Home to a vast number of quirky indoor shopping arcades, treasure troves of artwork and a foodie scene to rival just about any other capital city in the U.K; Cardiff is a cultural melting pot of activity. Home to the old, the new and the up-and-coming; a quick trip to this vibrant Welsh city is always a good idea.
Choose to browse through records in the world’s oldest record shop or take it easy with a relaxing stroll through the city’s major park; no matter how you decide to spend your time in Cardiff, there’s no doubt that you will leave with great memories and a love for the local slang!
So, you have two days to spare in the Welsh capital? Here’s our insider’s guide to 48 hours in Cardiff.
Day 1 in Cardiff
Breakfast in Bills
After dropping your bags at Clayton Hotel Cardiff, start your two days in the city how the locals would: with breakfast in Bills. Located in the heart of the city centre, Bills prides itself on using seasonal ingredients; regularly changing up the menu to make sure they’re offering fresh and of course, delicious, items across the board.
Try out a traditional breakfast, the buttermilk pancakes topped with mixed fruit or streaky bacon or the much-loved eggs benedict to celebrate the start of your Cardiff adventure! Grab a coffee or fresh-pressed juice to go and take a walk towards the Millennium Stadium (the national stadium of Wales), walk along Westgate and towards your first stop!
Cardiff Castle is undoubtedly one of the most popular visitor attractions across Wales, and for good reason. This historical monument is home to almost 2000 years of history and was created for one of the world’s richest men. Today, the castle and the grounds are open to the public to discover and explore, with the grounds also an impressive and popular spot for festivals and concerts.
While the grounds of the castle are just enough to provide a certain level of wonder and awe, a trip inside the castle itself will give you the opportunity to learn all about the history of the Bute family who owned the castle and ruled most of Cardiff during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. When you’re finished absorbing all that this historical monument has to offer, take a short stroll just beyond the castle towards Bute Park: a welcome spot of nature in the midst of the city.
National Museum of Cardiff
Next up is a trip to Museum Avenue where you’ll visit (you guessed it!) the National Museum of Cardiff. The museum hosts a range of one-of-a-kind art and science displays so no matter your interest, it’s bound to be peaked in this incredible spot.
Check out Welsh national art collections on the first floor and go on to journey through the past in the Evolution of Wales gallery. The museum is also renowned for its ever-changing programme and exciting exhibits so be sure to check out what’s on before your visit in case there’s something that tickles your fancy.
Lunch in New York Deli
We’re sure stomachs are grumbling at this point so next up is a locally famed sandwich haven: New York Deli. That’s right, as the name suggests, this sandwich shop specialises in real American style sandwiches in the heart of one of Cardiff’s many shopping arcades: High Street Arcade.
Try out one of their massive foot-long rolls, known as hoagies, and grab some memorabilia from their gift shop if the sandwich leaves a lasting impression. When you’re finished up, wipe your chin of any leftover sauce (or sandwich filling) and have a browse through High Street Arcade afterwards: expect vintage shops, old-school jewellers and charming coffee shops.
Wales Millennium Centre
Sitting in the heart of Cardiff Bay is the Wales Millennium Centre, the national arts centre of Wales and the host to much sought-after shows and performances from musicals to the Welsh National Opera.
Prebook a ticket to see the national opera in action and discover the renowned local operatic talent or opt to view a performance of one of the renowned musicals that are known to grace the stages of the Millennium Centre; from the Book of Mormon to the multi-award-winning Lion King.
Dinner with a view in The Grill Restaurant
Make your way back towards the hotel to unwind after a day of sightseeing with a refreshing drink and views of the city. Serving British-style cuisine, The Grill Restaurant uses fresh and seasonal produce so no matter what you choose; you can be sure that it will be a feast for the senses! To finish your day on the right note, a drink from the extensive gin or cocktail menu is a must.
Day 2 in Cardiff
Energise Your Day
Start your morning with a Vitality breakfast, perfect to energise you for the day of sightseeing ahead. Take your pick from a range of healthy fruits, yoghurts and cereals, or fuel up with a full English breakfast. Serving breakfast at the weekends from 7am, you can soak up the early morning sun and city views. If you have any food intolerances don’t fear, the breakfast offering includes non-dairy alternatives and gluten-free breakfast corner.
After breakfast, take a relaxing stroll towards Bute Park and further on towards your next stop!
Castle Quarter Arcades
A trip to Cardiff city wouldn’t be complete without exploring the maze of independent stores housed within the walls of Cardiff’s quirky Victorian and Edwardian arcades; it doesn’t have the nickname ‘City of Arcades’ for nothing!
First up is Castle Arcade; first constructed between 1882 and 1889, this arcade houses over 30 unique stores and spans over two floors. Browse through rare books and the rails of the vintage shops before you head over to Morgan Arcade to peruse through the world’s oldest record shop: Spillers Records. There are 7 arcades in the vicinity so if you have the time, try to make your way through a few of them!
A leisurely stroll through the city and towards Cardiff bay will take you to the next stop: a trip along Cardiff Bay with Cardiff Cruises. There are a number of different starting points along the bay so if you can’t seem to spot the right one; the big red boat is usually a good indicator of where to go!
Choose a relaxing sightseeing tour around the bay where you will get the chance to spot a number of famous sights, such as the Senedd and Cardiff Barrage or if you’d rather dedicate a day to the water; try out the day trip to Flatholm Island; the most southerly island in Wales.
Afternoon Tea at Clayton Hotel Cardiff
Located at the centre of Cardiff City Clayton Hotel Cardiff is the perfect location to sit down and enjoy afternoon tea. The “proper lush afternoon tea” experience here offers a selection of fresh cakes, scones that are warm from the oven and delicate finger sandwiches with a view overlooking Cardiff City.
You can choose from a range of speciality teas and coffees and even opt for a glass of bubbles if you feel like it. The prosecco afternoon tea option costs just £19.95 per person making afternoon tea at Clayton Hotel Cardiff one of the best value options in the city.
Gripping podcasts, popular news channels and much-loved TV shows; BBC pretty much has it all and if you’ve ever wanted to know a little bit more about what goes on behind the scenes, don’t miss out on a tour of BBC Cymru Wales.
The tour includes a visit to one of the largest newsrooms in the UK, a look at the TV galleries, wardrobes and green scenes and the chance to learn about what it really takes to create a BBC production. The central station sits right outside the building so you can get there by train from the centre, or you can opt for a bus to get you there!
Dinner in Pitch
Immerse yourself in the full Welsh experience at Pitch Bar & Eatery. Located just a 1-minute walk from the hotel, this restaurant and bar offers Welsh food with a modern twist. Fusing locally sourced ingredients with innovative flavours, you can enjoy a range of classics including Welsh Rarebit and finish off your evening with a cocktail or two from their impressive drinks menu.
Four Star Hotel in Cardiff City Centre
If you’re looking for the perfect place to stay during your trip to Cardiff, look no further than Clayton Hotel Cardiff. Located in the midst of the city, Clayton Hotel is the ideal place to lay your head after a long day of exploring the town. Check out our hotel offers and book your stay.