We didn’t have much of an itinerary when we arrived in Cardiff, but the top of our short list was Cardiff Bay.
We’re not entirely sure why it was so important for us to visit the bay, it’s not like we knew much about it, but we knew we needed to!
It turns out it was a wise choice and we highly recommend it to anyone visiting Cardiff.
Cardiff Bay, formerly known as Tiger Bay has a long, interesting and sometimes chequered history. Today the area shows little resemblance to it’s colourful past and has become one of Europe’s largest waterfront developments.
Completed in 2000 the Cardiff Bay Barrage transformed the area. The barrage effectively created a 200 Hectare freshwater lake and the bay as it is today sprung up around it.
Home to many bars, restaurants, exhibitions and the Welsh Assembly it’s a tourist destination in itself! Cardiff Bay wouldn’t be out of place if it was picked up and plonked anywhere on the sunny Mediterranean.
Getting to Cardiff Bay
Our trip to the bay started at Queen’s Street train station, it’s an old station currently undergoing renovation work, we hope they don’t take too much of its character away.
One thing we do hope they take away is the wheelchair lift up to the platform. What you can’t see in the picture’s is it travels up into the open air on the platform.
The other platforms have a “normal lift” but not the one to Cardiff Bay?
We understand any lift is better than none but this one although not a white knuckle ride is a bit scary. It could put some people off using the train!
If it’s all too much; buses also run from the city centre to the heart of the bay.
Once on the platform, the trains run frequently from Queen’s Street to Cardiff Bay. It’s a short trip of about 5 minutes. Cardiff Bay train station isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing but once you leave the station its a short walk to the bay area.
Bimbling on Cardiff Bay
Initially, we headed for the Wales Millennium Centre which as well as hosting shows and events is the tourist information centre. This is an impressive building overlooking Roald Dahl Plas and acts as a gateway to the bay area.
I could say Bridget posed for a few photo’s but she didn’t, I just plonked her there.
A point to note and you can probably see in the pictures the whole area is flat and fully accessible in a wheelchair.
We moved on down to the waterfront
Do you know when you go on holiday abroad and the vendors shout about their boat trips from the quayside; Cardiff Bay is like that!
It genuinely does feel like you’re abroad being enticed onto the boat trips.
The holiday feel continued when we took a moment to watch the world go by.
Sitting on the bay is like sitting outside a European cafe the morning after a late night.
Set against the background of bar owners clinking their glasses and shuffling their tables, the unmistakable smell of disinfectant, fresh sea air, gulls scrapping over food and that feeling of right now I’ve got nowhere else to go … it’s hard to believe you are only five minutes outside Cardiff city centre but you are!
Once we’d rested for a while we bimbled our way around some of the buildings which make up the Cardiff Bay waterfront:
The Pierhead building is a unique place. Not just a beautiful Grade One listed building it’s a place where people from Wales can go to express opinion, debate and generally be heard!
Click For More About The Pierhead Building
If you visit London you’d visit the House’s of Parliament so when in Cardiff! The Senedd is more like an urban art building than a seat of power. We were particularly impressed with the access ramp which is like a maze …cool!
For More About The Senedd and Visitor Centre
We’d heard a lot about the home-made cakes on sale in the Norwegian Church so headed on over there:
I can’t believe I didn’t take any photos of the cakes …duh! You’ll just have to take my word for it, they were lovely … click for more on the Norwegian Church
Not far from the church is the Dr Who exhibition, neither of us are fans of the Doctor and frankly we were both knackered by this point so we headed back to the hotel … not without one final little adventure though!
Back To Cardiff City Centre
To get back to the city centre, we took the Aquabus. For some reason, we had it in our head it would drop us off at the castle but it didn’t the last stop was the foot of the Millennium Stadium. It’s a bit of a walk back to the city centre but not too far!
The boat has a portable access ramp and plenty of room on board for the wheelchair, it’s only a short trip so you don’t get to see much. If you want a sightseeing trip this isn’t it.
Have you visited Cardiff Bay, what did you think of it?
Have you debated in the Pierhead building?
Have you tried one of the cruises, where did you go?
Share your Cardiff Bay stories with us …
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy Wheelchair Friendly Days Out