I’m a bit of a secret (okay, not so secret) nerd.  Or is that meant to be geek?  I can never remember, although I have been told the difference enough times.  I think I am maybe both.  Anyway–I went to Cardiff last Friday, because in those Welsh mountains, nestled amongst the castles and sheep, is the Doctor Who Experience.

Doctor Who scared me as a small child.  Cybermen gave me nightmares and I think, but can’t be sure, it was banned in my house because I really suffered from some doozies.

That’s neither here nor there, though.  When the good Doctor came back to our screens, I watched.  I sat in my living room and watched every episode on Virgin’s Catch-Up service.  Ecclestone? Yup – loved him.  Tennant? Oh, yes please.  Matt Smith? Took a bit of getting used to, but, yep – loved him too.  Capaldi? I adore the man.

My daughter loves The Doctor too.  With a passion.  So, it happened that for her 16th birthday, we could be found posing alongside Cybermen and crouching to pat K-9.  My daughter ‘drove’ the TARDIS (and crash landed it); stole a crystal from a Dalek (and woke it up); wandered through a forest of Weeping Angels and, at the end of the day, saved the world.  It was great fun, well done and had just the right amount of terror/peril.

The backpacker Hostel we stayed in was pleasant.  If you’re on a shoestring budget and want to be in the centre of Cardiff, then I recommend the Nomad…just don’t expect frills–there ain’t none.

All in all, I would go again.  Maybe just for one night, though.  The prices are inflated, the tourism expensive and the streets haven’t been cleaned since the paving was laid down in Cardiff Central.  Seriously, it’s black and has more chewing gum attached to it than Wrigley’s has produced this century.  If you’re thinking of a visit, do yourself a favour and go to Cardiff Bay.  Get the bus from there to the centre for the castle (if you want to pay £22 to walk up some steep steps, of course), and to go to the huge mall the city centre boasts.  Be prepared to spend a serious amount of cash–it’s super expensive.

It’s worth a visit.  Just go prepared to be a bit, well, bored.  There’s not much to do.  The lady at Tourist Information was bored of me by 12 noon on the Saturday (I got there Friday teatime) after already telling me five ‘all day’ excursions.  They took an hour, with my 65 year old disabled mother tootling along with her walking stick.  Also, as a side note, saying a place is a tourist attraction because The Doctor ran past it, once, isn’t really true.  It’s a rather dull shop front, really.  They sell more overpriced touristy-gumpf.  Save yourself the trip.

Drive down, spend an afternoon at the Bay (hopefully they will have turned the water tower back on – it was off while I was there), then if you fancy a drink in the evening, stay in a Travelodge before heading home the next day.  See some Daleks and pose with an angel, then drive back, pleased you’ve been and pleased to be in the best place in the world.


6 thoughts on “A Weekend Of Daleks And Angels.

  1. Shame you were bored by Cardiff – sounds like you missed a lot. Stroll round the bay out to the barrage and watch the comings and goings – it’s free. Visit the Pierhead building and learn about Wales and it’s industrial heritage, and go on a tour of the assembly building – yup – all free.. enjoy Bute Park, Penarth Pier, The National Museum of Wales or watch the white water rafters at the rafting centre – again – all for free. Dr Who is fine and I’m glad your daughter had a lovely ttime. But please dont define Cardiff as a scummy over priced city that dines out on Dr Who. Thats so far from the truth Of the city many of us are to call home.

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    1. I would like to comment and give a (small) apology. I found getting to the places rather difficult. If you don’t have exact change for your buses, you can’t ride them. (We don’t have that here) for many places, we were charged £1.80 each for a single. I now realise that the ‘all day’ could have taken us on any route in bloody Cardiff, but not a single driver explained that. After Meg and I had taken out third bus ride in a day (£10.80) I realised we could not use the buses again.
      My mother is severely disabled and walks at around…oh, I dunno…slow snail? If that has an MPH, I don’t know it. We have to stroll. The big mall in the centre of Cardiff took hours to walk around. The Sainsburys near the Queen’s Street Station, to the Nomad Hostel, was a half hour walk for my mum. Walking when we had spent all our cash on three bus rides was not an option.
      We stayed in the centre of Cardiff, checked out the mall and the Tourist Information place, ate at a Wetherspoons and then found ourselves stuck. We thought (stupidly) that Cardiff Castle would be free, like Southsea Castle is in our town. Go look, have a poke around, have fun…
      Nope. £22 each to get past the entrance barrier. You can’t even go into the grounds without paying £66 for three people. Meg is 16 – no family prices for us. I took a picture from my side of the barrier and left. We went to Waterstones instead.
      Our weekend away and we went to the bay, saw some LOVELY THINGS at the Bay, had a wander, did Doctor Who and then we had nothing, because we could not get anywhere and could not afford an EXTORTIONATE £66 to enter the castle. We were bored. So bored we did what we do in Portsmouth…went to Waterstones, had a coffee, looked at books, went home (to the hostel)
      The town centre, in regard to my cleanliness statement, wasn’t *that* bad. We know the money isn’t there. in Wales, since mining, recession, businesses etc have left…we knew that. Your mall is lovely.
      Cardiff Central Station?
      We walked away from the station, heading towards town. It wasn’t nice. Vomit (dried) in the gutters. Sticky paving (yes, our feet stuck, as though squash was spilt on a kitchen floor and not cleaned?). Black grimy buildings. A job Centre with a woman shouting at her 6 month old baby to ‘drink the fucking bottle’…as first impressions went, we were scared. We hustled our way straight into the Town Centre, while Meg went white to the lips and we all thought we were about to be attacked. I kid you not. It was nasty to walk that gauntlet…but understand, for all Portsmouth is a *City*, we’re a seaside town. It’s like Cardiff Bay, you know? We weren’t prepared for what we found.
      I am sorry you think I might be insulting what is a BEAUTIFUL country, but your government, not your people, are responsible for those first impressions.
      I will go again, but I will stay at the Bay and just visit the mall. I will never use Cardiff Central again.
      (My daughter lived there–verifiable through FB posts and comments. She loved it. We did not. It’s subjective x)

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  2. Hi Kathleen, I’m enjoying reading your posts as they’re straight talking and honest.
    I went on a two day excursion to Cardiff with my daughter to see the exhibit, and as that was the main purpose for our visit there it was surrounded by plenty of walking about as the buses were not conducive to ‘incorrect change’ as you say. There was one stretch from the main shopping area out to Cardiff Bay where we were staying in the Travel Lodge which, quite frankly, had me very concerned… I am not jittery as have lived in Liverpool all my life (with it’s nice and not-so-nice areas), enjoying traversing areas on foot where others may consider themselves ‘at-risk’ – but in this instance I would have much preferred not to be taking this journey with my 10 year old daughter (at the time) at my side. Alone, no problem. With her to look out for… hmmm…..

    Anyway, on the plus side (apart from the extortionate fee to enter the castle which we didn’t pay and just looked in from the barrier!), the covered market was great to wander around, plus the myriad of shops to mosey past and we found a fantastic comic shop near to the railway station which lost us a good couple of hours and plenty of reading material for the journey home!! 🙂

    Our trip was during the height of Matt’s reign, with the crack in the wall and the materialising TARDIS being a wonderful opener to the whole show, followed by a flight in the TARDIS and then running from the Daleks, to the forest where we just didn’t blink…… you know why!!!!

    All in all I enjoyed my trip to Cardiff and would definitely go again, but this time I know what to expect and so shall go with a little more planning. I think just hitting Cardiff unaware catches you a little off guard and if you don’t have bottomless funds (which we most certainly don’t!) then you can get plenty of exercise walking about and trying to find things to do which do not cost a fortune!

    Loving the posts! Keep them up!

    Paul J Fleming 🙂

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  3. Having read your response to some comments about your trip to Cardiff, I have to say it is heartening to read that your daughter has, at such a young age, learnt that events and their remaining memories are worth so much more than possessions.

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