Article by Allan Dixon
When you Google Cardiff city the top highlights of things to do consist of either castles, museums and stadiums. This is true, there’s a lot of them. However, when you’re on the ground it’s a whole different story. Having explored the city myself I found a thriving rustle of excitement in art, activities, food, music and craft beer. It’s a proud city alive with culture.
With 48 hours in the city we explored a number of it’s highlights and a few local gems. Here’s a first-hand look:
City Streets & Castles
What’s great about the city is the ease in which you can walk around it’s centre and side streets. From the major shops on High Street to the market stalls, the National Museum Cardiff and Cardiff Castle are all within a five hundred meter radius.
The Victorian and Edwardian arcades will tickle your senses with little boutique shops which sell everything from furniture to the finest of cheeses. You could spend days browsing the array of crafts.
Cardiff Castle is the main feature of the city centre, It’s medieval architecture and overwhelming presence is a site be seen. Tickets are £15 for Adults which includes entry to the castle, keep and military museum along with a guided tour of the mansion.
The Animal wall and caste grounds (both free) are just to the left of the castle which are definitely worth a stroll.
Food & Drink in Cardiff
Restaurants and bars are in full swing all over the city. You don’t necessarily need to book ahead but ring ahead of time if you’re really eager to get a table.
Googling places to eat directs you to the Potted Pig. Unfortunately when we called to book it was closed for a private function. With everyone raving on about it I suggest you give it a try to see what all the excitement is about.
The Meating Place, Casanova and The Brew House are a few good recommendations.
For a vegetarian choice I’d highly recommend Milgi. It’s has a great atmosphere and a super healthy food selection. The perfect mix.
Make sure you wander the Cardiff Market during the day as it’s full of produce and surprises. For myself being a tourist I had to try the Welsh cakes. It’s kind of like a scone, but flattened and more sugar added. Deliciously different, don’t leave Cardiff without trying one.
We asked a few locals for advice and they advised ‘THE DEPOT’ which is a creative space that brings a great combination of food, music and beer though it’s only open on weekends. The vender stalls serve wholesome food from Cardiff’s hotspots such as Urban Tap House, Bunch of Grapes and mobile food like Brother Thai and El Salsa (food venders change weekly) More importantly it’s awash with selection of craft beer.
The recently redeveloped Mermaid Quay is full of bars and restaurants that look out over the bay and amenities for anyone passing though. It includes the Wales Millennium Centre building which hosts opera and ballet. As well as the Doctor Who Experience. I’m not a Doctor who fan so we didn’t go, but I’m sure it’s very enjoyable for those that are. In the summer months the quay boasts a traditional fair ground to keep all the children and the kid inside of you entertained.
The Norwegian Church Arts Centre is a delightful landmark building on the quay. Along with the downstairs cafe it has a free art gallery upstairs. Showcasing work by local artists, students and touring exhibitions visiting Cardiff. Although named the Dahl Gallery after Roald Dahl, it unfortunately doesn’t feature any of his work.
Escape the city for awhile if you have a car. There’s a number of city beaches to enjoy, Barry and Penarth pier. Treat yourself to an ice-cream if the weathers nice.
North of the city is Coch Castle which resembles a fairy tale in the woods.
There’s also Roath Park to unwind in it’s rose garden and big lake. If you feel like swimming with the ducks you can rent paddle boats.
Cardiff is a city proud of it’s history and culture. It contains a lot of surprises, from bars, restaurants and amenities. It has got something for everyone. If you’re ever in the area take time out and explore.
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