The NCP multi story car parks in and around the City Centre are getting away with charging an extortionate amount for car parking. If you park in any one of the multi story car parks for a couple of hours you could be charged an amount in excess of £6. The cheaper alternative is the metered parking around the Civic Centre, Windsor Place and Churchill Way - these are all pretty much in the Centre of town and will save you a fortune on parking fees. Another alternative is Sophia Gardens where the car parking is at a reasonable rate & a 10 minute walk through the park & past the castle will take you into town
Street parking in the city centre areas is tightly controlled by the use of parking vouchers, currently (2006) 1.20 GBP each. Unfortunately it is not always easy to find somewhere that sells parking vouchers. Especially if you are a visitor. There are no maps on the street, or voucher machines. But lots of parking wardens of course :-)
It is a particular problem around the Civic Buildings - University, Museum - because shops are not allowed in this area. Recently it took me 15 minutes to find a side door in one of the buildings where they sold vouchers. And I live in Cardiff!! When I returned a traffic warden was 20 metres from the car, waiting to pounce.
Unique Suggestions: At least if you have no alternative but to bring your car, check the Cardiff Council Website for a lost of parking locations. The have a list of outlets which sell parking vouchers. These outlets have the yellow letters "SG" displayed in their window - oh, that's soo obvious, isn't it ;-)
If you do have to leave your car to buy a voucher, then BE QUICK!!!!
Fun Alternatives: As an alternative you could use one of the large multi-storey carparks in the city centre. Or short term car parks on North Road. Or "Park & Ride" on a Saturday.
Or better still, don't bring your car and come by bus, coach or train.
UPDATE: roadside ticket machines have recently (2008) been installed around the Civic Buildings. And remember that after 6pm, parking here is FREE!
The gift shop at the castle has the usual souvenirs : welsh mugs, postcards, books on the Castle and Wales, plastic figures of knights and dragons; soap in the shape of dragons; lollipops in the shape of dragons, bookmarks, badges, lovespoons.... anything that can be decorated with the Welsh flag.
Unique Suggestions: If you must buy something to remind yourself of the trip, choose something that is useful and not expensive
Fun Alternatives: look around in the local market where the same object may be available cheaper
This building must be one of the most ugliest that I have ever laid eyes on. It is all glass, slate and steel and there's not one redeeming quality about it. To be honest, it looks like a football stand that has been plonked in the middle of the bay; it would have looked far more fitting at the Millenium stadium in Cardiff, than on here.
Walk straight past it and go for a cup of coffee on Goleulong Lightship a few hundred feet away.
Getting good rates at hotels in Cardiff is all about planning ahead.
When there is an event on at the Millennium Stadium most hotels will double or triple their prices, and enforce a minimum two or three night stay policy. (this goes for the entire region, not just Cardiff)
Even so, the atmosphere in Cardiff is so good on match days that hotel rooms sell out months in advance; so don't expect to be able to get a room a couple of weeks before a big event. There's also no guarantee that a hotel will honour your booking if you bought it on ebay.
Great deals can be found, however, during non-event months. January, February, April, August and September are good months to visit, and the local tourist board often offer great deals, such as 'book two nights get third free'. Other special deals can be found on their site at www.visitcardiff.com
Hotels such as the Park Plaza, St David's Hotel, Vale hotel and Spa, and Future Inns also often run room and ticket deals for performances in the New Theatre, Wales Millennium Centre, or hospitality at the stadium, which are another way to save money.
It's not really a tourist trap, but don't bother doing the tour of the stadium if you can help it. It's better to go and see something actually happening in it rather than paying £5 for a substandard tour of it empty.
Admission charges to National attractions were cancelled years ago, the problem is that Castles were not included, only for museums. But there are 3 or 7 days passes for 9 and 15 pounds per person, not a bad deal.
The Cardiff Card gives you for two days unlimited admission to some sights, travel on local buses and trains and special prices in certain shops and restaurants.
The card is on sale at many places: outlets, Tourist Information Centres, post offices, hotels, attractions ...
People who live or work in Cardiff can visit the Castle grounds for nothing, and have reduced prices to the inside, with no limits on number of times you do it.
To obtain a pass, call Cardiff Castle on 2087 8100 for an application form or call at the Castle Information Office,
Monday – Friday, 9am to 4.30pm
Please take into account that shops closing time is 5:30 p.m. We had some problems cause we had to change money and Thomas Cook and other Bureau Du Change had already closed at that time, and they did not open until the next day at 9:30 a.m.
So make sure you change your money before that time...if not you will have a can of coke and a bag of crisps as dinner!!!
Though one of the most impressive sights in the city, the entrance price to Cardiff Castle is rather expensive.
Fun Alternatives: You can appreciate much of the Castle from the outside and take some nice pictures.
I figure if they charge you, it is a tourist trap, right? This is a view of the castle from the back.