A Sporting City like no other in the UK. Few places in the world can name their national stadium as their cities centrepiece. This sporting mecca dominates everything about the city which offers culture in abundance.
There are few cities in the world which lives and breathes our game like the city of Cardiff.
If the city’s soul is Rugby itself, the heart shall be the imposing national stadium. Recently re-christened the Principality in the latest bow to commercial input - something we’ll politely gloss over here - the former Millennium Stadium bills itself as the Worlds’ Greatest - a claim which when hearing ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ bellow out of 70,000 pre-match mouths is impossible to deny. Walking down the players tunnel into the cauldron re-enacting a 6-Nations tussle on a stadium tour just about has the hairs launching from your neck.
Outside of the stadium, the compact yet lively streets surround the venue with great bars, numerous restaurants and a real sense of fun and national enthusiasm. From the famous old half-and-half Chippy’s on Caroline Street, to the more upmarket bars of Mill Lane, Cardiff offers ample option for the hungry & thirsty tourist.
Tucked away tidily in between the national stadium & the Cardiff Castle is the Cardiff Arms Park. True, the pitch isn’t the exact location of the timeless Welsh battles of the past, but the clubhouse is & it overflows with tradition, history and enormous pride as Glamorgans most famous of old Rugby clubs. The ground is of course the current home to Cardiff Blues, the Guinness Pro12 region & home of two-time British & Irish Lions skipper Sam Warburton, front row centurion Gethin Jenkins & a long list of Welsh internationalists.
Visiting the Blues on a tour to Cardiff is obligatory. As well as match tickets to domestic and European games, you’re able to play out a timeless battle of your own against any one of the cities clubs on the immaculate synthetic 3G pitch, go through the motions with input from the Blues senior coaching team before seeing the pros in training themselves, experience the strength & conditioning work-outs the Blues players partake in & eat like a Cardiff player for the day – a real money-can’t-buy behind-the-scenes experience rarely available at other less community focused clubs.
Tucked away in the clubhouse, you’ll find the Trophy room - a pottered treasure-trove of Rugby history. Photos, gifts & pictures fill the walls, but the undoubted highlight is one of just two remaining match jersey’s from the infamous 1905 All Blacks – a team dubbed The Originals. Invaluable. Rugby anoraks like me can be forgiven for dropping their jaw here.
You’ll tackle Cardiff from the YHA, GB’s first and only 5* Youth Hostel, located halfway between the exciting city centre and the cultural hive of Cardiff Bay.
Whilst Rugby holds the back-page, sport in general has a colossal presence in the city. Hockey, Cricket & Football boast some excellent facilities here, but it is the International White Water Centre in Cardiff Bay which offers the real wow factor. 250m of man made torrents offers a great opportunity to tourists to push the boundaries and kick back away from matchday.
Other highlights of the city include the Zero Degrees Micro-Brewery and restaurant, Viva Brazil Churrascaria, the stunning Cardiff Bay & a wide range of craft-beer pubs like the Tap House, Gravity Station, the Cambrian Tap & the Hop Bunker.
1. Play Your Tour Games Cardiff Arms Park
2. Match Tickets to see Cardiff Blues in the PRO-12
3. Pro Rugby Experiences with Cardiff Blues
4. White Water Rafting Activity
5. Guided Tours of the Principality Stadium
Travelling to Cardiff by Coach is simple. The city is on the M4 motorway with good access from the North West and South of England. It also isn't far away from the Midlands.
Travel times by Coach are as follows:
YHA Cardiff Central is rated 5-star by Visit Wales and offers rooms with an en-suite shower room. The huge St David’s Shopping Centre is a 15-minute walk from the building, and Cardiff Castle, the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Motorpoint Arena and the Red Dragon Centre are within a mile away.
YHA Cardiff Central is a 15-minute walk or 5-minute drive from the city centre and its rail and bus stations. It is well placed for the Cardiff International Arena, and Cardiff Bay is a 5-minute drive away.
During the Easter Holidays The Principality Stadium hosts the Welsh Double Header as all four Guinness Pro 12 teams take to the field.
Cardiff Blues vs Ospreys
Newport Gwent Dragons vs Scarlets
May Day Bank Holiday Weekend! Cardiff Blues host Zebre at Cardiff Arms Park - Expect some excellent rugby on the fast flowing 3G turf.
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