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Browse our itinerary for getting the most out of Cardiff, with lots of ideas for a bespoke social programme.
Cardiff is a compact, walkable city – you are only 15 minutes away from where you need to be going. Corporate venues are close to hotels and close to out-of-conference social activities. Group visitors can explore the capital’s fascinating heritage and vibrant culture in the city or on the waterfront. Or enjoy the exciting range of activities and entertainment along with an eclectic mix of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.
Begin by exploring Cardiff’s impressive Civic Centre with its striking buildings, wide avenues and parkland. Cardiff City Hall is just one of the Edwardian buildings which can be hired as a venue along with neighbouring National Museum Cardiff, which houses a remarkable collection of European paintings and sculptures and holds special exhibitions. Two wealthy Welsh sisters bequeathed their large art collection to the gallery in the mid 20th century, resulting in Cardiff owning one of the largest collections of Impressionist paintings outside Paris.
Take a short walk to a sporting landmark Principality Stadium. Built in 1999 for the Rugby World Cup, the 74,500 seater stadium, with a retractable roof, has hosted numerous international sporting events, business events and concerts. Special behind the scenes tours can be arranged taking in the changing rooms and a seat in the Royal Box.
The foodie scene is thriving with quality independent producers, retailers, cafes, restaurants and street food in the successful Victorian market, the collection of Victorian and Edwardian Arcades and in hidden corners across the city. A Cardiff Food Tour introduces producers and retailers, giving a taste of the Cardiff food story. Or learn about Cardiff’s history at The Museum of Cardiff.
Cardiff is full of cultural experiences. There is a great choice of theatres, concert halls and intimate venues with a range of live performances every day of the week. Or if you are looking for an experience of traditional Welsh entertainment look out for the Cardiff Castle Banquets in the historic Undercroft.
Start your day with a tour of Cardiff Castle. Originally a Roman fort, further fortifications were added in Norman times. In the late 19th Century, the wealthy 3rd Marquis of Bute spent a fortune on an extravagant refurbishment, transforming the Castle interiors into a Gothic, mock-Medieval palace. Today the ornate spaces created by eccentric architect William Burges can be hired for corporate events. The extensive parkland surrounding the Castle is also a wonderful asset in the city centre.
Combine a city centre visit with Cardiff’s waterfront. Take a 30-minute boat ride from adjacent Bute Park to Cardiff Bay.
Cardiff Bay features a 200 hectare freshwater lake for sailing and water sports and lots of activities from white water rafting to nature walks. Take a boat from Mermaid Quay for a local trip or perhaps to Flat Holm, a tiny island off the coast.
Look out for the Bay landmarks such as Senedd Cymru, Welsh Assembly Government’s eco-friendly debating chamber. Visit the newly redeveloped Techniquest science centre or take a behind the scenes tour of the Wales Millennium Centre before attending a performance in the evening. The design of this cultural hub was inspired by the Welsh landscape, language and culture, much of it was built with Welsh materials and it provides a suitably impressive stage for Welsh National Opera, musical theatre, ballet, theatre and comedy.
Get active at Cardiff International White Water, an exhilarating, on-demand adventure facility in the heart of the International Sports Village.
There is a great choice of waterside bars and restaurants for lunch or just a relaxing drink. Try the historic Exchange Hotel for lunch or afternoon tea – the former Coal Exchange where the first £1m coal deal in the world was struck when Cardiff was a thriving world port. Or the contemporary 5* voco St David’s Hotel overlooking the waterfront.
Everyman’s five-screen cinema can be found in Mermaid Quay featuring comfy sofa seating and a menu that includes Spielburgers, hand rolled pizzas, sundaes and cocktails.
It’s just a short journey to St Fagans National Museum of History on the outskirts of Cardiff. Visit the grounds, the reconstructed cottages, farmhouses, rural workshops, mill, chapel and village store. There are plenty of options here for lunch – the Vale Restaurant, Café Bardi and the Gwalia Tea Rooms, a traditional 1930s tea room serving light lunches and afternoon teas.
Drive a short distance in the countryside, you will find Hensol Castle. Originating in the 17th century, the Castle has rooms for hire but also a gin distillery in the cellars where groups can enjoy tastings and learn more about the distilling process. Nearby in the extensive parkland, the Vale Resort offers a number of sporting experiences for groups. About 10 minutes away is the Royal Mint Experience where groups can unlock 1,100 years of history and explore coin making and collections.
At the end of the day head back to Cardiff. Try one of the many bars and restaurants which accommodate groups often in private dining areas such as The Botanist with a great roof top bar and specials on the menu, alternatively The Ivy Cardiff has an all-day brasserie-style menu. Another roof top dining experience is at the Indigo Hotel, its interiors featuring arty Welsh designers. Groups can also share an experience such as a cocktail making class a craft beer brewery tour, or a food experience can be incorporated into a City treasure hunt.