Travel Plan for the Solo Traveler to Cardiff, Wales

Traveling solo is popular with students, backpackers, and young adventurers on a limited budget who want to see the world as economically as possible. But, times have changed considerably, and traveling solo at any age is now widely accepted and much more common than ever before. People realize that there are many benefits to traveling single, as Mark Twain once wrote, they have a great deal more freedom to “Explore, Dream, Discover.”

Day 1 – London to Cardiff

Leave Paddington Station in London by train, which takes about two hours, probably the fastest and least expensive way to get there. You can catch the train about every half hour during the main part of the day. Buy your ticket in advance, about $52/rd trip – check the single ticket prices; it may be cheaper to buy two than one round trip. Arrive some time after 1400 to check into the famous NosDa (Good night in Welsh) Studio Hostel), known as the Backpacker Mark 2, the only 5-star hostel in Wales. Your private room with shared bathroom runs about $36/night, continental breakfast included. Kitchen facilities available. Enjoy a beer or cocktail in the café bar, relax with a DVD or check your e-mail in the Lounge, and save the exploring for tomorrow.

Day 2 – Explore & Discover

Begin your day with a 30-minute workout in the gym, breakfast, and set out to explore the city. The hostel is centrally located on the River Taff, near the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Castle, and only 20 minutes walk to Cardiff Bay. Your first stop might be the Castle, an elegant, romantic historic attraction deeply rooted in a 2000-year-old history. Each room is lavish with murals, stained glass, and expert craftsmanship. You can take a tour through the castle and Wartime Shelters. Tickets: $22 Hours: 9am-6pm.

An inexpensive place for lunch or mid-afternoon meal is the Vegetarian Food Studio, perfect for the single traveler with a good selection of Indian cuisine such as curry and rice for $10 or smaller entrees for $5-$8. Take out from the deli or have it delivered. Hours: Tues-Sun, 10:30am-10pm.

You’ll probably have time before supper to visit the Cardiff Story Museum in the Old Library Building near the City Center. Experience the art and history as Cardiff evolved from a 12th century market town to a major seaport in the 1900’s and a bustling city today. Enjoy free exhibits, interactive galleries, and demonstrations. Hours: 10am-5pm daily except Sun,11-4pm.

After a full day exploring the city, have dinner at Y Mochyn Du (the Black Pig), a Victorian style pub on Cathedral Road about 20 minutes from the city center. Good selection of Welsh dishes and ales, indoor and outdoor service. Prices: $5.50-$11. Hours: Mon, 12Noon-11:30pm, Tues-Thu, 12Noon-11pm, Fri-Sat, 12Noon-12:30am.

Day 3 – Cardiff Bay & Doctor Who

Start your day with breakfast at Servini’s in the Wyndham Arcade, a family run café serving inexpensive baguettes for $4, scones less than $1, or full breakfast for
$7. Great food at reasonable prices served all day. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm, Sat, 8-4:30pm.

For something different take the bus to Cardiff Bay and the Doctor Who experience, an interactive journey with exciting sound effects, lights, and costumes. Fly on the Tardis, do some role playing as a scarecrow, monster, or cyberman. Tickets: Adults – $24
Buses leave every 10 minutes from the city. Hours: 10am-3:30pm. 90-minute sessions.

Day 4 – Cycling & Socializing

You may have met some new friends at the hostel who are ready to go on a cycle tour. The 3½ Bute tour leaves from the Millennium Center at 1:30pm and covers some major historic attractions such as the Castle, Cardiff docks, and other monuments. Price: $24 p/p. Another cycling option is the 2-hour Bay Tour of popular city landmarks. Price: $16p/p. Or, you could rent a bike at the Coal Exchange and explore alone. Rates: $16 ½ day, morning or afternoon. $24 full day.

You’re probably ready for some fun and local entertainment at Gwdihw, located off Churchill Way, an excellent choice for the single traveler. Fully stocked back bar, teas and coffees with pies and paninis, games, and outdoor beer garden. Live entertainment varies from Latin to jazz and funk. Hours: 3pm-12Midnight, Mon-Wed; 12Noon-2am, Thurs & Fri; 4pm-12Midnight, Sat.

Day 5 – Last day in Cardiff

Out for a full day of shopping, stopping at the beautiful arcades featuring Welsh textiles, gifts, and souvenirs, at Spiller’s the oldest record shop in the world, on to Queen Street for designer shops, and time for afternoon lunch and relaxing at Mermaid Quay. On the way back to the NosDa, go to Café Citta for pizza. Prices: $9.

Go by the train station, check on the schedule, and purchase your ticket to the next town you want to visit. Have a quick nightcap in the hostel bar and early to bed.

Day 6 – Leaving Cardiff

Check out and catch the train for your next adventure.

Sharon L Slayton

Filed Under: Solo travel, plans for traveling aloneTravel plans

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