The capital and most important city of Wales, Cardiff is home to the Welsh National Assembly. Once a coal-exporting center, downtown Cardiff Bay is now in the midst of a modern transformation, full of youthful energy, with a hub of restaurants and nightlife. But history buffs won’t be disappointed, as there are plenty of centuries-old sights, including the unusual Cardiff Castle that began as a Roman garrison site in 44 AD.
The gay scene in Cardiff is fun and frisky. Many of the bars, restaurants and the gay sauna are close to one another, on or around Charles Street, St David's Centre and Churchill Way. The main event of the season, and one of the biggest gay event in the United Kingdom, is the Cardiff Mardi Gras Festival, a sprawling party each September. The Admiral Cardiff Festival Weekend in August, the Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival, and the Cardiff Harbour Festival are a few of the other local events that draw lots of gay travelers. See Cardiff Festival for these and other summer events.
Cardiff International Airport is about 19 mils from downtown. Buses and trains get you there in a snap. Buses and trains also get you here from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
Cardiff is a walkable city. Buses from Cardiff Bus will get you to the more far-flung sights. Bay Island Voyages offers trips out on the waters of Cardiff Bay for cruises, and one to two-hour coastal explorations.
Courtfield Hotel (101 Cathedral Rd; 44 29 2022-7701), gay-friendly Victorian townhouse on quiet tree-lined street, walk to Castle and downtown, traditional or vegetarian breakfast,
Tyrosa (118 Clive St; 44 845-643-9962), GLBT B&B, straight-friendly, Welsh hospitality, big gourmet breakfasts, optional dinners, cozy common lounge, garden Wi-Fi, free parking.
Bar Icon (60 Charles St), mixed-crowd gay bar on two levels, open seven nights 'til 4am, home-style food noon to 4pm, jukebox, free Wi-Fi, warmp-up cocktail lounge before dance club.
Cardiff Eagle (39 Charles St, basement), levi/leather, bears, men's club, theme nights, Monday karaoke, Sunday drag shows.
Club X (35 Charles St), three dance zone mixed crowd weekend dancing, Decadence parties, student sessions.
Golden Cross (283 Hayes Bridge Rd), friendly neighborhood pub, cabaret shows, bingo, karoake, games, home-style food, DJ camp classic music Saturdays.
Kings (10 Churchill Way), formerly 4Play, open nightly, weekend warm-up bar for Pulse, karaoke, bingo, diva MCs.
Minsky's Show Bar (St David's Centre, Cathedral Walk), traditional pub, cheap drinks and food, theme nights, weekend diva drag cabaret shows.
Pulse (3 Churchill Way), popular dance and video club, mixed crowd, full meals, burgers and snacks, karaoke.
Wow Bar (4 Churchill Way), daily from 9am, hot & cold food and drinks, 4pm-8pm drinks specials, live entertainment every night.
Wow Club (4 Churchill Way, basement), Wednesday - Sunday nightclub dancing, DJs, drag diva MCs, special events.
Wow Deli (6 Churchill Way), daily from 8am-6pm, except Sundays noon-4pm, hot/cold deli food, sandwiches, burgers, curries, coffee espresso bar.
Locker Room (50 Charles St), men's dry and steam saunas, Jacuzzi, dark room, maze, glory holes, cabins, video lounge, free internet, cafe.
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