IT’S that time of year again. Cardiff is readying itself for the return of the Six Nations. But what should fans do in the city before Wales’ opening game with Scotland this weekend?
Food and drink
When looking for a pre-game bite to eat, you will want to be in the centre of town to soak up the atmosphere. Cardiff really comes to life on match days, and anywhere along St Mary’s Street is guaranteed to provide the atmosphere you seek.
The Prince of Wales and The Gatekeeper offer reasonably priced pub food within a stone’s throw of the Principality Stadium, and the City Arms is another option just across the road from the ground.
If you are looking to eat in a sporty environment, head to Gareth Bale’s sports bar Elevens Bar and Grill. Situated on Castle Street, just opposite Cardiff Castle, Elevens is only a few minutes from the stadium, and is decorated with all sorts of sporting memorabilia.
For a more traditional pre-match environment, head to Rummer Tavern. Rummer Tavern is one of the oldest pubs in Cardiff, and is believed to date back to the early 18th Century. Owain Glyndwr on St John’s Street was also established in the 18th century, while The Goat Major dates back to the early 1800s.
When looking for a place to eat after the game, The Hayes is the best place to look. There you have a range of restaurants, including Five Guys, Giovanni’s Italian restaurant, Miller & Carter Steakhouse and Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant in St David’s Shopping Centre.
As the game is a 2.15pm kick-off, road closures will be in effect from 10.45am until 5.15pm.
The following roads will be closed in their entirety: Duke Street, Castle Street, High Street, St Mary Street, Caroline Street, Wood Street, Central Square, Westgate Street, Quay Street, Guildhall Place, Golate, Park Street, Havelock Street and Scott Road.
Road closures will also affect:
- Kingsway from its junction with North Road to Duke Street
- Cowbridge Road East from Cathedral Road to Westgate Street
- Tudor Street from Clare Road to Wood Street (access for residents and traders will be permitted via Fitzhamon Embankment)
- Plantagenet Street and Beauchamp Street from Despenser Place to Tudor Street (access for residents and traders permitted)
- Saunders Road from its junction with St Mary Street
- Customhouse Street throughout its length (access to private car parks permitted)
- Penarth Road from Saunders Road to the entrance leading to the rear of the Central Train Station.
To ease the congestion, Cardiff Council has organised Park and Rides across the city.
One is at Cardiff City Stadium in Leckwith. This will cost £10 on the day, or £8 if you pre-book. This can be accessed from junction 33 off the M4 and then by following signs to Leckwith Road.
The first bus will leave at 9am. The final bus will leave the pick-up point, Tresillian Way North, behind Cardiff Central Station at 6.30pm, with the car park closing at 7pm.
The Principality Stadium is just a 20-minute walk away from this car park, and you will also be covered for food. There is a McDonald’s, a KFC and a pub, The Sand Martin, all outside Cardiff City Stadium.
Another event day Park and Ride is open at Sophia Gardens, half a mile from the stadium.
This is just outside the SWALEC Stadium, so will be easy to find. The easiest way to get there is to exit junction 32 of M4 and follow the signs for the SWALEC Stadium. It costs £15 and is open from 8am until midnight.
Situated just outside Bute Park, you could go for a walk along the River Taff before the game, weather dependent of course, and those who are not drinking could stop off in Pettigrew Tea Rooms for a pre-game refreshment.
Sophia Gardens is about 10 minutes walk from the Principality Stadium, and a similar distance to the city centre.
Disabled fans are advised to use Sophia Gardens.
There is also parking around Cardiff University, at King Edward VII Avenue, where a day ticket costs £12.
An option that may interest those visiting Cardiff for the first time is parking at Cardiff Bay. There are a number of car parks available and a wide range of places to eat. Everything from Subway and Nandos to Pizza Express and Las Iguanas.
While at the Bay, be sure to check out the Wales Millenium Centre, the Senedd and the shrine to Torchwood character Ianto Jones.
If you are looking to take in some traditional Welsh cuisine, you can’t go far wrong with trying some Welsh cakes from Fabulous Welshcakes.
The Bay is a 30-minute walk from the Principality Stadium, but you can catch a four minute train from Cardiff Bay Station to Queens Street, which costs £2.10, and then walk through the city centre to the stadium.