Thursday, 30 April 2015

Hotels in Cardiff: A Doctor Who Fan's Guide

Looking for the perfect place to stay in Cardiff Bay...? You've come to the right place!

It will come as no big surprise that Doctor Who fans are travelling from far and wide, all over the world to visit its current home sweet home in Cardiff, Wales. Whether it is to set foot on much loved filming locations, visit the Doctor Who Experience or take a trip on the tour, the BBC’s decision to film the series around South Wales has been credited with breathing new life into the region.

I live two and a half hour drive away from the Welsh capital, and my first ever visit was during my 21st Birthday when Luke treated me to a trip on the Doctor Who Tour. Like many others, I spent the days leading up to my short break scouring the internet looking for the best hotel, at the best price and in the best location, but with no prior knowledge of the city I struggled to find one to suit all of our needs.

This led me on to put together a brief post about the hotels I have stayed in during my many visits Cardiff, allowing you to decide which would work best for you. I have only ever stayed in the Cardiff Bay area (So I'm a teeny tiny bit biased...). This is where you can find the majority of Doctor Who locations, it is where the Experience is based, and the BBC Studios are located only a short walk away. Plus, it is bursting with the best restaurants, cafes, bars, local supermarkets and lots of touristy attractions such as the Millennium Centre, the Marina and the Norwegian Church. Why would you want to stay anywhere else...?


Cardiff Bay Atlantic Wharf

Hemingway Road, Cardiff, CF10 4JY
0871 9846424

This hotel is located closest to the Bay, and is where myself and Luke have spent the majority of our stays. It is affordable - we have paid anything between £12-£79 for a room (the earlier you book, the better!) It has excellent views of either the city skyline or the bay, includes free parking (just make sure you get your parking ticket validated before leaving on reception), accessible and is next to all the local amenities.

The hotel is located directly next to the Red Dragon Centre, which boasts oriental restaurants, a local pub, a casino and a bowling alley. It is also a 5 minute walk from Cardiff Bay train station; where you can get a cheap train direct to the city centre, a 5 minute walk from the Millennium Centre, and a 10-15 minute walk from the Doctor Who Experience. You can find out more information along with the tariff for this hotel here.

Future Inn
Future Inn Cardiff Hotel
Hemingway Road, Cardiff, CF10 4AU
+44 (0)29 2048 7111

We have stayed in this hotel twice before and I highly recommend the accommodation. Future Inns prides itself on rooms starting from £59 per night. Hot Tip: If you are thinking of booking this hotel, make sure you book 21 days in advance to take advantage of their 21 day advance rate, it works out a lot cheaper in the long run. 

Great Customer Service!
We booked our first stay at Future Inns for Valentines Day back in 2014, also known as "Flooded February". Unfortunately, due to the flooded roads and poor driving conditions we didn't make our trip down as we were forced to turnaround and head back home. I was devastated as it was 3pm and the contract stated that we needed to let the hotel know we were no longer staying before this time. However, the staff over the phone were very accommodating, they understood our frustration and helped us rearrange our night away to April - free of charge! We were very impressed, and when we did eventually come around to spending our stay here, the staff were lovely and welcoming - we felt like we were staying in a 5*. 

The hotel has free amble parking, is easy to find and is a 5 minute walk from the bay area. It also boasts a delicious bar/restaurant with a tasty English breakfast served every morning (trust me, I've tried it!). Find out more about what this hotel has to offer here.

Holiday Inn Express
Holiday Inn Express Cardiff Bay
Longueil Close, Cardiff CF10 4EE
029 2044 9000

My most recent trip to Cardiff saw us stay in the Holiday Inn Express during Valentines weekend. We paid £88 for bed and breakfast, which I thought was pretty decent considering it was peak season for couples. Please remember that this is the reservation price, which needs to be paid upon arrival to the hotel in order to secure your room. The hotel itself was very clean and modern, with amble space which altogether made for a nice and peaceful nights sleep. I would certainly recommend setting your alarm to get up in time for the full English breakfast with all the trimmings - a great way to start the day - (and I'm not even a morning-person!)

The Holiday Inn is located about a 15 minute walk from the Cardiff Bay amenities (Millennium Centre, Train Station, bars), a 5 minute walk from the County Hall, and a 15-20 minute walk from Cardiff City centre, which is suitable for guests willing to walk to their destination whether day or night. Many of the rooms look on to the picturesque docks behind the hotel or to the very residential area surrounding the site. It is located in a very quiet area, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of shops and bars - which some visitors may prefer - but is easily accessible from all the central link roads running around the capital. You can find out more about this hotel, including room tariff's, here.

St Davids Hotel & Spa
St Davids Hotel Cardiff
Havannah Street, Cardiff CF10 5SD
029 2045 4045

Now for the biggy. I have to be completely honest, this option is just thrown in as it is on my personal wishlist. Since I first visited Cardiff I have only dreamt of staying at St David's, but I still haven't had the chance to do so. Classy but modern, the room tariffs are pricey but just wait to you see the views. 

If you are staying in Cardiff for a particular reason, or just feel like splashing the cash, I would definitely say go ahead and book this hotel, as it is the most iconic, stand-out hotel there is in the city. Over-looking the bay it is in a centralised location with all the local amenities surrounding the hotel.

I can't speak as a visitor as I have not stayed here myself, so if any readers have stayed here, please make me even more jealous by lifting the lid on the hotel and I will be sure to update this post. You can view a more detailed description of the hotel, along with room tariffs, here.

So there you have it, my advice on the best hotels to stay at in and around Cardiff Bay. I hope this equips any first-time visitors out there with knowledge to help decide on the best option for you. If you would like to ask any further questions regarding any of my stays at either of these hotels, please do not hesitate to email me at .

In other news, I am running the Cardiff Bay 5 mile on Monday 4th May in aid of Prostate Cancer, if you happen to be in Cardiff around this time, come and show your support. More information on why I am running the 5 miles, here. 

I look forward to writing my post about my recent trip to Cardiff in the next couple of weeks. It's been a busy month or so, and I just haven't had chance to get back to blogging. To make up for it, I will leave you with a teaser of my next post, cue video:

Blog to you soon