Travel UK

Cardiff at Christmas

Those of you who follow me on a wide variety of social media platforms (mainly twitter and instagram) already know that I spent the weekend in Cardiff,  as a guest of Visit Wales as part of their #xmascardiff campaign, soaking up all the festive spirit that I possible could . Although I’d been to Wales before, this was my visit time in Cardiff and I was absolutely thrilled to be there! My previous knowledge about Wales was fairly scanty, I’m ashamed to say. Welsh cakes not included.

On Friday I touched down, only to be swept off to St Fagan’s, before settling in to the hotel (Cathedral 73) for dinner and drinks. If you are going anytime soon, order the Spiced Apple Martini. You won’t regret it. The eggs benedict at breakfast are also a huge success!

On Saturday we awoke bright and early to explore Cardiff Castle (Which I’ll be blogging in depth about later. The same goes for St Fagan’s actually.) Followed by an incredible cheese platter and lamb cawl (lamb stew) at Madame Fromage. Then we explored the markets, ice skated in Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland and topped the evening off with yet another fantastic meal.

Cardiff Market is an incredible Victorian building that has a glass roof and sells pretty much anything you could ever want to buy. From hardware, to yarn, to pets, to groceries the Market had it. It also had a giant panda statue that I personally, really appreciated.

I had a blast ice skating, though my ice skating skills may never be truly praised. That being said, I only fell down once, and during that fall I only took down one small child with me. I consider that a pretty good outcome. A lovely lady on the trip with us, Sara, bravely went on the giant swings at Winter Wonderland.

On Sunday I explored the Cardiff Bay area and even managed to get to see the start of the Great Cardiff Bay Santa Dash that raises money for Welsh Hearts.

cardiff baymermaid quay
Mermaid Quay.

iantos shrine
A shrine to Ianto for any Torchwood fans out there!

red building     welsh
The Wales Millennium Centre. The inscription means: “creating truth like glass from the furnace of creation”.

cardiff bay 2
Cardiff Bay

millenium stadium
The Millennium Stadium as viewed from the Norman Keep at Cardiff Castle.

art museumbridge
Bute Park

bute parktown hallmarket
Cardiff Market.

Swings at Winter Wonderland.

helter skeltersanta run
The Cardiff Bay Elf and Santa Dash.

hotel fireplace
A cozy fireplace to curl up next to at Cathedral 73 after a long day out in the cold.

food at cathedral 73
Dinner at Cathedral 73

Suggested activities for exploring Cardiff:

Go to Winter Wonderland
Walk in Bute Park
Explore Cardiff Castle
Have a peak inside the National Museum of Wales
Browse through Cardiff Market
Eat lots of Welsh Cakes
The church where Roald Dahl was christened
The Doctor Who Experience

Have you ever been to Cardiff?

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  • I would like to teleport to dinner at Cathedral 73 right now….

    • I wish I was back there eating lunch right now. That roasted carrot in the middle was something else (something out of this world delicious, I mean!) x

  • Cardiff looks beautiful and I’d TOTALLY ride those swings 🙂

    • She said it was a blast! She even managed to take some photos on her phone while it was swinging which is pretty impressive because a) it was so high and b) it was going quite fast! xx

  • What a fun weekend trip! Ice skating is not a skill of mine either.

    • Ha! Icelanders must be pretty great at it though, right? I really enjoy it even though I’m awful 😉 xx

  • Spiced Apple Martinis? I need these in my life!! lol. The rest of the trip looks pretty awesome too, all very Christmasy! 🙂 x

    • They were almost too easy to drink if you know what I mean! It was very lovely and very Christmasy! ;D xx

  • That Santa Dash looks like it was a riot!!!

    • It was a 5K for charity so it was great to stumble upon it, and everyone was in such good spirits! xx

  • I bought a Welsh dragon stuffed toy from Cardiff castle and named him Arthur.

    • I totally would have bought a dragon if I had seen one in the gift shop. I was so distracted by the pretty Christmas baubles for sale that I must have missed them! xx

  • I loved that Cardiff bay area when we went. The church there is part of the same church we got married in and so when we went we had tea and cakes there.

  • Definitely not somewhere I considered visiting before seeing this! But it definitely looks like there’s plenty to do and see. Lovely photos, too!

    <3 dani

  • I spent 3 months in the summer of 2010 centered in Cardiff for my study abroad. I miss it so much!

  • Kate Mitchell

    Oh I’m so jealous! I’ve been rereading some historical fiction books set in Wales, England, and France in the 13th century, so I’m extra feeling the desire to go to Wales right now. Such a cool and beautiful place!

  • Cardiff market looks so beautiful!! So neat that you got to go there– loved the instagram photos 🙂

  • Christmas in Cardiff is so beautiful. The Bute park lhas a scenic beauty. ^^

    • It’s absolutely incredible! Especially since it used to all be private grounds and then was opened up and donated to the public! x

  • Ashley Angle

    This looks like an amazing weekend getaway!
    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

  • Olivia

    I adore Cardiff! Wales has such an interesting history. Very jealous you got to visit!

  • I have never been to Cardiff but kind of want to! It’s the only place in Wales that I really know of and I’d like to discover it! We have the swings as the christmas market here and I’m thinking of doing them very soon!

    • I hope you get a chance to go- wales has such an interesting history and Cardiff is a great weekend break! x

  • I’ve never been to Cardiff but I would absolutely love to! I went to England last summer and I absolutely love what I’ve seen of the U.K.!

  • Amy @ the tide that left

    I feel like a bad Brit. I’ve been to Cardiff loads for shopping trips, and a couple of gigs, but have never really ‘seen’ Cardiff. You’ve shown a completely different point of view.

    • Well it’s so close to Bristol so it makes sense almost that you haven’t explored it per se! x

  • Cardiff looks so beautiful! And man, that cozy fire place! All of these things combined looks like it made for the perfect winter weekend getaway.

    • It really would be. Plus all the rooms had showers that were wet room showers which I find weirdly cool. (I think it’s the idea of not having to step into anything to take a shower that I still find novel.) xx

  • I love Cardiff, I have only been once a couple of years ago, but I immediately liked it! xx

  • Looks lovely. And I’m totally hanging out for your Cardiff Castle post. I LOVE CASTLES.

  • This Cardiff looks a lot nicer then the Cardiff that is like 2 minutes from my place which is just a suburb of Newcastle great photos of a nice looking place

    • There’s a Newcastle, England as well. 🙂 It’s funny how often place names are just reused! x

  • What a great weekend trip!!! I want to visit!

  • I really want to go to Cardiff but it’s sooo far from us! Also super expensive on the train, wah.

    • Yea, it would be quite a trek for you guys. But if you are ever visiting a friend in Bristol it’s really really close to Bristol so maybe you could pop over then! x

  • This is the kind of Cardiff experience I wish I’d had. I really want to go back and explore more of it. And kudos to you for only taking one small child down with you in your fall, haha. I’m sure the other small children appreciate that lone hero’s sacrifice.

    • I kind of made this “move kid!” arm swipe/hand gesture, but it clearly wasn’t a universal one as he didn’t interrupt it correctly, so it ended with me crushing him like a giant falling off a bean stalk. Luckily he was totally fine and only my pride was heart. x

  • I love this post! I went to university in Cardiff and loved it! I’m sure it’s changed a lot since then but I’ve skated at the Winter Wonderland, spent lots of time down the Bay and my university building was near Bute Park! So many memories! Hope you liked Cardiff! X

    • That’s amazing! It seemed like a uni town. The woman from visit Wales who was guiding our trip pointed out some brand new, super swanky uni student accommodation that looked awesome! x

  • The walls of Cardiff castle were all covered with lights and it was just really special! x

  • Cardiff looks like a lovely city…and even more so at Christmas! I’m really interested in Wales, maybe because it seems a little off-the-radar.

    • And I think that’s a great reason TO go to Wales! Also Wales has the best castles! And a really, really interesting history! x

  • oh wow, this definitely makes me want to go to Cardiff! I’ve been to Wales before but not to any cities – just rural bits. We’ll have to take a trip someday!