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Cardiff tours and excursions

Cardiff tours

Boat tours

There are plenty of operators running boat tours from Cardiff Bay, including MW Marine, who offer return sailings to Flat Holm Island for day voyages and fishing trips. Cardiff Boat runs a regular service between the city centre and Cardiff Bay with pick up and drop off points at pubs and restaurants along the way.  

Tel: (01934) 636 734; 07445 440 874
Website: http://www.cardiffboat.com

Bus tours

City Sightseeing operates frequent circular 'hop-on, hop-off' open-top bus tours of Cardiff that depart from Cardiff Castle every half hour. Running daily, the tour takes in all the major sights around the city and Cardiff Bay. Stops include the Millennium Stadium, The National Museum of Wales and Alexandra Gardens. The full trip takes 50 minutes and commentary is provided in a number of languages including English, Welsh and German.

Tel: 07808 713 928.
Website: http://www.city-sightseeing.com/tours/united-kingdom/cardiff.htm

Walking tours

Run by two of the city's Blue Badge Guides, the Cardiff Walking Tour is a stroll through the city's history that works its way from Roman settlement to Europe's youngest capital city. All the quirks and concealed sites that the guide books might miss are included, and each walk includes plenty of photography opportunities too. Cardiff On Foot run similar sightseeing tours, spilling out yarns about martyrs, marquesses, and of course, the importance of coal to the city.

Tel: (029) 2087 3573; 07905 923 421
Website: http://www.cardiffwalkingtour.co.uk

Train tours

For an alternative view of the city, the Cardiff Bay Road Train runs regular trips from Mermaid Quay to the Cardiff Bay Barrage with sightseeing commentary included. After passing the Wales Millennium Centre, the National Assembly, Scott Harbour, the Norwegian Church and the Helwick Lightship, this trackless train then heads across the Cardiff Barrage, affording great views across the Severn. Tours last around 50 minutes.

Tel: (029) 2070 7882.
Website: http://www.cardiffroadtrain.com

Cardiff excursions

Flat Holm Island

A short, 8 km (5 mile) ferry hop from the southern shores of Wales, what Flat Holm Island lacks in amenities (little accommodation, one pub and a single gift shop), it makes up in unwithered, jacket-tightening beauty. There's plenty of history here too, from the island's use as a farm and a fortress, to its days as a hospital used to contain cholera. Nature lovers and bird watchers will have plenty to admire during the standard three-hour stay on the island, while remote pint explorers can get some suds at the Gull and Leek bar.

Tel: 029 2087 7912.
Website: http://www.flatholmisland.com

Big Pit (Pwll Mawr) and National Mining Museum of Wales

Central to Cardiff's past glory was the coal industry of the Valleys and at Blaenafon, about 40km (25 miles) northeast of the city, visitors can now take a guided trip, led by an ex-miner, 90m (300ft) underground to see a coal mine. Blaenafon is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and, as with other national Welsh museums, admission to Big Pit is free of charge. A visit lasts a minimum of two and a half hours and warm clothing is recommended. Children under five, or less than one metre tall (three feet), are not allowed underground. It is open daily 0930-1630 (telephone in advance for times of underground tours).

Tel: (029) 2057 3650.
Website: http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/bigpit

Brecon Beacons National Park

This area of stunning mountains, moorland and forest is one the treasures of South Wales. Situated around 68km (42 miles) to the north of Cardiff, it offers fantastic walks, plus horse riding, kayaking, canoeing, sailing and windsurfing. It was also the first location in Wales to become an International Dark Sky Reserve - an honour that recognises its incredible views of the Milky Way, constellations and meteor showers.

Tel: (01874) 624 437.
Website: http://www.breconbeacons.org

Featured Hotels

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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.