There’s more to the Welsh capital than dragons and daffodils
As well as being the capital city of Wales, Cardiff is one of the UK’s most vibrant cities, with the perfect blend of stunning architecture, cultural attractions, buzzing nightlife and easy access for exploring the charms of South Wales.
Since being officially recognised as the Welsh capital in 1955, Cardiff has undergone a huge amount of regeneration. Additions such as the modern Millennium Stadium and the chic Cardiff Bay development have attracted tourists in their droves, as well as 30,000 students to the city's universities.
The central area, complete with seven Victorian shopping arcades and traffic-free streets, extends from the railway station to the impressive castle. Cardiff Bay, Europe's largest waterfront development located 1 mile south of the city, is home to a number of attractions, including Techniquest Science Discovery Centre, The Welsh Assembly, Butetown History and Arts Centre and the Wales Millennium Centre.
Cardiff offers something for all visitors. Those looking for a little culture can explore Cardiff Castle, the National Museum with its exciting array of free exhibits, the open-air St Fagan’s Museum, or the medieval Llandaff Cathedral. If you’re feeling energetic, cyclists and ramblers can explore the Cardiff Bay Barrage Coastal Path or tackle the 55-mile Taff Trail to Brecon Beacons National Park.
For a more leisurely city break, head to Cardiff Bay with a plethora of chic waterfront brasseries and bars, or stroll over to Mermaid Quay for a great selection of galleries selling contemporary crafts. The centre of town offers pedestrian-friendly shopping and a vast array of buzzing night spots.
When to go?
Cardiff tends to be at it’s best during the summer months from June to September when the weather is more likely (but by no means guaranteed) to be fine! The city is at it’s busiest – and liveliest – during match days, when Cardiff’s Millennium stadium hosts some of the biggest events on the sporting calendar.
How to get there?
Cardiff International Airport, based 12 miles southwest of the city centre, is the main hub for international and domestic flights. If you are already in the UK, Cardiff is easily accessible by coach or train.
Set in Bute Park in the heart of the city, the 2,000-year-old Cardiff Castle is well-worth a visit and frequently hosts special events including painting workshops and open-air Shakespeare plays. The sleek Wales Millennium Centre showcases Cardiff culture at its best, with a first-class programme of opera, musicals, theatre and ballet, while the St David’s Hall is home to the Welsh Proms and hosts regular performances by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Soak up some culture at the National Museum and Gallery, or catch a match at the Millennium Stadium if you can grab a ticket.
Investigate the rejuvenated Cardiff Bay offering relaxing waterfront walks and award-winning architecture alongside an assortment of high-end hotels and chic dockside restaurants. Or for a more authentic meal, try traditional Welsh Cawl stew served with some seaweed-based laver bread. Polish it off with a dessert of Welsh cakes before settling into a cosy pub for a pint of the local Brains bitter.