On my last trip to the UK and Europe I thought it would be fun to take a weekend trip to Wales. Not knowing much about the place and not having much time I figured Cardiff, the capital city, would be the best place to visit. Before my trip I tweeted and posted on Facebook and asked people for suggestions on what to see, do and eat while visiting. To my surprise a couple people responded with “Cardiff? It’s a tad rough…” and many other people suggested Northern Wales instead. I got a little worried however like always I still wanted to see it for myself and off I went with Chris (The Aussie Nomad) for a weekend trip to Cardiff from London.
We arrived in the evening on Friday from London and had planned on walking to our boutique hotel, Jolyons No 10 but as we pulled into Cardiff’s Central Station the pouring rain changed our minds. A short cab ride later and Chris taking my bags as I the damsel in distress catapulted myself over the massive puddle in the street outside or hotel and we had reached out destination. Slightly bummed by the weather, that quickly changed as we saw our awesome rooms. We debated going in search of a good meal or drink but settled on food and drinks in the bar at the front of our hotel that got increasingly busier as the night went on. It was definitely a great decision to stay there.
The next day we woke up to beautiful weather and met with our awesome tour guide Bob. I was still weary of the city of Cardiff because I was bummed by the rainy weather but as we walked around the gardens of Cardiff Castle the puddles dried up, the air was warm and it turned into a really beautiful day.
We visited 3 different castles – Cardiff Castle, Castle Coch and Caerphilly Castle along with secret hidden castle ruins which were conveniently located close to a pretty awesome pub. (Yes I always have my eye out for a great pub). We also explored Cardiff Bay, saw a few memorials, a tribute to the popular UK show Torchwood and took in some live free music at the Cardiff Millennium Centre while grabbing lunch and all day long I was thinking “When will I see this “tad rough” part of Cardiff?” What was everyone talking about?” Everything from Bob our tour guide, my first Yorkshire pudding, to the fall leaves changing colors, to me getting my brand new white sneakers full of mud while searching for a hidden castle was great.
(photos above: Castle Coch on the left and Caerphilly Castle on the right)
The next day Chris and I took on Cardiff by ourselves before returning to London. I thought to myself that now that we are exploring without a guide maybe we will see what people were talking about, maybe he was purposely only showing us the great things and hiding the bad parts, but I still couldn’t find anything wrong with this city. One of the things I liked most was the lack of tourists everywhere. It really felt to me that we blended in like locals and we even scored an unplanned private tour of Cardiff Castle, because we were the only ones who showed up (note: everyone else might of been attracted to the mega car rally that was going on in the city at the time, but we weren’t there for that).
Maybe next time someone asks me about Wales and visiting Cardiff I too might respond “it’s a bit rough”, maybe there is a secret club that I didn’t know about where everyone tells people Cardiff isn’t so great to keep people from it and ruining it’s loveliness? All in all Wales was a pleasant surprise and I would definitely visit again.
~To see more photos from our trip please check out my album on Facebook and thanks again to Visit Wales for sponsoring our trip.
Stay tuned for my video on Cardiff, Wales coming soon!