ON MARCH 15th, we decided to venture to the city that serves as a beacon of cosmopolitan light in the eyes of many an Aberystwyth University Student; Cardiff. The three of us felt this would be the biggest and most exciting of our weekly ‘Lifestyle’ related challenges, and were all looking forward to what the day would bring. Just a few hours down the road, but a world away, the Welsh capital, Cardiff, is an ideal destination for a day out or even a weekend away from the Aberystwyth bubble. We, well, Will, looked at ticket prices and it was only about £10 for a return on the bus – which is a steal so we went for it. We had to be at the bus stop for stupid o’clock and the roads are super twisty so if you have a problem with them, do come prepared and take anti-sickness tablets with you. The views from along the way are probably very lovely, but Sarah and Rebecca had to try to sleep to stop me from being sick.
Once we arrived, it was breakfast time and we went to the Hilton Hotel for some coffee and I got some cake. We then went on a mission to find where the bus stop was to take us to Cardiff Bay which we eventually found after me asking a guy in a shop for directions but it actually turned out Will had got us there due to his local knowledge.
The bus gave us a pit stop tour including the Millennium Centre. We had only seen this institute in pictures and had not fully comprehended the sheer size of it. It is a beautifully striking building, with poetic words by Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis famously immortalized in giant lettered form upon the front. Here, regeneration has replaced the docks from where South Wales’ coal was exported around the world with fancy restaurants, bars and coffee shops. There are also some iconic Welsh landmarks here, including the Wales Millennium Centre, which frequently plays host to touring West End shows, plus the National Assembly’s Senedd building.
After taking a leisurely stroll through the bay area, we made our way to the food court. The most bizarre thing we saw in Cardiff was a shrine to Iantos from the Dr Who spin off ‘Torchwood’. Cardiff locals obviously take their Dr Who viewing very seriously. Eventually, we settled on an American themed diner. The restaurant, named ‘Eddie’s Diner’, happened to feature on an episode of Doctor Who, a TV series which formed another part our exploration of Cardiff (more on that in a bit). A round of proper burgers, cheesy fries and American drinks went down a treat, so this diner is a definite recommendation. The diner was decorated in 50’s American style, complete with jukeboxes and waitresses in vintage uniforms. The prices here were reasonable and the burgers were tasty, although we didn’t think much to their cheesy fries – there wasn’t any real cheese, just an artificial sauce!
After lunch, front we had a walk along the prom towards a Norwegian church and the Dr Who experience. Sarah really wanted to go in and it only costs £12 to get in with an Aber card. This gives you an hour’s personal viewing of the filming of a scene and entry to a museum. They said you need at least three hours in total so if we had gone there we wouldn’t have been able to go to the shops and Sarah wanted to go to Primark so we got back on the bus.
We returned to the city Centre, exploring the wealth of shops both on the high street and in St David’s Shopping Centre. The city boasts some real local gems, particularly vintage clothing shops and cafes. St David’s meanwhile, is filled with a multitude of famous high street shops. If you are a shopaholic then Cardiff will more than meet your needs, selling everything from arts and crafts, books, jewelry and makeup, clothing, and everything in between.
We ate at the Red Hot World Buffet, which is an incredible all-you-can-eat restaurant boasting a huge selection of global cuisines. There is so much choice it feels almost ridiculous. Almost. There was a traditional British Sunday roast, sushi, Indian and Chinese dishes, Italian pizza and pasta, Mexican and an American-style barbeque. The dessert selection was also huge, with different puddings, an ice cream parlour and waffles. Everything was both good quality and good value, with the meal setting each of us back around £14. We left feeling satisfyingly full and headed back to the bus.
On the journey home, we all agreed that Cardiff is a great city to spend a day exploring. If you’re considering a visit, bring along a group of friends and have a fantastic day of culture, shopping and food. I know that we will most definitely be returning again in the future. I really enjoyed this daytrip to Cardiff. To Will, who knows the area well being able to showcase the city to others while also being able to gain a different perspective and try new things himself. A visit to Wales’ exciting capital is to be recommended to all Aber students.
A selection of photos from the day: