May 23, after enjoying an early morning swim in Park Plaza’s stainless steel pool and spa facilities, we felt energized and ready to spend our first full day in one place, Cardiff. Departing from Cardiff Central’s train station are a number of buses, including service to nearby St Fagans, home to the National History Museum, Wales’ most popular heritage attraction. Entry is free and well worth the visit, as how better to learn about Welsh heritage than to see it with your very own eyes? The large grounds have a collection of old buildings that have actually been re-located to St Fagans from around Wales to display how the people of Wales have lived, worked and spent their leisure time.
From farmhouses dating back to the 1800’s, a church, a community center, and the workplace of the butcher, baker, blacksmith and many others, to a castle with its very own gardens. The homes have been furnished as they would have been during their respective eras, many of which have burning fires and ornate wooden furniture. From the many families and groups of school children it’s clearly also popular with children, as it’s more interactive and kids are free to run around outside, and enjoy the local pigs and sheep too.
From St Fagans we caught a bus back to Cardiff Central station, which departs hourly, and followed the signs for Cardiff Bay. There are also a number of buses well indicated for ‘Cardiff Bay’ and back to ‘City Center’ making for easy transport around the city. However, we opted to walk to the bay, and got caught in a heavy downpour so upon arrival, we were soaking wet! No worries, we braked for a late lunch and glass of cider in Mermaid Quay and hoped the weather would clear up. Cardiff Bay is a main attraction in itself, featuring the following:
- Mermaid Quay, offering a number of dining options, most of which have large terraces for bay side dining.
- Millennium Center, an iconic arts center great for an evening opera, musical, ballet or other show of your choice.
- The Red Dragon Centre, packed with entertainment options, including a 24-hour casino, IMAX theatre, bowling alley and a variety of restaurants, bars & cafes.
As the rain wasn’t letting up, we returned to the city centre and did what any other lady duo would do…we went shopping! Well, really only window shopping as our luggage is full and we aim to travel light. St David’s mall has an amazing collection of stores, 150 of them to be exact, so this is a great shopping destination for people of all tastes.
And the perfect way to end any night in Cardiff is at Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant…attention all foodies, as this next part is guaranteed to make you hungry! Famous for being one of Britain’s celebrity chefs, a selection of Jamie’s Italian restaurants can be found in 17 UK cities and have mouth-watering menus at affordable prices. We ate every last bite of our rustic tomato and mozzarella salad, ricotta and beetroot bruschetta, wild porcini mushroom panzerotti, warm brownie and al fini lemon curd desserts.
For more information on planning your trip to Wales: Visit Wales
Stay tuned for day 11, where we ride the rails to the beach, at St Ives, Cornwall…
Jen’s highlight of the day: St Fagans open-air museum, where a sheep jumped up on the wall and she pet it…we’ve seen tons of sheep and she’s been waiting to get her hands on one!
Angela’s highlight of the day: our dinner at Jamie Oliver’s, where after every empty plate was cleared, Jen would say ‘that was unbelievable’!
By: Angela Guezen
Photos by: Jen Crane