Cardiff, Wales’ capital city, was not always the capital city of Wales. Cardiff is Europe’s youngest capital city, only becoming the Welsh capital in 1955. Cardiff tourism information is in the Old Library on a street called The Hays in the city centre. It has all the information you need on activities in Cardiff.
For most visitors to Wales, Cardiff tourism often means a tour of Cardiff Castle, a glimpse of the mighty Millennium Stadium and a trip to Cardiff Bay – but why not try something different? You can now travel between the city and the Cardiff Bay by water taxi – and view the Millennium Stadium from the River Taff. Then take a jet power-boat trip to Cardiff Barrage, which encloses the freshwater lake of Cardiff Bay, or go as far as Flat Holm and Steep Holm islands and do a bit of bird-spotting. Whilst you’re in the Bay visit Techniquest – the interactive science museum and planetarium, and you won’t be able to miss the huge Wales Millennium Centre theatre dominating the skyline. This silver-domed building is home to the Welsh National Opera and a poem built into its face, climb the stairs and see which letter you can sit in. One of the newest attractions is the Dr Who Exhibition which celebrates the cult TV series which is filmed in and around the city.
Slap, bang in the middle of the main shopping area of the city you will find Cardiff Castle. It started life as a Roman fort, upgraded by the Normans, finally updated by a Victorian – the then richest man in the world, the Marquess of Bute. Walk alongside the walls and eyeball the ominous animal statues who guard the castle grounds and wonder why one is an oversize Australian wombat.
Ahead of you is St Mary’s Street and its network of Victorian shopping arcades which pop out into their modern counterparts – modern, covered mini-malls like the Queen’s Arcade. Queen Street, headed up by a statue of Aneurin Bevan, the Welsh founder of the NHS, is full of the usual high street chains. The St David’s Shopping Centre is the showpiece that makes the city one of the top shopping destinations in the UK. Cardiff is home to the Spillers, the world’s oldest record shop and this tiny shop with racks of photocopied album covers somehow still survives.
If you’re in the Welsh capital on a Sunday lunchtime, check out the Riverside farmer’s market on the Taff Embankment opposite the Millennium Stadium. You’ll find organic leeks, potatoes and all the ingredients to make Welsh cawl (broth), Welsh rarebit or even just cheese on toast.
Just outside the city is the romantic fairy tale castle, Castell Coch, its turrets peeking out of a wooded hillside. A pleasant cycle ride from the city up the river on the Taff Trail, with bikes hired from Taff Trail Cycle Hire in Cardiff Caravan Park, Pontcanna Fields.
Visit Wales’ own version of Washington DC’s Capitol building in Cathays Park. Unlike their American counterpart the domed, white stone buildings on the edge of the city centre are not the Government buildings, but instead house the National Museum Cardiff and National Gallery Cardiff and Cardiff City Hall. Look at the dome to see a suitably defiant coiled dragon and step inside to sneak a look at one of the world’s finest collections of Impressionist paintings.
St Fagans National History Museum is a huge open-air museum of Welsh life and is where Welsh buildings go when they die. Walk back in time as you stroll past old miner’s cottages, farmsteads and cock-fighting pits, or browse through the goods in the hardware shop and stop at the bakers for a cake. All the historic buildings in this museum have been painstakingly labelled, moved and reassembled here in St Fagans.
Swansea Valley Holiday Cottages
Getting to Cardiff from Swansea Valley Holiday Cottages
(i) By car. Our cottages are an easy 45 minute drive from Cardiff City Centre along the M4 motorway. There are a number of well signposted multi storey car parks in Cardiff City Centre.
(ii) By train. A good option is to head down to Neath, leave your car at Milland Road Car Park (£1 for the day) and catch the train into Cardiff. Trains depart from Neath at least once an hour and Cardiff train station is in the city centre.
The population of Cardiff is 315,000 making it the UK’s 14th largest city.
Cardiff is twinned with Hordaland in Norway, Nantes in France, Lugansk in the Ukraine, Stuttgart in Germany and Xiamen in China.
In June 1910, Captain Robert Falcon Scott set sail from Cardiff on his tragic expedition to the Antarctic, berthing in the docks for six days as an acknowledgement of the considerable financial support raised locally. Welshman Petty Officer Edgar Evans, born in Gower and brought up in Swansea was an integral part of the expedition.
Cardiff was one of the most prosperous places on Earth during the industrial revolution. Exporting Welsh coal to all corners of the world, Cardiff became the world’s busiest port. It was also home to the Marquis of Bute – the world’s richest man in the late 19th century. The city was also the location of the world’s first million pound sterling business deal – a coal deal naturally.
Our Welsh holiday cottages are a perfect base from which to take in the tourist attractions of Cardiff, the Capital of Wales.