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Cardiff

Posted by Heliocentrism on December 10, 2017

Sunday, August 20th – 21st, 2017

In Cardiff we visited Cardiff Castle, which comes with an okay audio guide. The castle is very nice and the interior was unexpected.

Cardiff Castle was built in the late 1200’s. When I think of old castles I think of cold, dark, and dank (and not the good meme-like dank) places. Like the Tower of London which gave off a very dank vibe. Cardiff Castle felt more like a home; a home that was turned into a museum, but still a home.

We had a very nice time at Cardiff Castle. It’s wasn’t too eventful, just nice.

Saving Money While Backpacking

Some of the hostels Mark and I have been staying in have been okay, but lacked something… We stay at hostels because they are a lot cheaper than hotels and because we want to meet other travelers. But many of our hostels act more like bars with rooms.

The accommodations are inexpensive, but you are highly encouraged to eat and drink at their overpriced pubs. Some ban guests from bringing outside food into the hostels. Others provide a kitchen just big enough for them to advertise that they have a kitchen, but not big enough for more than one person to cook at the same time.

If you are traveling for a weekend, those kind of hostels would do. But for Mark and me, traveling the world, we want to save money where ever we can. Cooking for ourselves is a great way to keep costs down. So in Europe, we needed to find hostels that would allow us to do that.

Mark in the kitchen

In Cardiff we bought memberships in YHA which is the youth hostel organisation in Wales. YHA is a subsidiary of Hosteling International (HI). After enjoying our first night in Cardiff, we have tried to stay in an HI hostel whenever we can. There is a long list of benefits for choosing an HI hostel over other hostels.

They are generally cleaner. Like any chain brand, they have a reputation to keep up. Hostels in HI have to meet a certain level of cleanliness and they have to be environmentally friendly as they do it.

They have better kitchen and clothes washing facilities. Although they do have cafes and bars, no one is pushing you to eat and drink there. Because of this, they tend to have less drunk travelers.

They are more family friendly. The downside is that you’ve traded in loud drunk backpackers for loud annoying kids. But, I’d take the kids over the backpackers because children have a bedtime. Besides, kids staying at an HI hostel will be placed in a private room with their parents.

The HI hostels are less expensive, generally. Plus, as a member you get £3 off per night per member for your stay. Also, when renting a car it’s good to know that most, but not all, come with free parking.

Overall, HI hostels helped Mark and I to save money on our trip. I feel more comfortable and at home in these hostels. The employees act more in control of the running of the hostel. For example, if something is broken, they will fix it or call someone who will, rather than waiting until the end of their shift and letting some other staff member deal with it.


The United Kingdom

How to get there:

You can enter this country by land via an underwater tunnel, air, or sea.

Check with your local UK embassy for visa information.

Phone:

  • Use 112 or 999 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance

Website:

Data:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • If you’re going to do a lot of travel by train or bus, looking for a Rail card or bus pass before you buy your first ticket.
    • Railway Cards
    • Oyster Card
    • Even getting a day pass on a bus could be cheaper than getting 3 single passes, or a return ticket and a single pass.
  • If you’re going to travel around the United Kingdom, you might want to get membership at one of the following:
    •  English Heritage – £54 / year for 1 person
    • National Trust England – £64.80 / year for 1 person
    • Scottish Heritage –  £49 / year for 1 person
      • All of these are a little cheaper when getting a group or family membership.
      • Many come with discounts for other things, like:
        • The Scottish Heritage gives you 20% off at all of their gift shops and cafes.
        • English Heritage gives you free parking at many of their sights.
      • As a bonus, it helps you when planning what to do and see in the country.
  • If you are going to stay in hostels, join Hosteling International, or any of its subsidiaries.
    • YHA – England & Wales
    • SYHA – Scotland
      • Membership at any of these will get you the discounted rate at any of the other hosteling organizations.
      • These hostels tend to be better than most other hostels.

Cardiff Castle

Basic Information

Website

Downloads:

Cost:

  • £12.50
  • You get discount if you have downloaded the audio guide app.
    • You can still use their audio if one is available.

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 16:00

Video

Notes:

  • Built in the late 11th century.

Map:

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