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If you are flying from Cardiff Airport any time soon, it’s a good idea to plan your airport parking in advance. Finding the best rates on airport parking will get your holiday or business trip off to the best start if you know you have found the best deal.

Choose from long-stay or short-stay parking at Cardiff Airport, or find out how to save money with Meet and Greet.

Types of parking at Cardiff Airport

Cardiff Airport has on-site and off-site parking available. Choosing the right car park doesn’t need to be a complicated business. Simply factor in what your budget is, and how long you will need to stay to choose the right option for you.

Long Stay Parking

For the best value airport parking, choose from one of Cardiff Airport’s Long Stay car parks. There are ideal for stays of longer than a few days. The long-stay parking is located on the airport site, within walking distance from the terminal, and is available to both pre-book, or simply to turn up and park on the day.

The long-stay parking does not have any height restrictions, making it the best choice if you need to park high-sided vehicles like a van or motorhome.

Meet and Greet Parking

For frequent flyers, or those travelling with young children, Meet and Greet parking can take some of the stress out of arriving at the airport.

Cardiff Airport offers Meet and Greet parking from a dedicated zone just a few minutes’ walk from the check-in area.

Simply drop your keys with the priority parking reception, and you’re free to travel knowing that your car will be parked securely and ready for you to collect on your return.

Meet and Greet parking at Cardiff Airport does have a height restriction of 2.7m, so check before you book that your vehicle is suitable.

Short Stay parking

If all you need is to stay a couple of hours or a day or two at Cardiff Airport, the short-stay car parking is the best option for you. It’s right opposite the terminal, so you can easily walk to the check-in desks in a matter of minutes.

There’s a low rate for stays of up to ten minutes if you only need to drop off a passenger. Standard rates apply for stays of up to three days, after which the costs may vary.

Dropping off and picking up

Unlike many airports where the drop-off parking is charged at a premium rate, Cardiff Airport has a free drop-off zone outside the main terminal building.

You are able to stay for up to ten minutes while you unload your passengers and luggage. After this, charges increase to £5 for every ten minutes, so you’ll need to keep an eye on the time.

Off-Site parking

For the very lowest rates on parking at Cardiff Airport, the off-site parking can be booked in advance only. Located at SatNav reference CF62 3BT, the off-site car park is a short distance from the terminal.

A free shuttle bus transfer service will take you to the check-in area, and back to your car on your return, which takes about ten minutes each way. The car park does not accommodate high-sided vehicles like caravans, motorhomes, lorries or trailers.

Benefits of parking at Cardiff Airport at a glance

  • Safe and secure carparks
  • Perimeter fencing
  • CCTV
  • Security patrols on foot
  • Open 24 hours a day
  • Special assistance available
  • ANPR for easy arrival and departure
  • Pre-bookable
  • Drive up rates
  • ParkMark certified for peace of mind

Hotel and parking at Cardiff Airport

While there are no hotels located within the airport complex at Cardiff Airport, there are hotels to suit every budget all within very close range. Booking a hotel stay before your flight can smooth the process of arriving for check-in, and is a great idea if you have a very early morning departure time, as you can enjoy some extra time in bed knowing you don’t have to worry about last-minute traffic delays, or getting lost on your way to the airport.

One of the closest hotels to Cardiff Airport is the Holiday Inn Express. It’s so close at only half a mile that many rooms even have views over the runway, although with quadruple glazing you can be sure of a good night’s sleep without the noise of planes accompanying the view!

The hotel offers comfortable and minimal rooms, all with good facilities. Breakfast is included, and there is a full bar and restaurant on site. An airport shuttle bus service runs to the terminal from the hotel, and deals are available on parking if booked in advance.

The Travelodge Cardiff Airport is 2 miles from the terminal and a good choice for those on a budget. Rooms start from £31, and parking is free for the night of your stay.

For business travellers, the Celtic Lodge Hotel offers free fast internet and has a business centre on-site which is open 24 hours a day. The hotel is located just a mile from the airport, and a shuttle bus service is available to take you to the terminal for a small extra charge.

Transfers to and from Cardiff Airport

By Bus

Cardiff Airport (CWL) is well connected to the city centre by local and national bus services. Local buses leave directly outside the terminal, with the T9 bus operating up to every 30 minutes. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes and is free to use at weekends.

The 905 bus runs between the airport and the nearest train station, Rhoose Railway Station, where it is possible to catch connecting rail services.

By Taxi

Travelling to the airport by taxi is a relaxing and convenient way to start your trip. Taxis drop off in the drop-off zone right outside the terminal, so you won’t have far to walk to the check-in area.

On arrival at the airport, taxi transfers to the city and surrounding destinations can be booked in advance using the official cab partner Flightlink Wales.

By Rail

There is no station at the Cardiff Airport terminal, but Rhoose Railway Station is the nearest rail connection. A shuttle bus service operates between the two and costs £1 per journey.

Trains from Rhoose operate every hour on weekdays and Saturdays and every two hours on Sundays.

Car Hire at Cardiff Airport

If you are arriving at Cardiff Airport and need to hire a car for your onward journey, the airport has a range of car hire operators within the terminal. Booking a car is often cheaper if you book in advance, but depending on availability you may be able to secure a vehicle when you arrive, although there is likely to be less choice.

Car hire operators found at Cardiff Airport include:

  • Enterprise
  • Europcar
  • Hertz
  • Avis

To hire a car you will need to make sure you have your driving license and credit card with you when you travel.

Cardiff Airport Overview

As the busiest airport in Wales, Cardiff Airport, or CWL is an important flight hub for the 1.5 million passengers who pass through its doors each year. Operating flights to most European destinations along with long haul flights to Doha with Qatar Airways, the busiest routes from the airport include Amsterdam, Palma and Dublin.

The airport was founded in 1942 originally as an RAF base, RAF Rhoose. Serving as a training station during the war, the airfield was left in a state of disrepair in the post-war years until being commissioned as a commercial airport in 1952. The earliest passenger flights from Cardiff were to Dublin, and during the 70s and 80s, the routes and airport expanded further, operating transatlantic flights and even Concorde on special occasions.

The airport is now owned by the Welsh government and has been since 2013. There has been a continued programme of expansion and improvements to the terminal since then, to continue to improve the experience for passengers all over Wales and the South West and Midlands.

Location of Cardiff Airport

Cardiff Airport is the busiest airport in Wales. It’s not actually located in Cardiff city itself, but in Rhoose, which is 13 miles away to the west of the city.

The journey from the city centre to the airport takes approximately half an hour by car. SatNav users should follow the postcode CF62 3BD

The airport is easily accessible by road, being close to the M4 which links to the UK’s major motorway network. Leaving the M4 at junction 33, the airport is clearly signposted via the A4232, A4050 and A4226

Tips for family travel at Cardiff Airport

Catching a flight is an exciting business for most children. For parents, however, airports can be a stressful experience with small children. Not only do you have to keep them entertained on the flight and in their seats for take-off and landing, but keeping track of children in the busy terminal can be difficult.

Cardiff Airport has a range of family-friendly touches. There are baby changing facilities located throughout the terminal, and shops like WH Smith sell a range of magazines, books, toys and games to keep little people entertained. If you need a high chair for your infant, you’ll find them in most of the cafes and restaurants on-site, and most also have children’s menus available.

If you need to take baby milk with you, it’s a good idea to check the latest security restrictions on liquids. You are allowed to take baby milk and formula through security in quantities over 100ml, but it will be subject to screening, and you may be asked to taste it. You should only take the amount you need for your trip.

Facilities at the Airport

Cardiff Airport is a busy passenger hub, and as such has all the facilities you would expect from an airport of this size. There is a good range of places to eat and drink in the terminal, along with well-known high street shops, duty-free shopping and other support services to make your time in the terminal pleasant.

The airport serves both leisure and business travellers, and both are well catered for. If you’re looking for somewhere quiet to get some work done before your flight, you can book into the executive lounge, or why not get your trip started in style with a glass of prosecco in the bar?

The full range of facilities at Cardiff Airport includes:

  • Café
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Coffee shops
  • Shops
  • Currency Exchange bureau
  • Trolleys
  • Executive Lounge
  • Lost property
  • Meeting rooms
  • Multi-faith prayer room
  • Toilets
  • Baby change facilities
  • Special assistance
  • Tourist information
  • Car Hire
  • Short stay parking
  • Long stay parking
  • Meet and greet parking
  • Free pick up and drop off area

What to do at Cardiff Airport

There is plenty to keep you occupied while you wait for your flight from Cardiff Airport.

Enjoy some welsh hospitality

The Welsh are known the world over for their hospitality, and Cardiff Airport has just the place to experience it. Café Cwtch offers hot and cold drinks, snacks and a comfortable place to sit all with a “warm Welsh welcome”.

Pick up some last-minute essentials

If you’ve forgotten to bring your phone charger, or remembered at the last minute you need to pick up sun cream, Cardiff Airport has you covered.

The shops in the departure area offer a good selection of essentials for travellers, so for everything from nappies to holiday reading, you don’t need to worry about being unprepared.

Get some work done in a lounge

Cardiff Airport is well equipped for business travellers. By booking the executive lounge, you can be sure of a comfortable place to sit and work while you wait for your flight. The lounge is open from 5 am to 7 pm each day, and offers a range of complimentary hot and cold drinks to enjoy.

Fast Wifi is available if you need to catch up on emails or work online, and a range of snacks, wines, spirits and beer are also available if you decide to indulge.

Arrange a meeting

If you’re looking for somewhere even calmer than a lounge to do business, there are meeting rooms available at Cardiff Airport. The meeting rooms are available to book in advance and come equipped with a range of useful extras.

Choose from the Portkerry room, which seats 15, or the Rhoose Room, seating 12. Decide whether you need items like a flipchart, screen, projector or boardroom-style seating. For longer meetings, buffet services and refreshments can be arranged with the airport’s approved catering service too.

What to see close to the Airport

Cardiff Airport is within easy reach of the city centre itself, either by car or public transport. There is plenty to see and do in the city, or for those who fancy travelling further afield, the surrounding Welsh countryside offers many options for exploring the Vale of Glamorgan and along the coast.

Visit a castle

Cardiff Castle is an imposing city landmark, presiding over the city for over 2000 years. It’s a great example of the medieval ‘motte and bailey’ style of the castle and was built in Norman times over the site of a Roman fort, so there’s plenty of history to learn. The castle is in the heart of the city, and easy to explore on foot. You can take a house tour, explore the castle apartments and see the tunnels within the castle walls which served as wartime shelters during world war 2. With a café, gift shop and audio guide available, it’s a great day out for the whole family. Entry costs £13.50 for adults.

Be part of sporting history

Cardiff is famous as a sporting city, with its Principality Stadium being the national stadium of Wales. It hosts high-profile sports events in football, rugby and boxing, along with concerts and events throughout the year. The stadium was opened in 1999, and stadium tours are available if you want to see what goes on behind the scenes in the players’ tunnel and dressing rooms.

Hop on hop off an open-top bus

One of the best ways to get to grips and see the main sights in Cardiff city centre is to join an open-top bus tour. With numerous hop-on-and-off stops around the city, the tours take in all the highlights of this historic and vibrant city, including the castle, Principality Stadium, Quays and other major landmarks. Audio guides are available in many languages, so you can sit back and relax in comfort as you take in the sights. Tickets for the city bus tours also include discounted entry to many of the major attractions, so you can get the most for your money.

Take a Gavin and Stacey tour

The famous TV programme Gavin and Stacey was filmed on Barry Island, a short distance from Cardiff Airport. For fans of the show, a visit to the major locations feature is a great way to mark your visit to Wales. Gavin and Stacey’s tours take in all the major locations from the show, including Nessa’s chair in the amusement arcade, Stacey’s home and the Barry Island seafront.

Visit the Brecon Beacons

North of the airport is one of the most beautiful National Parks in Wales, the Brecon Beacons. This protected landscape has miles of stunning hills, forests, lakes, and waterfalls and is a great place to get out in the fresh air close to Cardiff Airport. There are many outdoor activities on offer in the Brecon Beacons, including guided walks, mountain biking, caving and sightseeing.

Get cultured

Cardiff has a thriving arts scene, with the Millennium Centre playing host to internationally renowned performers, artists, musicians, and opera and ballet performances. As the National Arts Centre for Wales, the programme is always full and features learning workshops and educational experiences, as well as performances. The centre is located on the waterfront of Cardiff Bay and is easily accessible by car and public transport.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I book parking in advance at Cardiff Airport?

Booking parking in advance is a great way to save money on airport parking. You can make your way to the airport with complete peace of mind, knowing that your parking space is secure and the best value for money. Cardiff Airport offers both short and long-stay parking options, both of which can be pre-booked.

Does Cardiff Airport have valet parking?

Valet parking, or meet and greet parking is one of the most convenient ways to start your trip from Cardiff Airport. It is available to pre-book at Cardiff Airport. On arrival at the airport, follow signs to the meet and greet parking area, drop your keys with the staff, and make your way to check in on foot.

What special assistance is available for car parking at Cardiff Airport?

There are dedicated accessible parking spaces available at both the short and long stay car parks at Cardiff Airport. Help points are located close by, from where staff can be contacted for passengers requiring additional assistance. Ramp access is available from the short stay car park to the terminal.

How long does it take to get through security?

Cardiff Airport is a busy hub, so you should allow yourself plenty of time to pass through the security hall and make your way to your flight. Most airlines recommend that you arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight leaves, however, if you are travelling with oversized baggage, small children or require special assistance you may be advised to leave even more time.

Can I take liquids on my flight?

Any liquids over 100ml should be packed in your hold baggage. You are allowed to take liquids in small quantities in your hand luggage, however, these should all be in containers of 100ml or less. They will need to be presented for security screening in a clear, re-sealable plastic bag.

How far is Cardiff Airport from the city centre?

Cardiff Airport is approximately 13 miles west of the city. The journey times can vary depending on the traffic, but should normally take around half an hour by car. Good bus services link the airport to the city centre, taking around 45 minutes. Bus services leave from outside the terminal, along with private hire taxis.

Can I smoke at Cardiff Airport?

Smoking is not permitted inside the terminal building. If you are a smoker, you may smoke outside the main terminal entrance before entering the check-in area. Once you are past security, there is also an additional smoking area close to Gate 2 in the departure hall. Electronic cigarettes are not to be used anywhere within the terminal building.

Can I change money at Cardiff Airport?

Yes. There is a currency exchange bureau in both the departure hall and the baggage reclaim area, where you can change all major currencies. Cash machines in the terminal dispense money in both Euro and Sterling.

Where are the baby changing facilities?

Baby changing facilities can be found on the first floor of the departure hall, and the arrivals hall at Cardiff Airport.

I lost something at the airport. Who should I contact?

Lost property services at Cardiff Airport can be reached by calling +44 (0)1446 711 111. You will need to leave a voicemail, detailing what your item is, when and where it was lost, and your contact details. You will only receive a call back if your item is found, so it’s best to keep a close eye on your belongings while you are in the terminal.

Do I have to pay for a trolley at Cardiff Airport?

Trolleys are available at the airport to assist with carrying your luggage. There is no charge for trolleys, although you will need to use a £1 or 1Euro coin. This is refunded when you return the trolley to the deposit points.

How much does it cost to park at Cardiff Airport?

The cost of your airport parking will depend on how long you need to stay, and which car park you choose. Free parking is available for up to ten minutes in the drop off area. For stays of a few hours to a few days, the short term car park is closest to the terminal, while the long stay and off-site car parks offer cheaper parking for extended stays of a week or more.

How do I get the best rates on parking at Cardiff Airport?

The best way to get the cheapest airport parking is to book in advance. Discounted rates apply for advance bookings, so it’s a good idea to book as early as possible to secure your space and get the best rate.