Who else is loving Season 10 of Doctor Who right now? 🙋🏼 I’ve just finished watching episode 6 and I most definitely am! I’m very curious to work out what is real and what isn’t! and how Steven Moffat is going to end his final season – it’s bound to be explosive. I am loving Bill, the new companion, and find her really refreshing and very entertaining to watch. Although I must confess… I am only a new DW convert. Thanks to friends telling me to watch it for years and a patient finally convincing me to take the plunge 2 years ago. And I. Am. Hooked!!! 🙈 It is a great family show with adventure, aliens and a soundtrack to die for (Doo-weeeeeee-doooooo!!!!!!). But I’m getting distracted. This post isn’t just so I can rant and rave about my new found love for DW, rather to share with you my Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff.
First of all, if you are a DW fan and are traveling to the UK, then you must, must put this on your list of places to visit. We only really went to Cardiff (the capital of Wales), because it was on the non-negotiable list of one of my girlfriends I was travelling with. And well, we weren’t disappointed. But you have to know what to expect to get the most of out your visit to Cardiff.
Cardiff Bay has quite a number of filming locations from the first couple of series of DW and was later made the headquarters of Torchwood (the Captain Jack Harkness spin-off). We, however, only had time to visit some locations in the heart of Cardiff, as we were on a tight schedule.
1. Millennium Centre
Our first stop for the day was to head down to Cardiff Bay and visit the Millennium Centre, which is the location of the time rift. This worked perfectly because it was really close to the DW Experience. We were there nice and early to have a look around before the experience opened at 10am. At this time of morning, it was relatively easy to find a park close to Cardiff Bay (remember to have some coins to pay for parking) and walk along the Bay to the Millennium Centre and the Roald Dahl Pass. We only needed about 15-20min here, before moving on and drove the short distance to the DW experience.
2. The Doctor Who Experience – Interactive Experience and Exhibition Hall
- Location: Discovery Quay, Porth Teigr, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF10 4GA
- Opening hours: 10am-5pm (last entry for interactive experience at 3.30pm) but can vary
- Cost: Standard individual admission is £14 online, £16 at the door (note there is a small booking fee for online or phone bookings). There is also family and group booking deals as well as TARDIS studio set tours available.
- Extras: Mechandise Package can also be bought with ticket purchase – including an official companion guide, exclusive t-shirt, companion bag, souvenir ticket
- Parking: We found it to be easy, although you do need to pay.
I did most of my research on their website and booked our tour well in advance to ensure we got the spot in the limited group for the interactive adventure at the time we wanted. We had a tight schedule for that day, that involved a lot of driving in the second half of the day, which meant we needed to book the earliest tour we could with the experience opening at 10am.
It is an experience which means there is an interactive component of the tour at the beginning #BeTheCompanion. They do change the ‘adventure’ from time to time, but I think its still the same from when I went, so I still won’t spoil the surprise for you. I have even heard of the actors themselves showing up randomly to surprise you during this interactive adventure, but sadly that didn’t happen to us. Although as my friend found out that John Barrowman did show up only a few weeks after we had been there.
Once you are through this 30min tour you are then lead into the massive Exhibition Hall, filled with old sets and original costumes from Classic Who as well as the current series.
There is an official photography green screen area on the ground floor, where you can pick your backgrounds, choose your props and get some fancy photos. Line up for these early otherwise, I imagine, the line gets very long and it does take time (the cost of these photographs is extra but they give you an digital version as well as a instant printed hard copy). Note to self – next time don’t wear a white shirt because it reflects the green really easy!
And of course the whole experience ends with the gift shop. There is a range of clothes, memorabilia, DVDs etc that are available for purchase. I was a little disappointed with the shop, hoping for a lot more variety and good quality items, comparing it to the Harry Potter store which has an amazing range of items. Honestly, I think you can find more amazing and creative DW memorabilia online. Maybe that’s just my opinion.
Now there are a number of other tours available for the ultimate DW experience in Cardiff, including film locations and a TARDIS studio tour. They show the prices and information for all these tours on the website as well. One day, if I get back to Cardiff, I will be making time in the itinerary for the TARDIS studio set tour as well!!
I hope you found that helpful if you are planning a trip to the UK anytime soon or are just a DW fan, now adding this to your bucket list. If you have any questions or want to see more experiences from my travels, don’t hesitate to contact me through the contact menu at the top of the page!