Premier Inn: Cardiff Review Blog

By TopCashback member Lindsey Jenkinson

Having visited Cardiff a few times in the past and loved it, I was delighted that I’d won a weekend away in this fabulous little city. Only two hours away from my home in London and filled with history, excellent nightlife and friendly people, I knew me and my chap would have a good time.

Upon our arrival at Cardiff Central on Friday evening we were met with . . . nothing. It was deserted! It didn’t take long to work out why – there was a rugby match on at the Millennium Stadium and when Wales are playing, everything stops! Rather than wait for the crowds, we jumped into a cab and headed for the bay area where our hotel, the Premier Inn Cardiff City South was located.

In no time at all we were tucked up in our room, and we were impressed! The room (along with the rest of the hotel) seemed brand new. We curled up with a cuppa and got planning – I have several friends from Wales and they’d all chipped in with suggestions of what to see. I’d already been to the castle and the more ‘obvious’ sights before, so was keen to visit places a little more off the beaten track.

After a good night’s sleep, we fuelled ourselves up with a full English breakfast. No sightseeing with an empty tum for us! Once we’d filled up we set about heading towards our first port of call: St Fagans Natural History Museum.

St Fagans is an open-air museum celebrating Welsh heritage, situated four miles north of Cardiff city centre. Reception staff at the hotel alerted us to a local bus that would take us straight to the entrance. Perfect!

At St Fagans we were taken on a journey through Wales’ architectural and social history. The site covers 110 acres and has a castle, farm, and buildings ranging from pigsties to working men’s clubs.  The museum’s work involves ‘rescuing’ buildings from all over Wales that are no longer in use and preserving them for future generations. We spent nearly five hours exploring the site, and we learned about Welsh life from the 1500s to the 1980s. There are mills, farmhouses, shops, a tannery, a blacksmith, as well as every kind of conceivable ‘home’ – from 16th Century cottages to 1960s prefabs. There is a working men’s club from Caerphilly, which would have played a vital role in the mining community from which it was removed after falling into disrepair when the mine closed. The museum is free but donations are welcomed – and deserved. We continued to show our support by tucking into a Welsh cheesie bun and a cuppa from the little bakery – lovely!

stfaganscastle

After our trip through Welsh history we were ready for something modern, so we headed to Cardiff Bay. Once known as Tiger Bay, this area of Cardiff has undergone major regeneration and is now an impressive waterfront district. As well as being home to the Welsh Assembly and the Wales Millennium Centre, the bay is also home to a Norwegian church. The church was built in 1868 for the vast amount of Norwegian sailors who passed through the docks. Interestingly, Cardiff’s own Norwegian son, Roald Dahl, was christened in the church. Due to lack of use, the church was deconsecrated in the 1970s and fell into disrepair. Thankfully, in the late 1980s a trust was set up to salvage the church and now this little slice of Norway in Wales is a thriving arts centre.

milleniumcentre

As the other half’s an architect he was keen to move on to the Welsh Assembly buildings. These include the newer Richard Rogers-designed Senedd, and the Pierhead building. Sitting side by side on the waterfront, these imposing buildings – one traditional red brick, the other a modern architectural innovation of glass, slate & wood – dominate the skyline. We were too late to look inside, but the Senedd is open to the public.

Cardiff Bay also has an abundance of bars and restaurants, all of which were buzzing. Mermaid Quay – the official name for this quarter – was a hive of activity. We were heading to the Bayside Brasserie, a restaurant with great views over the bay, but before we hit the restaurant we stumbled across the ‘Torchwood wall’. No visit to Cardiff would be complete without a Doctor Who reference, and although I’m not a fan of the show, I couldn’t fail to be impressed by the huge wall, which has become a shrine to all things Torchwood. Covered in pictures, poems and personal outpourings, from what I gather, the fans were pretty devastated when the show finished!

mermaidquay

Next morning we were up early and enjoyed another hearty breakfast before heading into the city centre for some retail therapy and a look around the National Museum of Cardiff. In no time at all we were in the main shopping area enjoying a root around the excellent shops. As well as the usual high street brands there are plenty of independent faces to be found, including Spillers, the oldest record shop in the world! We popped in to have a rummage around the vinyl and were duly impressed!

Keen for a bit more culture before our train back to London, we walked the short distance to the NationalMuseum. The museum has a natural history section on the ground floor, which focuses specifically on the flora and fauna of Wales and her coastline. Exhibits include skeletons of a humpback whale, and the largest leatherback turtle ever recorded. There were many awestruck children (and adults!), and lots to learn. We then went upstairs to the art gallery where there are works by Monet, Picasso, Pissaro, Cezanne, Rodin, Turner and many more. The largest benefactors to the museum were the Davies sisters – Margaret and Gwendoline, who were the most influential collectors of impressionist art in Wales. They donated their collection to the National Museum of Wales in the 1950s & 1960s and what a collection! It is a rare privilege to be able to see so many outstanding works of art in one place, and Cardiff is a much richer place with this gem of a museum at its heart. Once again, the museum is free, but donations are welcomed.

Sadly, our little tripette to Cardiff had come to an end. We were bowled over by the friendliness of the people and the brilliant sights. Our hotel was faultless and the nightlife hard to beat.

If you haven’t visited Cardiff yet, go! You’ll have a Wales of a time!

Lindsey Jenkinson

Thanks to Lindsey for that fantastic blog. Don’t forget we have 5.05% cashback on Cardiff bookings with Premier Inn this week if you feel inspired to make a visit! We also have another chance for two lucky members to win £250 each, courtesy of Premier Inn! Visit our competition for more details.*

Our final blogger, Siobhan O’Grady, will be reviewing her stay in London for us soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that one.

Cashback rates are correct at time of purchase but please check the Premier Inn merchant page before making your purchase.

*Competition end date corrected to 9th December 2012. To view full terms and conditions, click here.

Posted on 03 Dec 2012  |  Posted in  Deals & Competitions
Comments
sange1
They dont pay out cashback tho !!
  03 Dec 12 - 19:50

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