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Cardiff City © Andrew Hazard, courtesy of www.visitcardiff.com

Cardiff Castle © Andrew Hazard, courtesy of www.visitcardiff.com

Millennium Stadium

Millennium Stadium

Pier Head © Andrew Hazard, courtesy of www.visitcardiff.com

Millenium Centre © Andrew Hazard, courtesy of www.visitcardiff.com

Croeso i Gaerdydd!

Welcome to Cardiff!

Cardiff is a friendly, vibrant and compact city in southeast Wales. It is very easy to get around. Most of the city centre is pedestrianised and the modern co-exists with the old. Often referred to as the ‘City of Arcades’, Cardiff has a series of Victorian and Edwardian covered shopping alleys where small individual, quirky, and delightful shops and cafés can be found — including the ‘World’s Oldest Record Shop’. Cardiff has over 500 bars, cafés and restaurants.

Cardiff Castle, Bute Park and the Civic Centre are located within 5 minutes walk immediately north of the city centre. The Civic Centre includes the National Museum Cardiff, City Hall, Cardiff University, Cardiff Crown Court, the Welsh Assembly Government, and two parks.

To the south of the city centre lies Cardiff Bay— ‘Europe’s Largest Waterfront Development’ (www.cardiffbay.co.uk) — formerly known as ‘Tiger bay’ and the docklands. There you will find the magnificent Wales Millennium Centre, alongside historic buildings from Cardiff’s commercial past. There are restaurants, pubs and attractions for all the family. The Bay area can be reached by foot (about 20 minutes walk from the City Centre), a short train or bus ride, or by water taxi from Bute Park.

Maps

Maps of the City Centre, Cardiff Bay and more can be found at visitcardiff.com.

Important Information

Important information for travellers from
http://www.visitcardiff.com/gettinghereandaround

Wales has a 5p bag charge. Every time you ask for a bag at a shop you will be charged 5p and the money will go to a charity of the shops choosing. Since the charging, there has been over a 50% decrease of single-use plastic bags in Wales.....which is great for the environment!

There is a fee to use the Severn Bridge to travel into Wales. Using the bridge to enter England from Wales is free.

All public buildings, including pubs are smoke free inside. Smoking is generally allowed outside but you should look for signs. Some outdoor locations such as railways stations and platforms are smoke free.

  • Currency: British Pound Sterling
  • Population: 321,000 (2009 approx) 10% students
  • Phone Code: Country code: 44, area code for Cardiff: 02920
  • Emergency telephone number: 999 (Use country code if applicable)
  • Time zone: GMT British Summer Time (=GMT + 1) from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
  • Geography: Situated on the Bristol Channel, Cardiff is a waterside city, with a freshwater lake controlled by the Barrage. Cardiff is an extremely flat city, only rising to hills in the north of the city suburbs. Surrounding Cardiff is open countryside, leading to the Vale of Glamorgan in the west, Newport in the east and into Caerphilly in the north.
  • Distance: Cardiff to London journey time by train is approximately 2.5 hours. By car London is easily accessible via the M4 motorway.
  • Politics: Cardiff is the capital of Wales, and is the focal point of devolved government and decision making at the National Assembly of Wales, the Senedd, in Cardiff Bay.
  • Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz; square three-pin plugs are standard.
  • Average January temp: 4.5°C (40F)
  • Average August temp: 17°C (62.5F).
  • Weather/Climate:The Cardiff temperature peaks in August and can occasionally exceed 26°C (average maximum 21°C), however plan for rain — this is Wales! BBC weather
  • Language: English and Welsh
  • Tipping: A tip of around 10% is customary in restaurants. Round up for taxis. Tipping in bars is rare.
History

Cardiff lies at the junction of three rivers, the Taff, the Ely and the Rhymney making it an important strategic location. One of the first occupiers in AD55-60 were the Romans who built a fort (the remains can be seen at Cardiff Castle). The Vikings also passed through, but the town started growing in medieval times when the Normans built a castle on the site of the Roman fort.

Cardiff’s fastest growth was in the 19th Centaury when so called “Black gold” i.e. coal was being mined in the valleys and brought down to Cardiff Docks to be exported. The biggest land owner, the 2nd Marquess of Bute, built a series of linking canals that, coupled with a comprehensive network of railway lines, saw Cardiff become the biggest coal exporting port in the world. The port reached its peak in 1913, with more than 10 million tons passing through.

Cardiff was granted city status in 1905 and became the capital of Wales in 1955.

Today the city has been transformed. Much of the canal network is hidden though it can be seen in Bute Park behind the Castle. Many of the train lines have also gone. The huge industrial docklands have been transformed in recent years into Cardiff Bay with many new buildings of architectural interest.

Welsh language

Wales is bilingual and all official signs are in English and Welsh. Welsh is an old Celtic Language. It is very phonetically accurate. If you can pronounce the Welsh letters then you can say the word. e.g. Bus is spelt Bws in Welsh but pronounced the same. Most place names will have English and Welsh displayed, this includes timetables at Railway stations where English and Welsh alternate.

Some words you might find useful or of interest:

WelshPronunciationEnglish
CroesoKroysoWelcome
DiolchDeeolkThank You
Iechud Da!Yekeed dahCheers!
Hwyl FawrHoil VaawrGood Bye
Bore DaBorer-DahGood Morning
Prynhawn DaPrin-hown DahGood Afternoon
Nôs DaNoss DahGood Night
AberAberMouth of a River
AfonA-vonRiver
CaerKa-irFort
MynyddMunnithMountain
CwmKoomValley
PontPontBridge
PorthPo-rthPort
Travelling around Cardiff

Cardiff is relatively small city and most of the city centre and Bay area can be covered easily by foot. However, there are many transport option available to get around the city and neighbouring areas.

For help planning your travel to and from Cardiff use this journey planner: Travelline Cymru

Walking

There are a number of parks in Cardiff:

  • Bute Park behind the Cardiff Castle has beautiful trees and some eating places
  • Cathays Park includes Alexandra Gardens in the centre of the Civic Centre and Gorsedd Gardens in front of the National Museum
  • Roath Park further to the northeast is one of Cardiff’s most popular
  • There are miles and miles of public footpaths in Wales. Ordnance survey maps shows public footpaths in green. The coastal path has recently been developed: www.walescoastpath.gov.uk

Cycling

Cycle hire is available at

Cardiff has many areas which are great for cycling. You can cycle across the barrage in cardiff bay, or you can follow signs for the Taff trail that will take you along the banks of the river Taff, up past the Cardiff Castle and out towards Castle Coch at Taffs Well. Bicycles can be carried on local trains for free but you may have to wait at peak times to be allowed on. There are many short sections of cycle paths.

Travelling around Cardiff by Bus

For all information about buses in Cardiff: Cardiff Bus route list

Cardiff Bus apps are available for smartphones: Bus App

Fares

Cardiff Bus fares

Cardiff bus drivers do not carry change so you must have the correct money

Single journey anywhere in the city: £1.80

Day to go ticket, if you have to make several journeys during the day, or need to change buses to make your trip, then the day to go could save you money, £3.50; Week to go ticket, unlimited travel for the week: £15.00

For bus map and timetables go to: Cardiff bus maps

Buses from the City Centre to the Cardiff bay:

Bay Car

Bay Bus can be boarded beside City Hall, opposite National Museum.

For a map and timetable go to: www.cardiffbus.com

Walking from the City Centre to Cardiff Bay:

It is possible to walk from the City Centre to Cardiff Bay. The journey is flat and takes between 30 – 45 minutes depending upon your speed.

Maps of Cardiff

Some interactive maps of Cardiff can be found here:

Here are some good maps for printing out:

Cardiff Maps

Things to do in Cardiff

Cardiff has many attractions, including castles, museums, theatre and cinema. Go to http://www.visitcardiff.com/ for ideas of what to do and see.

Shopping

Cardiff is becoming a shopping hotspot with a variety of different retailers dotted about the City and in indoor shopping centres. In the City centre shops are located around St Mary’s Street,Queen Street and the Hayes, which are all pedestrianised areas. Linking these areas are numerous old victorian arcades which have more unique and small independent shops. For larger shops and for more well known brands, the indoor shopping centre called St David’s on the Hayes is the place to go.

Eating & Drinking

Cardiff City Centre and the Bay have many restaurants and pubs featuring a cosmopolitan variety of cuisines. A few recommended by museum staff and on trip advisor are:

City Centre:

Best for Real Ale

  • The Pen and Wig (Park Grove) PUB GRUB - Local watering hole for museum staff.
  • The Rummer Tavern (Duke Street) PUB GRUB
  • The Old Market Tavern (Trinity Street) PUB GRUB
  • Urban Tap House (Westgate Street) PUB GRUB
  • The City Arms (Quay St.)
  • Zero Degrees (a micro brewery) (Westgate Street) ITALIAN/FRENCH

The rest

  • Anna-Loka (Albany Road) VEGAN
  • Revolución de Cuba (The Friary) CUBAN
  • Slug and Lettuce (for lunch) (The Friary) BRITISH
  • Bellini's Italian food (St David’s Centre OR Park Place OR Mermaid Quay) ITALIAN
  • Thai House. (3-5 Guildford Crescent, Churchill Way) THAI
  • Café Citta (need to book, gets v. busy) (Church St.) ITALIAN
  • The Meating Place (St Mary’s St.) BRITISH
  • The Corner House (Caroline Street) BRITISH
  • The Potted Pig (St Mary’s St.) BRITISH
  • Jamie’s Italian (The Hayes) ITALIAN
  • 10 Feet Tall (Church St.) EUROPEAN (SPANISH, MOROCCON, BRITISH)
  • Buffalo Bar (Windsor Place) (SPANISH, MOROCCON, BRITISH)
  • New York Deli (Lunch) (High Street Arcade) AMERICAN
  • Madame Fromage (for Lunch- Castle Arcade) FRENCH
  • Bill’s (Wyndham Arcade) BRITISH
  • The Clink Cymru (Knox Road) Run by the local prison
  • The Goat Major (33 High Street) PUB GRUB
  • The Chapel (Chapel Terrace) EUROPEAN
  • La Tasca (Brewery Quarter off Caroline St.) SPANISH

Cardiff Bay:

  • The Custom House (across the barrage into Penarth for those feeling adventurous) (2 restaurants in one El Puerto and La Marina EUROPEAN
  • The Gourmet Burger Kitchen (Mermaid Key) BRITISH/AMERICAN
  • Eddie’s Diner (Mermaid Key) AMERICAN
  • Côte Brasserie (Mermaid Key) FRENCH
  • Woods Brasserie (Mermaid Key) EUROPEAN
  • Wagamamas (Mermaid Key) JAPANESE
  • Juboraj (Mermaid Key) INDIAN
  • The Deck (20 Harrowby Street) BRITISH

Just out of town (towards Pontcanna and Canton):

  • The Conway (Conway Road) BRITISH PUB
  • The Cricketers (Cathedral Road) BRITISH PUB
  • The Smoke House (Pontcanna Street) AMERICAN
  • The Purple Poppadom (Cowbridge Road East) INDIAN
  • Fish at 85 (Pontcanna Street) BRITISH
  • Oscars (Romilly Crescent) BRITISH