Cardiff Life and Travel Tips
(Cardiff, South Glamorgan, South Wales, UK)
Cardiff, Europe's youngest capital city, is a popular city to visit at any time of year and Cardiff has a year-long calendar of exciting, major sporting, musical and cultural events and festivals.
With direct flights to Cardiff International Airport from many different destinations in Europe, the city is particularly busy during the summer months, when the weather can be very warm. Many people travel to Cardiff during the winter months, to enjoy the Welsh Christmas festivities and to do their Christmas shopping in the city's numerous shopping centres.
Cardiff is at its quietest from January to mid-March, when the weather is at its coldest, and this is probably the only time when hotels in the area reduce their hotel rates in an attempt to attract more tourists to the capital.
Tourism and Tourist Information
There are several excellent tourist information offices and outlets throughout the city of Cardiff and these provide useful tourist information, such as brochures, maps, attractions information, opening hours, directions, travel and airport details, and general tourism details. The main tourist information office in Cardiff is situated in the Wood Street, conveniently in the heart of the city centre.
Cardiff Visitor Centre
Address: The Old Library, The Hayes, Cardiff, Glamorgan, CF10 1NE, Wales, UK
Tel: +44 (0)8701 211 258
The friendly and helpful Cardiff Welcome Centre is a modern tourist information centre, full of useful visitor information. Located within the Old Library building, the Visitor Centre is home to many useful tourist information brochures, the latest details about local events and festivals, restaurants details and guide books, available in different languages.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 17:00; Sunday - 10:00 to 16:00
When visiting Cardiff, as with any large city, it is advisable to always maintain an awareness of your surroundings and try not look like a tourist when visiting. Crime levels here are generally low, although it is still sensible to be careful with hand baggage and valuable belongings. Consider wearing your handbag or camera across your body, or even using a concealed, secure money belt.
Jobs and Employment
The employment scene in the capital is quite diverse, with many being employed within the hospitality industry, as well as working at the shopping centres and banks. Whilst the city recently suffered at the hands of the recession, Cardiff jobs are certainly available, ranging from basic sales assistants to high-paid specialist executive jobs. The city has become central to the Welsh media industry, being home to the biggest multimedia and television sector based outside of the city of London. Amongst the area's main employers are BBC Wales, ITV Wales and the neighbouring Valleywood studios (Dragon International Film Studios), as well as various head offices located at Brunel House and the Capital Tower. Both the National Assembly for Wales and the NHS Wales are further significant employers in the city.
Places of Worship
The spreading city of Cardiff, capital of Wales for 50 years, is home to a large number of different cultures. Most religions have a good presence here and many churches belong to the Church of England, functioning as places of worship for the Anglican faith, although all faiths are always welcome at these churches. Newspapers generally list times of services for the main denominations. Cardiff contains numerous cathedrals, chapels, mosques, temples and synagogues.
Pharmacies and Chemists
Cardiff's pharmacies are usually open from around 09:00 to 18:00 or later many of the city's supermarkets often have in-store chemist areas. Drugstores will usually open until 18:00, although some drugstores in Cardiff stay open until later, and these usually have a pharmacy counter for dispensing prescriptions. When chemists are closed, any opening hours of late-night chemists are usually indicated
English is the most commonly spoken language in the Cardiff, although many locals are also able to speak Welsh. Even English is spoken with a very strong Welsh accent and this is usually easy to understand. The Welsh are notoriously friendly and usually more than happy to assist.
Tipping in Cardiff is fairly discretionary, with local taxi drivers usually being tipped a few pounds or more - although this is by no means essential. Restaurants in Cardiff often include service charges and these are always clearly stated on the restaurant's menus, otherwise a tip of around 10% is generally expected in recognition of prompt and courteous service. Hotel staff, such as luggage handlers, happily accept a tip of one or two pounds. Generally, no other public service workers in the city area expect tips of any kind.
Cardiff has yet to joint the European Monetary System and so the currency in Cardiff remains as pound sterling. Bank notes are available in 50, 20, 10 and 5 pound denominations, with coins being £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p. Currency exchanging in Cardiff is easy to obtain throughout the city centre, and ATM cashpoints provide one of the easiest and most convenient ways to exchange foreign currency when visiting Cardiff.
In many buildings and on public transport in Cardiff, rules restrict smoking and this is usually indicated by no-smoking symbols in prominent places. Most pubs and bars welcome customers who wish to relax with a drink and smoke, although many tend to cater for smokers in different areas.
Smoking in Cardiff, and Wales as a whole, is not as fashionable as it once was, so it is always worth exercising discretion and sensitivity when selecting a place in which to smoke. The best advice would be not to smoke unless others around you do so.
Invitations to Eat
Much of Cardiff's business is done over the dinner table and business lunches frequently take place many of the more central restaurants. In most good city restaurants there will be a comprehensive wine list and tables at the restaurants should usually be booked in advance. Business dinners in Cardiff are also often conducted at home and these tend to much more informal evenings.
The British love pubs for their informality and social atmosphere, and this city is certainly no exception. Cardiff is home to countless public houses, wine bars and hostelries, with some being frequented by business people, locals, celebrities and others by visitors and tourists. Most local pubs and wine bars are very friendly places, coming with a good mix of customers.