I’ve visited the beautiful country of Wales several times; I’m always drawn back by the friendliness and its fun residents. The capital, Cardiff, is a great blend of quirky shops, affordable restaurants and has a waterfront that most cities can only dream of.
So what’s there to do?
Well funny you ask. There’s a reason that Cardiff, and in fact Wales, is bucking the trend when it comes to tourism in the UK. 2014 has so far seen a huge 25% increase in visitors (Source: Wales Online) to Wales, benefitting from a staycation trend.
Wherever I am in the world I always try to visit the local market. Cardiff Market benefits from a central location, still within its original style and has a bustling feeling that others have failed to capture in the 21st century. A fresh fish stall greets you in the entrance with an amazing array of local fish available for you to select. It’s a great sight to see in a world where supermarkets are king.
Other market sellers provide the opportunity to buy tourist gifts, clothes and even local food. Probably the most famous Welsh food is Welsh cakes, a local scone with currants and is absolutely delicious. They can be bought for as little as 4 for £1, my tip for a bargain!
You’ll find a high street full of well-known brands such as H&M, Topshop and Gap amongst more luxury boutiques such as Vivienne Westwood. A huge amount of money has been spent developing an accessible shopping centre, it certainly appears to have worked and been a huge success.
Cardiff Castle is medieval, built within the 11th century and still within remarkable condition. Having visited many castles around the world, many have fallen into disrepair but thankfully this doesn’t appear to have affected here. One of the more unique features is a Second World War air raid shelter, it’s an interesting insight into what it must have been like back in the 1940’s.
Walking around the grounds, you hear people from all around the world, it’s an amazing sight to see how there’s something for everyone.
Previously derelict, Cardiff Bay has been completely transformed. Although I’ve previously visited Cardiff, this was my first time down by the water. Over the Bank Holiday weekend when I visited, there was a world food market happening. It featured a huge selection of foods to choose from, it would sure give other major cities like London a run for its money.
Within the Bay you can visit the Millennium Centre and the Senedd (Welsh Assembly), however for me it was great just to walk around, soak up the atmosphere and discover the great view of the Bay by walking down to the peninsula.
Crossing the barrage you can follow the beach around to the coastal town of Penarth. Due to the storms of Winter 2014, beware that the cliffs are crumbling and I’d advise you to stay away from edge. Penarth is one place in the UK still to have its original pier. Originally built in 1895, it has managed to avoid becoming a tacky destination and still has its original charm.
There are still many other places to visit, sadly I ran out of time but I will definitely be taking a tour of the Millennium Stadium next time.
I think my other passion after travelling is definitely food, I love trying local dishes and Welsh food is in a period of renaissance. New restaurants appear to be opening serving local food, items to try include faggots, Welsh rarebit and anything with lamb, due to Wales having more sheep than humans by a large margin.
Although Wales might have the unfortunate tag of always being wet, thankfully my weekend was sunny and glorious. My trip was only a snap snot at what Wales has to offer, I can’t wait to get back and explore more.
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