If you want to go from the city centre to Cardiff Bay, the Aquabus is quite a picturesque way to do it, although it is not the fastest.
It is a small boat with indoor seating only, leaving from Millennium Bridge at the edge of Bute Park every hour on the hour. The times are also announced on a board at the terminal.
The journey takes about 25 minutes and was £3 when I travelled, but it seems to be £5 during high season (I don't know this for certain, though).
During the journey you first pass the Millennium Stadium and then travel along the river until you arrive in the big basin of Cardiff Bay. I must admit that I did not find the journey itself too exciting - I had expected to see some more interesting things, and there is no commentary at all - but arriving at the bay was very nice, when the boat suddenly gained much more speed and we saw the bay and its buildings appearing. It was also possible to spot some cormorants and other birds.
The picture shows the boat at the terminal in Cardiff Bay - the terminal in the city centre does not have any buildings, just look for the small landing stage on the Bute Park side of Millennium Bridge.
This must be Cardiff Bay’s ultimate powerboat experience that begins with a sedate lap of Cardiff bay before providing a fast experience into the Bristol Channel. The company use two fast passenger carrying 9 meter rigid inflatable boats (Cobra and Viper), both identical in every way, each being capable of speeds in excess of 85 mph!!
1 Hour Coastal Blast
Lower Board Walk,
The Aquabus service runs a cruise around the bay and a regular service to the city centre, the boats may also be hired for dining and entertaining purposes.
Every hour from 11:00 am
Shuttle to the City centre (every half hour):
Sunday to Saturday: 10:30 am to 4:30 pm
Return from the City centre (every half hour):
Sunday to Saturday: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay
The city is center is compact and we could easily walked around everywhere. We noticed the usual hop on hop off bus but it was empty all the times :)
You can even walk down to Cardiff Bay but this will take about 30’. There’s connection with local bus too so you don’t have to worry.
Some days we used local buses for some small towns/areas out of the city like for St.Fagans. Most of the buses start from the Bus Terminal opposite the Central Train Station.
The single ticket costs £1,5 but you can ask the driver for an all day ticket which costs £. There is also week ticket for £14.
The problem with the buses is that there are some companies that don’t accept the all day ticket and they have their own! For Castell Coch we used a ticket that costs
£3.70(return ticket) and for Caerphilly a ticket that costs £4.20(return ticket). In all cases we payed at the driver upon boarding.
You may also want to visit some of the surrounded areas/towns by train. The train station is located next to Bus Station.
A lot of visitors love to use the water taxis that run along the river Taff, they make stops at different points (park Bute next to the castle, Cardiff Bay, Penarth etc).
It’s hard to find a free space in the center but there are a lot of parking where you can pay and be on the safe side anyway. There are a lot of taxis (pic 1) but some other people prefer to move around with a limo! (pic 4)
The most common connection with other cities and London is by train. Fast and easy you will be right in the city center of Cardiff as the train station is located in walking distance from all the main sites and hotels. The building is interesting anyway (pics 2-3) but you may catch a train from other stations too (ask at your hotel if Queen Street station or Cathays Station (pic 4) is better for you.
We took bus from Victoria coach station in London. If you book in advance you may find cheap tickets down to £4 like we did! So, you actually can ride for free :)
From the bus station(which faces the train station) you can take any bus you need to reach other parts of the city but also nearby towns
The water taxi is cruising over Cardiff Bay. Connecting one side to the other.
When I was using it, I tried to pay for it while I was on the boat. But the lady who collected the money, didn't saw me raising my hand. So, I had a free ride.
Aquabus run a lovely boat service from the Centre of Cardiff (Bute Park) along the river taff, past the Milennium stadium, over to the Cardiff bay barrage and then mermaid quay. You have the choice to stay on the boat for the return journey or disembark at either stop. The boats run between 10.20 and 17.00 and fares vary from £1 - £5 depending on which route you take. Contact the telephone number below for up to date times and prices.
Driving to Cardiff & Parking
On our weekend to Cardiff we drove from (West) London. The trip took about 2 1/2 hours, along the M4 motorway. This is a very easy drive, and there are plenty of services along the way if you need to stop for a break/petrol/coffee etc.
Parking in central Cardiff can be a bit tricky, with some spots requiring a pre-purchased voucher from local shops. There are some parking areas with the 'pay-and-display', but these can get pricy after a few hours. Alternatively, you could park just a little out of the city centre and walk in. For example, we parked on leafy Cathedral Road, which is only 10 minutes walk from the centre of town and offers plenty of free parking.
Flying to Cardiff
Cardiff has an international airport, located 12 miles southwest of the city centre. Airlines such as KLM, Ryanair, bmibaby and Air Wales fly here daily. To get from the airport into the city centre, if you don't want to take a taxi, you can catch the 'Airbus Xpress' bus or take the train which links the airport to the city.
Train or Bus to Cardiff
You can catch a train or bus to Cardiff from major UK cities such as London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol.
A great way of getting around is by water bus which links the Cardiff bay with the City centre at the castle and millenum stadium.
The return journey costs just £4.00 per adult and £2.00 for a child and other consessions are availble from the website
The timetable is also available
The Waterbus offers an exciting 30 min cruise around Cardiff Bay taking in all of the sights, including the opportunity to land (if you wish) at the famous Cardiff Bay Barrage and/or jump off in vibrant Mermaid Quay.
Just a note, if your leaving Cardiff central in the early hours of the morning and need to get to say Pontypridd, be warned it is expensive.
Not only that but getting a taxi in the city centre is near impossible best call Dragon or ABCABS.Numbers are 02920 555555 and 02920 777777
The Taff Trail footpath / cyclepath leads all the way from Cardiff Bay to Brecon, 45 miles away in the mountains.
Of course you don't have to follow all of it!! But it leads along the banks of the River Taff and heads north. Maybe its best to join it at Canton Bridge, near the Castle.
With a pedal bike you can cycle to Castell Coch at Tongwynlais in less than 1 hour. You pass Glamorgan's cricket ground, Pontcanna Fields, Llandaff Cathedral, MelinGriffith Mill, Glamorganshire Canal Nature Reserve, Radyr Village, Forest Farm, the M4 motorway and Gelynis 'Pick Your Own' Farm on the way.
Cycle Hire available from Cardiff Caravan Park, Pontcanna Fields (029) 20398362 and other outlets
A number of websites will be useful to choose the best way to get to and from Cardiff.
Train times can be found at http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/. There are good direct connections to cities like Bristol, London and Manchester.
National Express Coaches connect Cardiff to all major cities in the UK. See http://www.nationalexpress.com/
For travel to other locations within Wales try http://www.traveline-cymru.org.uk/.
Cardiff International Airport is 8 miles west of Cardiff, near Barry. There is a regular bus connection to Cardiff city centre. From Summer 2005 there should also be a direct train line opened to the airport.
They have been around since Summer 2004 and seem very popular. Not surprising really - these are FREE "Velo" taxis which will take you on a tour of the city centre!
Velo's are like plastic 21st century rickshaws. They have a 'driver' pedalling madly in the front and room for 2 people to sit in the back. They have a small motor which they can use to help them with heavy loads (i.e. you) or to go up slopes.
The best place to catch one seems to be Cardiff Central Station forecourt. Most of them return here after taking passengers to town. There is also a 'stop' at the Cardiff Visitor Centre in The Hayes.
Inside the 'cab' there is a sign which invites you to give a donation or tip.
The Velos have advertising all over them which pays for the costs.
The Cardiff Cats are a number of small passenger boats, which ferry passengers between Cardiff Bay, Cardiff Centre and Penarth. Its inexpensive (£3 return) and a refreshing way to travel around.
The boats depart from the Barrage in Penarth and Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay.
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