Caution: sarcasm was used in this post…
Cardiff, or Caerdydd as the locals call it… Capital of Wales, part of the United Kingdom… What else is there? That was exactly my line of thought before I found myself in the Welsh capital on a windy Tuesday in late March.
When I arrived at Cardiff Central, I was unpleasantly surprised to say the least… I’ve listed five of the main annoyances I encountered while visiting:
1. Cardiff is far. It’s far away from everything and hard to get to!
I took the train from London Paddington and arrived in Cardiff at around noon. The train ride itself took just over two hours, and I didn’t need to change once. From Bristol you’re in Cardiff in less than 45 minutes. It’s possible to reserve a train seat and get your tickets up front to avoid ridiculous ticket rates at the station. Cardiff Central is situated too far from the city center. I had to walk three minutes to enter town.
2. There is absolutely no history to be found in this monstrous place
When you walk down High Street (Heol Fawr), you’ll walk right into Cardiff Castle. It’s nothing fancy really, just three different architectural highlights: including a Roman fort, a Norman castle and a Victorian Gothic palace.
The Roman fort is one you can climb, and one that shows you an unremarkable view of the city of Cardiff and the famous Millenium Stadium in the distance.
The Victorian Gothic palace boasts some uninteresting fairytale-inspired rooms, including a library in gold and an Arab room with the most hideous ceiling I have seen in the 23-years I’ve been alive and traveling.
It also didn’t come to me as a surprise that the walls of Cardiff castle are actually tunnels that served as air-raid shelters in WWII. (If you are just as into palaces and castles like me, check out my post on Windsor here).
3. Shopping possibilities in Cardiff add up to nil
Dismissing the nine historic shopping arcades, the new, enormous shopping mall St David’s, the shopping range on Mermaid Quay and the indoor market, there are absolutely no shopping possibilities whatsoever. Especially the Edwardian and Victorian shopping arcades are insignificant, as they ruin the Cardiff streetscapes and only boast dull boutique shops, coffee shops and restaurants.
4. Cardiff only consists of grey buildings and concrete
Cardiff is a city like any other. Besides Bute Park – the 130 acres of parkland that once formed the grounds of Cardiff Castle – there is absolutely nothing that could attract the nature lover.
Cardiff Bay – the waterfront surrounding a 200 hectare lake – for example, is absolutely dull with its standard buildings, shops, bars and restaurants. There wasn’t much keeping me there.
5. Want to go out in Cardiff? Forget it
Fancy grabbing a bite to eat or an alcoholic beverage? Forget it. There are absolutely no places in Cardiff that provides you with drinks and a good meal. Tripadvisor has listed only 889 restaurants and 69 nightlife locations in Cardiff, nothing close to a decent choice. The Italian pizza I ordered at one of the restaurants didn’t look good to begin with, and it tasted exactly the way it looks.
Wanting to see a theatre performance? Theatres are hopeless in Cardiff. Browsing the catalogue in the futuristic Millennium Center showed me that there were just tens of shows, ranging from concerts to plays and from opera to musical theatre shows.
I am sure that with this list of annoyances, you can make an informed decision and visit any city but Cardiff. Really, don’t. (Is there still someone I can fool at this point?😉) Note: all photos are mine.