On Friday 21st September, it was Shaun’s birthday and I had a surprise planned. It was a double celebration as Shaun had just completed his first week in his new job so I thought I needed to do something extra special. Inside his birthday card, I had stuck train tickets, we were going to Cardiff for the weekend!
The week before (yes, I am Miss Lastminute.com) I arranged the spontaneous weekend getaway. I searched my trusty friend Google for Short Breaks UK and Cardiff seemed like an ideal location for a change of scene. On Saturday morning, we woke up EARLY and hopped onto the 8:21 train from Romsey to Cardiff Central. It was raining but that wasn’t about to dampen our Welsh adventures…
Okay, it was raining a lot, so as soon as we arrived in Cardiff Central we quickly made an essential purchase and bought emergency umbrellas. As I had no clue where the hotel was at this point, I thought at least being lost with an umbrella would be our most preferable option.
Here is Shaun looking pleased with his new birthday brolly.
Give me coffee and cake over walking around shops any day. Our first stop was Coffee #1 for a Cappuccino Cake and latte. It would have been nice if we ate cake then conveniently arrived at our hotel, but of course nothing is ever that straight forward, ha ha. In actual fact, it took us nearly 2 hours to find the hotel as for some reason I thought I had booked a hotel in Cardiff Bay (a 45 minute walk from the centre, in the rain).
The caption of this photo is: “I’m stressed, but want to take a photo of that seagull”. When we finally arrived at Cardiff Bay, I checked Google Maps (WHY didn’t I do this before whilst in the warm coffee shop) to only then discover the hotel was actually back in the centre of town (45 minutes away, in the rain).
I guess when you have spent hours walking around Cardiff, finally arriving at the hotel is a very happy moment. I had booked the Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel & Spa which is conveniently located in the heart of the town (ha ha). On the positive, we had explored much more of Cardiff than we had anticipated, got a seagull pic and discovered that the bay had some nice looking restaurants for our evening meal.
The hotel was so warm and cosy and we were even offered a free drink at the bar on arrival.
For one night in the hotel, I paid £133 which is pretty reasonable considering the location, it was a Saturday night and you get full access to their spa (sauna, steam, Jacuzzi and pool).
Feeling relieved we had found our hotel and could relax!
Pretty sure we had walked past all the major attractions already.
You know it’s going to be a relaxing stay when your hotel bathroom has an actual bath.
It’s not a birthday without a few balloons, banners, cards and birthday confetti, right?
Feeling refreshed after visiting the spa and ready to brave the rain again for our evening meal…
Back at Cardiff Bay (we got the Queen Street – Cardiff Bay train this time which was only 4 minutes, yay) we picked Bill’s for our evening meal. All the earlier walking had made us absolutely STARVING so we were feeling ready for a big meal with ALL the courses. For starters: I chose crumbed halloumi sticks with lime aioli and Shaun ordered chicken skewers with spicy barbeque glaze, spring onion, lime and tzatziki.
We seemed to stick with the halloumi/chicken theme for our main course too. Mine: Halloumi Burger with tomato hummus, sweet chilli sauce, roasted red peppers, pea shoots, red onion, lime aioli, sesame bun and fries (sweet potato, of course). Shaun’s: Chicken Burger with creamy coleslaw, chipotle mayonnaise, sesame bun and fries.
Fun fact: On our first date Shaun pretended he liked sweet potato fries (because I had them listed as an interest on my dating profile, lol) and only confessed a couple of months later he actually didn’t like them. Thankfully I got over it and we are still together two years later.
Let me introduce you to the Melting Chocolate Bombe. Under it’s chocolate dome hat you have: brownie chunks, chocolate sauce, vanilla and chocolate ice cream, honeycomb and hot salted caramel sauce. YUM!
After our rather filling meal we had a little walk around Cardiff Bay at night all lit up with pretty lights.
Wales Millennium Centre – I was curious what the inscription meant and a quick search tells me: It’s a bilingual inscription in Welsh and English meaning “Creating Truth Like Glass From Inspiration’s Furnace”. There you go, this post isn’t all burgers and brollies ya know.
The next day, we went back to Cardiff Bay to get the Aqua Bus to the seaside town of Penarth.
It’s a small peaceful town by the sea and quite a contrast from the busy Cardiff centre.
You gotta have ice cream when you are by the sea, it’s the rules. After a while chilling by the seaside (in both ways, it was cold but relaxing), we hopped on the train at Penarth to Cardiff Central then switched to our Romsey train and got back in time for the X-Factor.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our Wales adventures. Have you been to Cardiff? Does your boyfriend pretend to like sweet potato fries? Where is your favourite place to go in the UK for a short break? I’d love to hear your recommendations for next time!
*This is a sponsored post which means I received a product/payment in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own.