Explore: Cardiff

Date Posted: 11/02/2014

From ‘time-travelling’ in the Tardis to banqueting at Cardiff Castle, there’s much to explore in the Welsh capital - we find out what’s best for groups as well as the essential sights.  

Best for Groups

Enjoy some traditional hospitality and entertainment at a Welsh banquet held in the 15th century undercroft at Cardiff Castle, one of the oldest parts of the castle. Organised by Bute-iful Nights, groups can tour the castle apartments before dinner.

The £675 million St David’s Centre propelled Cardiff into being named the sixth best shopping destination in the UK in a poll by retail analysts Experian. Schedule in plenty of time to visit the mmall and also visit the city’s network of Victorian and Edwardian arcades.

Take an exclusive guided tour of Mansion House, the former home of James Howell who founded the city’s most famous namesake department store that’s now owned by House of Fraser. Groups can end a visit with afternoon tea in the magnificent dining room.

New for groups

Visit Cardiff offers extensive planning resources and incentives. An enhanced Group Pass was launched this year, offering group travel organisers savings of at least £15 per head. The pass includes entry to Cardiff Castle, a river voyage and traditional Welsh lunch, and is ideal for visits combining the city centre and Cardiff Bay. Terms and conditions apply.

What’s new?

Commemorating the centenary of World War One, National Museum Wales has launched a programme of exhibitions and activities across its seven sites, two of which are located in Cardiff. They are the National Museum and St Fagans National History Museum. St Fagans is currently undergoing a five-year transformation, the biggest development in its history. New exhibits on the extended site will include an archaeology area with a recreated Iron Age rural settlement.

New for 2014 at Cardiff Castle are specialist bespoke tours of the clock tower, and themed tours with a costumed guide. The tower is one of Cardiff’s instantly recognisable landmarks and contains some of the castle’s most ornately decorated rooms.

This year also marks the tenth anniversary of the Wales Millennium Centre, the arts and cultural hub that’s the country’s number one visitor attraction. Special events will take place to celebrate the November milestone, and the centre already has a packed programme for this year, including the celebrated stage production War Horse from 18th June to 19th July.

Essential Sights

Cardiff Castle: Cardiff may only have been a city for just over a century, but its castle has dominated the landscape for 2,000 years. Visitors can explore different eras, including the Roman walls, Norman keep and the refurbished Victorian interiors, which are always a highlight.

St Fagans National History Museum: Considered one of the world’s best open-air living history museums, St Fagans is home to more than 40 original buildings that have been moved stone by stone from different parts of Wales and re-erected on the site.

Doctor Who Experience: Be part of the all new adventure and step into the interactive Tardis at the Doctor Who Experience at Cardiff Bay. The attraction is a must for all fans of the television sci-fi series that has just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Where to stay?

With its central location, striking limestone facade and colourful interiors, Sleeperz Cardiff is a modern hotel with affordable rates.

The four-star Radisson Blu is the tallest city centre hotel and provides great views across the city and bay. There is a group drop-off point outside the main entrance.

Situated next to Central Station, and a short walk from the Millennium Stadium, the Best Western Plus Maldron Cardiff is a good value three-star with twins and triple rooms as well as standard doubles.

Take a tour

Discover what goes on behind the scenes at the Wales Millennium Centre, including the story of the huge inscription across the front of the building. Special tours are available for groups and there is ample coach parking on site.

A waterbus is a fun way to travel from Bute Park in the city centre to Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay. Cardiff Boat Tours offers a regular river service on the Princess Katharine, which carries 90 passengers and operates a pick-up and drop-off at waterside pubs and restaurants.  

When the Millennium Stadium isn’t hosting major sports matches or concerts, the 74,500 capacity venue is open for tours. Walk down the players’ tunnel, sit in the Queen’s seat in the royal box and discover how a curse was removed from the away-team changing rooms. Discounts are offered for groups of 20 or more.

Pictured: Cardiff Bay. Photo credit: Visit Cardiff.

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