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Things to see in Cardiff
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fiwen1010 wrote in tw_tourists
To liven this place up a bit, now I've returned from the annual spring clean that ate me, it's time for a discussion post. I know, I spoil you all.

So, I'd like to know what your top five or ten or fifty things to do in Cardiff are. What you came and did and why you think other people should do it, or what you want to do when you come to Cardiff. Anything you can think of, especially if you've found something cool and obscure.


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Doctor Who Exhibition (I think it's still there)
The Water Tower/Torchwood Tower
Torchwood's Tourist Office front
Cardiff Castle
Dyffryn Gardens - Used in Doctor Who, Torchwood and SJA
The shopping areas in central Cardiff are nice, various Torchwood bits around plus some filming locations

Outside of Cardiff:
Barry Island which is probably accessible by bus from Cardiff as it's really close. Been used in all three shows, although probably best known for Gavin and Stacey these days. Has a beach, fairground/theme park and shops.
Capherilly Castle
Penarth, especially the pier which was used in Torchwood and SJA
Castell Coch - Appeared in a couple of Doctor Who eps plus loads of other stuff

http://www.torchwoodlocations.com/ is a really useful website for those wanting to see locations, there is also http://www.doctorwholocations.net/ which covers Torchwood as well as Doctor Who and SJA.

The Doctor Who exhibition is now closed unfortunately. However, I think there are plans for the Doctor Who Experience to move to Cardiff after the 2012 Olympics

That's a pity, I'm guessing the stuff from the exhibition got moved to London for the Doctor Who Experience?

Ye such a shame :(

Probably. Hopefully the Experience will be moved to Cardiff nice and quickly. They said it would be in 2012, but these things usually take longer than planned

The sites are really useful, thanks for the links. And there's so many castles down there - they're great to see

I've been to Cardiff twice, both times as a daytrip from a longer trip to London.

-Cardiff Castle was wonderful, best part of both my trips. The tour is great and interesting (and different on different trips), the mansion is beautiful as are the grounds, and there's an absolutely great view from the top of the ruin-y bit. It's one of my favorite castles.

-In a slightly more Doctor Who-y fashion, parts of Cardiff really do feel like traveling in time. There's that castle, but other parts of the city look so modern, and even futuristic. It's a really great, surreal sort of thing. When we were headed towards the castle the first time, we were sure we were going the wrong way, because it just looked like a completely average main road until BAM! There's a castle!

-I'm not sure if the Doctor Who museum they had is still there. It was pretty good, but now that they've got the Doctor Who Experience in London, it doesn't really compare. When I went to the exhibition it was extremely Tennant focused (he was the Doctor at the time), with a tiny bit of Nine, and practically nothing pre-RTD. Still, it was lots of fun. The gift shop was surprisingly bad though. The only action figures they had were Martha and Spacesuit!Ten. I got some magnets and a deck of playing cards.

-The Welsh Street Signs! Those were amazing, and so much fun! Also, all the bilingual announcements in the busses were loads and loads of fun. There was even a talking elevator that spoke both English and Welsh. Welsh is such a fun looking language, and it really added a flavor to the whole place that was very whimsical. I'd like to learn Welsh. I bought a 'how to pronounce Welsh' book. The word for library was especially amusing.

-Torchwood Plass was incredible. It was just... right there, and exactly how it looked on TV. The second time I went was with my Dad, who I watched Torchwood with, and it was just really fun to be together and take pictures there.

-Just walking around, and going into shops & restaurants and even the train station, and knowing 'David Tennant and Russell T. Davies have probably been where I'm standing' was very cool. (The most cool 'A celebrity I like has been here' place for me was actually the Globe in London. The fact that they filmed Doctor Who there, and such a fun episode too, was just great.)

-It's right on the ocean, so obviously the fish is really good. We ended up in a pretty good fish & chips place. Don't remember what it's called though.

So, yeah. Cardiff is fun. I'd love to see some of the rest of Wales. Doctor Who was the reason for my first trip there, but it's a good place on its own. I enjoyed the non-Doctor Who things (Castle and Signs) better than the Doctor Who ones.

That's a lot to fit into two trips! Sounds like you made the most of it. I love the time-travel feeling of the city too.

The Doctor Who exhibition they have in London is coming to Cardiff sometime this Spring. There was also talk of a Torchwood exhibition, but I don't know whether that will happen.

Do you remember where the fish and chip shop was? I keep trying to get to the one down by the Bay, but I keep arriving after it shuts.

I've only been once, this past summer, and I'm sure my answers will be much the same as everyone else's, but here goes:

Cardiff Castle - I recommend the tour that you have to pay a little extra for that takes you up into the additional Castle apartments. It was worth it, I thought, to get that little bit of extra background. And there are some really neat rooms you wouldn't get to see otherwise.

Doctor Who Cardiff Tour - I really can't say enough good things about this tour. I had a fabulous time - and you get to see a LOT of the city!

Millenium Centre - Outside and inside, you really have to see it. *_* It's stunning.

Queen Street, Castle Arcade and High Street Arcade - for shopping :D

Llandaff Village - We went here on the DW tour, but I'd highly recommend it even for non-fans. It's a nice change from the modern city.

The Plass/Boardwalk area - I could walk around here for hours. <3 We stayed at the Jolyons, right next to the Millenium Centre and it was great being so close to the bay.

Bar Cwtch (at the Jolyons)- I'm usually not one for bars, but I LOVED this place. It's one of those really cozy bar/coffee shops where you don't feel out of place just having a coffee. And I like that. ;)

...And that's all I can think of at the moment. ;)

If your answers are the same then it's positive reinforcement ;)

There's an additional tour? I missed that one. I went for the cheap tickets and then got afternoon tea in the café (never let it be said that I'm not obsessed with cake)

I went on the tour back in April, just after it started. Were there a lot of people on it when you went? And did you persuade the tourguide to go to the pub afterwards? (I want his job so badly)

Llandaff is adorable. And there's a really good pub/restaurant there. And a Tesco on the ringroad, but that's not as exciting.

Bar Cwtch sounds good. I've vaguely heard of jolyons, but I don't knwo much about it. What's it like?

Yeah, it was only a little more to do the guided-tour to the extra rooms, and we had time to kill that day, so we just decided to go for it. I'd say it's worth it? Since we were already paying to get in anyway, it really wasn't that much more...

There were a good number on the tour, yeah. The bus was nearly full, at any rate. And no, we didn't go to the pub afterwards. ;)

As for the Jolyons, we really liked it. I'd classify it as a nice boutique hotel, not over the top, but really nice rooms. Also, for a fun fact... It's where they put some of the Doctor Who actors up when they're filming. This came about when the girl who checked me in asked me what brought us to Cardiff, and I mentioned, very cautiously, that we were Doctor Who fans. ;) She also said that Matt Smith and the rest of the cast tend to hang out a lot in Bar Cwtch when they're filming, which I feel like I'd also heard...somewhere around, maybe on a Confidential or something? But yeah, it was a really nice place to stay, especially since it's just SO close to the Millenium Centre and the Plass. :)

...Come to think of it, I think the tour guide also mentioned that about the cast hanging out at Bar Cwtch, when he showed everyone the TARDIS painted entrance door. Did he show you that when you were on the tour?

Edited at 2012-02-07 11:06 pm (UTC)

Cadwadelders (or however it's spelt) - the ice cream place in the Bay.

Terra Nova - awesome pub which is huge and has all these different rooms and is utterly fabulous, again in the Bay.

Fabulous cake shop in the arcade - sadly I don't know the name.

There's also Bogiez, which is a rock/alternaive bar/club.

Oooh, are you talking about Celtic Cakes in the Castle arcade? If so...yum!!

Their ice cream is great. Too good to miss even in winter.

I've never even heard of Terra Nova, or of the cake shop. I am slacking indeed. What sort of cake do they do?

Before I moved back home from Wales in September I went to Cardiff for the Harbour Festival (this year it was August 27-29). It was fantastic; very lively and very fun, with a lot to do, see - and eat!

Cardiff Castle is beautiful, as are Castell Coch and Caerphilly Castle, which are not far away at all and are very cheap and easy to find if you take the bus.

I did an open-air boat tour of the Bay in April, which I loved, mostly because of the tour guide (he was brilliant) and because it was only me in the boat so it was like a personalised tour! =P (5 pound for half and hour - well worth it!)

Just for the novelty of it, I loved the Aquabus from Bute Park to the bay. <3

If the Doctor Who locations tour is running I highly recommend it! The day tour covers not only Cardiff but the outskirts like 'Sarah Jane's house' in Penarth, Llandaff, St. Fagans, and other major Doctor Who (and some Torchwood, when you're down near Plas Roald Dahl and the Bay) sites.

The National Museum (I'm pretty sure it's the national museum, anyway! hahah!) is also breathtaking.

I also loved wandering the Victorian arcades; they were a completely new entity to me; nothing like that in Cape Breton, that's for sure! =)

Catch a show at St. David's Hall (I saw the comedian Danny Bhoy there, and loved it; beautiful venue).

The hop-on, hop-off bus tour that leaves from the Castle was perfect for me when I made my first visit to the city; helps you get your bearings if you're new to the area!

I could more or less just say "wander the city", because you're bound to find something amazing. I love Cardiff so much I can't even describe it. xD Now I'm dying to go back again. ♥

I love going out on the Bay. And the tour was great - did you spot the Electro near Sarah Jane's house?

I hope you get to come back! Did you get to see many people whilst you were over here?

I thought I saw the Electro - the tour guides didn't point it out or anything on my tour, but I saw it from the bus and was almost positive it was the same building! Glad to have confirmation on that; I'm only sorry I didn't try to get a photo from the bus!

I didn't really meet up with anyone fandom-wise; in general I'm pretty shy and I could never work up the nerve to post in the communities I was member of to say "Hey I'll be here if anyone wants to come up/down/over for some Cardiff adventuring". It was definitely nice meeting so many Doctor Who enthusiasts on the tour though!

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