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24 Hours in Cardiff

I love celebrating Christmas in May, don’t you? 

Last weekend I enjoyed a whirlwind visit to Cardiff, seeing (the fabulous) Tom Chaplin, off of (the amazing) Keane, thanks to my Christmas present from (the gorgeous) Mr D.

Now, I never have a bad time in the Welsh capital, and have stayed here a fair few times - love how accessible the city, the shops are open until 7pm! Anyway, no time for city-centre shopping on this trip. 

Here’s how we managed to spend our 24 hours of parental freedom:   

3:30 pm - Checked into our first ever Airbnb stay
Absolutely fantastic experience, thanks to a spot of armchair research on the Airbnb android app.  I chose a place with lots of positive reviews, which included en-suite, coffee facilities, breakfast AND free parking, for much less than a hotel would cost on a Saturday night. Would definitely use again, although I appreciate every experience will probably differ. Quick coffee (and welcome chocolate biscuit in the room) before heading to the city, via a lovely 15 minute stroll through Bute Park.

5:30 pm – Hello, Turtle Bay
Introduced Mr D to a range of cocktails, thanks to this Caribbean eatery's 2-4-1 offers, which includes a Saturday night (up until 7pm, and then from 10pm – close).  Does mean that you have to agree on which cocktails you want to order, assuming, you know, you don’t just start with two each.   Knowledgeable and chatty Mixologist mediated a potential taste bud problem by suggesting a classic Margarita.  Then a Mai Tai.  Followed by a Passionfruit Mojito.  I think.  Time for dinner.

6:30 pm – Feeling peckish, possibly pickled
Wander towards the eateries around St David’s shopping centre and spot a Wagamama; quick re-carb needed, so that I can see actually enjoy seeing Tom later.  Contemplate ordering six plates of chicken gyoza, but calculate post-10 pm cocktails and opt for one plate with sticky chicken rice.

7:15 pm -  Just enough time for a swift one
Mr D fancies a pint so we pop through the Brewery Quarter.  I’m on the Diet Coke; the brood of hammered hens may have helped in this decision making. 

7:30 pm – Christmas Day
Off to St David’s Hall, another first-time venue for us, as usually we see bands at the Motorpoint Arena.  The Hall is lovely, and right in the middle of town, too; about a three minute walk from Turtle Bay.  I love how everything in Cardiff is within walking distance. Are you listening, Plymouth?

11:00 pm – Awed and wowed   
Leave the Tom Chaplin gig with a mix of euphoria and plotting.  Great performer, who played a mix of his solo songs with Keane classics. Had EVERYONE up dancing in what could possibly have been a staid venue.  Tom is such a talented vocalist and storyteller, that I just want to buy more tickets for his shows.  Quick google of tour dates and it appears, sadly, that I can only possibly do one other date, in June, in London, although he is supporting the legends that are ELO, and The Shires are playing, too, and I LOVE country music.  Maybe Tom's second album could have country influence? His guitar playing lends itself.   Need a few cocktails to sharpen the planning of how I can justify heading to London next month for more music.  I know, I know, the responsibilities of having a child that’s still that little bit too young for gigs. 

11:05 pm – Who’s round is it anyway?
Walk out of Turtle Bay as it’s a bit chaotic. Understandably. Head to the Prince of Wales (AKA Wetherspoons) for Godfather pitchers.  When in Cardiff, and all that.

12:00 am – Sweet Caroline
Chips and Gravy Vs Chips and Curry Sauce. 
Gravy, every time. 
A night out in Cardiff wouldn't be complete without a midnight feast on Caroline Street.  Handy chip-shop/kebab/takeaway alley next to the pubs. 

9: 00 am – Morning!
Wake for breakfast, refreshed by, and startled at, the availability of 8 hours uninterrupted sleep.

11:00 – Hello, Ikea!

11:07 – Argument Number 1
We really have differing ideas on interior design.  Thankfully, walking the length of Ikea means there’s lots of pretty things to distract me from the grumps; clever Swedish planning.  
12:40 – Argument Number 2 (almost)
I’m buying the sodding plant pots anyway.  And I really need to eat.  I can almost smell the exit. 

12:45 – Walk this way
Mr D takes the blue bag to the car; I head to the food market.  And cash in my free-donut voucher.  All is good with the world. 

1:00 pm Wave goodbye to Cardiff
Play Tom’s album The Wave (see what I did there?) all the way home, drifting along with such gorgeous lyrics.  Plot bringing #Hello40 birthday forward to June. #EloWembley?  

Which is your favourite city to spend 24 hours in? I'd love to read your experiences, feel free to share your blog info in the comments section!

Wander Mum


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment, Tanja, it was a fabulous day, indeed. Didn't even mind the Ikea-grumps ;-)

  2. I didn't know there was an Ikea at Cardiff? Or did you go to the Bristol one. Sounds like a good visit and jam packed fun #citytripping

  3. There is indeed a Cardiff branch (megalopolis) and it's much easier to find than the Bristol one! Obviously IF you're already in Cardiff :)

  4. I LOVE Airbnb - we use them every trip, it's the only way we can afford to travel as much as we do! ;-)

  5. Such a great way to save money on accommodation, so it can be spent on cultural activities. Perhaps drinking Caribbean cocktails?

  6. Curry sauce with the chips, although the gravy was actually the better choice for that night only!

  7. Gravy, every time. Curry sauce belongs in, well, a curry...

  8. What a great weekend! I really liked Keane so would have enjoyed Tom Chaplin's gig. Great to combine music with exploring a city. I've not properly done Cardiff before and really must! Like that it's walkable, always a bonus! Thanks for linking #citytripping

  9. Aww, Keane are great, aren't they? I remember listening to them a lot when I was living in China, as they'd just released Hopes and Fears, one of the few albums I took with me! You should combine a Stereophonics gig with a Cardiff visit: #homegrown!

  10. I wouldn't mind 24 hours ANYWHERE without my kids.. Cocktails and music into the night, 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.. I don't even remember what that feels like anymore. #CityTripping

    1. Ah, time for a spot of travel planning for you, then.... One of them must be on a school trip overseas soon?! Or a cheeky day off overdue?


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