The Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff

No sooner was I home than we were booking a short trip to South Wales to make sure we got into the Doctor Who experience before it closes its doors next month!

We pre-book our tickets online to ensure that we weren’t hanging around in a queue, and to save us the tiniest amount of money (it’s literally pennies). I travelled down with my parents, so we took the car and not a train/ coach which is how I would usually travel. It’s safe to say that I do not intend to drive.

Because we chose to book the earliest possible slot (10 am) to make the most of our trip, I used my Hotels.com app to get us a room at the Ibis Newport (slowly working my way up to a free night somewhere!) and we drove down the M6, M5, M4 and a bunch of other motorways. I slept in the back seat.

We ate at Zizzis (my first experience!) and I was the only one fully happy with my food, but I guess you can’t be fully happy with your food if it contains a corpse, so….

We headed out first thing and drove from Newport to Cardiff. I can’t help you with this because I daydreamed in the back seat, but we parked in Cardiff Bay right near the Doctor Who experience which cost £5 for 12 hours parking.

In front of the car park is a coffee shop called Coffi Co, where we had breakfast. They do breakfast sandwiches and they didn’t even blink (you see what I did there?) when I asked for an off-menu hash brown barm and americano. Whilst in the coffee shop, we spoke to a lovely Welsh lady and her stunning dog and she pointed us in the direction of Ianto’s Shrine, a ‘must see’ for any Torchwood fan, so we thanked her and her dog and headed for a wander around the Bay until it was time to go into the Experience!

Arriving at the Doctor Who Experience we joined the queue to enter the Gallifrey Museum. If you’ve been reading my Disney blogs, you’ll know that I don’t like to spoil things like shows or even interactives so I’ll do my best to describe it without giving it away.

We were lead by a Gallifreyan curator (who was clearly nerding out all day in her job and I’m quite jealous of her now!) who handed us crystals that aided us in transporting between various times and relative dimensions in space. The story that we followed incorporated current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and we had to help the Doctor locate three crystals to save the day!

We went through the Tardis, Skaro (Daleks), the Forest of Weeping Angels and more on our quest to save the day and make it back home. There are moments where you can interact and it is well and truly an “experience”. I was the only person in our group actually satisfied as it wasn’t what my parents were expecting, but it’s about a 30-to-40-minute experience where you and about 20 other people journey through together. The only criticism I have is that my mum struggled with walking through due to the lighting and continually changing flooring (she has a disability) so it is certainly worth considering accessibility if you’re going. There was also a child (maybe 10?) who struggled with aspects such as the moving floor and the noise levels, but I noticed that she was able to step off the floor at those moments and they always hung to the back of the group.

When you finish the experience, you end up in a museum. There are Tardises (is that the correct pluralisation?), costumes and even a newspaper from the date of the first episode (I had no idea!).

There is a Tardis you can go in and take photos at, and even a green screen you can have photos done at. They’re supposed to be £10 each, but the printer wasn’t working so we got digital ones for free! It was so much fun, and what I loved most was how into it the staff were! No one was bored because they had done it a million times before, they really showed us how to get the best of our photos (and aren’t they amazing poses? Both were successful on the first take!).

We went from here upstairs to look at the costumes and monsters. (There is a lift for those who can’t do the stairs). The majority of character costumes are from the most recent series, which was great for me as I loved both Bill and Clara! (Controversial, I know). I mostly walked around reading and taking photos of all the costumes. There’s some things that I know I saw, but I just, nope, can’t remember…

After the museum is always a….

SHOP!

We spent a fair bit here between us. I know this as it’s the way I made my “contribution” to all the costs. £80.94 later, we were done!

I bought some earrings, a t shirt and a tote bag (my share came to £23).

Overall spending for the trip:

Hotel – Ibis Budget Newport: £49.00 for one night
Dinner for 3 at Zizzis: £70ish including sides and puddings
Breakfast for 3 at Coffi Co: £20ish
Entry to the Doctor Who Experience: £52ish, including one Companion Guide
Souvenirs: £80.94
Transport: £65 for fuel (according to a calculator for return trip, but I really have no idea!)
Car parking: £5

Total (ish): £341.94 for 3 adults

You can save money in different ways by maybe not spending as much on souvenirs, dining cheaper etc. I personally don’t think £114 per person is too bad for this kind of trip, the food was always delicious and I enjoyed the experience and I’ve even worn my Tardis earrings to work!

Are you planning a trip to the Doctor Who Experience before it closes in September? Let me know down below!

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