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Cardiff vs. Conwy for a weekend visit

My daughter and her fiance, in their young 20's, are living in Southampton for six weeks. Her fiance has a busy work week but they have their weekends to explore. They'd like to plan a weekend somewhere in Wales. They said it would be convenient to get to Cardiff by train. They think northern Wales looks nicer, so they'd consider choosing a town there (perhaps Conwy?), but it would be a longer and more expensive train trip. Does anyone think it's worth the extra time and money to go to Conwy instead of Cardiff for this two day/one night stay? What, specifically, are some things they might do in each of the two places I've mentioned, accessible by public transportation? They don't intend to rent a vehicle. Is there another town to consider?

Posted by
5817 posts

They are 2 very different places. Cardiff is a city, Conwy is a small town. Cardiff probably has more things to “do”, Conwy has more history and more beautiful scenery.
Of the two I would always choose Conwy, BUT not for one night from Southampton. It’s just too far away, especially on the train. Your daughter and her fiancé would have a bit more flexibility if they extend the weekend to 2 nights 2 days. Travel on the Friday evening, after work and they will have a whole day( and a half) at their destination rather than just two half days.
One thing to watch out for with Cardiff is to make sure a visit doesn’t coincide with an event at the national stadium , when the city is packed and prices sky rocket.
I don’t know South Wales very well but friends who went to college there love visiting the Mumbles for the weekend. Lovely beaches and great pubs.

Posted by
378 posts

At this time of year I'd opt for Cardiff. The weather could be grim and Cardiff offers much more to do indoors and there's always a pub or coffee shop within easy reach to dive into. Within the city centre is Cardiff Castle, Cardiff Museum and Gallery (with some fantastic impressionist art), great shopping around The Hayes area including Victorian Arcades. Take a bus out to St Fagans museum. Catch a show at the Wales Millenium Centre, New Theatre or St David's Hall. If the weather is nice head down to Cardiff Bay and take a stroll around - you'll see the Norwegian Church and can even walk across the barrage to Penarth.

Posted by
2685 posts

In this case, I too would opt for Cardiff. Conwy is nice if you had more time and I loved its castle. If you, or they, are into castles, there are three near Cardiff, in addition to Cardiff castle.

Posted by
932 posts

Has Cardiff been revitalised? Admittedly many years since I have been but it used to be a complete dump.

Posted by
16843 posts

Cardiff looked perfectly nice to me last August, though I only visited for a day.

Posted by
378 posts

Ha ha Gunderson. I've been here 20 years and it's pulled its socks up a lot! Currently a lot of construction going on in front of the railway station that should smarten it up further.

Posted by
1834 posts

Cardiff has been transformed! http://www.visitcardiff.com

As others have said, Conwy is too far to go from Southampton for a weekend. Direct trains go from Southampton to Cardiff hourly and it takes just over 2 hours. (These trains can get crowded as they are usually only 3 coaches. 5 coach trains will appear on the route this summer).

Please note that some of the smaller shops in the Victorian arcades are not open on Sundays.

As well as the city centre/castle & bay area, they might like to go to St.Fagans Castle & Museum of Welsh Life - Easyway Bus 32A every 30 minutes (usually) and it takes about 25 minutes (from Westgate Street). Redevelopment work near the station means that Cardiff does not at present have a bus station - so buses are on the streets.

Caerphilly Castle is a 17 minute train ride north of Cardiff.

Avoid these dates (known so far) due to major events:> March 11 (Rugby Wales v Italy); March 17 (Rugby Wales v France); June 15 (Rolling Stones); June 21 & 22 (Ed Sheeran).

Posted by
4163 posts

James said it well. We followed some of his advice prior to our visit to South Wales last October.
Cardiff has Cardiff Castle as well as other castles not far away.

Also, St. Fagan's Museum of Welsh Life is a few miles west of downtown Cardiff.

Posted by
932 posts

Ryan and Gill, I plan on visiting Britain in 2022. I will meet you in The City Arms at noon on the 24th Of September, where we can compare notes. As hosts, you can buy me and the missus a nice pub lunch, washed down with plenty of real ale. I'll be wearing a Swansea City scarf - or a Milwall FC scarf if I feel up to some real argy-bargy.