Things to Do in Cardiff When Visiting for 24 Hours

Visiting Cardiff, the capital of Wales, even for just 24 hours is an experience packed with a delightful mix of history, culture, and adventure. It’s a city that artfully combines its ancient past with a vibrant present. If you’re wondering how to spend 24 hours in Cardiff, we’ve got you covered with a mix of attractions, food, nightlife, and practical travel tips.

First things first, getting to Cardiff is relatively straightforward. If you’re travelling from abroad, Cardiff Airport serves as the main gateway, while the city’s Central Railway Station connects to various UK cities like London, Manchester, and Birmingham. If you’re driving, major motorways such as the M4 ensure easy access. Now, let’s dive into the action.

Morning

Begin your day at Cardiff Castle, a stunning medley of Roman, Norman, and Victorian architecture. The castle’s 2000-year-old history comes alive as you wander through its Norman keep, Roman walls, and opulent Victorian Gothic palace. The admission is approximately £13.50, but the guided tours are well worth the price.

After exploring the castle, stroll through the adjoining Bute Park. With its beautiful gardens, parkland, and River Taff views, it’s a serene retreat in the heart of the city.

Midday

Next, head to Cardiff’s city centre, a paradise for food lovers. There are many independent restaurants as well as chain restaurants that you can visit. Some of them are healthy restaurants while others are not so healthy.

If you’re a fan of vibrant food scenes, visit the Cardiff Central Market. This Victorian indoor market offers everything from fresh produce to local delicacies, perfect for a snack or light lunch on the go.

Afternoon

Post-lunch, take a short ride or a leisurely walk to Cardiff Bay. Once a bustling coal port, it’s now a vibrant waterfront full of attractions. Visit the iconic Wales Millennium Centre, a cultural hub where you can catch a performance or simply marvel at its unique design.

Don’t miss the Norwegian Church, a picturesque landmark with a fascinating history and now a popular arts centre. Near the bay, Techniquest, a hands-on science centre, is an excellent spot for families and curious minds.

Evening

As the sun begins to set, take a leisurely walk along the Cardiff Bay Barrage for breathtaking views of the waterfront at sunset.

When night falls, Cardiff comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. In the city centre, you’ll find everything from traditional pubs like The City Arms, to trendy cocktail bars such as Dead Canary. For live music, check out Clwb Ifor Bach or the Tramshed.

Depending on your preference, a night out in Cardiff can vary from £20 to over £100.

Budgeting for Your Visit

When planning a 24-hour trip to Cardiff, it’s crucial to consider your budget carefully. On average, you can expect to spend somewhere between £50 – £100 on attractions, meals, and entertainment. This estimate, however, doesn’t include accommodation and travel expenses, which can significantly vary depending on your preferences and the time of year.

Let’s break down these costs further:

Attractions: Cardiff is home to a wealth of attractions, many of which are free to visit. For instance, Bute Park, Cardiff Bay Barrage, and the Wales Millennium Centre (for its architecture) don’t cost a penny. But if you wish to explore the interiors of historical sites like Cardiff Castle or take part in specific experiences such as a boat tour around Cardiff Bay, you’d need to budget for entry fees. Cardiff Castle’s admission, for example, is around £13.50 per person.

Meals: Cardiff’s culinary scene caters to all budgets. For those wanting to keep costs low, the city offers numerous economical options. You could grab a sandwich or a pasty from the Cardiff Central Market for less than £5, or enjoy a hearty meal at a budget-friendly eatery for under £10. On the other end of the spectrum, Cardiff is also home to upscale dining venues where a meal could easily cost £40 – £50 per person, not including drinks.

Entertainment: Cardiff’s entertainment scene is equally varied. Enjoying the city’s vibrant nightlife can cost as little as the price of a pint in a traditional pub, or it could involve splashing out on cocktails at a trendy bar or tickets to a theatre performance. If you’re interested in live music, entry fees for venues like Clwb Ifor Bach or the Tramshed can range from £5 to £30, depending on the act.

Remember, these are just estimates, and actual spending can vary widely based on individual preferences. The good news is, with a bit of planning, Cardiff offers an enjoyable experience for every budget

Moving to Cardiff

Be warned that simply visiting Cardiff for 24 hours could end up in you loving the Welsh capital and if you do think of moving to Cardiff then you will be more than welcomed. Welsh people are friendly, amazing and made me feel welcome the entire time I visited.

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