Good morning. As promised last week, today we’re deep-diving into the home city of Porter… Cardiff!
This lively, friendly capital city is well known for its city-centre stadium, charming arcades, beautiful parks and waterfront bay area. Despite being a fairly small capital city, Cardiff has plenty going on. From festivals and sporting events, to its famous castle and democracy at the Senedd – the home of Welsh politics, Cardiff has something for everyone.
🎁 Read on to hear about our awesome Cardiff giveaway!
What to do?
🦙 Go hiking with an unusual friend…
Porter Travel @ Alpaca My Boots
🦙 OK so I'll admit, this one isn't technically in Cardiff, but it’s pretty awesome, and only an hour drive North of the city. Alpaca My Boots is a completely unique experience, set in the majestic hills and mountains of the Brecon Beacons. Upon arrival at the farm you’ll quickly spot the Alpacas. After an introductory chat and handling advice, you’ll be paired up with your new best friend, ready to start your countryside hike. During the hike you’ll encounter some breath-taking 360° views, and build a wonderful bond with your Alpaca (and they definitely all have very unique personalities). If you’re the outdoorsy type and love animals, then I can personally assure you, this is a lot of fun and well worth making the trip for!
🌊 Fancy a more fast-paced, adrenaline packed trip? Cardiff International White Water is a fantastic facility if you want to get wet and wild! Enjoy all sorts of activities including white water rafting, tubing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and there’s even an aerial assault course, packed full of zip lines and climbing opportunities. Want to go even faster? Try out Cardiff Jet. This high-powered speed boat experience will have you pinned back against your seat while you race around the bay, or for those wanting a longer trip, there’s options to head out to the Bristol Channel. If you’re still craving adventure after that, then head to Aqua Park Cardiff. This huge floating inflatable course, situated in the bay, is equal parts fun and challenging, with a huge assortment of “big impact water obstacles.”
🍷 I don't know about you, but I feel worn out just writing about that last section - time for a drink! Set in one of Cardiff’s many beautiful and historic city centre arcades is Nighthawks Wine Bar. This unpretentious wine bar is opposite Cardiff Castle, offering a selection of great wines and cocktails, and even better, grilled cheeses! If you start here, you’re in a great part of town with a huge array of small bars, pubs and restaurants on High Street, Church Street and Womanby Street. If you like Italian food there’s an authentic small restaurant on Church Street called Cafe Citta.
🎶 If you're after a bit of culture, then what about a trip to the world's oldest record shop! Located in another arcade (Morgan Arcade) is Spillers Records. Originally established in 1894, Spillers offers a brilliant variety of vinyl, merch and events. We’d also recommend keeping an eye on Lost Lands Cinema. They host pop-up rooftop cinema screenings, often on the roof of Jacobs Antique Market in the heart of Cardiff. Keep an eye on their Instagram for details of upcoming showings.
☕ Finally I thought it’d be worth highlighting some great coffee shops to help sustain your energy throughout all these activities! My personal favourite is Uncommon Ground. An independent, family run coffee bar located in Cardiff’s Royal Arcade. Another popular option is Hard Lines Coffee. Passionate about great coffee they have a couple of locations, including a wonderful café located in Canton, inspired by the rich history of Italian cafés serving great coffee and food in small Welsh valley towns, and a small “espresso hatch” in Cardiff Central Market. They also sell some great cookies here!
Where to stay?
💰 Stay where the first million pound cheque was signed
Coal Exchange Hotel/TripAdvisor
One of the most magnificent buildings in Cardiff is the old Coal Exchange, site of the first ever million pound cheque. Sadly over the years, this huge building was left to fall into disrepair. In happier news, it’s in the process of being lovely restored and converted into the Coal Exchange Hotel, allowing you to stay inside this brilliant building. There’s a great restaurant and bar at the back of the hotel, with some cool original features. Some of the rooms are perhaps a little “showy”, but I think that’s part of the charm and whimsy of this place. It’s in a great spot, just a few minutes walk from the Bay, and next to a brilliant coffee shop/bar called the Casablanca.
If you’re after something cosier and in the heart of the city, then Parador 44 is the place for you. This Spanish-inspired boutique hotel is located above the very popular Asador 44 restuarant (owned by the same family). With just 9 individually decorated en-suite rooms, you might struggle for a reservation, but if you can get in, it’s well worth it! This food-focused luxury hotel has an Andalucian style “outdoor terraza” as well as a residents’ lounge with honesty bar offering an array of Spanish drinks and snacks - Yum!
Finally, for our last suggestion we’re heading just outside of Cardiff to the popular costal town of Penarth. Just a short walk from the Marine Parade and Pier, and still only a 10-15 minute drive from Cardiff, Holm House is a great luxury option. This stylish hotel features a full service spa, pool, relaxation room, steam room and gym. There’s a lovely large garden area (perfect if the sun’s shining) where you can relax with a drink. The bedrooms are all individually designed with a calming colour palette, perfect to appreciate the vibrant sea-views.
It’s giveaway time!
🎁 Win a weekend stay in Cardiff
To celebrate this week’s insider guide to Cardiff, we’re giving you the chance to win a FREE weekend stay in this great city!!
🏨 A one night luxury stay for two at @Parador44
🥐 Bed and Breakfast
🍾 Bottle of bubbly on arrival
🧼 Parador44 soap and reed diffuser to takeaway
👉🏼 Like our giveaway post
👉🏼 Comment & tag who you’re taking with you
👉🏼 Follow our page @porter_travel
For an extra entry, refer a friend to this newsletter using the link below 👀
Must be 18+ to enter, competition ends 6pm GMT on Tuesday 15th August 2023. The winner will be announced 6pm GMT on Wednesday 16th March 2023.
‘Warehouse City’ - Manchester
Next week we’ll be exploring a city defined by its distinctive architecture, musical exports and sports clubs - Manchester.
We really want to leverage the incredible travel knowledge from the thousands of subscribers that make up our Porter community. Therefore, if you’ve ever visited Manchester, let us know the things you loved doing, or the places you stayed at. If we love your recommendations we’ll feature them in next week’s newsletter.