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Visiting Cardiff, the Capital of Wales

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

A few days before the coronation of King Charles III, we drove from London Heathrow to the city of Cardiff. It normally takes less than an hour, but we stopped by Windsor Castle where we had booked tickets to see the burial site of Queen Elizabeth II at St. George’s Chapel. Within the main chapel you have tombs of 10 sovereigns. Queen Elizabeth II is buried alongside her husband, her parents, and her sister.

We arrived in Cardiff in the afternoon and checked in at our hotel, the Cardiff Marriott Hotel. It has a perfect downtown location near stores and restaurants. We conveniently parked in their underground garage. Unfortunately, the staff forgot to mention that when you exit the parking and drive back to the hotel you are in a “Bus” line. More than a month after our return home we received three notices from Budget charging us three 30-pound charges for driving fines issued by the city of Cardiff. I immediately contacted the city and eventually, they waived their 40-pound fees. Because of this, Budget also waived their fees. I was very disappointed that I did not receive any warning from the hotel staff concerning how to exit their hotel to avoid this fine, but I will learn from this incident and ask more questions when in London driving.

Besides that, the hotel is modern and has a very appealing restaurant and terrace. We had access to the lounge, which was a big incentive. We dined the first night at the Ivy Asia, a trendy Pan Asian restaurant with a good selection of dishes from sushi to curries. They have locations in London and a few other cities.

The next day we visited the famous Cardiff Castle. There is a lot to see, so you need to dedicate a couple of hours to the visit. The castle has 2000 years of history, from Roman times through to the second world war. We booked a 50-minute tour to visit the apartments. Some of the rooms have the most vibrant colors, especially the Arab Room and the Dining Room. We also walked around to see the Roman walls, the wartime shelters and the Battlement Walk.

The Castle stands in downtown Cardiff, so after our tour we walked back to the hotel through the pedestrian streets. In the afternoon we made a stop at Cardiff Bay, famous for exporting Welsh coal to the world in the 19th century. The area now has a freshwater lake waterfront and includes some of the city’s most famous landmarks, restaurants, shops, and theaters.

We ended the afternoon by driving to Castell Coch (Red Castle in Welch), located about 30 minutes outside of Cardiff. The original castle is supposed to have been built around 1081 during the Norman invasion of Wales. The last owner, the 5th Marquess of Bute, placed the castle in the care of the Ministry of Works in 1950. He also owned Cardiff Castle, which he gave to the city.

It was a short visit in Wales, but we will come back to visit the coastline and the north of the country where the most beautiful sites are located.

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