How to get around Cardiff

By Dave Jenkins, your Cardiff expert

I write for Real Travel. Read more

Getting around Cardiff - my advice

Cardiff’s centre is more than small enough to walk across. But with some of the best attractions located in the bay or on the outskirts of the city, some form of transport is going to be required during your stay.

By car/taxi

For more information on vehicle rental and the best way to get about the city by car see Cardiff car hire. If you’re not driving yourself then there are several reputable firms:

Capital Cabs: +44 29 2077 7777
Cardiff Taxis: +44 29 2002 5972
Dragon Taxis: +44 29 2033 3333
Premier Taxis: +44 29 2045 4545

As in any city, the fares change depending on time of day and traffic experienced on the road. A good rule of thumb would be £5 gets you from the city to one of the surrounding neighbourhoods, and £10 will get from the east to the west of the city. There is a surcharge per person in with some firms so ask before you get in the cab. Cardiff is also home to licensed Hackney carriages who operate from the central train station and can be flagged down on the street.

By bike

Cardiff now offers a ‘register and ride’ bike rental scheme that’s similar to ones in operation in Paris and London. It’s about time! Cardiff is largely flat and is a joy to ride around. That is until you hit the surrounding mountains via the Taff trail, which is a highly recommended bike ride in itself. These stately two-wheelers can be found dotted all over the city and bay area and cost £5 a day to rent. You need to register first, so visit www.oybike.com before you visit.

By bus

Cardiff Bus was once known for its fleet of bright orange double-deckers that served every corner of the city. It’s now a troop of sleek, green single-deckers, but it still covers the entire city with as much presence. Stops are clearly signed and indicate the route and waiting time, and while many suburbs of Cardiff won’t be of much interest in terms of attractions, it’s worth knowing that a day pass for the bus costs £3 for adults, £2 for children or £7 for a family ticket. The bus would be ideal for a trip to St Fagans National History Museum or Roath Park as both of which are out of the centre.

If you’re looking to get from the centre to the bay then your best bet is a Baycar. It’s not a car, it’s actually a new ‘bendy bus’ but it’s a set return fare of £2 for adults and £1.20 for children and they run every 10 minutes during the day on Mon to Fri, and every 15 minutes all the rest of the time. They run pretty late, too.

For details on fares and timetables visit www.cardiffbus.com

By open-top bus

The open-top sightseeing buses battle the city’s unpredictable weather come rain or shine. During the winter it’s an hourly service only available on Saturday and Sunday, but from late March to late October the run daily every 30 minutes.

The tour takes in all of the main ‘must-see’ attractions such as National Museum Cardiff, Cardiff Castle, Techniquest, Wales Millennium Centre and Millennium Stadium and costs £9 for adults, £4 for children, £7 for senior citizens and £22 for families. Your ticket is valid for 24 hours so feel free to hop on and hop off across the city to your heart’s content. To book ahead visit www.city-sightseeing.com.

By boat

Yes, you can get across town by boat! Well, you can get from Cardiff Castle to the bay and there’s a few stops between, but for novelty purposes it’s a great way to traverse part of the city. There’s also a service to the satellite town Penarth if you fancy stomping your seafaring legs a little longer. Tickets are priced between £2-£5 depending on the length of journey. Visit www.cardiffaquabus.com

By train

Cardiff city centre has two stations; Central and Queen Street. Central is the one you’re more likely to get familiar with as it serves all the main routes in and out of the city. Queen Street, on the other side of town, services the surrounding valleys and local stops, of which there are many.

Unless you’re coming into the city via train, the only services you’re likely to use on your first visit are the trains to Cardiff Bay, Barry Island or Cardiff Airport. All of these are run by Arriva Trains (www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk) or you can check www.nationalrail.co.uk.

Insider tip: if you’re looking to blow the cobwebs off, catch the train to Taffs Well from Queen Street station for £4 return and take a walk up the Garth Mountain. It’s the first village of the valleys and the views from the mountain are stunning.

Getting to the city

For information on transport from the airport see Cardiff flights. If you’re arriving by train then Cardiff Central has mainlines to many major UK cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool. Check routes and fares at www.nationalrail.co.uk. National Express also run many routes into the city so if you’re travelling into the city by coach visit www.nationalexpress.com.

For more expert advice on Cardiff, follow these links: