Cardiff Bay, also known as Tiger Bay, was once the site of the Butes’ enormous coal empire. It’s now a shiny new harbourside development full of shops, culturally and politically important buildings and tourist attractions. The Wales Millennium Centre, which hosts theatrical and musical performances year round, is worth a visit in its own right: as are the Pierhead Building, the Senned (the Welsh senate) and the immaculate Norwegian Church. There’s also a science museum and discovery centre, a huge open air plaza (the Roald Dahl Plass) and a sizeable shopping quay (the Mermaid Quay). You could spend days at Cardiff Bay and still not have discovered everything!
Capital of Wales, one of the UK’s liveliest new tourist destinations and a rapidly expanding metropolis – Cardiff is all of these things and much more: a town whose history is as dearly beloved to its inhabitants as the shiny modern face it’s been given since the turn of the century.
Great places to visit in Cardiff!
The iconic Millennium Centre, whose extraordinary architecture overlooks the curve of Cardiff Bay like the hull of a battle-scarred copper spaceship, represents everything that Cardiff has to offer. It’s exciting – surprisingly so, perhaps, to the visitor more aware of the city’s industrial past than its cosmopolitan present. It’s original. Yet it still fits with the character of the city, originally a mining town and one of the most fortified in the whole of the UK. Cardiff still proudly boasts five castles in various states of repair, reminders of the ancient history that formed the landscape. “Caer Taf”, one of the city’s original names, even means “Fort on the Taff”.
Cardiff’s signature landmark, and a reminder of the long history of the area. Cardiff Castle stands at the heart of the city on a spot that originally held a Roman Fort. The Castle is open year round, and is a wonderful example of a preserved medieval building – much of the work was done during the Victorian age, when the Bute family owned the original Roman site. You’ll see more than two millennia of history unfold during your visit, as you wander from Roman walls and Norman battlements to incredible Victorian apartments. In addition to daily visits, the Castle runs special tours and Welsh Banquets.
Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium was originally built in 1999 to play host to the Rugby World Cup. It’s since become an emblem not just of Wales’ most regenerated city, but of the country as a whole. The Welsh rugby team has its home here, and most of Wales’ international football home matches are played here. The Stadium hosts major concerts year round, and is the venue for some motorsports too. Stadium tours show you the behind the scenes action, including the Dragon’s Lair (the Welsh team dressing room). Plus you get to see how the pitch can be taken apart and stored on gig days.