As a family of 4, we look for good value, well-located accommodation wherever we travel. As you can imagine rooms for four in any city can be hard to come by and expensive. We have stayed in hostels in Europe and Asia in the past and hope to do so in the future because they really work for us. So on our recent trip to Cardiff, we put the YHA Cardiff Central to the test!
Hostels are overlooked by many families as they are seen as a party place and not suitable for travelling families with children. We can assure you that we have stayed in many hostels and the YHA hostels are very family-friendly places to stay with your family.
Arriving at YHA Cardiff Central, you are struck by the size of the place. My initial thoughts were are we at a hotel or a hostel? Wales Tourism has rated this as the only 5-star hostel in Great Britain, so we expected great things. Let us break down what’s on offer at the award-winning YHA Cardiff hostel.
The rooms at YHA Cardiff
YHA Cardiff has two types of rooms that suit families that include en suites. You can have the standard hostel room with 2 sets of bunks or a more traditional family setup with 1 set of bunks and a double bed for the adults. I was greatly surprised at the large size of the rooms and bathrooms.
You will get one of the more comfy foam mattresses you will find anywhere in a hostel. We actually had a great nights sleep when we were staying at the YHA hostel Cardiff. The pillows are of good quality and the donnas warm in winter but not overly hot.
The room was heated for your liking and you could choose what setting to have it on. You can increase and decrease the temperature on a wall panel which we found harder to find in other hostels.
The facilities at YHA Cardiff hostel
There is no shortage of seating at the Cardiff Central YHA. From the moment you walk in the door you are greeted by comfortable couches surrounded by modern decor. As you move further in there is a huge amount of seating at tables that are used in conjunction with breakfast and dining.
The lobby area is nice and bright as well. The staff at all the YHA hostels that we have stayed in have been friendly and very good at their jobs. Our check in was smooth and fuss-free.
The bench chairs that go along the wall have charging points underneath them for you to work at and charge you phones, laptops and tablets
The Kitchen facilities at the YHA
The YHA Cardiff offers a full kitchen with oven, cooktops, microwave and fridges for storage. I am a firm believer that if you plan on cooking and you can, you should bring your own fry pan and pot. The fry pans were quite dated and could have used updating but were clean.
There were enough cutlery and crockery for everyone that was using the kitchen at the same time to have rather than having to wait for people to finish.
Cooking at the YHA Cardiff Central is very easy as there is a Lidl located 500 meters away from where you can get food to cook. Lidl has great value food that can be cooked or ready-made meals that can be microwaved
One thing that surprised me was the sign saying only alcohol bought here can be consumed on the premises. I understand in the bar area as it is a licensed premise but in the kitchen or your room I thought would be a different matter. This did not worry us though as we sat in the common area and enjoyed a cider or two from the bar.
The Laundry at YHA Cardiff Central
You can do laundry for £6 per load. There are washers (3.50) and dryers (2.50) onsite. Best to get in early of you need washing as there is only 1 washing machine and one dryer. You can get change from the front desk to use with both of the machines and if you need washing powder they can supply that too.
Car Parking at YHA Cardiff
For those driving a car, there is a huge car park. This is great for most families who hire a car or just bring their own car. Best of all there is no extra charge for the car parking. You would be amazed at the number of hostels in Europe that charge you extra
The Hostel has a water filling station. This is a great idea to be able to fill your bottle with safe drinkable water on your way out
The Common Area at the YHA Cardiff hostel
There is a full-sized beer and commercial kitchen pumping out beers, meals and snacks all day. There is a kids eat free option on some meals depending on the age of your kids. This, unfortunately, did not include teenagers!
The bar does not close until 2 am. You will find Becks, Orchard Pig and revolving craft beer on tap. In the fridge, there is a variety of others including Corona and Magners.
The menu includes the some of the following
- cake and cuppa for £3.95
- loaded nachoes for £7.25
- jacket potato with 1 topping for £6.25
- pizza from £7.25 – £9.95
- burgers from £8.95
- sides such as fries & onion rings from £2.50
Bar prices are as follows
- becks pint £2.95
- bottle of Corona £3.25
- glass of prosecco £5.95
- bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon £11.95
- pepsi max £1.50
There is a large area where you can sit in comfort and charge your devices if you need to. There are benches and large padded chairs as well as normal chairs if people need back support.
Other services at the YHA Cardiff
Another great thing at the YHA Cardiff Central is if you are first time visitor to the area they can help you with all the information to make your stay in Cardiff spectacular. Some of the other services they have or offer there are:
- Fresh water tap for drink bottles
- Tourist information
Some top tips for your stay at Cardiff Central YHA
There a couple of things you will need to know before you stay at the YHA Cardiff Central
- Body wash/Shampoo is supplied in your room
- You need your own towels or you can purchase them at the reception
- There is an ATM on site
We also love being able to chat to fellow travellers that are staying at the hostel. They often share amazing tips and place to see that you may not have thought of or even some little hidden gems.
How to get to Cardiff
The trip from London to Cardiff is 150 miles along the M4 mototway. Expect to take a little over 3 hours in driving time. Driving from Manchester to Cardiff is 190 miles and will take you 4 hours via the M5 and M6.
Cardiff Airport is located near the village of Rhoose in the Vale of Glamorgan. Cardiff is the busiest airport in Wales and handled over 1.5 million passengers in 2018. We recommend suntransfers to take you into Cardiff
Multiple buses run every hour from London to Cardiff 7 days a week, 12 months a year. You can find available buses to Cardiff here.
Great Western Railway runs direct trains to Cardiff Central Station from Paddington Station in London on their Swansea line. Trains leave every half hour during the busiest times of the day and the journey takes a little over 2 hours.
As a family, we really appreciated our stay at Cardiff YHA. We love being able to prepare a home-cooked meal and do some washing. These are things one can not do in a hotel.
We also spent time at YHA Canterbury and YHA Central London in Great Britain. YHA continues to lead the way in the United Kingdom as far as family-friendly affordable accommodation goes. We have other hostel reviews for you to read on our accommodation page
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About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, husband, traveler, and chief destination marketing manager at Wyld Family Travel. Having been to over 35 countries worldwide he knows a thing or 2 about traveling with kids and now traveling with teenagers. He has been writing first-hand, expert travel guides on this website for over 6 years and has featured on numerous other popular well-known websites. When he is not talking, dreaming, or planning travel he can be found working in disability support.