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Cardiff Travel Tips

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The capital city of Wales, Cardiff is a blend of historic charm and contemporary hedonism – a city where you can stroll from a sprawling castle to a swanky cocktail bar in a matter of minutes. Surrounded by the lush, rolling South Wales countryside, it's a place to party and a place to have fun with the family, any time of year.

 

Best Time to Travel

 

Cardiff has something to recommend it throughout the seasons. Visit in the summer and you'll want to head for Cardiff Bay – once an industrial wasteland, it's long since been revamped as a treasure trove of bars and restaurants overlooking the lapping waters of the bay. Taking a boat trip is a must when here on a sunny afternoon. If you head over towards Christmas you'll enjoy the magic of Winter Wonderland, with its outdoor ice rink and thrill rides, as well as the atmosphere and buzz of the night time markets.

 

Not to Miss

 

While the sprawling shopping centre in the very heart of the city is where high street names sit side by side, try looking a bit beyond and heading for the Castle Quarter. This is a warren of Victorian and Edwardian arcades, where independent boutiques, delis, and curiosity shops are tucked amid the intricate wrought-iron and glass. It's also close to Cardiff Castle itself, a must-see when visiting the city. Don't forget to check out the Norman Keep, which is centuries older than the more immaculate Victorian exterior of the fortress.

 

Getting around

 

If you're flying into London, you can get to Cardiff easily thanks to the direct trains that run from Paddington. Alternatively, Cardiff Airport has connections to a variety of destinations both domestic and international – flights go to and from the likes of Aberdeen and Newcastle, as well as Amsterdam and Alicante. There are regular, direct buses going between the airport and the city centre. Once here, you can explore the central area on foot, while there are trains to the nearby coastal area of Penarth.

 

Cuisine

 

There's no one special dish which Cardiff is famous for – unless you count the Welsh cakes sold in shops across town. These delicious morsels are like flattened scones and go very well with tea. As for restaurants, there's everything from Spanish and Thai to Persian and Japanese to be had. Reliable chain eateries are found around the St David's shopping centre, while independent places can be discovered towards Roath on one side, and Cardiff Bay on the other.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Cardiff is the opposite of stuffy, and everyone can feel free to be themselves in this multicultural mix of a city. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere that was too formal, with even the more stylish restaurants and nightspots having a relaxed and casual feel. Just remember that, while Cardiff is the most cosmopolitan Welsh city, the operative word here is "Welsh" and the local people are proud of their heritage. Most signs are bilingual, as are announcements at the train stations, so don't be surprised and do be patient if you can't make head or tail of what's being said.

Fast Facts

 

Population: 350000

Spoken languages: English, Welsh

Electrical: The UK runs on 230V, 50 Hz current

Phone Calling Code: +44 2920999