Cardiff caravan park is quite a surprise in that its located right in the middle of Cardiff itself situated within the large multi purpose park, rather like Central Park in New York, although not square, or Hyde Park in London. Whilst the pitch fees are quite expensive the location makes up for this and certainly seems very popular as when we stayed here at the beginning of April the site was just over half full by my estimation.
The site is very easy to find with good instructions on their website http://www.cardiffcaravanpark.co.uk and is also very well signposted with the familiar brown signs.
Because its so close to the city and is not a secure site you need to be a little more security conscious. For example if you have bicycles on the back of your Motor Home make sure they are secured and locked up.
It has a very well established tree and shrubbery line right around the camping area which serves very well to so significantly reduce the noise of the city close by. You could almost believe your actually out in the country. Its so well hidden that many of the locals are not even aware that its here. Talking to the Tesco delivery man, who I had to explain on the phone where it was, was amazed having played football just a stones throw away had no idea it was here.
The showers and toilets are well heated which can be a bit of a problem to some people like me who can’t just go to the loo, they have to sit there and read or, as in my case, play a game on their phone. This is a problem because after a while being sat there and if no one else comes in the lights turn themselves out.
Mobile phone reception is very good across all networks but alas there is no site wifi or public hot spot close enough.
There are a number of shops and pubs within 5 minutes walk away with just about everything you could possible need.
The city centre is just a short 10 to 15 minute walk through Bute park and comes out right next to the castle. Just over the road from the Castle is the shopping area which contains a mix of high street type shops, victorian style shopping arcades and modern malls.
For those who love their tea I can highly recommend Barker Tea House in the high street arcade which is just off high street which is directly opposite the entrance to Cardiff castle. They have a bewildering array of speciality teas and hot chocolates along with some very delicious looking home made cakes and serve breakfast between 8:30 and 12:00. After that they server the traditional cream teas with scones and cakes beautifully presented on a cake tower.
The décor, at first glance, appears to be just old random things but as you look you get the feel that’s it does have a theme of Victorian railway. I may of course be wrong and someone will have a better idea. Either way the seating is comfortable and luxurious will big leather chairs and sofas. A truly pleasant invironemnt to take a break from shopping or sightseeing and meet up with friends for a natter and recharge of the old batteries.
Another absolute must for breakfast is Garlands Eatery & Coffee House. They do a marvellous breakfast called a Full Meaty which I can highly recommend. It has everything you need to set you up for a sightseeing or shopping day, well presented, tasty and serves on piping hot plates.
Cardiff has one of those large indoor markets (http://www.cardiff-market.co.uk) which housed a very special treat for me. On the balcony above the row of butchers there is a traditional barber shop, really should be called Sweeny Todds, that does Hot Towel Shaves for just £13. If any of you guys have never had a hot towel shave now is your chance as this is a dying art form and one of the greatest pleasures that a chap can have. Those that have had them will know what I mean.
A short walk from the caravan site in the same direction of the castle and city centre you can catch the water bus that takes you into Cardiff Bay that has loads of restaurants and attractions.
For Dr Who fans, and who isn’t, the Dr Who Experience is a must go and see. Its £15 for Adults and £11 for children. For your money you get a half hour interactive experience which is very well produced (I would expect nothing less from the BBC) where you have to help the Doctor escape from the Pandorica 2 and along the way in good old Dr Who fashion your put in mortal danger and held captive by the Daleks. Once you have helped the Doctor escape and got out with your life you then go into the exhibition area where they have all the costumes of the past Doctors and their companions as well as many props used in the programs.