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Cardiff trip planning help, please!

81 replies

CloudyMorning · 21/08/2022 17:24

Hi all, I’m going to Cardiff for the first time with my DDs aged 18 and 20 and would love some help planning our three day trip, booked at the last minute.

I am looking for inspiration about how to spend our time there without breaking the bank.

My interests:
Social history
Interesting architecture
Window shopping in interesting/ quirky areas (not malls)
Eating out (vegetarian/ vegan)
Independent cinema maybe
People watching, preferably whilst drinking a glass of something nice without feeling the need to dress up.

Interested in much of the above plus vintage / second hand clothes shopping plus areas for LGBTQ friendly bars.

I would prefer to avoid expensive entrance fees and enjoy just absorbing the atmosphere of a new city.

Which areas are best for exploring for people like my DDs who are lazy walkers?! I might even do a walking tour but would like to be a bit focused with ideas for an itinerary so that they don’t wander aimlessly and need to sit down for a coffee before we’ve even started…

BTW we’re staying overlooking the river- quite near Ferndale street, in case that’s relevant.

I’d be so grateful of some tips about what to do, what not to miss (and even what to avoid, I suppose).

OP posts:
SomeoneSomewhere21 · 21/08/2022 17:30

If you have a car then St Fagans National Museum is about 15-20mins drive. Entry is free and I think parking is £6
There are a number of reconstructed buildings from different times in history. Lovely gardens and grounds too.

SomeoneSomewhere21 · 21/08/2022 17:31

I meant to say Cardiff Bay is good for restaurants/cafes and people watching.

Allmarbleslost · 21/08/2022 17:34

Cardiff bay is excellent for people watching with a drink.

HamSandwichKiller · 21/08/2022 17:36

Seconding St Fagans. There's a bus that goes out there now - it's new so worth Googling where it picks up from. The Bay is good for restaurants though mostly chains and busy enough on a weekend that you have to book ahead. As an alternative there are lots of restaurants in Pontcanna that are worth a look if you prefer to avoid chain places.

Swannning · 21/08/2022 17:37

YY to St Fagans and Cardiff Bay is very buzzy. Have a lovely time OP

Dancingfairydreams · 21/08/2022 17:37

I second st Fagans, if you don't have a car cardiff bus are running a special bus this year directly to St Fagans.

I'd also recommend a trip down to Penarth, beautiful pier, lovely sea front plus some lovely independent shops in the town.

Cardiff has some wonderful arcades to wander around, with some great independent shops too!

Would recommend the boat trip from by the castle down to Cardiff Bay, there's plenty of places to sit & people watch, most places are a chainy but coffee co on the veranda is a lovely place to sit!

Defo check out the museum, free entry!

Food wise, there are some real gems! Lazy leek in pontcanna is a fab vegan burger place, it is take away but you can sit in llandaff fields if the weather is nice. The atma lounge on Queen Street is lovely , super cheap too! Vegetarian food studio is just a short walk from central station on penarth Road, is byo booze too so makes it a cheap night!

ScarlettnotOHara · 21/08/2022 17:38

Hi we live close !! Bar 44 opposite the Millennium stadium is amazing for tapas food, you will need to book !! Lot’s of little arcades with second hand clothes shops, also try Jacob’s market !! If you want to people watch go to St. Mary’s street near Cardiff Castle it’s full of outdoor bars/ coffee shops . Cardiff museum is worth a visit, and Bute park is lovely.

CloudyMorning · 21/08/2022 17:47

Wow! What amazing tips. I shall have to print out this thread and go through it in detail.

Cardiff Bay looks huge… where should I walk from/ to so that we see the best bits?

Also, I was so interested to hear about how multicultural the docks used to be (thank you, SHREDS podcast) - any tips on museums linked to the social history of docks/ Tiger bay?

We will have a car but I’m not sure if I want to do any trips tbh as we’d are very car dependent day to day and live quite rurally.

OP posts:
fussygalore118 · 21/08/2022 17:48

I'd def go to Anna- local for dinner! Its lovely

Lots of good shopping in the arcades dotted around! Some independent shops some nice wee cafes Crumbs is a nice vegi cafe really good valueslue and good for lunch.

St Fagans is ok, we gobthere with the kids but my 16 year old won't go anymore...bit boring for her but the buildings are interesting, great history.

The museum is worth a wander, it's free and there are some lovely gardens and buildings there.

Bay is ok, bit chain filled restaurant wise but nice walk round the barrage on a sunny day and a good spot for a glass of wine!

CloudyMorning · 21/08/2022 17:49

A huge thank you to , everyone. Nearly forgot my manners in my excitement!!

OP posts:
CloudyMorning · 21/08/2022 17:53

Fussy, that’s interesting about your 16yo. I’m not sure that my DDs will want to leave the city centre…

So, worried mum alert: do I need to worry especially if they do decide to go clubbing one night? We live near Brighton, which can be dodgy at night, like all cities. Is there an area to avoid if they do plan a big night out??

OP posts:
TomAllenWife · 21/08/2022 17:56

Why are you staying in Ferndale Street?

Don't be walking back in the dark, I cover the worst areas of Cardiff for work
This would not be my first choice of area

bicyclesaredeathtraps · 21/08/2022 18:02

When are you going? Next weekend (27th-28th) is Pride Cymru so there's a lot of pride themed events if DDs are interested.
Hey Mary in Cardiff is the usual gay bar I think (not a going out person). There's a nice vintage shop in one of the arcades but I can't remember which, sorry. Definitely stop by the Queer Emporium, either for an event or just to browse the shop, that's my favourite place in Cardiff.

The Cardiff Story Museum is all about the social history of the city and docks etc, the basement is aimed at children but the ground floor exhibit is quite interesting, not more than an hour to see there but free entry. The Castle has a lot of military related history, but I think adult entry is £14.50 which is going to add up. You can see the grounds for free though.

CloudyMorning · 21/08/2022 18:11

@bicyclesaredeathtraps , no not that weekend but thanks anyway.

@TomAllenWife thanks for bursting my bubble!! I’m staying near Ferndale street not in it. It’s an Airbnb with dozens of positive reviews (on Taff Embankment). I guess we’ll be getting an Uber home when we go out for the evening…

OP posts:
fussygalore118 · 21/08/2022 18:13

Cardiff is a great city, we go out regularly there late and being sensible it's safe.

Lots of good bars and clubs just get your girls to grab a cab back :).. I've been to Mary's a couple of times it's OK, not great for young ones tho ;)

CloudyMorning · 21/08/2022 18:18

Thank you @fussygalore118 :)

Sorry not to have spotted your mention of the Cardiff Story museum @bicyclesaredeathtrapswhich sounds fantastic (Got distracted by learning that we’ve chosen a dodgy area to stay in!)

OP posts:
TomAllenWife · 21/08/2022 18:20

@CloudyMorning @fussygalore118

I agree that Cardiff is relatively safe, but there are areas of the city you wouldn't choose to walk round as a lone female

Grangetown certainly being one of them

Not trying to burst your bubble

JackieCollinshasnoauthority · 21/08/2022 18:23

It is a really dodgy area by Cardiff standards but I would say the city is generally quite safe.

Explore all the arcades around Mary street.

See whats on at chapter arts centre.

CloudyMorning · 21/08/2022 18:26

Oh my goodness! It gets worse :(

So should we not be walking into the city centre along the Embankment??

OP posts:
grayhairdontcare · 21/08/2022 18:27

Cardiff is the only city break I've done and left early.
No offence to anyone but it wasn't for us

JackieCollinshasnoauthority · 21/08/2022 18:30

It's perfectly fine in daytime. Don't be put off.

TomAllenWife · 21/08/2022 18:33

@CloudyMorning day time is fine

After dark get a taxi


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CloudyMorning · 21/08/2022 18:34

Well this thread has taken an unexpected turn@grayhairdontcare . Talk about pissing on someone’s chips.
Thank you @JackieCollinshasnoauthority

OP posts:
adagio · 21/08/2022 18:34

St David’s 2 is like a chain street mall - fine but not hugely inspiring. Toilets top floor John Lewis are worth noting tho!! For town browsing off st Mary street/the hayes are the proper old arcades - weave up and down all of them if you have time to spare. Crumbs in I think Morgan arcade is a lovely vegan salad / lunch cafe. Castle arcade, dukes street arcade are nearer the castle end also lovely - I can’t picture spending a day touring them all tho, they are nice but not that amazingly big! lots if independent shops to browse round.

Sophia gardens, castle grounds, green in front of city hall (amazing coffee booth) are all free access, great to eat a picnic/ sausage roll and people watch and all literally ‘in town’ not a trek out. Sand for Cardiff museum, it’s like 2 mins off queen street. The bay is nice but feels a bit of a way out of town - bus or train rather than 5 min stroll.
vegetarian food studio is right by you, lovely vege/vegan curries etc (my go to ‘eat in place’ for team lunches out!)

New theatre or millennium centre both super easy access from where you are if you want more of a night out event (can be some last minute bargains)

have fun!

Underanothersky · 21/08/2022 18:36

CloudyMorning · 21/08/2022 18:34

Well this thread has taken an unexpected turn@grayhairdontcare . Talk about pissing on someone’s chips.
Thank you @JackieCollinshasnoauthority

Ignore @grayhairdontcare, Cardiff is ace.

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