At the foot of the Welsh Valleys, stretching out into the Severn Estuary is the capital of Wales, Cardiff. It’s an easy place to visit for a caravan holiday, with a campsite right in the centre of the city and within walking distance of the dominant Cardiff Castle and all the main shopping streets. Cardiff’s Principality Stadium (once known as the Millennium Stadium) is also within walking distance while the Sophia Gardens Stadium, home to Glamorgan Cricket and an international Test Match venue, is next door to the campsite.
A little further afield, at the regenerated Cardiff Bay, you can investigate all things Dalek and Tardis-like as the TV show Doctor Who is filmed at studios in Cardiff (though, it should be noted that the Doctor Who Experience visitor attraction no longer exists).
It’s very pleasant to stroll around the waterfront, where you can’t fail to miss the little, timber-constructed Norwegian Church. Now an arts centre with a very good café, the church has notable connections to the children’s author Roald Dahl. Dahl was born in Llandaff, an area of Cardiff to Norwegian parents, who would worship at the church and baptised their son here.
Cardiff is stuffed full of museums and art galleries, too, plus the Wales Millennium Centre, the futuristic building being home to the national arts centre for the country. But on the outskirts is the very special St Fagan’s National Museum of History. An open-air museum, here are 40 original buildings from different parts of Wales illustrating a fascinating social history of the country.
If you feel like getting splashed, don’t miss the wonderful Cardiff International White Water, also in Cardiff Bay. Book up for a superb white-water rafting or kayaking experience. There’s also white water tubing (effectively sitting in an inflatable doughnut) and stand-up paddleboarding. Across the road is Ice Arena Wales, where you can get your skates on or watch an exhilarating ice hockey match.
Things to do
1. Enjoy the city’s castles. You get 2000 years of history when you visit Cardiff Castle, which surely makes it great value for money, or if you’re in a romantic mood perhaps you’d like to visit Castell Coch, just north of Cardiff city.
2. Learn about money and much more at the Royal Mint Experience, one of the top tourist destinations just 20 minutes from Cardiff and a great day out for all ages during caravan holidays in South Wales.
3. People from all over the world visit The National Museum Cardiff, making it a must-see attraction during caravan holidays in Cardiff.
4. Don’t miss Cardiff Bay during your caravan holidays in South Wales. Visit Wales Millennium Centre, an architectural masterpiece, the slate and steel building now an iconic landmark famous the world over. If you have children, head to the Red Dragon Centre, with a cinema, bowling and many bars and restaurants.
5. The National Assembly for Wales meets at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, an award winning, innovative, Lord Richard Rogers designed building made of glass, steel, slate and concrete with a striking roof that’s lined with red cedar. But it’s not just a place for politics, visit the home of the Welsh Assembly for events, exhibitions and a café, or take one of the free, pre-booked guided tours.
When to visit
Cardiff looks stunning at any time of year; the Sophia Gardens are filled with spring bulbs throughout March and April, while Cardiff’s waterfront areas are perfect for a stroll in summer. There’s usually plenty of winter entertainment, too, when an ice rink, big wheel and Christmas markets appear.
Be mindful that when there’s an international rugby match scheduled, the city can become choc-a-block with traffic and people.
Cardiff sits adjacent to the M4, thus many people coming to the city will use this to get there on their caravan holidays. If you’re travelling from the Midlands, take the M5 to Bristol where you can join the M4 and head west into Wales on the Prince of Wales Bridge.
A particularly pretty route when approaching from the north, is to leave the M5 at junction eight and join the M50 which will take you to Ross-on-Wye where you can join the A40. Near Raglan you’ll need to join the A449 then follow this south until it meets the M4.
From Brecon, take the A470 south to Cardiff, the A4042 the main route from Abergavenny to Cardiff.
Where to stay
Cardiff Caravan & Camping Park is in an excellent location, right in the centre of the city and within walking distance of Cardiff Castle and the main shopping streets. It’s within the Sophia Gardens, a large and beautiful city centre park and bike hire is available on site.
For other great caravan and touring parks, be sure to take a look at our guide to the best caravan parks in Wales – in it, we reveal the 15 sites from across the country that feature in our 2022 Top 100 Sites Guide.
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You'll find plenty of things to do and places to see in Cardiff to keep you occupied for weeks