An architectural masterpiece, the Wales Millennium Centre is at the heart of Cardiff Bay, a wonderfully regenerated area full of striking buildings, wide open spaces and intriguing pieces of public art.
The centre, opened in 2004, was designed by Jonathan Adams and is made up of slate in shades of green, grey and purple enveloped in an attention-grabbing bronzed steel shell. The roof above the main entrance is pierced by huge letter-shaped windows, beautifully backlit at night, which spell out poetic phrases.
It is the country’s number one visitor attraction and premier arts complex, with the Welsh National Opera, National Dance Company Wales, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Literature Wales, HiJinx Theatre and Ty Cerdd (Music Centre of Wales) among the cultural organisations that call it home.
Visitors can wander the large public lobby at their leisure while guided tours can take you behind those giant letters and, depending on the shows being staged, onto the main stage and into the dressing rooms.
Free performances take place regularly on the Glanfa stage and locally sourced produce can be enjoyed at the centre’s own restaurant, ffresh. There is also a coffee shop, several bars and an ice cream parlour while the Milipwts’ Den is a family-friendly addition designed to enrich the experience of younger visitors.
The building, which comprises one main theatre with 1,897 seats and two smaller auditoriums, has featured in several episodes of the hit show Doctor Who, now produced by BBC Wales, and the spin-off series Torchwood.