The compact Welsh capital offers so much for a city of its size: from the culture and heritage of its historical centre to the cutting-edge architecture of Cardiff Bay waterfront and its lively gay scene, expect to fall in love with the city’s infectious buzz and welcoming charm.
Like the city itself, Cardiff’s gay scene is small and compact – but with something for everyone. The main venues are focused around Charles Street and Churchill Way in the city centre, all within walking distance of each other.
An historic pub with a traditional glazed tile exterior, The Golden Cross is popular with a predominantly male, 30s crowd that likes to indulge its camp side with karaoke and cabaret. Bar Icon is a stylish little place for post-work or pre-club cocktails. WOW Bar appeals to a young, student crowd with DJs, live music, cabaret and drinks deals. Spread across 2 floors and a roof terrace, The Kings is a large, modern bar attracting a young gay/lesbian/mixed crowd – it’s the official pre-bar to gay dance club Pulse, which attracts a similar young, mixed crowd of party people and university students. For drag aficionados, Minsky’s Showbar is popular with parties and birthday celebrations as well as cabaret-loving gays and lesbians.
St David’s spectacular setting on Cardiff Bay and luxurious interiors has seen it voted one of the top UK’s top 10 hotels by Conde Nast Traveller. Its renowned Marine Spa is great for celeb spotting while its central location is in easy walking distance of all the city’s attractions.
Located a 15-minute walk west of Cardiff city centre, Maison Galles is a self-catering townhouse with stylish Welsh-French fusion décor. Close to the green spaces of Llandaff Fields and Bute Park, it houses up to 8 guests and boasts quirky details like bespoke wall coverings, king-size French beds and a mix of antique and contemporary furniture.
Welsh for “pink house”, Ty Rosa is a bed & breakfast that’s earned accolades from TripAdvisor and Britain’s The Times newspaper for its friendly, openly-gay attitude. There are 5 homely guestrooms in the main house, plus an annex apartment. It’s located a 15-minute walk south of Cardiff city centre – but hosts Paul and Stuart will point you in the right direction.
Showing its pride for all things LGBT and all things Welsh, Pride Cymru (the Welsh language word for Wales) takes place on the open spaces of Cooper’s Field. There are big-name Welsh and international pop acts performing live on the main stage, a cabaret garden, funfair rides, a cultural market with arts and crafts, and a family zone. There’s also a colourful parade through Cardiff city centre.
Held every October, the annual Iris Prize Festival is Cardiff’s LGBT alternative to Cannes. During 4 days of international film screenings, panel sessions and parties, 30 short films by or about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people compete to win the top accolade, valued at £30,000.
Cardiff is situated on the south coast of Wales, 132 miles west of London. Regular trains connect Cardiff to London in just over 2 hours, while Cardiff Airport is served by numerous European airlines including Flybe, Aer Lingus, Germanwings, KLM and Vueling.