Destination Insight: Cardiff
Since one of our key public sector clients for business travel services is the Welsh Government it's perhaps no big surprise that Cardiff ranks among our top five destinations for hotel bookings. But it's not all work work work. Europe's youngest capital city offers plenty to keep you occupied.
Here's our pick of some of the best ways to spend your free time in the Welsh capital.
The Taff Trail
Did you know that Cardiff has more green spaces per capita than any other city in Europe? After a day of solid meetings, why not make the most of these green pastures and get out in the saddle? The Taff Trail is a cycling trail which makes use of former railway tracks, towpaths and tramways, letting you bike your way around some 200 acres of parkland, which skirts along the Cardiff Bay and stretches as far as the Brecon Beacons.
The former Millennium Stadium was rebranded in 2015 in honour of its sponsor the Principailty Building Society. Watching a Six Nations Rugby match here is an essential Welsh rite of passage, it's right up there with a rousing singalong in the valleys and a steaming bowl of traditional Welsh Cawl.
You can take a tour of the stadium, from a 40 minute whistlestop tour on match days to a more immersive experience, where you may even get invited into the Dragon's Lair, the players' dressing room where all the serious team tactics go down. And if Rugby really isn't your bag, then the stadium also hosts the Champions League football final in June.
Chapter Arts Centre
The Chapter Arts Centre opened its doors in 1971, thanks to a fundraiisng campaign aided by the band Pink Floyd no less. Since then it's become well established as Cardiff's premier venue delivering a varied programme of international arts, performance and film. The Caffi Bar Chapter is always a lively space to meet a business contact over a coffee and a slice of a cake, Welsh or otherwise.
Otherwise known as 'the Armadillo' due to its striking shape and copper colour, the Wales Millennium Centre is the city's leading venue for theatre, live music, comedy, dance and other forms of entertainment. Sheridan Smith did a star turn in 'Funny Girl' here last summer and there are plenty more highlights on the horizon, including the authentic Welsh cultural experience of 'Tiger Bay the Musical', which is currently playing, as of November 2017.
Coyote Ugly Bar
Cardiff is packed with atmospheric pubs of course, but if you're looking for a bar with a difference then why not check out the UK's very first 'Coyote Ugly Bar' which opened this year? Based on the 2000 film of the same name, a Coyote Ugly bar typically has female bartenders dressed in cowboy-themed get-ups singing, dancing and hollering on the bar encouraging a party atmosphere. You can also expect an American barbeque menu and a selection of 24 draft craft beers.
St Fagans National History Museum
For something just as quirky, if a little more sedate, why not venture out of town just a little way and check out this charming, free open air museum devoted to telling the story behind Wales' rich, rural heritage, crafts and culture?
St Fagans is set in a 16th century manor house with 100 acres of grounds. There are over 40 historic buildings to explore, each one showcasing a specific style and period of Welsh history. St Fagans is even ranked in the top 10 UK attractions on TripAdvisor, so do make sure it goes on your list if you have the time.
See the Senedd
You can't really come to Cardiff without checking out the Senedd, the iconic building constructed for the Welsh Assembly. Designed by Lord Richard Rogers (who also built Paris' Pompidou Centre and the Millennium Dome) it's an eye-catching structure inside and out, comprised of concrete, slate, glass and steel, complete with a stylishly undulating roof. The buildings features were not simply designed with aesthetics in mind though - the Senedd has won numerous environmental awards for its pioneering green innovations, such as gutters which recycle rain water to flush the toilets.
That's our basic primer for the Welsh capital. Do check out more of our Destination Insight guides while you're here.