Car-free adventures aroundCardiffSouth Glamorgan

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GWR trains run direct from London Paddington to Cardiff in less than two hours. Avoid the motorway hassles and relax on a classic railway journey to Wales. Although it’s one of Europe’s youngest capital cities, Cardiff boasts 2000 years of history, from the 12th century castle on its grassy mound to the gleaming Millennium Building beside Cardiff Bay. It’s easy to get around on foot and is a great hub for car-free journeys. Here are some of the best: a stroll round the city, St Fagan’s outdoor museum by bus, Cardiff bay by boat, and the Taff Trail by bike. It's an ideal city for staycations - scroll to the end for a few more tips.

  • County: South Glamorgan
  • Great for: boat trips | castles | culture | museums | Shopping | Walks |
  • Refreshments: Plenty to choose from
  • Please note: researched/updated November 2023. If anything’s changed or you have tips to share, do get in touch:
  1. 4. Taff Trail by bike, foot or bus

    This epic 57-mile route from Cardiff to Brecon follows a former railway line, ideal for exploring by bike.

    • The turrets and towers of fairytale Castell Coch stand in the woods just six miles from the start of the trail. Follow Good Journey’s directions.
    • To see it without cycling, catch hourly bus 26 from Kingsway by Cardiff Castle to Tongwynlais and walk up Mill Road.
    • Veteran cyclist John Harding is enthusiastic about the Taff Trail and its changing scenery:

    “Before leaving Cardiff, we had already seen herons and kingfishers as the path hugs the river through spacious parks and meadows. Beyond Pontypridd, the narrow well-signed trail passes disused coal mines, now grassed over and beautified. From Merthyr to Brecon, we climbed over plunging viaducts and cycled above the Pontsticill reservoir through woods full of wildflowers. Leaving the forest trail, we heard the hooting of the Brecon Mountain Railway. A high pass, a three-mile descent, and ten miles along the historic canal towpath, past Victorian hump-backed bridges, brought us into the ancient town of Brecon with its towering 12th century cathedral. Returning, from above the Talybont Reservoir we enjoyed a downhill run of sweeping rural elegance into Merthyr Tydfil, where we took a slow train through the mining towns back to Cardiff Central station.”

  1. Buses, bikes and places to stay

    Here’s a bit more practical info for anyone planning a staycation in Cardiff

    • If you’re taking several bus rides around the city on the same day that you arrive by train, get a bargain PlusBus ticket for unlimited travel around the whole urban area.
    • You can hire bikes from Pedal Power.
    • There are lots of places to stay in Cardiff, including the waterside River House. It’s close to the train and bus stations with a farmer’s market outside on Sundays and organic coffee and Welsh cakes for breakfast.