Travel to Cardiff Wales on a Budget

Cardiff Wales

Cardiff is a port city and eleventh-largest city in the United Kingdom with its location at the meeting point of River Taff and Severn Estuary. The city is the base for most sporting and national cultural institutions. It is a renowned tourist destination for business people as it is the country’s chief commercial centre.

Visiting the city does not necessary require a huge budget as you can find some affordable services and products to give you an affordable stay. With this travel guide, you can find some useful methods to save on your budget.

Getting to the city

You can get to Cardiff by any mode of transport you prefer depending on your current location. 

By train
Cardiff Central railway is the largest in Wales and serves over 10 million passengers annually. The station offers both short and long distance ‘Cross-Wales’ services to the main cities like London, Bristol, Birmingham and Glasgow. You can expect to pay around £10 for a journey by train to Bristol for example. 

By bus
Municipal bus company Cardiff Bus provides a comprehensive network of routes to Barry, Newport and Cardiff International Airport. Megabus and National Express offers direct transport to the main cities such as London, Swansea and Manchester. You can expect to pay around £3 for a one hour journey by bus. 

By Water
The Aquabus offers water transport on an hourly basis between Cardiff Bay and the city centre. Boats are available to carry visitors from Cardiff Bay to Flat Holm Island annually from between March and October. A trip around Princess Katharine, for example, will cost you an average £7 for adults and £4 for children aged 3 to 6 years, while babies under the age of three are transported free of charge.

Getting around

On your arrival to Cardiff, there are cheap ways to move around and explore the city.

Walking around the city is the best option as it is free. You will also be able to visit places that cars cannot access.

Cardiff offers a cycle path which runs for 88.5km (55 miles) between Brecon and Cardiff Bay. You can hire a bike for £10 for a half day (4 hours) or £15 for the entire day. Using a bicycle is a considerable cheap mode of transport as compared to hiring a cab.

Enjoy The Perfect Holiday On A Budget In Wales

If you are searching for the perfect destination to plan a budget holiday in the UK, then Cardiff is the ideal destination. Whether you are eager to explore historical sites or keen to relax and simply enjoy beautiful scenery, the Welsh capital has something for you. Situated on the south coast of Wales, this port city boasts a variety of landmarks and attractions, many of which can be visited without spending a fortune. 

What to See and Do

The National Museum, located in the civic centre of the City, is free to enter and well worth a visit for anyone who is interested in natural history. Suitable for all ages, the museum has plenty to keep the whole family entertained. One of its most popular attractions is ‘The Evolution of Wales’ exhibit, which begins at the Big Bang and tells the story about how Wales and its inhabitants have developed and evolved, including which dinosaurs would once have been found roaming the Welsh countryside.

Cardiff The National Museum entrance

Close by to the National Museum, there are also several art galleries which are also free to enter, displaying collections by both established and new artists.

St Fagans National Museum of History and its gardens is also free to enter and is worth a visit. Set in the grounds of a sixteenth century Manor House, the open air museum consists of traditional buildings, homes and workshops authentically built to recreate a historical Welsh village. Within the workshops, visitors can watch and participate in traditional crafts. Much of the produce created is also for sale at the museum. As well as enjoying a visit to the museum, the surrounding gardens offer a tranquil and peaceful retreat with beautiful scenery.

The Millennium Centre is hard to miss and is a brilliant destination when visiting Cardiff on a budget. As well as purchasing tickets for various concerts and shows, the Centre also provides a range of free shows and family activities throughout the year, which are listed on its website. During your visit, factor in time to simply to take in the architecture and materials used to construct this impressive building, which were carefully planned in order to represent the essence of Wales.

In the heart of the city is Cardiff Castle. Although there is a charge to enter, it is still relatively cheap in comparison to many other historical sites around the UK. However, a free option would be to explore nearby Bute Park, which was once part of the Castle grounds. With its picturesque flower gardens and woodland walks, this is a perfect place to relax and unwind with a picnic or a good book.

Cardiff Castle in Wales

If you’re in the mood for something a little bit different, a visit to the National Assembly could be the answer. Once you get past the initial security checks to enter, the building is free to explore and friendly guides are available to provide tours on request. As well as exploring the galleries, you are also able to observe daily political topics being debated.

When visiting Cardiff Bay, there are a range of water sports on offer, as well as a generous selection of bars and cafes. There are also boat excursions on offer, if you wish to explore the area from another perspective. However, it is not essential to spend a lot of money to enjoy the atmosphere in this popular area of the city. Taking a walk or cycling from Mermaid Quay to the Cardiff Bay Barrage is the perfect way to take in stunning views of the city and bay. As well as the beautiful scenery, there is also a play area at the barrage to keep the smaller members of your group amused!

Many might think that a city is not the best choice of destination for those who enjoy spotting wildlife in their natural surroundings. However, Cardiff offers this opportunity with a trip to the Wetlands Reserve. Within walking distance from Mermaid Quay, the area on which the reserve has been created was originally formed when part of the bay was flooded. Offering a tranquil getaway from city life, it is home to a variety of birds and fish.

Situated close to the Millenium Centre, ‘Craft in the Bay’ is a great opportunity to meet the makers of traditional Welsh crafts and see them at work as they create their masterpieces. Although the products can be quite pricey to purchase, the gallery is free to enter and is well worth a visit. 

For those looking for more than a stroll, a visit to Llandaff Cathedral would be a great option. Although a little way out of the city centre, this picuresque landmark can be reached by walking along the River Taff, past Bute Park. Visitors are warmly welcomed and guide books are available should you wish to purchase one. Guided tours are also offered, but only for school visits and larger groups.

Cardiff Llandaff Cathedral

With so much to see and experience in one trip, it may be a challenge to squeeze all of the sights and attractions within the time available. One option to ensure that you get to experience all the sights on offer, is to purchase a ticket for one of the city’s bus tours. Available through different companies, these tickets allow you to get on and off at different points around the city as many times as your like within a twenty four hour period. Although there is a charge for the tickets, they often include an audio tour so that you can learn about the sites as you pass them. 

Food and drink on a budget in Cardiff

The best way to cut on your food and drink budget is by avoiding eating in the city centre. The food and drink in the hotels are overpriced, yet you can get cheap and quality food in other places located away from the city centre.

One of the habits that you should try to avoid while in the affordable hotels is asking for bottled water. To cut on your budget, always ensure that you take tap water, which is as safe as the bottled. 

Cheap stay in Cardiff

After arriving in Cardiff city, you will need a place where you can unwind and freshen up after a long days walk. The location of hotels and the amenities provided there play a significant part in determining their prices. If you are looking for a place to stay which will not increase your budget, you need to avoid hotels in the city centre and those which face some of the tourist sites.

A 3-star in Cardiff will offer you some of the amenities which are available in 4 and 5-star hotels for a low price. With a budget of £22 per night, you can get yourself a cosy 3-star hotel with friendly customer care representatives. 

Cheap Accommodation in Cardiff