Compact and stuffed full of interesting things to do, Cardiff is a great city for a weekend break. It has lots to appeal to sports fans, there are fascinating arts venues to visit, and you can also spend time finding out about its intriguing history. Mostly flat in the centre, it’s relatively easy to get around and its many modern buildings mean access is good. It also has a small, friendly airport that makes it easy for disabled people to visit.
Where to Stay in Cardiff
Because its independent hotels tend to be in older buildings, the most accessible accommodation in Cardiff tends to be in chain hotels, but there are lots of them and they’re mostly well located for exploring the city centre. You’ll find it fairly easy to get cheap deals and you can be confident that the accessible rooms will meet international standards.
Staying by the waterfront in the centre of Cardiff is a great choice as hotels there offer spectacular views across the city and are well positioned for access to most of the major attractions. Most of the larger hotels have accessible restaurants of their own and there are many more places to eat close to the bay.
Cardiff has a light rail network with reasonably good accessibility which can be useful if you want to visit the surrounding countryside. Within the city, however, it’s not much help, and the best way to get around is by bus. Most buses are wheelchair accessible and can be lowered to the kerb for easier access.
The majority of taxis in Cardiff are small and are not wheelchair accessible, though if you can manage on your feet for short distances the drivers will usually be happy to carry wheelchairs in the boot. Capital Cabs and Dragon Taxis are private hire companies with more accessible vehicles but you will need to phone them (your hotel can supply the numbers) rather than relying on finding cabs in the street.
If you take your own car you’ll find that parking in Cardiff is easier than in most similarly sized cities. A car is useful for exploring further afield as practically every route out of the city takes you up a hill, but there are great views once you drive to the top.
One of the venues for the 2010 Olympics, Cardiff is a great city for sports fans. You can watch football or rugby or get active yourself. The city’s spectacular fifty metre swimming pool offers good disabled access and there are regular sledge hockey games to join in with at the ice rink. There are several adventure sports centres in the local area, some of which have facilities for disabled visitors, so why not have a go at water sports or climbing?
Enjoying the Arts
Cardiff is the centre of the Welsh arts scene and the centre of Cardiff’s arts scene in the Welsh Millennium Centre. Wheelchair access is good throughout the building though it’s a good idea to book early if you need a priority place at a theatrical performance. There are assisted performances for people with sensory impairments, who can also benefit from adapted tours of exhibitions, with great support from staff.
Also well worth checking out is the New Theatre, which has a good number of accessible places available if you book and attracts some world class shows. There are assisted performances available and disabled visitors can benefit from extra parking spaces as well as subsidised tickets. The city is also home to the National Museum Cardiff which has full wheelchair access throughout as well as other facilities to help make your visit easier.
No trip to Cardiff is complete without a visit to the castle. Although this is a very old building and visitors with mobility difficulties will find it hard to get into the apartments or towers, the first two floors and the interpretation centre are fully accessible and can easily keep you occupied for a full afternoon. There are also extensive level grounds ideal for picnics. Audio tours are available for visitors with visual impairments.
Cardiff is full of interesting places to discover and you’ll be surprised by how much historic material has survived in this thoroughly modern city. It’s a delightful place to get away from it all and you needn’t worry that disability issues will stop you having fun.