If you're in Cardiff for an event, there's plenty to explore in the downtime.
Cardiff is no stranger to major events. If something big is going on, there’s a good chance it’s here. The city has proved itself to be the host with the most, with top level sport and entertainment events taking place here, including Coldplay and Justin Bieber concerts recently, as well as international football and rugby, to name just a few. But what if you’re attending an event in Cardiff? What might be in store for the intrepid visitor?
8am Waking up in Cardiff
There is no shortage of options when it comes to places to stay in Cardiff, so lucky visitors have a great selection of potential palaces to use as a base. There’s something to suit each budget too, with university halls and hostels for a friendly vibe on a smaller budget, as well as luxury five-star accommodation if you’re in the mood to indulge and pamper yourself. And, because Cardiff is a compact city, nowhere is ever too far from the action.
10am Going on a Techniquest
Entertaining children can be a challenge at the best of times, but when Speedway is on the menu in the afternoon, you need something suitably action-packed for the morning. So, the day starts in Techniquest. It’s great fun for big kids as well as actual kids, with over 120 exhibits to get your hands on. You can have fun and learn about science, robots and even space, in Wales’ only digital planetarium. There’s so much to see, you won’t want to leave, but experimenting builds up an appetite, so lunch is calling…
1pm Lunch in the Bay
Cardiff is a difficult place for the indecisive. There are so many highly pleasing eating opportunities to enjoy, it can be hard to choose. One great choice is the arrival of Veeno in Cardiff Bay. Not surprisingly, it’s a wine bar. But it’s more than that. It’s a café bar with an amazing wine collection and a delectable deli, which showcases the authentic food they serve. Let their knowledgeable, friendly staff talk you through the best wines to accompany the sharing boards they offer and you’ll soon be wined and dined to the highest standard, ready to take a short stroll by the water before embarking into the city.
3pm Cruise to the CentreYachts. Cruises. Boat trips. It’s all exciting and glamorous of course, but maybe expensive too? Fear not, Cardiff Bay has a few companies ready to whisk you away across the waves, up the River Taff and right into the very heart of the city. And though the experience makes you feel like a millionaire, a ticket for under a fiver means that we can all travel in style. The queen of the ocean has to be the Princess Katherine, which takes passengers over the waves in comfort, and with the benefit of a fact-filled commentary about the key locations on the way. And, once you’ve arrived, there’s just a short walk through the beautiful Bute Park before Cardiff Castle appears in front of you.
4pm The Atmosphere Builds
Many of the city’s biggest shows, including the British Speedway Grand Prix, take place in the Principality Stadium. The 2017 Champions League Final venue is right in the centre of Wales’ capital. Many visitors are surprised when they step off the train or bus and it’s right there, dominating the skyline for miles around. And next to the stadium is Westgate Street. It has a wide range of places to get an ice-cold craft beer before the show, like Brewdog or Tiny Rebel. The Speedway attracts supporters from across Europe and there are ample vantage points to soak up the sights. Try and secure yourself a spot on Zero Degrees’ balcony to watch the sea of Polish, Russian and Slovenian flags (and novelty wigs) below you as the roar of chants and vuvuzelas fills the air.
5pm The Speedway Show
Getting 50,000 people into a stadium is a big operation, but even with security checks to make the experience safer, you all get in quickly enough and you see why the place is so highly regarded for events. The moment you step out into the cauldron of noise and colour that is the Principality Stadium on Speedway day, you realise what a special occasion it is. The races themselves are started and finished with fire shows and fireworks, and the atmosphere is electric. You can see why supporters follow the Grand Prix around Europe. What might surprise you is how many families were there. Plenty of young children sat enthralled for 2-3 hours while the racing took place. This was helped by the fact that the Grand Prix is made up of 23 short races, which keeps the excitement levels at a maximum.
9pm The After Party
Well, what happens next on your day out depends on who’s with you. With kids in tow, you could risk giving them a sugar hit by taking them to Kaspa’s. It is like the ice cream parlour of your dreams, serving up sugar-topped sundaes till 11pm, so there’s always time for a cold treat. If the party’s a little older, then you have a world of ideas to consider. Literally a minute or two from the stadium are St Marys Street and Mill Lane. These two streets are the beating heart of the city centre’s nightlife and there’s something for all tastes. There are handsome Elizabethan pubs like the Rummer Tavern and The Cottage for a quiet pint and a whole range of bars and clubs to choose from. Be At One has cocktails covered, Retro has cheesy retro tunes from the 90s (which makes me feel old) and there’s stylish Ten Feet Tall for late night drinking and dancing.
??am The Short Way Home
Nowhere in Cardiff is far from the centre, so any night’s adventure can end with either a bus or a short taxi ride back to your hotel or hostel. The Bay is ten minutes’ drive away and even the most far flung reaches are not much more. Cardiff’s combination of friendliness, fun and fantastic value mean that you can afford to keep coming back, which you’ll definitely want to. This city has a great time guarantee.