What to Know Before You Visit Cardiff

Updated August 15, 2020.

Have you ever been to Wales? I just went for the first time back in March, kind of on a whim, and I’m already looking forward to going back to explore more of the country! If you find yourself in its capitol city of Cardiff, here’s a quick list of things to know before you go!

A sneaky view from the Cardiff Castle Keep.
Read on: 10 Things to Do in Cardiff

Getting There

There are many ways to get to Cardiff! Check out the Rome 2 Rio website and app to find the best method of travel for your timing and budgetary needs.

By Airplane

You can fly into Cardiff Airport (CWL), but it’s a small airport and quite a ways outside the city. Other options are to fly into Bristol (BRS) or London (LHR, LGW, or LCY) and make your way from there.

By Train

I took the train from Paddington Station in London to Cardiff Central Station, and it was a fun and comfortable experience! You can also take the train from elsewhere, of course; just ask for a ticket to Cardiff Central Station. I took the train on a Sunday afternoon; it cost 47.30 GBP and took about 2.5 hours.

Next train to Cardiff, please!

By Bus

Alternatively, I chose to take the National Express Bus direct from Cardiff to Heathrow International Airport on my way home. It was comfortable, easy, and quite a bit less expensive than the train. It cost 21 GPB, though it took 3.5 hours, about an hour longer than the train. I was pleasantly surprised to find USB outlets at each seat, and the seats were quite comfortable as well!

Got to catch the bus!

By Car

I’ll be quite honest, if I had it to do over again, I would have rented a car. Cardiff is nice, but some of its most interesting and impressive sites are driving distance from town as opposed to walking distance. The bus system is good, but I ended up wasting a lot of time waiting, and I even wasted both of my afternoons in town because by 2:00 or 3:00pm it was too late in the day to start on a journey by bus or train to some of the sites I wanted to see. I will definitely rent a car next time!

Driving while you’re there? Tips for Driving on the Left


Everything will be in both English and Welsh! Don’t be fooled and try to pronounce the Welsh words—the letters don’t always make the same sound! You’ll find this all over Wales, and I think it’s wonderful that they’ve made such efforts to preserve their native language!

Every sign will be in English and Welsh!
More here: Solo Travel: Wales

Opening Hours

Something that I never did get the hang of was how early the restaurants and shops close! I mean, I like to turn in early, but even I was really struggling to find somewhere for supper at 5:00pm! If I had it to do over, I would plan to eat a big lunch and pick up something for take-away to save for supper.

Welsh Rarebit (ooey-gooey cheese toast) from Madame Fromage!
Read on: What and Where to Eat in Cardiff

Good to Know

Here are a few more things that you’ll be glad to know on your trip to Cardiff!

  • Cardiff Castle: The Castle is hard to miss, and it’s a good thing since it’s a must-see! The 5th Marquess of Bute gave the Castle to the people of Cardiff in 1947, so every Cardiff resident has a free ticket to the Castle for life.
  • “You won’t find Welsh food here!” That’s what I heard from almost everyone I asked where I could find Welsh food! But don’t worry, it’s there.
  • Friendliness: Welsh people are incredibly friendly! Everyone I spoke with was helpful and happy to have a tourist there to enjoy their city.
St. Fagan’s Castle
Keep reading: What to Know Before You Visit the United Kingdom

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2 responses to “What to Know Before You Visit Cardiff”

  1. Not going to Cardiff, but will go to Snowdonia later this summer. Gosh, if the eateries close that early in the capital city, what must it be like in the small towns we’re staying in/going to? Good to know. I have drawn up a list of Welsh phrases I want to try out when I’m there, but the pronunciation is giving me a fit. May have to just ask the locals for help. I’m pretty sure everyone will speak English, but I always like to make the effort. 🙂

    1. quickwhittravel Avatar

      Have so much fun! I really loved Wales and wish I could have explore farther afield! They will definitely appreciate your effort with Welsh, and I have a feeling they will be happy to help you! My best advice would be to bring some snacks just in case! 🤣

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