A weekend break in Cardiff offers all the delights of a city break: culture, sightseeing, shopping and great bars and restaurants. There's more to discover on the fringe of Cardiff, too. Here's a weekend plan that lets you take in the best of the city and its surrounding attractions.
Day 1 - Morning: Cardiff
Compact, friendly and full of personality, Cardiff is an ideal city break destination. Start your day by exploring the centre of the capital city. Cardiff shopping is excellent, offering a wide choice of shops from big brands like John Lewis, Cath Kidston and The White Company to individual boutiques and delis housed in splendid Victorian and Edwardian arcades. The castle is well worth a visit (you may never have seen interior decor so opulent!), while the neighbouring Bute Park is a serene green spot for river-watching, tree-admiring and all-round relaxing.
Feeling hungry? Try the Potted Pig, a smart restaurant located in an underground bank vault. It serves modern British cuisine with French and New York influences, with a menu that changes depending on what’s in season.
Afternoon: Cardiff Bay
From Bute Park, you can catch the water taxi to Cardiff Bay. The former docks area of the city has been transformed in recent years and is now a top attraction for tourists and locals. The area is set around a large freshwater lake and is home to the cultural venue Wales Millennium Centre and the National Assembly building, the Senedd. Have a leisurely stroll across the water via the barrage while eating some Fabulous Welsh Cakes (buy them hot and fresh off the griddle from their Cardiff Bay shop).
Feeling hungry? If you need a caffeine boost at any point in the day, Quantum Coffee Roasters is an excellent option. For an evening meal, go for a relaxing drink and dinner at Ffresh. The menu features lots of Welsh produce. You could always follow it up with a show at the impressive Wales Millennium Centre.
Day 2 - Morning: Llanerch Vineyard
Get up early to drive to Castell Coch, the sister fortress of Cardiff Castle. It sits surrounded by trees and will feel refreshingly rural compared to the city. After exploring for around an hour, drive on to Llanerch Vineyard, a unique and tranquil treasure nestling in 22 acres of beautiful countryside in the Vale of Glamorgan. It's a working vineyard with pretty grounds and culinary delights. If cooking is your thing, take a cookery course at Angela Gray’s Cookery School based at the vineyard. There's a decent range of courses for all levels of experience, but book ahead as they are popular.
Feeling hungry? At the Cariad Bistro, sip a glass of the vineyard's Cariad Sparkling Blush, share a baked Perl Wen cheese and enjoy panoramic views over the vineyard.
Afternoon: Penderyn Distillery
If you haven't had your fill of alcohol, travel to the Brecon Beacons to visit Wales’ only whisky distillery. The Penderyn Distillery Tour takes you through the history of Welsh single malt whisky making and includes two tastings of Penderyn whisky. The tour aims to demonstrate the difference between the Welsh process and the distilling of Scottish, Irish and American whiskies. It's a fun way to see out an afternoon, even if you are the designated driver.
Feeling hungry? When you're back in Cardiff, soak up the booze with a tasty meal in Canton, on the outskirts of the city. The highly renowned Purple Poppadom is a smart and modern Indian restaurant, where chef Anand George gives classic Indian dishes a fine dining twist. Alternatively, the Italian restaurant Calabrisella is a family-friendly and purse-friendly option that always puts a smile on diners' faces.