Travel: Cosmopolitan CardiffBy Beck Barnes
September 18, 2012
The Welsh capital is a great destination for a weekend away.
But, as Becky Barnes finds out, with so much to enjoy fitting it all in will be a challenge
With excellent transport links from Reading Station, Cardiff is ideal for a weekend break.
We visited during a welcome late summer burst of sunshine and as soon as we arrived we felt a real buzz from the stylish city.
Our base, the Park Plaza Hotel, is bang in the middle of the capital and boasts its own spa, club and bar as well as friendly staff and tasteful decor. But Cardiff has so much to offer, so you may find yourself spending more time outdoors.
Breakfast was the best spread I have ever had at a hotel. You can help yourself to a full English, a Continental and all manner of juicy fruits and freshly made smoothies.
On Friday night we visited Greenwood and Brown for a meal. This restaurant specialises in steaks and they know how to get a medium rare cut of Welsh cow spot on.
On the Saturday, we sampled the delights of The Meating Place. The main attraction is giant skewers with your choice of meat, brought to your table and then hung from the ceiling via a metal chandelier – it’s all very tasty and fun.
Cardiff nightlife has lots to offer but it’s popular with hen do parties and you’ll see them falling down the street before midnight.
We enjoyed the members’ club Kuku at the Park Plaza, as well as Club Metro and Live Lounge.
Nightlife aside, there is plenty during the day for families. Like all big cities there is lots to do for free or a reasonable price.
The National Museum in Cathays Park is great for anyone – from all kinds of art to natural history – you could get lost in there all day.
The National History Museum at St Fagans is a leafy green space just outside Cardiff that takes you back in time through Welsh heritage. Curators have transported several buildings that were under threat and reconstructed them so you can see what life was like centuries ago.
Another key attraction is Cardiff Bay. The stunning waterfront has plenty of attractions and proves popular for shopping.
And just opened in time for our visit was the Doctor Who Experience – it’s impressive and might be a little scary for smaller children.
Following that, there is a huge exhibition, with costumes and props from all the series.
Another main attraction is Cardiff Castle. Take a tour and learn more about the city’s heritage.
Cardiff is a great balance of old and new – the new buildings are well designed, the streets are clean and the people are friendly.
Indeed, it’s perfect for a family holiday, city break or shopping trip.
Take your pick and find out more at www.whycardiff.com
Becky's weekend trip was arranged by Cardiff & Co.
Executive room and drinks reception were provided by Park Plaza Hotel, Greyfriars Road. Rooms start from £180 a night with bed and breakfast based on two people sharing.
Cardiff & Co paid £30 a head for meals at Greenwood and Brown, Quay Street and The Meating Place, St Mary's Street.
The National Museum and National History Museum at St Fagans offer free entry.
The bus to St Fagans is run by Cardiff City Sightseeing. Adults £3 and children £2.
Cardiff Bus day pass - Adults £3.40 and children £2.20.
Doctor Who Experience is £13 adult booked in advance, £15 at the door
£9 child in advance, £11 at the door.
Family - two adults and two children £38 in advance, £46 on the door.
Cardiff castle is £11 for an adult for the basic ticket ((£8.50 child) and £14 for the premium tour (£10.50 child).
Both attractions provided complementary tickets.