Sunday night in Cardiff?
June 23, 2018 5:53 PM   Subscribe

We are two Americans planning to walk on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in Wales this summer, but that part is pretty much figured out. We end up in St David and will need to travel to Cardiff on the first Sunday in August in order to get a 7am Monday flight out of Cardiff International Airport. I have a few questions.

First, how bad will it be getting from St David to Cardiff on a Sunday? The plan as I see it would be to take a bus to Haverfordwest, and get the train from there to Cardiff. I've looked at bus and train schedules and it looks like it will work. Is this realistic?

Second, any good recommendations on where to stay for one night in Cardiff? I imagine we should stay near Cardiff Central Station in order to easily get to the airport early in the morning. Or should we look closer to airport? Will it be straightforward to get to the airport that early in the morning?

Third, any recommendations for a good Sunday night dinner in Cardiff?

Lastly, if anyone has any recommendations about St David or the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path please let me know. We are starting near Sandy Haven and ending up in St David.
posted by maggiemaggie to Travel & Transportation around Cardiff, Wales (6 answers total)
It's very easy to get around Cardiff on foot or by bus or by taxi- it really isn't very big. You'll be much happier staying in town than closer to the airport if you want to do anything except go to the airport. You should walk around town a bit- you can walk by the Bay- the water is pretty but it's fairly clinical and clean. In the center of town you should make sure you check out the arcades.

Some good dinner options:
Mint and Mustard (Indian)
Purple Poppadom (Indian)
Society Standard (contemporary hipster food with good drink options)
posted by cushie at 6:16 PM on June 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding staying in Cardiff proper -- it's very easy to get to the airport, and Cardiff itself is, as cushie says, easy to get around in very little time

I've stayed at the Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff right by the central train station, and it was perfectly fine. If you're interested in someplace with a skoosh more character, I haven't stayed at The Angel Hotel, but I know others who have and liked it. Note that's it on the same road as Millennium Stadium, which can, um, be A Thing on event days.

The Purple Poppadom is fantastic! I also try to go to Falafel Wales every time I'm in Cardiff. Mill Lane was always the best independent restaurants when I lived there a couple years ago -- unfortunately Cardiff's food scene is mostly chain-based, but they're generally quite good chains.

(Damn -- my favorite pub is under new owners with a new name, so I can't recommend it anymore. Also, I shall be entering deep mourning.)

My memory of Sunday evenings is that they're quite slow, with grocery stores closing early, etc. Some of that may be leftover student ennui, so take with a grain of salt perhaps. You shouldn't have any trouble finding a place to eat in city centre.

(I have to confess: I haaaate the Bay. It's really sterile. But seconding the Arcades, or talk a wee wander through Bute Park if you want to see a bit more of the city!)
posted by kalimac at 7:13 PM on June 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, lucky you! I've done some sections of this walk, it's lovely. I especially enjoyed the stretch from south of St Davids (from Caerfai Bay camping site: fresh croissants from the camp shop in the morning, recommended) round to the RNLI St Davids lifeboat station. Also the beach and headland around Marloes. Along the way I especially enjoyed a traditional folk music night at the Swan Inn in Little Haven.

I expect you already know this, but just in case: it is very worthwhile getting the Ordinance Survey maps for the areas you are walking, at the 'explorer' level (4 cm map = 1 km in life). They show all the walkways etc and also mark in things like old iron age forts & other landscape features.
posted by yesbut at 5:09 AM on June 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

When I went to Cardiff I stayed in a private room at the NosDa hostel and it was lovely and inexpensive. It's got a pub and outdoor seating right on the River Taff and I met a ton of nice people there. And it was a quick walk to the all the good stuff in the middle of town.

It was really easy to get around Cardiff. I pretty much walked everywhere, except for the taxi I took from the train station to the hostel and then I took the bus to go to the Millennium Centre and the Norwegian Church Arts Centre.

Also I took a bus from the city center to the airport and it was super simple and there were hardly any queues at the airport. And everyone in Wales is ridiculously nice so even if you're traveling alone and have crazy social anxiety (*cough*) it's not nearly as scary to ask someone for help.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:07 AM on June 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'd avoid The Angel Hotel like the plague. Sad and extremely ancient dump of a place with a really poor reputation locally. If you want a clean and modern chain hotel, go for the Park Plaza (views of the civic centre) or the Hilton with views of the castle. There are lots of smaller independent places on Cathedral Road, no specific recommendations but a range of budgets will be catered for.

Be aware that nearly all of the shops in the city centre will close at 5pm on a Sunday. Small convenience type places might stay open a bit later, but don't bank on it.

Getting to the airport from the city centre is easy on the T9 bus - direct and moderately frequent. I expect you'll find Cardiff airport rather quaint, but don't bank on being able to get either newspapers or sandwiches at the monumentally overpriced and rubbish WH Smith in departures.

Enjoy your trip to Wales!
posted by car01 at 12:36 PM on June 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I marked everyone as best answer because they were all really helpful in giving me a good sense of what to expect in Cardiff. I ended up booking Hotel Indigo - same price and similar location to The Angel, which tempted me until I saw car01's post. I'm relieved to know that it's easy to get to the airport because I get very anxious about those things. And I look forward to getting dinner at one of cushie's recommendations! Am very excited to see Wales!!!
posted by maggiemaggie at 7:28 AM on June 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

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