Cycling in the golden glow

Cycling in the golden glow

Did you know that Cardiff is one of the flattest cities in Britain? It also has more green space per person than any other UK core city and gets more hours of sunlight than Milan. All of this combined makes Cardiff your ideal destination for a cycling staycation.

Now here’s a statement that will divide opinion; Autumn is the best time of the year to ride a bike. There. I’ve said it. I’m an unapologetic Autumn fan. The sun sits lower in the sky, bathing all it touches in a warm golden glow. Blizzards of leaves tumble from trees. There’s a cool nip in the air, a freshness that invigorates your ride and prevents overheating. In short, it’s a refreshing, beautiful time of year to enjoy any form of cycling. 

For the Cardiff visitor, there is much to enjoy and a ride to suit every taste. Mountain bikers will head toward the hills in the North of the City. Here the woods that subsume Castell Coch (‘The red castle’) offer plenty of thrills and opportunities to take your off-road endeavours further afield. Road cyclists will head to the rolling hills of the Vale and the beauty of the heritage coastline. But in this piece, we’ll focus on what Cardiff city centre can offer the family.

Future Inns is ideally located in Cardiff Bay, providing access to both the Taff Trail and Cardiff’s waterside attractions. To cycle into town, take the following route:

  1. Ride West from the hotel toward Mermaid Quay, picking up the signs for the Taff Trail (cycle sign with the number 8).
  2. Cycle west along James Street, cross the river Taff and join the trail on the right-hand side.
  3. Cycle along the taff trail toward Taff embankment, the Principality Stadium and Sophia Gardens. Ultimately you’ll emerge opposite the entrance to Sophia Gardens.
  4. Cross the road, enter the trail and rider over the millennium bridge to enter Bute Park.

This relatively traffic-free route will deposit you in the centre of the city, leaving you free to enjoy Cardiff Castle and Bute Park Arboretum. It will also place you within touching distance of the National Museum of Wales, some of the best shopping in the UK at St David’s 2 and The Hayes, a golden reminder of Cardiff’s Victorian past with its picture-postcard arcades and ornate shop fascia’s.

Our Autumn tip is to concentrate on Bute Arboretum and the area around the castle. The arboretum is the city’s kept secret. Few outside of Cardiff will realise that the arboretum measures 56 hectares, contains over 3000 trees and home to the largest number of ‘champion’ trees in the UK (a champion tree is the tallest or broadest of its species). In the centre of all this greenery, you can enjoy quiet walks, castle views and a relaxing cup of coffee in one of the park’s three excellent cafes.

Once you’ve enjoyed the space and the botany, why not walk the bikes over to the city centre and meander through The Hayes? There are shopping and lunch options to suit every taste, including the world’s oldest record shop Spillers Records in the Morgan Arcade. Just remember to lock your bikes up well (using ‘D’ locks or similar and always a good practice).

Returning to the hotel couldn’t be easier either, with the Taff Trail a short trundle back toward the Taff embankment or take the more direct route on the Bute Street cycle lane and cross into Lloyd George Avenue (with its excellent cycle segregation). The team will be waiting for you at the end, with an excellent restorative in the bar.

Of course, if you have a really, really adventurous family, then you needn’t stop at the arboretum at all. The Taff Trail is only 55 miles long after all...


Photograph and words by guest blogger Simon Nurse, @cyclestuffblog on Twitter.

A cycling staycation in Cardiff

As a cycle-friendly hotel, you are more than welcome to bring your bike with you when staying with us. All of our spacious bedrooms can sleep up to four guests, and we allow you to keep your bike in the room overnight. We'll even put cycling matts in your room. If you are in and out, there is also a secure cycle rack for safe storage of cycles outside. The biggest plus we offer is a guest laundry room on the first floor with a washing machine and tumble dryer.

Don't have your own bike? Nextbike operates throughout the city. The closest nextbike station to Future Inn Cardiff is at County Hall across the road from the hotel. There is also a station outside Cardiff Bay train station, a 5-minute walk from the hotel or the Wales Millennium Centre a 9-minute walk from the hotel.

Sustrans maps of the Taff Trail are available in Reception.

With our super flexible rates, you can book with confidence when staying at Future Inn Cardiff. See how we are welcoming you back safely. Book direct for the best rates guaranteed on our website, or by contacting the Reservations Team on 02920 487111 or  

Dine on Local Cuisine 

Thomas Restaurant is an ideal place to sit in comfort and fuel up on local, homemade produce. Join us for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea evening a-la-carte or traditional roasts on Sunday

A large selection of alcoholic and soft drinks is also available including Welsh beer and spirits, wine by the glass or the bottle, plus all cocktails are £7 each. 

Reservations can be made on 02920 487111 or, or online: 


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