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Cardiff, Wales: A Taste of the Olympics, Minus the Crowds

This U.K. capital has world-class shopping, dining, historic sites, and even a few Olympic events this year—but it’s not London. Leave the pricey hotels and crowds to the big city, and pay a visit to Wales’ capital city, Cardiff, instead. Stay in the Olympic spirit with some sports events: There are stadiums here for rugby, cricket, and an International Sports Village with an Olympic-sized pool, ice rink, and even a man-made white water rafting course!

For the non-sporty crowd, come visit in July, when the Doctor Who Experience opens. The interactive museum is based on the popular BBC TV show, and features props, costumes, and sets for fans. For more historical sight-seeing, there’s castles (Cardiff Castle), many museums, and plenty of churches to check out—including one where author Roald Dahl was christened.

There’s plenty of outdoor activities to try in Cardiff as well, if the Welsh weather allows! Go for a bike ride on the Taff Trail or through the Cwmcarn Forest, sail in the Cardiff Bay, or go golfing on one of the many courses.

Where Is it? Southern Wales. Fly to Cardiff Airport (check prices).

Where to Stay? At the boutique hotel Jolyons, which features six individually-designed rooms located opposite the Millennium Centre.

What Else Should I Know? Olympic football tickets are still available for Cardiff matches!

Who’s it for? Capital city goers who don’t want London crowds.

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