I was going to call this post, 3 hours in Cardiff and then thought…nah that isn’t me at all…I’m more of a blink and you miss it kinda gal.  G was working all week in Cardiff (hello eating ice cream sundaes all week for dinner!), so I thought a visit to Cardiff seemed perfectly reasonable…I’d never visited the city and G had free accommodation!

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

After an eventful train journey from Paddington Station (I popped my Paddington Train Station Cherry) to Cardiff Central…Wales was playing football so everyone on that train was watching the game…going through tunnels became a game itself…buffering became a dirty word…it was hilarious to watch and Wales did win that game…queue screams of joys as I arrived into Cardiff…I like to think they were happy to see me but G burst that bubble.

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Cardiff City Centre; it was reasonably priced, clean and tidy – everything you want from a hotel and G was earning a nice little number of points through the IHG loyalty scheme…and the location is fabulous, right across from Cardiff Castle!

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

^^The view from the Holiday Inn Cardiff City Centre on a gorgeous summers morning!

I knew I only had a few hours to explore the city so it was a choice between breakfast vs castle, breakfast vs castle….the castle won…I knew there was cake at the end of the tunnel.

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

I didn’t know what to expect from Cardiff Castle; firstly I was blown away by how big it was…I should warn you now, there is going to be a lot of flags coming up…Sheldon Cooper would be proud!  I took a walk around the walls of the castle which offers fab views over the castle and Cardiff itself…

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

…god I love castle hunting, how gorgeous is that clock tower!

The wind was blowing in between loads of showers…

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

…I even spotted a New Zealand flag…queue happy kiwi dance!

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

**coughs** there was also an EU flag!

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

There was a family event held at the castle the night prior to my visit for the football so they were loads of stands they were taking down first thing on the Saturday morning but the castle was still glorious and it made my heart skip a few times.

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

Popping inside the castle for a snoop…the must see room for me was the Arab Room…breathtaking…just a word of warning…you might accidentally walk past the entrance…

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

…imagine having a feast in here with a few friends…that table is just screaming out to be danced on…I was a good girl…

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

…up to a point…can you tell I’m not a fan of selfies!

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

No castle is complete without a killer library…

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

…and Cardiff Castle delivers!

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

Leaving Cardiff Castle…I wandered along the animal wall…some of the animals are scowling down at you…making you walk a tad faster to your yummy cake destination…

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

…Pettigrew Tea Rooms is just an amazing cake destination in Cardiff…gluten free, diary free or vegan…there is something for everyone…

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

….I had the gluten free raspberry and coconut cake, washed down with a chai latte!  I can’t recommend this place enough; the staff were knowledgable and there were so many gluten free options…go, go, go!

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

Travel Tips for Cardiff

  • The Holiday Inn in Cardiff City Centre has a grand location and an easy walk from the train station.  If you’re a platinum member in the IHG loyalty scheme then free parking is included in your booking
  • Entrance to Cardiff Castle is £12 per person and I would recommend this castle; a free audio guide is provided in the ticket price
  • There is a lift inside Cardiff Castle for people with limited mobility
  • I would recommend wearing flat shoes for walking around Cardiff Castle as there are a number of stairs inside the castle grounds
  • Pettigrew Tea Rooms offers a great selection of gluten free food which I would highly recommend; if you fancy a gluten free afternoon tea then you must give them 3 days notice to prepare.

So when are you planning your visit to Cardiff?

Wales Travel Inspiration -only have a few hours on your visit to Cardiff, Wales then let me help you with the perfect itinerary starting with the wonderful Cardiff Castle which is worth a visit for history buffs. Click the link to read more Cardiff Travel Tips and where to eat the best gluten free food in Wales.

xx

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I love a good snoop like the next person, especially when it means I can take a peek inside some of the UK’s most famous houses but the big question is – which British Heritage Pass should you buy to get the best snooping value for money.

England Travel Inspiration - Confused over which British Heritage Pass to buy to explore England, Wales and Scotland? Let me help you make your decision if the National Trust, English Heritage or Historic Houses Association Pass is right for you plus I share the properties that I've visited with each card. Click the link to read more about these passes for your next England vacation exploring castles, gardens and stately homes.

English Heritage

The English Heritage Membership offers free access to over 400+ properties around England including Forts, Castles, Pre-historic sites and pretty Gardens.

England Travel Inspiration - Confused over which British Heritage Pass to buy to explore England, Wales and Scotland? Let me help you make your decision if the National Trust, English Heritage or Historic Houses Association Pass is right for you plus I share the properties that I've visited with each card. Click the link to read more about these passes for your next England vacation exploring castles, gardens and stately homes.

Popular Sites – Stonehenge, Dover Castle, Kenilworth Castle

London Sites – Eltham Palace, Wellington Arch, No 1 London

Properties I’ve visitedKirby HallWrest Park, Houghton House, Dover Castle, Audley End House

Membership Cost – the English Heritage membership starts at £43.50pp and up to 6 children can enter free with one paying adult / member.  The 12 month membership offers free access to sites plus a membership booklet and 4 magazines sent to your home throughout the year.  If you are an English Heritage Member you can get a 25% discount off the price of the Historic Houses Association Membership.

If you have a number of Nectar points which you are not sure what to do with then look at converting them over to a free English Heritage Membership.

Overseas Membership Cost – the Overseas Visitor Membership starts at £30pp for a 9 or 16 day pass; you can find more details here.

Overall – The English Heritage Membership is perfect for families as it offers free entry for children with an adult member plus there are a number of fun activities offered to families during the holidays.  For me personally I love the diversity of the sites on offer to members and am seriously over indulging on English history at the moment; these are the 10 properties that I want to explore this year.

Historic Houses Association

The Historic Houses Association Membership offers entry into family owned Castles, Stately Homes and Gardens so you are really going to be able to snoop away to your heart’s content.  They have 600 properties listed in the handbook and you can gain free entry into approximately 275 properties in England, Wales and Scotland.

England Travel Inspiration - Confused over which British Heritage Pass to buy to explore England, Wales and Scotland? Let me help you make your decision if the National Trust, English Heritage or Historic Houses Association Pass is right for you plus I share the properties that I've visited with each card. Click the link to read more about these passes for your next England vacation exploring castles, gardens and stately homes.

Popular Sites – Highclere Castle, Burghley House, Alnwick Castle, Longleat House, Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard.

London Sites – The Queens House, Strawberry Hill House, Syon House

Properties I’ve Visited – Knebworth House, Rockingham Castle and Deene Park, Woburn Abbey, Burghley House

Membership Cost – The Historic Houses Membership starts at £48pp however only free entry is given to children under the age of 5 at most properties.  The 12 month membership offers free entry to many properties (still a small charge to enter some so you need to check) and a quarterly magazine.

Overseas Visitors Membership Cost – I can’t see any special overseas visitor memberships unfortunately which is a shame so you will need to cough up for the 12 month membership.

Overall – For me the Historic Houses Association Membership is amazing when it comes to snooping and value for money.  As most of the Stately Homes and Castles cost at least £15pp to enter you would only need to visit at least 3 properties in a year to recoup the cost of the membership.  If you want to visit Highclere Castle aka Downton Abbey then you can gain free entry with the HHA membership and you don’t have to try and get a ticket online (apparently they are like gold dust especially during the summer months!).

National Trust

The National Trust membership provides access to many Stately Homes, Gardens, Farms, Parks and many more areas around the United Kingdom – there are 575 properties listed on the National Trust website that you can gain free entry too with your membership.

England Travel Inspiration - Confused over which British Heritage Pass to buy to explore England, Wales and Scotland? Let me help you make your decision if the National Trust, English Heritage or Historic Houses Association Pass is right for you plus I share the properties that I've visited with each card. Click the link to read more about these passes for your next England vacation exploring castles, gardens and stately homes.

Popular Sites – Bodiam Castle, Corfe Castle, The Giant Causeway, Hill Top and Cliveden

London Sites – Fenton House and Garden and George Inn

Properties I’ve Visited – Belton House, Woolsthorpe Manor, Lacock Abbey

Membership Costs – A National Trust Membership starts at £63pp (for an adult) which is more expensive than the above two memberships and children under the age of 5 can enter free otherwise it’s £30 per child.

Overseas Visitors Membership Costs –  Overseas visitors can purchase a 7 or 14 day touring pass which allows access to properties starting at £26pp.

Overall – The National Trust Membership is perfect for families due to the number of family events held at National Trust properties around the country however if you are looking at saving your pennies then the English Heritage Membership is potentially better value.  If you are wanting to visit the big Stately Homes then I would recommend the Historic Houses Membership over the National Trust Membership.

Personally I love all the history within the UK and get a huge kick out of visiting all these fabulous properties dotted around the English countryside especially the castles; I’m pretty sure I was a princess in a past life! (I can confirm that via the Past-Life website, I was a princess, I knew it – queue my little happy dance.)  I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these British Heritage Passes especially the Historic Houses Association membership if you’re a huge Downton Abbey fan; there is a lot of snooping to be done.

So what is your favourite British Heritage Pass and Property?

England Travel Inspiration - Confused over which British Heritage Pass to buy to explore England, Wales and Scotland? Let me help you make your decision if the National Trust, English Heritage or Historic Houses Association Pass is right for you plus I share the properties that I've visited with each card. Click the link to read more about these passes for your next England vacation exploring castles, gardens and stately homes.

xx

If you liked this post on Which British Heritage Pass to Buy then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+Instagram and Pinterest – I won’t bite!