I flew with Qatar Airlines to Doha in economy class. The aircraft is immaculately clean and the service and meals were spot on. Doha airport is very modern with lots of facilities, but nowhere near as huge as Dubai, so you can walk to all of the gates, no need to change terminals with trains etc.
It was Ramadan at the time, so no alcohol was able to be served at the airport even in the lounges. On the aircraft you could still order and drink alcohol, however they were not permitted to walk around or have bottles showing on the trolleys, so this did slow the service down a little.
For our connecting flight to Cardiff, Wales we were in Business class, the service and quality of food was outstanding. We were also fortunate enough to fly business class all the way home from London to Sydney. The 777 aircraft cabin is understandably smaller than the A380 cabin, however the A380 has the added benefit of a stand up bar which is open the whole flight. Because of Ramadan again, there are normally all bright high end bottles on display in the bar which is meant to look great, however they have to keep these out of view during Ramadan.
I would not hesitate to recommend Qatar Airways. They now fly direct into Cardiff via Doha so clearing customs is a breeze and it’s so much easier to hit the road quickly for those wanting to avoid London and the congestion.
Cardiff Airport was small and very quick with customs. We were taken straight to The Vale Resort for lunch which is a beautiful hotel in an estate which also has its own castle. The Welsh Rugby Union team were in house as it is their home training ground and the resort contains world class facilities including a championship golf course.
We then went to St. Fagans National Museum of History. This is one of Europe’s leading open air museums, and one of Wales’ most popular heritage attractions. The houses at the museum were original buildings relocated and rebuilt stone by stone. Quite enjoyable.
That night we stayed at The Hilton, Cardiff – a 4 star city centre hotel, perfectly situated, being close to the shops and overlooking Cardiff Castle.
Today was a day of exploring the buzzing and cosmopolitan capital city of Cardiff– firstly, through its food! We started the day off with a walking tour with the delightful Sian from Loving Welsh Food who introduced the group to Welsh signature foods, producers and some iconic landmarks along the way.
Then it was time to walk off all of that food for some more culture with a tour of Cardiff Castle to gain a glimpse into 2000 years of history!
This was followed by a visit to the National Museum Cardiff. This is the home of Wales’s national art, natural history and geology collections, and temporary exhibitions. It housed some amazing works of art by Picasso, Renoir and Monet to name a few.
That evening we visited the harbor area which is a short drive away, I would recommend staying in town rather than the harbor area though. We crossed the bay via small boat, board a coach and were driven around the beautiful homes on the seaside town of Penarth and then arrived for dinner in the award winning James Sommerin Restaurant. This was a unique dining experience in a Michelin star venue.
Today was all about ‘Leisure and Activity Wales’ we were taken out of the city to explore the beautiful countryside, showcasing castles, distilleries, Brecon Beacons and canals.
We started the day with a tour of the majestic Caerphilly Castle, a 13th century medieval castle with the dragon statues.
Next was the Welsh Mining Experience. We were met by a lovely choir of older men singing to welcome us, we then went on an “underground” tour of the mine.
Then we went to Penderyn for a tour of an award-winning single malt whisky distillery in the foothills of the magnificent Brecon Beacons. (They make nice vodka too)
At Brecon Beacons National Park we were met by the Call of the Wild team for some serious activity of canyoning or a more gentle waterfall walk.
Cardiff is alive at night with so many restaurants and bars on offer.
Today we went to the Glamorgan Heritage Coast and Dunraven Bay, Southerndown, for a guided tour. We got to enjoy the views from the stunning cliffs and see the spot where the oldest dinosaur in Wales was recently found.
Next up was the Royal Mint Experience. This is the only place in the world where you can watch the United Kingdom’s coins being made. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of thousands of glistening new coins, hot off the press.
That afternoon we travelled to London which took around 3 hours in a minivan due to the Bank Holiday weekend traffic.