A jaunt around Cardiff doesn’t have to cost the earth darlings, it is regularly named as one of the most affordable cities in the UK. with a huge variety budget friendly things to see, do, eat and drink in this hip city.
For the budget conscious foodies out there, you are frankly spoiled for choice when it comes to eating and drinking, there are lots of indies, quirky cafes and cheap eats in the capital, just waiting for you and your hard-earned pennies. Plus, wherever you see a link in this guide, there is a Wriggle deal to be had, even better!
Take a trip around town with our guide to affordable spots in the city, you deserve a day out right?
Cardiff’s regenerated waterfront area has a very Costa-del-Cardiff vibe going on, with pavement café’s, bars with outdoor seating, green spaces, cycle paths and a selection of eateries. Here you can bike or walk over the barrage to soak up some scenery and maybe even some sunshine, should you get lucky with the Welsh weather.
For food and drink options try Octavo's Book Cafe and Wine Bar, a quirky and independent book shop that also serves delicious soups and sandwiches, or try coffee and custard filled pastries from traditional Portuguese bakery Nata.
Cardiff is renowned for its range of vintage Victorian arcades across the centre, there is the Morgan Arcade, Royal Arcade, Castle Arcade High Street and Duke Street Arcade, some retaining their original facade.
These arcades are absolutely chocka with vintage and independent shops and cafes. Here you can buy vegan bath balls from the ethical Miss Patisserie, deli goods from Wally’s Delicatessen, grab lunch at Servini’s, pick up delicious cheeses from Madame Fromage, or treat yourself a liquid nitrogen ice cream from the innovative Science Cream.
Go for a stroll in one of the most beautiful and most extensive outdoor spaces in Cardiff, Bute Park. There is urban woodland, sports pitches, arboretum, horticultural features and pretty river corridor to wander through. Why not grab a brew and a bite to eat in one of the many cafes’ in and around the park?
Pettigrew Tea Rooms have a smashing selection of homemade cakes to feast on as you ‘people watch’ in the park. Trust us, Cardiff has some right characters wandering around.
Take a trip to Cardiff Market for a low cost and kooky shopping experience. This vintage Victorian structure houses traders selling everything from fish, fruit and veg, books, records, cakes and fabric as well as having traditional style cafes and even pet stalls. Stop off for a There’s surely not many places where you can pick up a sea bass, an egg bap, watch batteries, a pet rabbit and some welsh cakes all in one go right? Word on the street is that Wriggle faves Outpost coffee will be heading that way soon to keep your brains caffeinated whilst browsing.
There’s not many cities that can boast of having a whopping great castle in the middle of the city centre but Cardiff proudly has that historic accolade. Cardiff Castle has survived 2000 years of history including, conquests, rebuilding and passing through a variety of noble ownership. Cardiff residents can apply for a ‘castle key’ for free entry to this historic attraction. Make sure you take a selfie in the stocks, you know, for the gram.
National Museum of Cardiff
Entry is free to Cardiff Museum, so you can admire contemporary art, learn about the evolution of Wales and marvel at the dinosaurs. They also have a shop selling Welsh souvenirs, a lovely little café and a regular program of free and low-priced events for visitors to enjoy. Whilst you are there why not grab a coffee and a cake from cute coffee cabin, Brodies coffee, located in the adjacent Gorsedd Gardens.
There is a huge amount of food and drink options in Cardiff’s small yet vibrant city centre, you could spend days eating your way around this town. Some of your daytime foodie choices include Brunch at the uber cool KIN+ILK, veggie and vegan delights at Café Atma, a banging bacon Bap from Cardiff Institution, Hayes Island Snack bar, or filled chapatis from Gina’s Café.
There’s also a growing culture in Cardiff of venues turning into hip pop-up foodie jaunts at night. One of the newest being the Blue Honey night café, a late-night café bar providing great food, drinks and music, that is based out of traditional daytime British Café Sully’s.
Post Game Celebration (Or Commiseration)
If you are planning on having a big night out after the game I urge you to end the evening at legendary Cardiff institution ‘Chippy lane’, or Caroline street to use its actual street name. Chippy Lane has a host of late night chips and kebab shops where you can grab a huge lamb doner of after a night on the lash.
Getting Your Drink On
There’s also a plethora of drinking options in the city centre, If you love a decent pint of ale head to the iconic City Arms, a ‘proper boozer’ in the city centre. The Pen and Wig is another marvellous traditional pub option, offering quizzes, roasts and open mic nights. Tiny Rebel Cardiff is another great choice for craft ale lovers, this kooky bar is part of the home brew sensation that began in a garage to becoming award winning brewers Live music lovers should check out Brewhouse and Live Lounge for a stellar line up of local acts belting out tunes to go with your tipple.
Looking to laze around with a drink in a comfy yet cool bar? Why not try 29 Park Place is a self-proclaimed ‘home away from home’ three story bar that still manages to retain a chilled vibe. Enjoy creative and delicious cocktails amid plush sofas and lounge style surroundings.
On a budget till pay day? Drinks offers and the happiest of hours can be found at the likes of student favourite Buffalo Bar, Bavarian drinking hole Bierkeller and party bar, Revolution.
Getting Your Classy Drink On
If you would like a touch of class when imbibing then the lovely Nine Yards serves both little cakes and a selection of prosecco as well as a full range of drinks, these guys understand that fizz is best served with a side of sweetness.
City Road and Cathays
There are many culinary treasures on City Road one of Cardiff's most multicultural streets, here you will find grills and shakes at New York Diner, enticing Asian street food at Katiwok, proper good kebabs at troy and tempting vegan eats at the eclectic Milgi.
Cathays options include stunning shawarmas at Falafel Kitchen, homemade food at independent bistro The Pot and award winning Greek food from The Hellenic Eatery. One of the best pubs in the area is The Flora, enjoy £5 cocktails in a traditional-meets-hipster setting.
Canton and Pontcanna
The burgeoning foodie areas of Canton and Pontacanna have a selection of ‘oh so trendy’ establishments, here you will find home roasted coffee at Lufkin, pop up pizza perfection from Dusty Knuckle, brunching options at Welsh Deli Canna Deli, lush burgers from Time and Beef and traditional Thai food at the vibrant Bangkok café, to name but a few. There are a selection of watering holes here including St. Canna Ale House, Pipes Brewery and the café bar at the artsy Chapter Arts Centre.
There is a real mixture of established venues and exciting new restaurant and café popping in this pretty residential area. After a stroll around the magnificent Roath park, being particularly careful not to be attacked by the resident swans, there are several eating and drinking options available to you.
Feast on the finest sushi from Ichiban, brave a fiery curry from Chaiholics, or try Italian inspired dining from trendy restaurant Porro. There is also a traditional famer’s market every Saturday, where you can pick up local produce and chat to a range of community growers about where your tomatoes have come from today.
Thank you to penny saver, Portia Jones for this great list