Cardiff was made capital of Wales in 1955 and since then the city has emerged as one of the most vibrant urban centres in the UK. Whether you’re a sports fan, shopaholic, foodie or culture buff you’ll find Cardiff has it all.
Did you know?
- Cardiff has a reputation as a ‘city of castles’ with five different castles within its surroundings.
- The world-renowned children’s writer Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Cardiff.
- Cardiff is known as the ‘City of Arcades’ thanks to its amazing selection of Victorian, Edwardian and contemporary shopping arcades. They reflect the historical heritage of the city.
- Spiller’s Records in Morgan Arcade is the world’s oldest record store. It opened in 1894 and originally sold the wax cylinders that were played on phonographs.
- The Wales Millennium Centre, one of the landmark attractions in Cardiff, won the Loo of the Year Award, not once but twice!
Where to visit
Discover the historic heart of the city with a visit to the magnificent Cardiff Castle which was interestingly used as a safe haven during World War II, when it was an air raid shelter. These days people go to marvel at the fairy-tale interiors decorated in marble, stained glass and rich murals. The castle is also used for gigs, cinema screenings and art exhibitions throughout the year.
Looking for a museum with a difference? Visit the open-air attraction of St Fagans National History Museum, perched on the outskirts of the city. This hugely popular attraction consists of more than 50 original buildings from different historical periods in Wales, brought to life in the grounds of a 16th century manor house.
If you’re looking for trendy bars, mouth-watering cuisines and a glittering view of the famous Cardiff Bay, visit the waterfront shopping district of Mermaid Quay. The 14,000 square metre development opened in 1999 and is a great place to enjoy a bite to eat or simply people-watch.
What and where to eat
Those keen to try the local cuisine in Cardiff should look up a few of these traditional Welsh treats. Welsh rarebit is the ultimate comfort dish consisting of a spiced, hot cheese sauce on toasted bread. You can sample it at the quirky restaurant attached to the Madame Fromage specialist cheese shop. This is also a great place to sample cawl, the national dish of Wales, a sumptuous stew made up of chunky root vegetables and salted bacon or beef.
Those with a sweet tooth might find a helping of the sugary Welsh cakes puts a smile on their face. Pop into the Fabulous Welshcakes and try Welsh cakes freshly baked in the traditional way. Another must-try is the tempting bara brith, a delicious fruit loaf soaked in tea. Drop into Pettigrew Tea Rooms to try a sumptuous spread of tea and cake with a distinctive Welsh twist.
What to do
Sports enthusiasts must visit the state-of-the-art Principality Stadium to discover the home of Welsh Rugby Union and the Wales national football team. Drop in on a game day to enjoy the exciting atmosphere in the stands, or take an hour-long tour which takes you from the home-side changing rooms to the president’s suites. There are also plenty of opportunities to pose with a favourite team member’s shirt or raise a trophy above your head.
If you are looking for relaxation head to Barry Island. It is a beach that is a short train ride away from the city centre. It has amusement arcades, funfair rides and a breath-taking beach which has the exclusive Blue Flag rating.
Where to shop
St David’s Centre, located in the heart of the city, is one of the largest shopping malls in the UK. You can easily spend an afternoon in the centre and shop in your favourite chains, such as River Island, Debenhams and John Lewis.
The unique shops found in Cardiff’s collection of historical arcades offer hours of entertainment for browsers and buyers alike. Look for high-end brands and independent boutiques at Morgan Arcade. Fine antiques and handicrafts at the Royal Arcade and edible artisan goodies at the Victorian Castle Arcade.