View over the Bay from Penarth towards Cardiff (Flickr: Ben Salter)
Article Words : Cool Places | 30 January

A last-minute weekend in Cardiff

Cardiff's extraordinary transformation now puts it among the UK's most inviting cities, says Cool Places. Now it's time to take your own short break and here's how

Cardiff has seen an extraordinary transformation over the past decade, and today the Welsh capital boasts a wealth of exciting, family-friendly attractions, high culture, superb restaurants and some seriously cool nightlife.

There’s a ton of things to see and do on any weekend, from the magnificent Millennium Stadium, a sporting amphitheatre to rival any in the world, to Cardiff Bay, which has a core of venerable old buildings alongside an array of superb architecture and a waterfront that is the summer hangout of choice for locals.

All in all it’s pretty much the perfect city break destination. Read more at www.coolplaces.co.uk.

A place to stay

Best budget bed: The Big Sleep

Premised on simplicity but not lacking in style, this is the budget choice of none other than John Malkovich.

Boutique stays: The Old Post Office

Nicely located, and one of the city’s more restful choices – and, yes, it is an old post office (and an old police station).

Swank it up: St David's Hotel and Spa

We reckon this is Cardiff’s best, most scenically located and most handsomely equipped hotel – and, er, it is quite cool.

Eat and drink

Stop for a Coffee: The Plan

Great coffee, and a fab place for lunch too.

Ethnic eats: Chai Street

Authentic Indian street food that you sit down to eat – surrounded by Bollywood murals.

Big night out: The North Star

A bit of a schlep to get there, but the reward is one of Cardiff’s coolest restaurants, bars and venues.

Evening drinks: Bar Cwtch

Cwtch means ‘cosy’ in Welsh, and this bar, situated under Jolyon’s Hotel, is just that, great for an early evening drink – plus it does delicious wood-fired pizzas.

Stuff to do

Iconic attractions: Millennium Stadium

Much more central than you might expect, this is perhaps Cardiff’s greatest contemporary must-see, accessible on regular tours.

Resurgent city: Cardiff Bay

You’d be crazy to come for the weekend and not come to Cardiff Bay, whose redevelopment perfectly encapsulates both the venerable past and the vibrant present of the city.

City tours: Planet Wales City Safari

One of our favourites, this – City Safari run tours up Garth Hill and to some of the wilder spots in what is one of Britain’s greenest cities.

Cool PlacesCool Places is a new website devoted to selecting and celebrating the best of UK travel, whether you’re booking a last-minute weekend away or looking for ideas for next year’s holiday. They cover the UK’s best places to stay, from stunningly located campsites to cosy boutique hotels, great gastropubs and restaurants to beachside cafés, and the country’s quirkiest independent shops and markets. Check it out, and add your own local favourites