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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > United Kingdom > Wales > Cardiff

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Cardiff Travel Guide

About Cardiff

To observe the city of Cardiff when the Welsh national rugby team are playing at home is to see a city at its most vibrant and euphoric.

A vast sea of red washes the streets as the city shakes from the noise, a mixture of drums, song and laughter. Elsewhere, a crowd of this calibre and vigour could appear intimidating, but here the great tide of men, women and children omit only warmth and excitement as the throng meanders towards the mighty Millennium Stadium (so long as you’re not supporting England).

This is the city at its best, but Cardiff isn’t a one trick pony, and it has earned its growing reputation as an exciting year-round tourist destination. So ignore any quizzical eyebrows from peers and start practising your best ‘alright but?’, because the pint-sized capital is finally having its day.

Speaking of pints, there’s nothing more Cardiffians like than a good drink, and the city is suitably flooded with watering holes. Long-serving, traditional taverns like the City Arms now stand alongside a new generation of craft breweries and quirky bars, centred on the so-called ‘Cultural Quarter’ of Womanby Street, which is bookmarked by Welsh institution, the Clwb Ifor Bach nightclub.

The city has invested heavily in consumer infrastructure too with the opening of St David’s shopping centre, so there are now enough international chains to keep even the fussiest customer busy for weeks. The boutiques, bookshops and tiny coffee houses of Cardiff’s snaking arcades accommodate those searching for more unique wares too.

Despite all of this modernisation and ever-discussed ongoing Anglicisation, the city has worked hard to maintain its heritage, which it displays proudly, most notably with the medieval Cardiff Castle that stands proudly overlooking the city centre.

If you can find time, trips to the outlying regions of Cardiff Bay and Canton provide yet more attractions, while excursions to the seaside suburb of Penarth and quaint village of Dinas Powys are equally rewarding.

Cardiff may well be a pint-sized capital, but it’s definitely overflowing in the glass.

Key facts

Population:
346,000.
Latitude:
51.471783
Longitude:
-3.167148

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Novotel Cardiff Centre

Located in central Cardiff, near the Millennium Stadium, this hotel has 138 stylish and comfortable bedrooms, all decorated in neutral colours and natural pastels. The hotel also has an indoor pool, gym, sauna, steam bath and whirlpool. The Elements Restaurant and Bar downstairs offers good food and drinks.

Jolyons

This is a lovely boutique hotel located on Cardiff's oldest Georgian terrace, right in front of the new Millennium Centre and around the corner from the city's revamped waterfront area. Rooms (all non-smoking) are individually designed with solid furniture, exquisite linen and good lighting. The hotel also has an on-site restaurant and bar with Wi-Fi access available in all rooms.

Hilton Cardiff

The central, modern 5-star Cardiff Hilton has 197 elegant bedrooms and suites, many with spectacular views across the city and over Cardiff Castle. There is also an award-winning restaurant, Razzi, as well as a bar, a health club, gym and spa and a 20m (66ft) pool. The staff's attentiveness has been acknowledged with tourism awards, while each room comes with soft beds, large LED TVs and lovely bathrooms.

The Big Sleep

Set in a converted 1960 office block, this high-rise Cardiff hotel offers simple yet funky modern retro décor and accommodation that channels minimalist chic but stays reasonably priced. This, in other words, is a design hotel for budget travellers. There are 81 comfortable rooms, all with ensuite bathroom and tea and coffee making facilities. Some rooms offer spectacular views.

The St David's Hotel & Spa

Located in the Cardiff Bay area only five minutes from the city centre the stylish 5-star St David's (part of the Principal Hotels chain) has 132 well-equipped guest bedrooms (including 20 suites) all with private balconies and splendid views across the bay. The hotel also boasts excellent spa facilities. There are good conference services and plenty of dining options too including an award-winning restaurant.

Park Inn by Radisson Cardiff North

Perched on the fringes of Cardiff city centre, the Park Inn by Radisson Cardiff North is a clean and classy budget choice with 132 rooms. All come with large LCD TVs, free Wi-Fi and access to the on-site gym. The hotel also has a lounge area offering light snacks during the day and a Bar and Grill for a more relaxed dinner or late night drink.