In recent years, Cardiff has greatly expanded its air facilities, and flights now wing in from across Europe, although there are still no direct flights between London and Cardiff. Airlines that service Cardiff International Airport (tel. 01446/711111; http://info.cwlfly.com) include KLM (tel. 0870/243-0541; www.klm.com), which offers transfers, through Amsterdam, to points around the world; BMI Baby (tel. 0871/126-6726; www.bmibaby.com), which flies from Cardiff to Belfast, Edinburgh, and Glasgow; and Aer Arann (tel. 0870/8767676; www.aerarann.com), which flies between Cardiff and Cork, Dublin, and Galway.
The Cardiff Bus Service (tel. 0871/2002233; www.cardiffbus.com) operates bus no. X91, which travels between the airport and the bus station at hourly intervals from 7:15am to 8:25pm Monday to Friday. On Saturdays, the X91 operates from 7:25am to 8:25pm, and on Sundays, services X5 and X91 operate between 9:05am and 8:25pm. The cost of a one-way trip is £3.70.
Trains arrive in Cardiff at the Central Station on Wood Street, in back of the bus station. Trains from London pull in at the rate of one every half-hour during the day; the trip takes 2 hours. Trains also arrive every hour from Glasgow and Edinburgh; trip time is 7 hours. Trains from Glasgow often stop at Bristol; trains from Edinburgh often stop at Bristol or Birmingham. For rail information and schedules, call tel. 0845/748-4950 or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk. For bus and motor routes into Cardiff, call tel. 0870/580-8080 or visit www.nationalexpress.com. The trip is about 3 1/2 hours from London.
If you don't have a car, you must depend on taxis, buses, or your trusty feet to get around in Cardiff.
There's fairly good bus service, even to the sights in the environs. Your hotel staff will usually be able to help you plan a day's outing. Note that prices of bus routes vary according to the number of zones you want to travel in. One-way travel within zone 1 (the commercial heart of the city) costs £1.20 for adults, and 80p for children. One-way travel across all four zones of the city (a very large metropolitan area, taking in far-flung suburbs) costs £1.60 for adults, and £1.10 for children.
For bus routes, go to BWS Caerdydd, Wood Street (tel. 0870/608-2608), which is the office of Cardiff City Transport. Across from the bus station, it is open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm, Saturday 9am to 4:30pm. Bus service on Sunday morning tends to be infrequent, and service stops completely every night at 11pm.
Taxis are usually easy to find, especially in the busy shopping areas, and most cab fares within Cardiff range from £5 to £15 each. The most prominent taxi stands are at the rail and bus station and at St. David's Hall. Or you can have your hotel or the place where you've dined call you a taxi. Wonder of wonders, the meter starts ticking only when you get into the vehicle, not when it leaves the station, as is the case in most U.K. cities. For service, call Capital Cabs at tel. 02920/777777 or www.taxinumber.com.
One of the most efficient ways to see Cardiff and the attractions within its central core involves joining up with one of the open-top bus tours conducted by City Sightseeing (tel. 1708/866000 for information about its services throughout the U.K., or 029/20473432 for information specifically about its services within Cardiff; www.city-sightseeing.com). Tours follow a clearly signposted itinerary that begins outside Cardiff Castle (at Castle St.). Tours cover a route that incorporates the most visible monuments of Cardiff. Participants can get on or off the bus at any of the designated stops, returning for the next bus to carry them on to the next monument. Adults pay £9, students and seniors £7, children ages 5 to 15 £4, and a family ticket costs £22. Tour times change from month to month; call for a current schedule.
For information about Cardiff and its environs, the Cardiff Visitors Centre is at the Old Library, the Hayes (tel. 0870/121-1258; www.visitcardiff.com), in the heart of the city. Hours are Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 6pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm. In July and August, it is open daily 9:30am to 7pm. A branch office at Cardiff Bay, the Tube, Harbour Drive (tel. 02920-463833), lying 2.5km (1 1/2 miles) to the south, is open Monday to Friday 9:30am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.