Spending just one day in Cardiff is surely quite short, but if it is all you’ve got, you’re still bound to be able to fit in a lot. I’ve taken many short trips to Cardiff, as it is were one of my sisters currently resides. Some trips have been a mere few hours to a few days.
Currently the Rugby World Cup has taken over the UK (if you haven’t noticed) and although England is the hosting country, Wales has got in on the action as the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff is one of the larger ones in the UK.
So of you’re in Cardiff for the rugby, (or not) and are stuck for things to see and do, here is what I suggest for a one-day itinerary:
1. Chill out in the Bay
Cardiff Bay is a vibrant area and now known to be the most successful regeneration projects in the United Kingdom. The bay is supplied by two rivers, to form a freshwater lake, and houses a number of hospitality and entertainment venues (Mermaid Quay), as well as a restored Norwegian church, which houses an arts centre, and of course the wonderfully architectured Canolfan Mileniwm Cymru or Wales Millennium Centre (pictured above), whch has various events from Theatre to Opera.
You should aim to spend a few hours walking around the Bay, and soaking up the atmosphere. There are often events happening (particularly at weekends)
2. Become the king of Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle is one of the most central castles that I have visited lately (and I love my Castles). The main entrance is accessed right off the main shopping street of Queen Street. If you want a tour around the Castle grounds and within the house, this will set you back £15, but it is worth it.
Currently the Castle has been taken over by Rugby World Cup fever, but don’t worry, the Castle was not destroyed for this to happen.
If you are into your Castles like me, you can also visit the stunning Caerphilly Castle, which is a 20 minute drive away or 30 minutes by public transport, and it is worth seeing; I mean, just look at that Moat!
3. Bute Park
Cardiff has some incredible parks and gardens, one of them being Bute Park, which is located right beside the Castle. It is a lovely retreat from urban life. In summer, bring a picnic down, and sit in the sun, or head over into the little tea rooms for tea and scones.
4. Shopping and Bars
Cardiff is a vibrant city, and great for shopping (if you need or want to). It literally has everything you need in one central location (mainly Queen Street). There are a plethora of bars and restaurants, and I can highly recommend Mission Burrito for a quick, but delicious lunch.
Whilst you are there, you should also visit the arcades and grab a drink at the artsy coffee shop called Coffee Barker, in Castle Arcades.
5. Touring the Millennium Stadium
So if you are not into Rugby, the perhaps you’ll skip this, but the Millenium Stadium is an incredible venue, which was initially built to host the 1999 Rugby World cup, but has been used for various events in years gone by. It is the second largest stadium in the World with a fully retractable roof.
A tour around costs £10.50 for an adult ticket, and it is open from 10am-5pm (Mon-Sat) and until 4pm on a Sunday, but you will need to check directly with the stadium if they are still running the tours during the Rugby World Cup season.
Cardiff is a fantastic city and is easily accessed via trains from London, taking just 2 hours to get there, or you can do as I have done in the past, and jump on a Megabus and be there in 4 hours (at the huge reduction in cost). I have also got a train from Manchester, taking just over 3 hours.