URBAN ADVENTURES IN BRISTOL!
Whisk yourself away for a weekend of fun in beautiful Bristol! Located right in the heart of the city, the stylish Radisson Blu Hotel is a great base for exploring all Bristol has to offer. On the hotel’s doorstep, you’ll find a myriad of cosy cafés and restaurants, while the charming streets of the Old Town are just a few minutes’ walk away. Close by, explore legendary Glastonbury Abbey and marvel at the many historic castles.
Cardiff started life as a quiet settlement in south Wales but its position at the heart of three waterways, the River Taff, the River Ely and the River Rhymney, meant that it couldn’t stay unnoticed for long. The rivers were a good place for shifting and transporting goods and the town soon became a centre for trade. When coal was discovered and the industrial revolution got into full swing Cardiff grew and gained city status in 1905. It became the world’s busiest port transporting over 10 million tonnes of the ‘black gold’ at its peak in 1913. Cardiff became capital of Wales in 1955.
Today Cardiff hits the headlines with its lust for life, positioning itself as a centre for business, entertainment and sporting events. It is home to the stylish Millennium Stadium which hosted the Rugby World Cup in 1999 – the stadium in the heart of the city is just a few minutes’ walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Cardiff, to the north of Cardiff Bay. The city has embraced the positivity of sport and played a major part in the 2012 London Olympics creating an athletes’ village, Cardiff International White Water, and host to the first football matches of The Games.
It’s a University town injected with colour, a buzzy vibrant place filled with creative energy. Famous names inspired by its drive and ambition include Roald Dahl, Charlotte Church, Dame Shirley Bassey, and sporting heroes Ryan Giggs and Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson. If you like a bit of Sci-Fi it’s also where the current Doctor Who is being filmed so watch out for that Tardis, or if it escapes you, head to Discovery Quay for the Doctor Who Experience. The docks are where a lot of the city’s action takes place and Cardiff Bay is a beautiful example of dockland regeneration. Bars, restaurants and shops move with colour as people gather to eat, chat and shop. The city looks to the future but is also proud of its heritage - Cardiff Castle lies on the shores of the River Taff and has prime position overlooking the Bay. Originally a Roman fort, the Roman walls can still be seen within the Medieval structure, but more surprisingly you’ll find bold Victorian décor inside some of the rooms – quite the opposite of what you’d expect from the outside. Cardiff is a city which still has secrets waiting to be discovered.
So you’re in Cardiff for a visit but what should you do? This city is brimming with culture, events and action so we’ve picked a few activities for you to get a feel for the Welsh capital.
- No visit to Cardiff would be complete without a look at the Millennium Stadium. This palace of sport was centre stage for the football drama at the 2012 Olympic Games and it is also host to the Six Nations. You can take tours of the stadium and see the dressing rooms, the players’ tunnel and the press conference rooms where reactions and debates take place before and after the matches. You can even lift the trophy – a perfect photo opportunity.
- For a trip back in time take a walk up to Cardiff Castle which overlooks the River Taff. The Medieval structure still has some examples of the original Roman walls and inside there is some great information on Cardiff’s history and some stunning examples of Victorian décor too.
- Cardiff is known for its nightlife and there are many clubs and bars to experience when you’re in town. For a great cocktail experience and lots of music head to Milgi or Buffalo and watch as mixologists shake up a dream until the early hours of the morning.
- If you wake up a little confused after your night out then you’ll feel much the same as one particular time travelling doctor who never knows where he’ll end up. The popular TV series Doctor Who is filmed in Cardiff and you can spend a fun day out at the Doctor Who Experience which has props, exhibitions and special effects from the series. You can also take Doctor Who themed walking tours of Cardiff.
- Explore Cardiff Bay from sailing to shopping, festivals and events, restaurants to craft stalls. For real ‘Made in Wales’ souvenirs, Craft in the Bay has some great contemporary Welsh crafts from jewellery to bags and furniture and textiles and you can even learn a craft at this listed Victorian warehouse.
Cardiff is a vibrant city and a popular shopping destination. You’ll have good fun exploring its busy streets and delving into independent shops as well as hitting the big high street stores. Here are a few ideas of where to shop in the Welsh Capital.
Cardiff has much to offer the serious shopper as well as the relaxed browser. It has the huge modern shopping centres – there’s the Capitol Shopping Centre for fashion and beauty at the end of Queen Street, and a really popular and more recent addition to Cardiff is St David’s Dewi Sant, which has all the high street names and some well received designer stores such as Hugo Boss, Kurt Geiger and Reiss. It also has the largest John Lewis outside London and a Debenhams and Marks and Spencer’s. There are plenty of lunch options at Eastside, the centre’s food section, including Jamie’s Italian and Welsh ice cream specialist Cadwaladers – a lovely break from the normal cup of tea and a cake. In a nod to Cardiff’s past St David’s has a glass roofed Grand Arcade running through the middle of the shopping centre with lots of fun high street names and accessory shops to explore.
Outside the shopping centres and on the streets of the capital, Cardiff actually has six historic Victorian and Edwardian shopping arcades – wonderful spaces with original features and brimming with lovely delis selling organic meat and cutting edge vegetarian fare, as well as cosy cafes for a well-earned cup of tea. There are sparkling jewellery shops and intriguing vintage shops selling everything from furniture to clothes. You’ll find these treasured arcades throughout the city but head for the Castle Quarter for the Castle Arcade and the Morgan Quarter for the Royal Arcade and the Morgan Arcade – ask the concierge if you want anything specific. If you are looking for vintage and unique gifts then the Cardiff Fashion Quarter is the place to go. This area is housed in a converted cinema and you’ll find artists and craftsmen selling handmade jewellery, hip vintage clothes and antiques.