July 10, 2019

Cardiff on a Budget

Cardiff Wales


After coming back from my study abroad, the number one question people asked me is which place that I visited was my absolute favorite.  I mean Germany was home, but Cardiff, Wales takes the cake! Even homeless people are nice, which may seem like an odd statement until you encounter homeless people in other European places (I'm looking at you Berlin).   Fun Fact: I've had a welsh itinerary planned for a decade.  Now, did I actually use that? haha... no. We were really only in Cardiff for about two days, but all that to say I was super excited to finally go to my ultimate bucket list destination.  Cardiff is hands down one of the least expensive places on my travels too, which is always a bonus when you're a gal on the go with a small wallet.  I wanted to give y'all my list of what to do in Cardiff, so that way rather than searching Pinterest and reading tons of different posts, you can have one comprehensive guide to Cardiff on a budget!

1. Bute Park: I know the name certainly causes some jokes, but this park is like walking into a fairy tale! It is so whimsical, with tree carvings, flowers everywhere, and it is right next to Cardiff Castle. One thing I didn't get to do but really wanted to, was ride the bike trail that begins in Butt Park. So if you get the opportunity I highly recommend it! 
Bute Park

Bute Park

Bute Park

Bute Park

2. Cardiff Castle: Speaking of Bute Park, as I mentioned, Cardiff Castle is right next to the park.  This castle is very unique compared to others in Europe because it is a mix of different time periods all in one building! There is also the highly photographed Keep where you can see the entire city from the top! There was even a rainbow while I was up there! I'm telling you Wales is magical! Additionally, there is a museum at the castle where you can learn about the Welsh military.  Needless to say, it was interesting reading about the American Revolutionary War from the point of view of the opposing side. 
Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle

3. The Arcades:  Shopping in the arcades was so much! It was exactly how I pictured shopping in Europe to be like! I really enjoyed this one shop called the Pen and Paper (at least let's hope I am remembering the name right!) I got a good chunk of my souvenirs from that store! Also, at the coffee shop in one of the arcades, finally someone explained what a flat white was to me! I know... I was an uncultured American!

4. The Cardiff Central Market: Calling all flea market lovers! This is you're number one stop in Cardiff if you enjoy a good market with fresh food, artisan crafts, and just overall seeing the culture of the city! Hands down, the best welsh cakes in all of Cardiff were at this market!! Speaking of welsh cakes, that brings me to our next item...
Cardiff Market

5. Welsh Cakes: Close your eyes and imagine a muffin and a cookie making love and reproduce the worlds most delicious baby... actually on second thought don't actually picture that... Anyways, welsh cakes traditionally are raisin filled, but you could find a lot of different flavors all over the city, like chocolate chip. I found them delicious, especially when warmed!
Welsh Cake

6. National Museum of Wales:  This museum has a little something for everyone.  If you're with children, then they will go crazy for the natural science portion because it is very interactive.  But if your an art connoisseur like myself (cough cough) then the galleries are where you'll find your happy spot! They even had monet when I was there!
Cardiff Nation Museum of Wales

7. Cardiff Bay: There is so much to do and see down at the Bay! First of all, Torchwood didn't let me into their headquarters! Can you believe that?! (For all you Doctor Who fans out there hopefully you caught that joke) At the bay there is the Millennium Centre, Mermaid Quay, the first Nordic church, a trail system, a miniature Olympic park, and a cute coffee shop! We spent easily about 4 hours walking around the Bay and seeing everything and probably could have spent more time there, to be honest. Looking out into the water, I half expected the lady of the lake to give me Excalibur it was so enchanting! 
Millineum Centre

Cardiff Bay Coffee

Cardiff Bay

Torchwood tower cardiff

Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay

8. Drinks and Eats: The following is my list of places to eat or get a drink if you're on a budget but also really wanting to experience some fun and good food: Kongs Arcade Bar, The Libertine Cocktail Bar (I got delicious tea there and it is all jungle themed!), Cream's Italian Gelato, Chilli Flames Chicken, The Cambrian Tap. All of these are located just across the street from Cardiff Castle.  Additionally, another good restaurant that was closer to our Airbnb was Organicafe.
Kongs Cardiff

Creams Cardiff

If you can't tell from my last name, my heritage is Welsh so getting to hang out in Wale felt very magical.  Also if you want to experience the beauty of Europe on a budget, Cardiff is an awesome place to start! 

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