Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

16 Sep AA Roadwatch RWC Guide to Cardiff

Featured Image Credit: Dan Kamminga on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 licence

AA Roadwatch Cardiff Rugby World Cup Video

The good news is that Cardiff is generally a compact city and can be easily navigated on foot. The majority of shops, restaurants, hotels and attractions, including Millennium Stadium, are all within a few minutes’ walk of each other.

The guide is divided into two sections. The first is a general guide to Cardiff City while the section section is a guide to the Millennium Stadium itself, what to expect on match day and other tips.

Don’t forget, if you’re an AA Customer and you’re travelling to the Rugby World Cup we have a variety of AA Reward offers especially for the event itself; including ferry crossings, accommodation and food and drink. Click here to find out more.

Getting There

BY BUS

If you prefer to use public transport, Cardiff Bus runs an extensive service through the city. Take note that, similar to Dublin Bus, exact change is needed to travel on the buses. However, if you reckon you’re going to be knocking around Cardiff for a few days, you can get yourself an iff card.

Credit: Jeremy Segrott. Used under CC licence.

Credit: Jeremy Segrott/ Under CC licence.

Like the Leap in Dublin city, you can top up this card with money and simply select a ticket option and you’re away with it. The card itself is free of charge, so you only pay for the ticket option that you use.  There’s also a few discounts and offers available in local restaurants, cafes and shops when you show off your iff card. It also gets you 10% off all standard tours of Millennium Stadium – handy!

There’s also an iff app available for those of you with iPhones or Android smartphones. The app is easily downloadable from the App Store. After that, you add your payment method, pick your ticket and then simply, show the driver the ticket on your screen.

More information on the app can be found here.

BY TRAIN

Trains run from Cardiff’s Queen St station to Cardiff Bay and stop at a number of locations in the city. For up to date travel times and information on services, check out Arriva Trains Wales.

A shuttle bus service also runs from the train station to the Airport for passengers, which connects with all trains, to carry passengers on the short journey to the Airport terminal. The journey takes approximately 10 minutes and there is a charge of £1 each way on the shuttle bus.

BY CAR

If you’re heading to the stadium from Holyhead, you’ll take the A55 North Wales Expressway towards Bangor. Stay left of the A55 and then, exit onto the A487. Continue on the A487 southbound through Caernarfon and Porthmadog. That then merges onto the A470 and you’ll travel on Brecon. At Brecon, continue straight on the A40 towards Cardiff. A little further on, you’ll turn left at the roundabout onto the A470. The exits for Cardiff should be signposted from here onwards. Once you get to Cardiff, the A470 changes to Northwood. Follow North Rd to the end and take a rght onto Castle St. After the second set of traffic lights, turn left onto Westgate St. You’ll find the stadium then on the right hand side.Driving-abroad_600x300

If you’re travelling from London or Bristol, you’ll leave the M4 at J28 and then, take the A48 West and follow signs for the city centre.

Remember that the standard legal speed limit in Wales, for private vehicles without trailers is 30mph (48kmph) in built up areas, unless otherwise indicated while outside built up areas limits tend to average at 60mph (96kmph). On motorways and dual carriageways, limits are up to 70mph (112kmph).

Bear in mind that motor caravans with weight exceeding 3.5t or motor vehicles adapted to carry more than eight passengers are banned from the outside lane of a motorway with three or more lanes.

Keep in mind that if you are travelling by car to the UK for the RWC and are an AA member, you’ll be covered under AA Membership and Rescue Plus should you experience a breakdown.

Car Rental

If you’ve decided to rent a car instead of bringing your own to Cardiff, remember that you can rent a car with The AA. car-hire-260x300-v01Car Hire is available at most airports, ferry ports and cities worldwide, and it searches various companies which offers car rental.

To save yourself any extra stress or hassle, it might be worthwhile to take out breakdown cover if you’re travelling abroad. For more information on European Breakdown cover, see our website.

Also, if you do break down in the UK, you can call the AA on 0800-88-77-66.

Things to Do in Cardiff
While the focus of your stay in Cardiff will probably be the games in Millennium Stadium, there are a few interesting sights and attractions worth a look in the city if you wish to add some cultural value to your sporting trip.

  1. Millenium Stadium

Millennium Stadium itself is worth a visit, although you can’t get a tour on match days, for obvious reasons. You can take a look behind the scenes, including access to the dressing rooms, tunnel, VIP suites and press facilities. Tours last approx. 1hr and more details can be found on the stadium’s website.

  1. Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle is certainly worth a look during your stay. Being less than a 10min walk from the stadium, there’s no excuse not to pay this historical site a visit. It’s surrounded by plenty of green area, and you may find a lot of people chilling out and having a picnic (presuming the weather is OK). If you decide to take the tour, you’re in for a treat as there are pretty impressive views of the city from the top while in the castle itself, you’ll find some of the most amazingly lavish, highly decorated rooms you will ever see.

  1. St Fagan’s National History Museum

St Fagan’s National History Museum is Wales’ most popular heritage attraction. This open-air museum brings the Wales of olden days to life and gives you an insight into the history of the country and what life was back in the day. And the best bit… It’s free to enter.

  1. Boulders Indoor Climbing Centre

If you’ve got loads of energy to spare and fancy stepping out of your comfort zone a little, why not spend your time climbing some walls in Boulders Indoor Climbing Centre? It’s catered to suit both the young kiddies and bigger adults and full info on prices and opening hours can be found here.

  1. St David’s Shopping Centre

If you’re looking to do a spot of shopping your go-to place is St David’s Shopping Centre. One of the largest shopping centres in the UK, it’s less than a 15min walk from the stadium.

  1. The Doctor Who Experience

The Doctor Who Experience on Discovery Quay is a must see for Doctor Who fans of all ages, and indeed for anyone interested in seeing how TV shows are produced. You can book your tickets here.

Accommodation

AA Approved Hotels in Cardiff

Eating Out

Taking in all Cardiff has to offer can leave you feeling hungry. Luckily while walking around, you’re guaranteed to stumble upon some bars and restaurants that offer quality grub.  Just in case though, here are four places that have received AA Rosettes for their food (so you know it’s top notch):

Over on Tripadvisor, the top 5 restaurants (which vary in pricing) recommended by users are:

General Guide to Millennium Stadium

The national stadium of Wales may not have the same historic value as other national stadiums but since it opened its doors to rugby fans in June 1999, it has seen Wales secure two  Six Nation Grand Slam victories – the first in 2005 and again, in 2012. But Millennium Stadium isn’t just for the rugby fans. The Welsh soccer team play here too, and the FA Cup Final took place in these hallowed grounds from 2001 to 2006.

With a capacity of 74,154 it’s the third largest venue in this year’s Rugby World Cup series. And another fact – it’s the second largest sports venue in the world with a fully retractable roof (might come in handy in a pub quiz!)

Fixtures (Ireland and other Big Games)

Our very own lads in green kick off the action in Millennium Stadium on Sat 19th Sept at 2:30pm when they face Canada in Pool D.

But what’s set to be the best game of the series in Millennium Stadium will take place almost a month later on Sunday Oct 11th when we take on France in Pool D. Kick-off for that game is at 4:45pm and it’s sure to be a nail-biting, nerve-wracking must-see!

Apart from the Irish games, the Millennium Stadium will play host to a number of Welsh home games. The first, on Sunday September 20th, sees Warren Gatland’s side take on Uruguay and the second, on October 1st will see the meeting of Wales and Fiji in Pool A. Like any home game in Millennium Stadium, the Welsh fans are expected to be out in force so count yourself lucky if you can grab yourself a ticket – the atmosphere will be electric!

The weekend of Oct 17th and 18th will be the final weekend of Rugby World Cup games in the Millennium, as the stadium will set the backdrop for two of the four quarter finals. With a bit of luck, the Irish may just be heading back to Cardiff for another showdown!

Getting To The Stadium

Luckily, Millennium Stadium is within a five minute walk of both Cardiff’s Central Railway Station and Central Bus Station. If you’re travelling by rail, First Great Western operates main line routes to and from England and West Wales. If you prefer to take the bus, Cardiff Central Bus Station is the start and end of most local Cardiff Bus services. Double check their website for travel updates on match-day services. They also have a handy app that works on both Apple and Android operating systems, which you can use to pay for day tickets. Normal fare prices can be found here.

To get to Millennium Stadium from the stations, exit the main entrance and take a left onto Wood St for Gates 5-7. For Gates 1-4, you can continue straight ahead from the station to Westgate St and Castle St.

If you’re driving to the game, you’ll travel to Cardiff city centre via the M4 and access to the stadium can be made using Gate 4 on Westgate Street in the city centre. Just keep in mind there will be road closures in place around the stadium on game days, which are listed below.

If you prefer to avoid city centre traffic, there are Park & Ride facilities available on match day which are easily accessible via J29 (Pentwyn P&R (White)) & J33 (Cardiff City Stadium P&R(Yellow)) on the M4. The cost is €8 (£6) per car. The car parks will open at 9:30am, with the first bus at that time also. The last bus will leave the pick-up point at 6:00pm, and the car park will close at 6:30pm. It is advised that you pre-book a park & ride space here.

Road Closures & Parking Restrictions

On RWC match days in Millennium Stadium the following roads are expected to be completely closed off to traffic:

Duke St, Castle St, High St, St.Mary St, Caroline St, Wood St, Central Sq, Westgate St, Quay St, Guildhall Pl, Golate, Park St, Havelock St & Scott Rd.

A number of roads will be partially closed to traffic on match days. The times of these closures will vary, depending on what time games are starting in the stadium.

  • North Rd from Boulevard de Nantes jct to Kingsway jct.
  • Kingsway between jcts North Rd and Duke St.
  • Cowbridge Rd East from Cathedral Rd jct to Westgate St.
  • Tudor St from Clare Rd to the Wood St jct.
  • Plantagenet St & Beauchamp St from their jcts with Despenser Pl to their junctions with Tudor St.
Places to Watch the Match Nearby

City Arms

Originally established in the 1880s, this cosy, traditional pub on Quay St used to be called The Cattle Market. This bar has an impressive selection of ciders and real ales and is located just a stone’s throw from the stadium.  The large projectors and extensive game coverage on match days mean that it is frequently visited by rugby and soccer fans alike and it’s set to be a popular spot over the course of the World Cup.

The Goat Major

The Goat Major on High St is well-known around Cardiff for its match day atmosphere and its menu devoted entirely to pies (yes, you read that right). If you’re a fan of your pastries then this is the perfect place for you. Steak and mushroom pies, Chicken and Smoked Bacon pies, Leek and Potato pies… the list goes on! Once you’ve had your fill, you can enjoy a quick pre-match pint here while taking in the views of Cardiff Castle across the street.

The Yard Bar and Kitchen

If the traditional, cosy bars aren’t your scene and you’re on the hunt for something more modern, then the Yard Bar and Kitchen on Mary St might be what you’re looking for. This is a great place for both match coverage and live Sunday evening jazz sessions. They also serve food throughout the day so whether you’re looking for your pre-match fry-up or a good quality burger, The Yard will not disappoint.

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Noel Byrne
byrneno@theaa.ie


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