Cardiff has a reputation of being a party city, attracting revellers for weekend-long partying from all over the United Kingdom and not just Wales. While some towns and cities, like Blackpool in the north of England, try to discourage stag parties, Cardiff actively embraces them. Even the official tourist information website Visit Cardiff has a page titled “Crazy Stag & Hen weekend activities”.
The city is famed for offering a welcoming embrace for parties of merrymakers, and its economy thrives on the money it brings. In 2011, Giovanni Malacrino, a restaurant owner in the city, told the BBC that his business had enjoyed a 5% increase in its profits by catering to parties of stags and hens.
Other businesses share similar opinions, with one owner describing it as a “great thing” for business in the city. Even locals, who in many other cities are hostile to groups of lively bacchants, are welcoming to guests, making it a friendly city to party in.
What Makes Cardiff Popular?
Apart from a business community that actively seeks this type of customer, there are other factors that make it popular for stag parties.
The layout of the city puts all the main pubs, bars and restaurants in one area. The strip that runs from the Principality Stadium up to Cardiff Castle makes it easy to find a venue you’ll enjoy and creates a great party atmosphere.
Cardiff’s location also helps, since it’s a few hours by train or car from many large English and Welsh cities, including Swansea, London, Bristol, Birmingham, and Newport. Easy access to the National Rail and motorway networks put it in a prime spot.
There’s also an enormous variety of things to do. This includes casinos to enjoy Texas hold ‘em, roulette and Omaha hi-lo, as well as stylish restaurants and decrepit pubs.
Bars, Pubs and Clubs
Unsurprisingly for a party city, Cardiff has a wide selection of watering holes for revellers to frequent. Just looking at Wetherspoon establishments alone, Cardiff has eight, creating plenty of opportunities for stags to fill up on cheap food and drinks.
While none of them are quite as big as the 551-table “Super Spoons” in Ramsgate, they create room for thousands of patrons at one time.
There’s also plenty of more upmarket venues like Burger and Lobster, Urban Tap House and the Grazing Shed, which are all magnificent places for gourmet burgers.
For those wanting to throw some shapes, there’s a wide selection of clubs, from the sweaty and dark alternative club Metros to the flashy and cheesy Popworld.
There’s also a great comedy club where you’ll have a barrel of laughs. The Glee Club brings a selection of famous and up-and-coming talent to leave you in stitches every weekend.
Organising a poker tournament or games among friends has always been a popular activity for stag parties. Cardiff takes this a step further with it being home to some of the best casinos in Wales, offering poker rooms alongside a wide variety of other games and excellent facilities.
There are currently three large casinos in and around the city centre, each with a broad selection of amenities including restaurants, slots, poker rooms and bars.
Officials are apparently considering giving permission for a fourth one. With a growing demand for gaming venues across Great Britain, a fourth casino could help to meet this need, particularly in a city that attracts so many people looking for a pleasant time.
Even with four casinos, Cardiff would still be behind other British cities that have even more. For example, Manchester has around half a dozen large casinos and specialist poker venues in the city centre.
If stags fancy doing something a little more lively, then Cardiff and the surrounding area have plenty of options too. Cardiff International White Water is an outdoor, artificial white water rafting facility. You can slide into a canoe or climb aboard a four-seater raft and take on the range of obstacles in this controlled, but exciting environment.
For stags that want to take shots at each other, laser tag at the Laser Quest on Wood Street and paintballing at Adventures Wales should be added to activities list.
Go karting venue TeamSport offers special stag packages for groups that want to battle it out on the racetrack. Alternatively, Taff Valley Quad Bike and Activity Centre, located just outside the city, offers a different four-wheel experience with its quad biking excursions.
Cardiff is also the sporting capital of Wales, with football, rugby, cricket and ice hockey matches all regularly taking place in the city. For football fans, the Cardiff City Stadium is home to the Wales national football team and EFL Championship side Cardiff City FC.
Cardiff Arms Park and the Principality Stadium are both home to regular rugby games, including matches involving the Wales national team. The latter is the biggest venue in the city and also hosts a range of other sports including the Speedway Grand Prix of Great Britain, a Super Special Stage of the Wales Rally GB.
For fans of ice hockey, the Viola Arena can be found in Cardiff Bay. The twin-rink facility is home to the Cardiff Devils, the PlayOff Champions in 2018 and 2019. Games are held there most weekends between September and April.
Cardiff has managed to strike a balance between attracting rowdy revellers and keeping its full-time residents happy. The geography of the city helps this, with a buffer between most residential areas and the main strip of clubs, bars and pubs.
The friendly locals and business owners have spotted an opportunity to help their city thrive, so have been welcoming party-goers with open arms for years. Many businesses have seen tangible growth because of it too, catering to the groups of stags looking for sports, poker, clubs and paintball.
With such success, it seems unlikely the Welsh capital will be changing its strategy any time soon.