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Cardiff here we come !!

County Westmeath...
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Cardiff here we come !!

Hi All

Just finalising plans for weekend in Cardiff for South Africa rugby match - looking forward to the stadium and of course the city (both for the first time)

As recommended on a previous post, we are going to the bay first on the morning of the match and weather permitting, will go out on a speed boat trip (boys will be boys !).

I assume the city centre will be heaving so maybe someone can recommend somewhere at Mermaid Quay or nearby for lunch (pub grub or other) I see Brazz is recommended - any comments ? Anywhere with particular good views of the bay for a nice pint or grub ?

We might then get the waterbus up to the stadium - what do ye think ? I note this could take 40 mins - is it worth it ? It's just I thought it might be a nice way to see the stadium for the first time !! But time is at premium so maybe just a bus or taxi from the bay to the city centre ? Waterbus could seem very slow after the speed boat ???

Thanks for reading this and all help will be greatly appreciated. We go away once or twice a year for weekend sport trips and I always check here first with lots of silly questions but the advice is absolutely priceless !! (and I will report back !)

Cardiff, Wales
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1. Re: Cardiff here we come !!

Make sure you book the high speed boat trip ASAP - demand is really high and you may already find you're out of luck unfortunately - check out the website www.bayislandvoyages.co.uk

Don't go to Brazz - its great but really upmarket and expensive (£7 for cheese on toast and a glass of wine!) - fine for a dress up meal or a bite to eat before the ballet but probably not what you're looking for!

For really good pub grub and beer go to Terra Nova right on the front of Mermaid Quay - big character Brains pub (the Cardiff beer)decked on two stories with balconies overlooking the water. You will need to get there for 11.30am at the latest to get a balcony place if its a good day but the interior is pretty good also - like different cabins on a ship with wooden floorboards, panelled walls - even a crows nest - at least my three year old son likes it! I have never had a bad lunch there and the prices are not too bad - for beer ask for 'Brains SA' which can mean 'special ale' 'same again' or 'skull attack' depending on how many you have - not quite Guinness but a fair pint!

Right outside the Terra Nova is the boarding area for the waterbus, where you can check the timetable and ask about the journey times - there is always someone on hand to advise.

Failing that get the Bay express bus (a blue bus) which stops a few yards from the Terra Nova every 10 minutes. Journey time to the city centre is about 10 minutes max (maybe longer on a match day if there are diversions) but check out www.cardiff.gov.uk and follow the link to info on the bayexpress bus service on the front page (blue icon on the left).

I think that's all I can think of for now - happy to offer any more advice on things to do so keep the questions coming!

County Westmeath...
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2. Re: Cardiff here we come !!

Jim you are a gent !

Thanks for your quick and very useful reply.

I have the speedboat booked already thankfully. Terra Nova sounds perfect on all accounts. mmm yes, Brains SA - I have heard about that alright - while we do want to try the local brew, I understand too many of them and we might not get as far as the match !! Thanks for the bus info also - that's all great to know. I do have some more questions for you - transport to our hotel on Sat night. I understand taxis could be a problem - we are staying near the airport as we have an early departure - any advice ? Could or should we pre book taxis or a minibus (there are 9 of us !). Or is just a matter of locating a rank and be patient ? Finally, what is 'the' rugby bar in the city ? i.e. owned or frequented by past players ? Or are ther just too many to mention ? Cheers again.

Cardiff, Wales
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3. Re: Cardiff here we come !!

Glad to be of help!

Available taxis can be impossible to find on a match night. You could try asking them whether it would be possible to book ahead. The numbers of licensed firms are easy to remember: 02920 333333/555555/777777.

If you're staying near the airport there is an hourly train service from Cardiff to Rhoose (a mile from the airport) with a connecting shuttle bus service to the airport. It runs till about 22:30 - 23:00 every night. Check out either www.thetrainline.com or Arriva Trains Wales (the operating firm)itself (www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk) to see what the service will be on match night - Cardiff central station is usually bedlam on match nights but they miraculously manage to get everyone on the trains and home - it can be quite a laugh - there is never any trouble. I have never seen so many semi/unconscious people still standing up on a train as I have done on a match night - purely because there was no room to fall over - but nearly all come round when it stops at their station!

As for 'the' rugby hangout/s - mmm - I'll have to check on that and report back! The City Arms is legendary (right next to the stadium on Westgate Street/Quay Street) if you can get in. You may also find that the Welsh speaking crowds (and maybe some of the players) flock to the pubs along Cathedral Road (The Cayo Arms, Y Mochyn Du, and The Halfway) which is a bit out of the main city centre bit (but still only 10 mins walk from the stadium). You'll probably find some of the past legends will be at posh and private events in hotels though! I'll do a quick reccy with my more 'in the know' Cymry and report back!

By the way - if you're arriving the night before the match and looking for good food - head for Le Monde (or failing that the Brasserie) at the bottom of St Mary Street opposite the Travelodge - great steak and fish.

Cardiff, Wales
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4. Re: Cardiff here we come !!

Forgot to mention - if you need a minibus, try Creigiau (pronounced craig-ee-igh) Travel 02920 890220 - good family firm who will probably be able to advise on alternatives if they can't help.

Cardiff, United...
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5. Re: Cardiff here we come !!

There are many good restuarants on Cardiff Bay & it may be quieter then the city centre. I would say the Tera Nova is a good choice - but 1 of many. Look at www.bigcardiff.co.uk for info on stadium, pubs,restuarants.

I work on the trains, based at Cardiff & unfortunately working on Saturday 19th. The suggestion of train to/from Cardiff Central (2 mins walk from staduim)- Rhoose is a good one. You have good views of the stadium by train as you approach the city.

All trains from Rhoose go thru Cardiff Central Station. They leave approx 5 mins past each hour. They leave approx 45mins past the hour from Cardiff Central. If you show you airline tickes when buying rail ticket you may well go for half price. Only cost couple £s each way. Journey time: approx 30mins.

There is a complimentray minibus outside Rhoose station taking you to/from airport terminal, timed to meet the trains.

www.arrivatrainswals.co.uk

On the matter of getting from Cardiff Bay to stadium, I would suggest a short walk from Mermaid Quay area to Cardiff Bay rail station, this will take you Cardiff Queen Street, only few minutes journey. You can then walk to the stadium, about 10mins or so. I cannot comment on boat trips as haven't done 1 yet, but my suggestion should work ok.

I would only use Cardiff Central station when essential which is to get train back to Rhoose, for the airport. Only take train destination Bridgend for going thru Rhoose. Allow plenty of time to catch train as may be queueing system in place. It will be busy whichever way you go - but to be fair the atmoshpere is generallly very friendly whoover you support..... as long as don't win. I am English so match days are not quite the same fwhen we play due to more rivalry.

Enjoy.