We took it easy in Cardiff, not planning out too much to do and just spending a relaxing day there. If you’re looking for a laid back 24 hours in Cardiff, here are some suggestions:
Things to Do in Cardiff
We arrived in Cardiff by train around mid-day. We walked from the train station to our hotel, left our bags at the front desk, and set out to explore. Since we didn’t have much time, less then 24 hours in the city, we had only planned out a few attractions to see.
The main thing I wanted to see in Cardiff was Cardiff Castle, my first Welsh castle. A ticket to the castle gets you an audio guide, access to the castle grounds, castle apartments, Norman keep, wartime tunnels, and the interpretation center.
The castle apartments are ornately decorated, designed by William Burges for the 3rd Marquess of Bute. During the castle renovations, the Butes uncovered some of the original stonework from the castle’s Roman period, which you can see lining the bottom of the castle walls.
In the middle of the castle grounds sits the Norman keep on a motte (hill) surrounded by a moat. About 50 steep steps take you up to the Norman keep, and from there it’s even more to the top of the keep where you get panoramic views of Cardiff.
In the wartime tunnels, muffled sounds of an air raid play overhead. You can walk parts of the eight sections of air raid shelters dug into the castle walls during World War II, which would have held up to 1,800 people.
Cardiff Castle is open daily 9 a.m. — 6 p.m. and costs £13.00 for entry. We spent a little less than 2 hours at Cardiff Castle, though I would have been happy to just sit in the castle grounds and admire the keep all day long.
National Museum Cardiff
Next, we went to National Museum Cardiff, Cardiff’s art and history museum.
The art galleries has some of the best pieces of Impressionist art, which is my favorite, and influential Welsh works, as well as collections of notable paintings, drawings, sculptures, and ceramics.
The natural history galleries take you through the evolution of Wales, including Welsh dinosaurs, and through the mountains, volcanoes, and sea to show you the landscape of Wales today.
National Museum Cardiff is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. — 5 p.m. and is free to visit. We spent a little over an hour here until the museum closed.
The Hayes is Cardiff’s mostly pedestrianized shopping thoroughfare. Lined with luxury shops and restaurants, the Hayes runs from St Johns Church, near the castle, to Cardiff Central Library. Two Victorian shopping arcades, narrow covered passageways that house specialty shops, have entrances off the Hayes.
Where to Eat in Cardiff
For Dinner — The Owain Glyndwr
After going to see Cardiff Castle and National Museum Cardiff and walking around the Hayes, we went for dinner at The Owain Glyndwr, a craft beer pub named for the Welsh ruler and last native Welshman to hold the title of Prince of Wales, who led a revolt against the English rule of Wales (also what I named my Welsh teddy bear souvenir).
Kevin had the Wagyu Beef Burger and I had the Beef & Double Gloucester Pie, and I had to fight the hard crust on my pie a little, but both meals were really delicious.
Hours: M-Th: 9 a.m. — 11 p.m.; F-Sat: 9 a.m. — 1 a.m.; Sun: 10 a.m. — 11 p.m.
For Lunch — Pillars
Before we left Cardiff, we had plenty of time for lunch, which we ate at Pillars Restaurant & Coffee Shop. This cafeteria-style restaurant serves classic British foods. Kevin had the Steak & Kidney Pie and I had the Lasagna, and both were really good.
Hours: M-Sat: 8:30 a.m. — 6:30 p.m.; Sun: 9:30 a.m. — 2:30 p.m.
Where to Stay in Cardiff
We stayed at the Hilton Cardiff because it was centrally located right across the street from Cardiff Castle and right in between the castle and National Museum Cardiff. The room was spacious and comfortable with a king sized bed and a large tub for a relaxing night reading in a bubble bath.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Cardiff? Let me know in the comments!
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