The Olympics come to Cardiff (and we take our toddler)

When London won the bid the host the Olympic games in 2012 I was really excited to hear that some events would be held here in Cardiff. And when tickets went on sale we put our names down as soon as possible.

We even got a ticket for our 16 month old for a few of the games – you only pay for your child’s age so it was £1. Bargain! He’ll never remember it, but I want to tell him he was at the Olympics.

A few people have hinted that seeing an Olympic game in Cardiff isn’t the ‘real Olympics’ as it’s not in London and I’ve had comments like ‘It’s not like I’ve never been to a game in the stadium before’. But we thought it was worth experiencing. And it was! The atmosphere was completely different to any football I’ve ever seen in the stadium before, there was a real family vibe and it felt very safe. However, although the atmosphere was good, it had none of the passion you usually get from the crowd at a Wales rugby match.

We arrived during the Mexico-Switzerland game and only stayed for the first half of the GB match – getting a 16-month old to sit still for that long was quite a feat – although he seemed to enjoy the clapping, flag waving and mexican waves. It was just as well we left early though, judging by comments on Twitter, the queues for the buses and trains were pretty awful!

Team GB warm up before kick-off
Team GB warm up before kick-off

We’ve got tickets to a couple more games, including the next GB match on Saturday.

Here are a few things you might need to know, particularly if you’re going to a match with a child;

– There is pushchair storage at the stadium. We weren’t sure (neither were the four games maker volunteers we asked – Tut, tut!) so we erred on the side of caution and left the buggy at the Tourist Information Centre at the Hayes. (it only cost £3) But when we got into the stadium we saw others with pushchairs and some stored in Steward break rooms. Even better, if your child is young enough, take them in a carrier, or sling.

– It’s fine for you to take your child’s milk and snacks inside, they might ask you to taste it though!

– If you’re with a young child it really is worth thinking about leaving before the full-time whistle, to avoid the travel chaos.

– Some restaurants and cafes seemed to shut early due to the game. We managed to grab a sandwich in the NY Deli just before it closed at 4.

– Bags will need to be searched, which will likely lead to queues. You’re advised not to take a bag (impossible with a toddler!) but we only took the essentials and the search lasted about 30 seconds.

Enjoy – and C’MON GB!

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