Culture and Castles in Cardiff

We had never been to Cardiff before but it seemed like a good place for a mini-break. We got a lovely empty train down on Friday night, then spent Saturday exploring the beautiful Cardiff Bay and Sunday in the city centre.

We started our mini-break in the Cardiff Bay area by the Millennium Centre, a grand modern arts centre.

This area has had some serious investment and it is a modern centre with bay-side restaurants and the modern Senedd building. We visited the Senedd – the Welsh Parliament building.

We strolled around the bay past the Norwegian Church (a historic building which was built for Norwegian seafarers) and walked around Cardiff Bay – it was a lovely walk on a blustery day. We passed an outdoor gym, a (temporary) water-assault course, an exhibition on Scott of the Antarctic (as he set sail from Cardiff), and a large statue of Roald Dahl’s Enormous Crocodile (also from Cardiff!).

We made it to the Barrage which was interesting – there are essentially large locks between the open sea and Cardiff Bay, so we were able to watch boats coming in and out. There is also a fish ladder where the fish can jump upstream. It would be nice to have lunch here, but the places were full so we walked on around the bay through a series of nice marinas until we found a nice cafe.

We then visited the nearby International White Water Centre. This was unlike anything I’d seen before – man-made channels creating water rapids which people kayaked or rafted down. We watched a few runs but didn’t try it ourselves!

The next day we went into Cardiff City Centre and visited the University area (as I had applied there all those years ago, but never visited it). We then saw the castle – which was very impressive.

After that we pottered about around the city centre. We found a couple of arcades which were different and contained independent shops, including a lovely looking cheese shop and some nice cafes and gin bars – all of which is off limited to me, being pregnant.

However most of Cardiff city centre comprised the usual high street chain shops so this was the least interesting part of Cardiff. By this point I was getting tired & grumpy from all the walking (with our suitcases) and when we saw the Police had roped off the main street and there was litter blowing down it, it was the last straw so I demanded that we get the next train home. It was a shame to end on that note as we had had a lovely weekend, but I felt that the city centre was much of a muchness alongside other UK cities. If anything, we proved ourselves right to spend most of our time in the Cardiff Bay area which was lovely.

Next blog: Bruges, Belgium.

Previous blog: Exmouth, Devon.

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