Despite its modernity, in many ways visiting Cardiff feels like taking a step back in time. In a good way, of course. Just across the Bristol Channel is the bustling English city of Bristol, where the pace is far more frantic than what you’ll find in Cardiff.
Really, it’s quite relaxing. If you’re on holiday, a relaxed place is usually the best environment to enjoy yourself. By far the best reason to visit Cardiff is that it gives you easy access to the splendid natural wonders of south Wales.
South Wales is so impressive that James Cook named Australia after the place. Or it could just have been that he lacked imagination. In any case, you’ll enjoy a visit to the south of Wales, and especially Cardiff. Plus it’s an excellent place to visit with a group because everything is so open.
That feeling of spaciousness makes it feel quite different to English cities; even the sprawl of London doesn’t give the same sense of freedom. All you need to do is sort out coach hire or minibus hire for Cardiff, and you’ll be within easy reach of all the best sights in Wales.
Castles and Churches
Cardiff actually has three very interesting castles to visit. The main one is centrally located and fittingly named Cardiff Castle. It was built on the site of a former Roman fort, parts of which still remain standing, despite being about 1400 years old. The first Roman fort is believed to have been built on the site about 1967 years ago.
Having been there such a long time, and being occupied by so many different titled families, Cardiff Castle has fascinating stories waiting to be discovered. The best thing, though, is that the castle still occasionally hosts jousting tournaments.
Just a few miles north you can find the largest of the Welsh castles, Caerphilly. This castle was built almost 400 years ago, and has all the classic castle things like a moat, drawbridges, towers, and such. The admission cost to Caerphilly is less than half the admission fee at Cardiff Castle, even though Caerphilly is actually larger.
Castell Coch, also known as The Red Castle, is the third of Cardiff’s popular castles, though unfortunately it’s not a very historic place, having been constructed between 1875 and 1891. There was in fact a real castle here as early as 1081, built by the Normans and ruined during the rebellions. The ruins remained until the decision was made to construct the present castle on the site.
Because of its recent construction, Castell Coch is in perfect condition and is truly a visual treat if you overlook the fact that it’s a modern reproduction. Every room is a wonder, and the octagonal drawing room is simply amazing.
Llandaff Cathedral is almost as impressive as the castles. It was built around 1100 and upgraded extensively in 1734. During World War II the cathedral sustained considerable damage, but it has been lovingly nursed back to health and is a very beautiful piece of architecture set in equally beautiful surroundings.
Get the Doctor Who Experience
At the start of this article we mentioned time travel. If you really are interested in time travel, or at least indulging in a bit of nostalgia, at Discovery Quay on Cardiff Bay you will find a unique attraction called The Doctor Who Experience.
As the name suggestions, it’s an experience built around a Doctor Who theme. For your £15 entry fee (£11 for kids), you get to see a short film, visit the inside of the TARDIS, and get perhaps a little too close for comfort to the Daleks.
This isn’t some cheap and tacky tourist attraction built by fans, but is actually a sponsored project by the BBC, so it’s really quite professional and well worth the cost of entry. It’s only open during the warmer months, unfortunately, so be sure to book your tickets before the end of September.
Check out St Fagans National History Museum
A quaint open air museum that shows what a crofter’s farm would have been like back in old times. There are cottages, windmills, and workshops on display. Admission is free, and at certain times of the year – those corresponding with traditional festival times – special events are hosted there, which you can also be part of.
Cardiff is an ideal destination for groups
Cardiff is so interesting and diverse, and there are so many great sights within a short drive, you couldn’t really choose a better place for your group vacation.
The Travelodge is an especially group-friendly hotel offering great discounts, or for a superior luxury experience, try the St David’s Hotel on the waterfront.
Remember to book your transport too. You’d be surprised how many people forget to do it until they’ve already arrived in Wales.
With your accommodation and transport sorted, all that is left to do is relax and enjoy the best that Cardiff has to offer.