Whether you’re in town for rugby at Millennium Stadium, a trip back in time at Cardiff Castle or an afternoon relaxing at Cardiff Bay, the Welsh capital has plenty to offer. Its city center is very compact, which means most major attractions are within easy walking distance or just a quick bus ride away. Cardiff itself is easy to reach by local and long-distance train or by plane to Cardiff Airport, which is handy for international travelers.
Cardiff’s main train station is Cardiff Central railway station, where trains from across the UK arrive on a daily basis. The station is located right in the heart of the city center, on the east side of the River Taff. It’s just a 4-minute walk from big, bustling St. David’s Dewi Sant shopping mall and a 10-minute walk from Cardiff Castle. The city’s second station is Cardiff Queen Street, which is a hub for local rail routes around South Wales.
Great Western Railway is one of the most frequent providers of trains to Cardiff from southern England. They offer direct, twice-hourly trains from London Paddington, as well as hourly trains from Portsmouth and Taunton which pass via Bristol. CrossCountry also offers an hourly service from Nottingham which passes via Birmingham. CrossCountry and Virgin Trains offer quick indirect services from more distant cities, including Edinburgh, while Arriva Trains Wales offers direct trains from Manchester.
Cardiff makes the perfect base for exploring the rest of Wales by train. The extensive Welsh rail network connects the capital with smaller towns and cities across the country. Along the way, travelers have a chance to take in broad swathes of the stunning scenery Wales is known for. Even if you don’t have time to see the whole of Wales, Cardiff is easy to reach from elsewhere in the UK, thanks to direct connections with several major cities.
For the most colorful shopping experience, avoid the crowds at St. David’s and head to Cardiff Central Market. The market is housed in a beautiful Victorian building, with stores over two floors, plus plenty of spots to grab a bite to eat. Its surrounding area is well served by the extensive Cardiff bus network, which is even more affordable if you buy a prepaid travel card known as an Iff card.