Where to Stay in Cardiff – 5 INCREDIBLE Areas for 2024

The iconic red brick Pierhead Building with the modern Wales Millennium Centre in the background, situated on the waterfront

If you go to the Southwest corner of the United Kingdom, you will find Cardiff, the magical capital of Wales. While it may be small compared to the European capitals, Cardiff is the UK’s 10th largest city and the largest city in Wales! It has a lot to offer to different travelers, so it is no wonder why you would want to know where to stay in Cardiff.

To help you make a decision, I compared all the Cardiff neighborhoods and came up with a definitive list of the 5 top places to stay in the city. To make things even easier, I went through all the hotel options and handpicked the very best ones for every type of traveler – from high-end hotels to budget-friendly accommodations. Plus, they’re all sorted by price.

The ultimate place to stay if you’re visiting the city for the first time is the Cardiff City Center, home to museums, various eateries, and shopping spots. 

Whether you decide to stay in the center or in one of the other recommended areas, pick a hotel and make a reservation at least a month in advance – Cardiff hotels are quick to sell out!

Let’s go!

Quick Picks for Your Stay

Here are the best places to stay in the Cardiff City Center: 

luxury hotel
Elegant hotel lounge with plush seating, striking black-and-white carpet design, and ambient lighting from unique fixtures
mid-range hotel
Twilight view of the Angel Hotel's illuminated facade on a busy street corner with motion-blurred vehicle lights


Best value for money

budget hotel
Hotel room with a double bed, accentuated with teal pillows, a wooden desk


Best affordable accommodation in the center

Watch my video, it will give you a visual explanation of all the areas:

Here’s a map to help you visualize the 5 best neighborhoods for a stay in Cardiff:

A colorful map highlighting the best areas to stay in Cardiff, with numbered locations and labels for easy navigation
  1. CITY CENTER: for first-timers
  2. CARDIFF BAY: for culture
  3. RIVERSIDE: on a budget
  4. ROATH: the coolest area
  5. CARDIFF AIRPORT & BARRY: for the airport

1. Cardiff City Center – where to stay for the first time

Historic architecture lines the street in Cardiff City Center, with vehicles and pedestrian movement creating a vibrant urban scene

The bustling city center lies on the East bank of the River Taff and goes all the way down to Cardiff Central Station. Being Cardiff’s main business and shopping district, this lively neighborhood hosts international restaurants, 2 major Rugby union stadiums, shopping malls, hotels, and a lot of history and culture to meet the taste of any new visitor in the city!

Sports fanatics will love visiting the Principality Stadium (map), previously known as Millennium Stadium, Wales’s national rugby union and football stadium. This venue also hosts big music concerts and events, while history enthusiasts will have a blast from the past in Cardiff Castle, with its 2,000 years of history from the 11th century.

In Cardiff City Center, you can easily walk everywhere thanks to the Castle Quarter, a pedestrian area near Cardiff Castle that’s home to The Cardiff Market (map) and the St David’s Dewi Sant shopping mall (map). A short walk North of the Castle Quarter, you’ll find the National Museum Cardiff, which hosts many cool exhibitions. 

Castle Quarter is known for being the best area for nightlife in Cardiff, and being a major student city, you know the bars and clubs will be bouncing! It’s also home to shopping arcades. 

Cardiff is also a popular destination for stag and hen parties, but if you don’t know where to party, then go to Clwb Ifor Bach (map), a multi-story club with different genres on each floor. 

End the night on Caroline Street to grab your typical “post-party” snack. This street is often called ‘Chippy Lane,’ and you will find 100s of people here after a night out!

The city center is also conveniently located for exploring other Cardiff boroughs – I recommend checking out Plasnewydd, situated Northeast of the center and home to many cool bars, as well as Newtown, a residential area East of the center, also known as ‘Little Ireland.’ 

Just keep in mind that this part of the season can get very crowded during peak season, so there will be plenty of people around, and you might have to wait in line for some of the attractions. 

If walking is not your thing, the city center hosts the majority of bus services and 2 major railway stations, Cardiff Central and Queen Street. From here, you can easily get to other suburbs and cities; you could even go to the UK capital, London, Manchester, or metropolitan Birmingham, three other big, multicultural cities with a lot to offer!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Cardiff: a stylish bedroom featuring a plush bed with colorful headboard and a rocking chair, an elegant lounge with patterned carpet and contemporary seating, and a quirky cafe area with a green tiled wall and eclectic furniture.

Located in the heart of the city, this luxurious boutique hotel boasts a typical Welsh design and rooms with wonderful views of Cardiff’s city center. Try the delicious British menu at the rooftop restaurant and bar for a relaxing night after an intense day of visiting Cardiff’s best attractions! This is one of the best hotels in Wales!

Other accommodation options in Cardiff City Center

The Angel Hotel at dusk with streetlights and traffic lights on, and a streak of car lights captured in long exposure

A 3-star hotel offering comforts like an on-site restaurant, a lobby with a fireplace, and a conference space

A standard hotel bedroom with a double bed featuring teal and white bedding, wood furnishings, and soft wall lighting

This family-run hotel is 5-minutes away from Cardiff Central Rail Station and has 24/7 reception and high-speed Wi-Fi

A clean and contemporary apartment living room with a white dining table, black sofa, and minimalist decor

This centrally located house can accommodate 8 guests, with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room, and a kitchen

Things to do in Cardiff City Center

  • Be brought to the past by visiting the medieval Cardiff Castle 
  • Go shopping at The Cardiff Market or at St David’s Dewi Sant
  • Party the night away at Clwb Ifor Bach 
  • Catch a concert at the Utilita Arena Cardiff 
  • Watch a Rugby game at the Principality Stadium
  • Explore the exhibitions at the National Museum Cardiff

2. Cardiff Bay – best area for culture

A bustling waterfront promenade with people walking near stalls, a boat in the water, and modern architecture in the distance

Cardiff Bay (also known as The Bay), located South of the City Center, wins the title of the most vibrant district in the UK and one of the largest urban regeneration projects in the whole world! 

In fact, the city’s former dockland area has undergone a huge transformation in the past decades, and today, it hosts the best cultural attractions and hotels with amazing architecture (like the Pierhead Building and The Senedd)! 

Check out the Wales Millennium Centre set on the roofs of the bay for great theater and music shows, or the Techniquest, the UK’s longest-established science museum with interactive exhibitions. 

FUN FACT: Cardiff is the birthplace of the famous children’s author Roald Dahl. Roald Dahl Plass (map) is named after him and hosts many fairs, festivals (such as the Cardiff Mela Festival), and events.

The Mermaid Quay or the nearby Red Dragon Centre are waterfront leisure areas where you can go shopping or dining in one of the 30+ restaurants or just keep yourself entertained at the cinema or casino! If you want to spend time in nature, head to the Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve (map), where you can walk around and observe the local wildlife. 

Another point of interest in Cardiff Bay is the International Sports Village; here, you can go white water rafting at Cardiff International White Water, go climbing at Fun HQ, spend the day swimming at Cardiff International Pool & Gym, go ice skating at Vindico Arena, or see the Cardiff Devils in a hockey game. 

I highly suggest you explore the wider Cardiff Bay area! Go up North from the waterfront to Atlantic Wharf, a family-friendly area with a park and a children’s playground. Right next to Atlantic Wharf, you’ll discover one of the coolest parts of Cardiff – Butetown!

Cardiff Bay is also conveniently connected to the center and beyond, thanks to Cardiff Bay station, so you can easily move everywhere in the city – perfect for weekend visitors! However, I doubt you will want to leave this unique neighborhood!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Cardiff: a luxurious bedroom with an oversized bed and scenic window views, a living area with a modern sofa overlooking the waterfront, and a curvaceous indoor pool with blue tiles and comfortable lounge chairs.

Enjoy the stunning views across Cardiff Bay from your sumptuous room, located in an iconic building. Treat yourself and take advantage of the hotel’s luxury spa, 2 hydrotherapy pools, and relaxation room, where you can even get massages and beauty treatments! Grab a cocktail at the bar or have a romantic dinner at the on-site restaurant, Tir a Mor.

Other accommodation options in Cardiff Bay

An elegant hotel room with a plush bed, golden accents, and a unique textured wall panel

Relax in your family room and have a delicious self-catering breakfast while being a short walk from Cardiff Bay!

Exterior view of the Premier Inn Cardiff Bay, a modern hotel with a distinctive geometric facade and circular windows

Guests at the Premier Inn can enjoy comfortable rooms and benefit from Wi-Fi access and luggage facilities

Comfortable living room with a tan leather couch, plush white rug, and large windows in an upscale apartment setting

The apartment has a private, secure entrance, an open-plan kitchen, a dining/living area, and 2 spacious bathrooms

Things to do in Cardiff Bay

  • Watch a show at the Wales Millennium Centre
  • Attend an event at Roald Dahl Plass
  • Spend a relaxing day outdoors at the Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve
  • Have fun with your friends at the casino in the Red Dragon Centre
  • Check out the interactive exhibitions of the Techniquest Museum
  • Explore exhibitions and art events at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre (map)
  • Book your spot on the Wandering Bard’s Mythical West Wales Tour
  • Learn about The Bay’s coal exporting history at the Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre

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3. Riverside – where to stay in Cardiff on a budget

A serene riverside view with lush greenery, clear skies, and a small docking area on a sunny day

Riverside is a quiet residential area situated on the West bank of the River Taff, within walking distance of the city center. This local neighborhood is home to new houses, shops, and businesses built on the site, but also to a wide range of affordable hotels and hostels to suit all budgets and needs! 

Here, you can spend your days at a slower pace of life, having a taste of the real Cardiff lifestyle. Take a stroll around the many parks or do some activities in the sports grounds of the area, and make sure to stop at Riverside’s Sophia Gardens (map) for a nice picnic surrounded by vivid green. 

The Sophia Gardens belong to the Pontcanna area of the Riverside district, along with Pontcanna Fields (map) and Llandaff Fields (map). These sprawling green surfaces make up most of the area, but Pontacanna is also home to many hip cafes, gastropubs, and restaurants serving international cuisine, which makes it a very trendy spot in the city.

On the West border of Llandaff Fields lies the neighborhood of Llandaff and within, the Cardiff Metropolitan University (map). There are plenty of young people in this part of the city, so don’t be surprised when you feel the student vibe flooding the streets. 

Buy some fresh groceries on Sunday (like a real local!) at the weekly Riverside Farmers Market (map), where you’ll find artisan food producers from all over Wales selling delicious organic food. You can also head East across the river and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at Bute Park (map), which boasts a beautiful arboretum, Victorian gardens, and friary ruins. 

The best way of ending a relaxing day? Go to one of the many breweries in the area and sample their in-house craft beer, typical of Wales. If you’re already picturing yourself in this neighborhood, keep in mind that you’re not the only one. Take a look at the following hotels and book your favorite today!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Cardiff: a neat bedroom with a comfortable bed, a work desk with a classic wooden chair by the window, the inviting stone facade of a hotel with lush greenery, and a traditional pub interior with wooden tables and a fireplace.

A 4-star hotel offering cozy rooms with a flat-screen TV, a seating area, coffee-making facilities, and private modern bathrooms. Guests also get access to free parking, free Wi-Fi, and a bar, and the hotel also serves a delicious breakfast. The hotel is quite romantic, too, so it’s the perfect destination for couples planning a getaway.

Other accommodation options in Riverside

Stately stone-built Lincoln House with large windows, nestled in a residential area with lush greenery

A carefully restored Victorian townhouse with clean rooms, a bar, an amazing daily breakfast, and friendly staff

Cozy bedroom with a double bed, warm throw pillows, and bedside lamps

This comfortable room has an en suite bathroom, satellite TV, fast Wi-Fi, and provides access to a shared lounge

Bright and spacious open-plan living area with a well-equipped kitchen, dining table, and comfortable seating arrangement in yellow and blue tones

Situated on the 1st floor of a Victorian building, this 2-bedroom apartment features modern furnishing, and a fully equipped kitchen

Things to do in Riverside

  • Try new sports at the Sports Wales National Centre!
  • Have a picnic at Riverside’s Sophia Gardens (map
  • Do some local shopping at the Sunday Riverside Farmers Market
  • Spend an afternoon at Bute Park
  • Go on leisurely walks at Pontcanna Fields and Llandaff Fields
  • Take a trip to St. Fagans National Museum of History (map)

4. Roath – the coolest area where to stay in Cardiff

A busy riverside walkway with a lighthouse clock tower, blooming flower beds, and people enjoying the sunny weather

Situated 2.3 miles (4 km) Northeast of Cardiff City Center, Roath is a local neighborhood far from the hustle and bustle of most tourist areas, with hotels at more affordable prices and charming Victorian and Edwardian architecture. In this way, it is similar to Riverside but with a more alternative touch thanks to the mix of ethnicities, age groups, and independent and artisan traders.

Between local coffee and cake shops, organic produce shops, vegan and vegetarian restaurants, craft-ale pubs, and trendy cocktail bars, I would spend my entire holiday discovering all the traditional products, food, and drinks! 

But Roath also offers green open spaces that are definitely worth it… from the Roath Recreation Ground (map) to the Pleasure Gardens (map) and Roath Park (map), you can spend your entire day walking around or doing physical activities! 

When looking for nightlife spots, you shouldn’t miss out on The Globe, a live music venue situated in a former cinema. Here, you can attend everything from rock concerts to live comedy shows. 

If you’re going to Cardiff in October, don’t miss the ‘Made in Roath’ festival, showing the work of local authors, artists, designers, etc… in Roath, you will breathe the real soul of Cardiff!

Another cool event that takes place in Cardiff during the month of October is the Cardiff Half Marathon. If you’re interested in participating, I highly recommend booking your accommodation in Roath, seeing as the city center will be crowded and hotel prices will skyrocket. 

And don’t worry about getting to the center or around the city! The transport links are great, so you can hop on a bus and be there in less than half an hour. Even though you’ll spend some time going back and forth, you’ll definitely save some money on accommodation.

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Cardiff: a simple bedroom with neutral tones and ample lighting, a game room with a purple pool table and modern wallpaper, and an outdoor hot tub surrounded by lush greenery and privacy fencing.

Feel at home in this spacious and beautiful family-friendly house, where you can play with your friends and/or kids in the game room, relax in the hot tub or in the lovely garden, and have a nice barbecue outside! Conveniently located in the middle of the best bars and restaurants, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy the night.

Other accommodation options in Roath

A modern, open-plan living space with a kitchenette, comfortable lounge area, and skylights

Enjoy all the comforts of this light and spacious apartment, with a central location, close to the National Museum

Minimalist twin bedroom with white bedding and a large window providing natural light

Typical Welsh hotel with incredible self-catering English breakfast to start your day in the right way!

Modern living room with white furniture, grey floors, and pops of turquoise decor accents

Stylish apartment in a quiet neighborhood, perfect for family-friendly vacations or couples getaways!

Things to do in Roath

  • Hire rowing boats and pedalos to explore the lake area of Roath Park (map)
  • During October, take part in the half marathon or attend the Made in Roath festival
  • Explore the Howardian Local Nature Reserve (map)
  • Spend a night partying at The Globe
  • Plan some outdoor activities on the Roath Recreation Ground (map)

5. Cardiff Airport and Barry – where to stay close to the airport

A panoramic view of a beachside amusement area in Cardiff with a Ferris wheel and roller coaster against a clear blue sky

If you’re going to Cardiff for a short getaway or have an early flight and feel more secure finding hotels close to the airport, consider the Southwest outskirts of Cardiff. I recommend looking at the harbor town of Barry, situated on the Welsh Coast, 8.5 miles (14 km) from the center of Cardiff. While in Barry, you’ll be surrounded by the typical Welsh green landscapes and enjoy a rural environment!

From here, you can easily reach Cardiff thanks to the excellent public transport system, or take advantage of your position and visit the great attractions in Barry and the surroundings. Plus, Barry is just 4 miles (6.5 km) from the airport or a short, 10-minute drive away, while the city center is 12 miles (20 km) away from the airport – Barry is more convenient!

Spend a day on Barry Island Beach (map),  swimming in Whitemore Bay, then go for a walk in Knap Gardens (map) and relax on Cold Knap Beach (map). You can also spend some time wandering the incredible botanical gardens, Dyffryn Gardens, and explore the vast landscapes of Cosmeston Lakes Country Park (map) and its Medieval Village… staying outside of the city has never been so good!

If you’re traveling with kids, Barry Island Pleasure Park is a must-visit! At this amusement park, you’ll discover plenty of cool rides, but the best one of them is the Aerospace, the tallest and fastest thrill ride in the UK! This is just one of the reasons why I think Barry is a great place to stay if you’re traveling with kids. 

Barry is also an excellent destination if you’re visiting Wales during the Christmas season – it’s not as crowded as Cardiff, and there’s a Christmas Market, a Christmas Festival, and even a Mental Elf Run, which is actually a fundraiser. Sounds fun, right?

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Cardiff: a quaint bedroom with country-style decor and artwork, the exterior of a charming white building with warm lights and solar panels, and a rustic fireplace setting with antique kettles and a wooden chair.

Only a 5-minute drive from Cardiff, this 4-star hotel is the ideal location for a peaceful holiday surrounded by the green Welsh countryside. Here, you can enjoy stunning views from the outdoor patio and beautiful garden. Have a unique experience in the spa and try the local specialties of its award-winning restaurant!

Other accommodation options in Barry

Rustic country kitchen in The Old Barn with teal cabinets, exposed beams, and traditional wooden furniture

A comfortable B&B near Fonmon Castle, offering cooked-to-order breakfast, free parking, in-room Wi-Fi, and rainfall showers

intimate bedroom atmosphere with soft lighting and comfortable bedding

Delicious breakfast, spacious rooms with a private or shared bathroom, located just a 10-minute walk from Barry Island Beach

Charming beachside cottage with a spacious wooden deck and striped deck chairs under a white umbrella

Cozy and warm tiny house, with a king-sized bed, en suite bathroom, and a deck perfect for relaxing outdoors

Things to do near Barry

  • Relax at Barry Island Beach 
  • Stoll around Knap Gardens
  • Check out the stunning botanical Dyffryn Gardens
  • Enjoy the countryside animals at the Cosmeston Lakes Country Park
  • Spend a fun evening at the amusement park Barry Island Pleasure Park
  • Visit during Christmas time and attend the Christmas market
👑 Luxury price:US$200
💵 Mid-range:US$140
🛏️ Budget:US$90
📍 Best area:Cardiff City Center
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:Hotel Indigo
🧳 Best mid-range hotel:The Angel Hotel
👛 Best budget hotel:Cardiff Sandringham Hotel

FAQs about where to stay in Cardiff

Close-up of the Wales Millennium Centre with its iconic inscription, set against a backdrop of clear blue skies and historical architecture

💯 Which are the best places where to stay in Cardiff?

The best place to stay in Cardiff is the city center, where you can discover the top attractions and stay in the nicest hotels, such as the Hotel Indigo, which provides a luxurious experience, and The Angel Hotel for a more affordable stay. 

📸 What are the best things to do in Cardiff?

The Welsh Capital has a lot of attractions to offer: the National Museum, Millennium Centre (in Cardiff Bay), and Cardiff Castle being the main ones. Don’t forget to watch a rugby game in Cardiff’s stadium, and try the traditional Welsh food at a local restaurant.

👪 Where to stay in Cardiff with the family?

One of the best places to stay in Cardiff is Riverside, a quiet and residential area on the bank of River Taff, with lots of green spaces and nice hotels. Stay at The Beverley by Innkeeper’s Collection or the more affordable Lincoln House!

✈️ Where to stay in Cardiff close to the airport?

The best places to stay in Cardiff to be close to the airport are Cardiff’s southwest outskirts, close to Barry Island, in hotels surrounded by the green countryside. Stay at Three Horseshoes Country Inn or at The Old Barn for an unforgettable holiday!

🏨 When to book a hotel in Cardiff?

If you’re planning a trip to Cardiff, book your hotel at least a month in advance. Cardiff is a smaller city and doesn’t have too many hotels, so it’s essential that you secure good accommodation at a reasonable price – the sooner, the better. 

🧳 What to pack for Cardiff?

While packing for your Cardiff vacation, make sure to bring a light coat or a cardigan, waterproof shoes, an umbrella, and some casual shirts and pants

📍 Where to stay in Creigiau Cardiff?

Creigiau is a village situated Northwest of Cardiff and a great place to explore Welsh nature. However, there are no hotels or inns in the village, so I recommend staying in the Cardiff City Center and taking a day trip to Creigiau. 


Twilight view of a waterfront featuring lit-up historical buildings, a ferris wheel, and moored boats with reflections in the water.

We have come to the end of our magical holiday through Cardiff’s best places to stay and its unique neighborhoods. By now, you have probably made your decision on where to stay in Cardiff and which hotel to book. 

If you are still undecided, I can’t blame you – we went through so many options! So let me help you and give you my 2 favorite hotels, both in Cardiff City Center:

  • Hotel Indigo – An upscale hotel with a fitness center and a bar serving delicious drinks
  • The Angel Hotel – A very comfortable hotel with a fireplace in the lobby and 24-hour room service

Lastly, I highly recommend you book your Cardiff hotel well in advance, as accommodations sell out super quickly and you want to get the best deal for your stay!

Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any other suggestions or questions about the areas or hotels in Cardiff. I will be very happy to provide an answer!

Have a wonderful trip,


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