Home of HybridConf is lovely, sunny (ahem) Cardiff in South Wales. We’re taking up residence in the Bay for three days where we can take advantage of the harbour views, and all the bars and restaurants it has to offer.
The conference and workshops are taking place in the historic Coal Exchange, which as the name suggests, was the location of the South Wales coal stock exchange from 1883 to 1958, and was the place where the first ever £1million cheque was written in 1901!
As well as the large conference hall, there will also be a couple of break out rooms where you can chill out for a while, or collaborate on a project with new or old friends.
We've negotiated a special discount rate with Future Inn in Cardiff Bay to offer our attendees. Located just a 10 minute walk from the Coal Exchange, Future Inn offers free breakfast, free guest parking, free wifi throughout the hotel, and super comfy Canadian beds.
The prices are just £74 per night for single occupancy, and £83 per night for two people sharing (in separate beds, don't worry!), and are available for any combination of 2-4 nights from Tuesday 13th to Friday 16th. There are a limited number of rooms available at this special rate, so make sure you book soon. Just call 02920 487111 to make your reservation, and make sure you quote the reference: COAL130813 to get this special rate.
If you fancy staying somewhere else, there is the luxurious St David's Hotel. Also based in Cardiff Bay, it's just a 5 minute walk from the Coal Exchange, and it offers great facilities including a top quality restaurant and spa. Plus there are various Travelodges and Holiday Inns in the area if you’re looking for something more basic as you’re on a tight budget.
If you're looking for somewhere to have dinner, our top pick is Miller and Carter. They offer brilliant steaks (with good options for herbivores) at reasonable prices, and if you're staying at the Future Inn it's literally next door (very convenient for staggering home when you're full of too much meat!)
Cardiff Bay also offers loads of other dining options including Italian, French, burgers, and Indian, as well as plenty of bars, so you’ll never be stuck for choice. Lunches will be catered at the venue and included in your ticket, so there is no need to worry about that either.
No matter where you're coming from, there are plenty of ways to get to Cardiff.
If you're travelling from outside the UK, both Cardiff and Bristol airports are nearby. Cardiff Airport is about 30 minutes outside of town and Cardiff Bus runs a very cheap service between the airport and the town centre (just £4 per person), or it's easy to grab a taxi if you prefer. From Bristol Airport, there are frequent connections to Bristol Temple Meads train station, and then the train to Cardiff is just an hour from there.
Cardiff Central is a well-connected train station, and there are frequent trains from London Paddington (the journey is a little over 2 hours), as well as plenty of other major UK cities. We always recommend checking out advance fares on thetrainline as they tend to be much cheaper than buying a ticket on the day (normally you can book tickets up to 90 days in advance).
If you prefer to drive, Cardiff is really easy to get to via the M4 - it takes around 3 hours from London. The journey includes coming over the Severn Bridge, so make sure you remember some cash for the toll or else they won't let you in! (Rates are £6.20 for cars right now, and you pay coming into Wales, but not leaving).
Getting around Cardiff is easy too. It's a relatively small city so most places are walkable (as long as it's not raining, though we can't really guarantee that!). There are lots of buses that go all over town (routes 6 and 7 go directly between the Bay and the city centre), and a day pass is £3.40 which allows you to get as many buses as you like. There is also a very short shuttle train between Cardiff Bay and the city centre which runs back and forth every 15 minutes. At night, taxis are easy to grab, and are pretty reasonably priced (especially if you're used to London cab prices!)
Cardiff is a really great place to visit, so if you have a day or two to spare, we'd definitely recommend making Hybrid part of a longer stay here. This is just a selection of the fun things there are to do nearby:
Doctor Who Experience - If you're a Doctor Who fan (and I'm sure some of you are), this interactive attraction will be a must-see. It's located in the Bay, so it's really close to the conference venue. Make sure to book in advance as places are limited and it's super popular.
Techniquest - This is a hands-on style science museum, packed with lots of exhibits for fans of science young and old. It's also really close to the Bay.
Cardiff Museum - In the city centre, you can visit the Cardiff Museum which features both art galleries, and natural history exhibits (yes, including dinosaurs), and is completely free, so it's perfect for those on a budget.
Also, if you have a car and fancy travelling somewhere just a little further afield to get more of a taste of proper Wales, you can try St Fagans (an open air museum), Big Pit (an old coal mine – you get to wear a helmet!), or Cosmeston (a country park). They’re all totally free to visit and great days out.