Cardiff is a young capital, the capital of Wales since only 1955, and it is a city with all the energy, vibrancy and vigour of the young. Since the new millennium regeneration projects have seen Cardiff emerge as one of the most exciting cities in Britain. There is no end of swish eating out choices, plenty of places to enjoy a night out, impressive sporting stadiums hosting world class events, shopping options from sleek contemporary malls to beautifully decorated Victorian arcades and, of course, there’s the ultramodern waterfront development and the ancient castle as well.
Cardiff is a happening city so the only thing you can do is dive in and pack as much as you can into your stay. Here are some suggestions for starters.
Sport in Cardiff
Even if you are not a big sporting fan you can’t fail to be impressed by the grandeur and iconoclasm of the Millennium Stadium, and you’ll want to know if the Six Nations (February to March), or any other sporting event, is being held as hotels in the city will get booked up pretty quickly when this is the case.
The Millennium Stadium sits on the banks of the River Taff and the crowd’s songs cause the whole of Cardiff to reverberate to their rhythms. Get in early to book your tickets, or take a tour to see behind the scenes.
Shopping in Cardiff
Cardiff boasts one of Britain’s largest shopping centres in St David’s, but it also provides shopping experiences of a smaller and more unique kind. These include its historical arcades (such as the nineteenth century Royal which leads to the ritzy modern consumer delights of the Morgan Quarter), Jacob’s Market (a four storey bric a brac lover’s delight) and the Fashion Quarter (which is all graffiti walls, vintage clothes and independent traders).
History and Museums in Cardiff
As the home of BBC Wales, which produces Dr Who, Cardiff is no stranger to time travel. Next door to BBC Wales is the Doctor Who Exhibition where daleks, cybermen and the Doctor spring to life daily.
You can time travel in a rather more considered way by visiting Cardiff Castle, quite rightly Cardiff’s favourite visitor attraction. Here you will find a medieval keep at its heart, but it’s the extravagant adornments and additions of the Victorians in all their gothic splendour that really fire up the imagination.
Nearby Bute Park offers a great place to escape from it all and idle a while by the River Taff.
Explore Cardiff Bay
Cardiff Bay is, perhaps, the greatest symbol of Cardiff’s regeneration, housing the arts complex of the Wales Millennium Centre, an architectural masterpiece, important national institutions, a whole smorgasbord of interesting buildings, large open spaces, public art. There is art, theatre, shopping, restaurants, cafes, bars, sculptures and it’s a great place to just lose yourself in for an afternoon.
But don’t linger too long: the rest of Cardiff beckons!