The sun is appearing from behind the clouds and the idea of a weekend away is becoming more and more tempting. Get on the train and travel down to Cardiff, Wales’ attraction-filled capital for the perfect two days of sites, excitement and, of course, food. Here is our guide to spending a weekend in Cardiff.
What better way to get to know the rich culture of Wales than a trip to the National Museum Cardiff? The huge series of galleries contain everything from art to history to natural history & geology – and there are spaces for temporary exhibitions as well! You could spend all weekend wandering round this building but try and squeeze it into a morning. If you are looking for a tip, the Impressionism and Post-Impressionism galleries are particularly impressive.
National Museum Cardiff. Photo Credit: Bazzadarambler
All that gallery-gazing and you’ve likely worked up an appetite. Heading back into the centre of Cardiff, stop by Madame Fromage. This French bistro-deli specializes in cheese, and if you’re crazy for a Comte, there is no greater paradise. The shop has a small restaurant-café that serves an ever changing lunch menu – a great spot for an indulgent midday meal.
No visit to Cardiff would be complete without full immersion in Wales’ national sport – rugby. The Principality Stadium, formerly the Millenium Stadium, is one of the world’s greatest sporting venues, and you can go on a behind-the-scenes tour. Visit the player’s changing rooms, walk down the tunnel, live it up in the hospitality booths – the tour includes everything a sports fan (and hopefully a non-sports fan too) would enjoy.
If you’ve got some time left on Saturday afternoon, why not indulge in a bit of shopping. Cardiff City centre has three main shopping centres—Queens Arcade, Capitol Shopping Centre, and St David Dewi Sant—all right next to one another. There’s a huge range of well-known brands as well as some more local affairs.
Principality Stadium. Photo Credit: Jeff Djevdat.
Time for dinner. The Purple Poppadom is a Nouvelle Indian restaurant that has won numerous awards for its sharp and authentic Asian cuisine. Perched to the west of Cardiff on Cowbridge Road, it’s a fancy restaurant that still has a nice informal vibe. The menu has a huge range of curry and biryani dishes as well as some less known Indian delights. There is also a 7 Course Taster menu if you really want to treat yourself for the weekend.
Tandoori king prawns and seafood risotto from the 7 Course Taster Menu.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to nightlife in Cardiff. We’d recommend a trip to the Depot. This stylish venue is all things for all people, with a cool bar, good food (if you haven’t had enough), and lots of strange and interesting events. Bingo Lingo is a particular favourite for fun-loving locals – a bizarre evening of bingo and dancing. Check their event listings before you go.
Sunday morning and we’re up and ready for a good walk. To the north of the Cardiff city centre are the green Llandaff Fields, and they make a great site for a wander. Near their southern edge is Cardiff Castle, a spectacular Roman fort and Norman Castle rolled into one. The grounds continue into Bute Park, an award winning collection of horticulture that specializes in a wide and beautiful range of trees. And if you really feel like stretching your legs you can trek all the way up to Llandaff Cathedral, a 12th century stone Gothic church.
Bute Park. Photo Credit: Jeremy Segrott
If you continue your walk round to the east of Llandaff fields, you can turn onto Whitechurch Road and find The Pot Bistro. This French-styled restaurant has a Sunday Roast menu that includes Pork Tenderloin, Rump & Leg of Lamb, Roast Poussin, and Beef Bourguignon. They also do a fantastic coffee if you feel the need for a shot of caffeine.
Take a taxi or a bus to Cardiff Bay, an area that has undergone huge development over the last two decades. There are plenty of attractions to see and the highlight for any TV fan will be the Doctor Who Experience. Famously the filming location for the much-cherished series – just think of David Tennant and John Barrowman running across Cardiff Bay square – Wales’ capital has the largest Doctor Who exhibit in the world. There are models of the monsters and plenty of interactive exhibits. Perfect for any grown-up kid.
For actual children, you can also visit the Techniquest, not far away from the Doctor Who Experience. This bright and colourful venue aims to make science fun for kids and hosts a huge range of events most weekends. There are also permanent exhibits on the human body and natural materials.
Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff. Photo Credit: Ed Webster
Staying in Cardiff Bay, Irie Shack is the must-stop restaurant for Caribbean food in the city. Their menu is bursting with spice and sparkle, and they also have a really great selection of vegetarian options. The ‘Jerk Pit’ menu section contains a series of special skewer dishes that are truly mouth-watering. There are also some really brilliant sides like mango slaw and skin-on fries.
That’s it for Cardiff. You can now go, do it all, and get the T-Shirt. Keep an eye posted for our other Weekend Away articles!