Home of HybridConf is lovely, sunny (ahem) Cardiff in South Wales. We’re taking up residence in various locations across the city centre and the bay for three days, which will allow you to experience all the best Cardiff has to offer.
The conference is taking place in the lovely Cineworld, which means you have the comfiest of seats, a nice big screen to view everyone's presentations, and the tastiest of popcorn to enjoy the talks.
As well as the screen, we will also be taking over one of their bars so we can enjoy lots of refreshments and lunch, and it will be a breakout area for relaxing during the day.
There are lots of hotels within a short walking distance of Cineworld. The Big Sleep Hotel is literally across the street and always comes recommended by people who've stayed there before.
There are plenty of other choices too, to suit lots of different budgets - the Travelodge, Ibis, Radisson Blu and Park Inn are all within about a 5 minute walk of the cinema and the rest of the town centre.
For those of you who have already booked at our previous recommendation of the Future Inn, there is no need to worry as it is still within an easy 10-15 minute walk of the cinema, and close to local short bus routes. You will also be a mere minute away from the location of our Thursday night bowling party.
If you fancy staying somewhere quieter and more luxurious, there is the St David's Hotel. Based in Cardiff Bay it's still a very easy trip to get into town, and it offers great facilities including a top quality restaurant and spa.
Cardiff has no shortage of restaurants, and the city centre has ample choices of chains, covering almost every cuisine you could want. There are plenty of independent places too, and our favourite picks include Wally's Kaffeehaus for delicious Austrian sandwiches and cakes, The Duke of Wellington for some traditional British pub food and a pint, or Vegetarian Food Studio for fantastic meat-free Indian.
One of our most visited places for dinner 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.