The incredible city of Cardiff, United Kingdom
Cardiff (Welsh, Caerdydd) is the capital of Wales in the United Kingdom and is located in the south of the country. Though it had a reputation of being a rough, industrial city, Cardiff has changed dramatically in recent years. It is now a lively and modern capital city, gaining popularity with tourists interested in its history and culture. Once overlooked, it is now one of the United Kingdom's tourism hot spots. Summer is by far the best time to visit, as many of the attractions are outdoors. Its population is roughly 350,000, with 1.5 million living within 20 miles of the city.
Cardiff's city centre is located in the southern portion of the city just north of Cardiff Bay. It is traditionally bounded by the historic civic centre, castle, park and university buildings to the north by the River Taff to the west, and by the Valleys and South Wales rail lines to the east and south. Growth in recent years however is pushing the city centre beyond these boundaries, especially in regards to commercial office provision.
- Cardiff Castle Castle: Cardiff Castle is a large castle whose foundations are based upon a Roman fort. In the nineteenth century, it was the one of the homes of the Marquis of Bute. The Norman fort in the centre, the Welsh regimental museum and and excavated Roman ruins are open, and tours of the Bute household are available. The Bute part of the castle is quite amazing. The interior was all done in the early 1900's in a very idiosyncratic and interesting style. There is barely an inch that is not adorned with some sort of artistic work. Yet, it is not overwhelming.
- The Millennium Stadium 74,200 seater stadium opened for the 1999 Rugby World Cup, and now host to the Wales national rugby and football teams. It hosted the FA Cup Final for some years during the redevelopment of Wembley Stadium in London. A must see for anyone, tours are available online or at the ticket desk.
- The Wales Millennium Centre, a great piece of modern architecture, opened in 2004 by the Queen, the futuristic Wales Millennium Centre is host to a opera, dance and musicals throughout the year, making it a must see for those who like Welsh theatre. Entry is free throughout the year. While entrance to the theatre is charged free live performances take place in the foyer every lunchtime.
- The National Assembly for Wales or the Senedd (Cardiff Bay) is the seat of Wales' national government and was opened on St David's Day (1st March) 2006 by the Queen. Visitors have a chance to see public debates from the viewing gallery or a free tour around the building, which is made out of purely Welsh materials, and how it is designed eco-friendly. Entry is free.
- The Norwegian Church (Cardiff Bay, next to the Assembly) was first established in Cardiff Bay to serve the large community of Norwegian sailors working in the docks. Its main claim to fame is as the place where the author Roald Dahl was christened, but today it is a cafe and art gallery.
- Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre also known as the Tube is home to displays and exhibitions on the development of Cardiff Bay as the world's largest port. Entry is free.
- The Doctor Who Exhibition (Cardiff Bay), is operated out of the Red Dragon centre. This exhibition boasts various props and displays of the series, as well as a guide to the various locations in the Cardiff and Wales areas that were used as filming locations for the BBC's series Torchwood.
- Llandaff Cathedral is situated in the ancient 'city of Llandaff' and is one of the oldest religious sites in Europe. The cathedral dates from 1107 and features some spectacular architecture.
- Castell Coch meaning the 'Red Castle' in Welsh is a fairytale castle nestled on a hill in the outskirts of the city. Built for the 3rd Marquis of Bute, who was at one time the richest man in the world.
- City Hall the domed roof of City Hall is one of the landmarks of Cardiff city centre. Dating from the start of the 20th century, it is built of beautiful white Portland stone. Inside, the marble hall is dominated by statues of Welsh heroes.
- Bute Park A very large and beautiful park in the centre of the city, adjoining the city centre at Cardiff castle.
Museums and Galleries
- The Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans free admission. Tel: +44 (0)29 2057 3500. Great for kids. Also features one of the most beautiful gardens in Wales.
- National Museum & Gallery of Wales free admission. Cathays Park, Tel: +44 (0)29 2039 7951. An excellent collection of paintings from all periods (strong on Impressionists), plus archaeological and geological exhibits, cafes and shops. Buy parking vouchers here if needed.
- The Cardiff Museum shows how Cardiff has developed from a small town into the capital of Wales. The museum will occupy the old library site in the city centre, which currently hosts large exhibitions focusing on themes of the city's history such as sports, industry, immigration or the arts.
- Techniquest has over 160 science and technology exhibits to entertain the whole family. There is also a Science Theatre and tours of the Universe in the Planetarium. Entry: £7.00 Adults, £5.00 children with concessions available for groups.