perfect way to relax after a day of sightseeing.
Park Plaza Cardiff (****)
Prices start from €96 per room per night on Hotels.com
The Park Plaza is within walking distance of Cardiff Castle, the Millennium Stadium and the National Museum of Wales. Guests can enjoy a meal in the award-winning Laguna Kitchen Restaurant and Bar. The hotel spa provides a massage services as well as facials, manicures, pedicures and a wide assortment of beauty treatments. Relax and unwind after a day of exploring in the hotel indoor pool, spa and steam room.
* Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking
For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.hotels.com or call 1800 55 3338 to wake up happy on your holiday!