Presentation of the destination
Until the late 19th century, Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, was little more than a sleepy village. It was the export of coal from the region that turned the place into a bustling hub and the largest port in the world at the turn of the 20th century. But Cardiff is no longer just an industrial city, it is a highly cultured one as well, priding itself as a venue for sports and entertainment and boasting the largest concentration of castles of any city in the world. Now a modern, thriving city with a multicultural population, the old dockyards have been transformed into Cardiff Bay, a large freshwater lake for water sports and sailing. Cardiff is a green city, and an extremely flat one, only rising to gentle hills in the north. And Cardiff has had a long association with sports of all kinds, including rugby, cricket, white-water activities, and golf. Rugby is housed in the city’s stunning new Millennium Stadium, which is only a two-minute drive by coach from the cultural and geographic center of the city, Cardiff Castle, which is situated on the location of an early Roman fort.
Points of interests / things to see
A visit to the city of Cardiff wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Cardiff Castle, which is located in the very center of the Welsh capital. The castle represents over 2000 years of history, as there has been an important building on the site since the Romans first built a fort here. The Normans later raised a castle on the site, which was in turn handed down through the centuries and the generations of nobility until it passed, by marriage, into the hands of the Bute family in the 1800s. In 1866, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, reportedly the richest man in the world at that time as a result of his dealings in coal, hired the eccentric architect William Burges. It is the changes that Bruges made that are still on view today – the décor of each of the themed rooms within the gothic towers is unbelievably luxurious, featuring all the kinds of stained glass, marble, gilding, and wooden embellishments favoured at the time. The 4th Marquess is credited with completing a number of restoration projects on the castle and its grounds, including the Roman Wall. After his death, the Castle and his parklands were given to the City of Cardiff. Cardiff Castle : Castle Street, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom, CF10 3RB Tel: +44 (0)29 2087 8100 Fax: +44 (0)29 2023 1417 http://www.cardiffcastle.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org The castle is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from March to October and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from November to February.Adult: £11.00 Child (5-16 years): £8.50 Senior/Student: £9.50 Family 2 Adult/2 Child: £35.00 Family 2 Adult/3 Child: £42.00
National Museum Cardiff, located in the city’s civic center, is exactly the kind of place that comes to mind when you reflect on the term “museum,” as it harbours a great number of significant objects and displays from a variety of different fields including art, natural history, archaeology, and geology. On your visit here, you can take in the 4,600 million-year history of Wales, from the Big Bang until the present day, see the world’s largest Leatherback Turtle and the impressive skeleton of a humpback whale, and view several Impressionist masterpieces, as the museum houses one of Europe’s finest art collections (spanning 500 years) and one of the best collections of Impressionist paintings found outside Paris. The archaeology gallery contains the earliest human remains ever found in Britain, as well as stunning examples of Bronze-Age gold work. All this is available for you to view on the same day! What’s more, the museum plays host to a number of touring exhibitions as well. So there is truly something for everyone to see here. National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom, CF10 3NP Tel: (029) 2057 3000Switchboard (standard rate): 0300 111 2 333http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/cardiff/ http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/email/?g=post&museum=cardiffOpen from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. (Galleries close at 4:45pm.) Entrance is free but the cost of the car park is £5.
St Fagans is the most popular heritage attraction in Wales and one of the top ten free attractions in the U.K. as a whole, receiving more than 600,000 visitors each year. What brings the tourists in? Well, St. Fagans is a living, open-air museum, one that the public can participate in, consisting of 40 buildings of historic importance from various time periods that have all been relocated to the grounds of St. Fagans Castle, a sixteenth-century Elizabethan manor house. If you want to learn first-hand about the history and culture of Wales, this is the place to do it. Exploring the 100 acres of parkland that surround the castle means travelling back and forth through time, as you visit six terraced ironworkers’ cottages, a medieval Catholic church, a World War I Workmen’s Institute, a thatched and timbered farmhouse, and a Victorian schoolhouse. Those are just a few of the buildings that are currently available to view and there is a current project underway to build replicas of a Medieval Prince’s court and an Iron-Age farm, among the implementation of other improvements to this already terrific attraction. St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff, Wales, United KingdomCF5 6XB Tel: +44 (0)29 2057 3500Fax: +44 (0)29 2057 3490 http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/stfagans/http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/enquiries/Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. dailyFree entry. Parking fee: £3.50 per car per day.
The website for the Wales Millennium Centre says it is Cardiff’s number one tourist attraction. That might be a surprising claim for an ordinary theater but for this striking building, it’s not surprising in the least. Sure, the Millennium Centre is home to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Welsh National Opera, with a variety of exciting nightly entertainment offerings ranging from West End musicals to hip hop to ballet to stand-up comedy, but the building itself is astounding. Built in 2004, the architects were given a brief to create a centre that was “unmistakably Welsh and internationally outstanding” and they have done just that. The gorgeous exterior of the building features a gigantic inscription written by poet Gwyneth Lewis in both English and Welsh, which says “In These Stones Horizons Sing and, Creu Gwir Fel Gwydr o Ffwrnais Awen (translated as ‘Creating truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration’).” Seven different types of Welsh wood were used in the building’s construction, along with slate taken from four different industrial waste heaps from slate quarries in Northern Wales. The building is so beautiful that those who are going to a show have the option of purchasing a guided tour to take before the performance. If you’re on a budget, plan to attend one of the free lunchtime performances in the foyer. The Wales Millennium Centre, Bute Place, Cardiff Bay, Wales, United KingdomCF10 5AL Tel: +44 (0)29 2063 6464 http://www.wmc.org.uk/ http://www.wmc.org.uk/TicketOffice/ContactTicketOffice Tickets and show times vary. The ticket office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Cardiff is home to the wildly popular Doctor Who television series, filmed and produced by the BBC at their new studios in Cardiff Bay. The Doctor Who Experience is the quintessential tourist attraction for those who love the television show. Here you will find the largest ever collection of Dr. Who costumes, props, and artefacts. But that’s only the beginning, because the main event is an interactive adventure through time and space, featuring specially filmed sequences with Doctor Who star Matt Smith. Yes, you get to fly the TARDIS; yes, you will meet Daleks, Cybermen, and Sontarans. After your adventure, you can explore exhibits that give you a sense of what’s it like behind the scenes of the show. There are also some guided tours of 31 locations in Cardiff that have been used during filming. Doctor Who ExperienceDiscovery Quay, Porth Teigr, Butetown, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom CF10 4GA http://www.doctorwhoexperience.com/ http://www.doctorwhoexperience.com/contact Open most days between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Check the website to be sure.Entrance fees are as follows: Adult (Advance) £13.00 Adult (On the door) £15.00 Child (Advance) £9.00 Child (On the door) £11.00 Family (Advance) £38.00 Family (On the door) £46.00 Student (On the door) £12.00
If it’s a stroll and some fresh air you’re after, be sure to make time for Bute Park, a green area of 56 hectares in the middle of Cardiff. This sumptuous natural area is nestled between the River Taff, Sophia Gardens, Pontcanna Fields, and Cardiff Castle. Parts of it were originally designed by the highly respected 19th century landscape architect Andrew Pettigrew for the private pleasure of the Bute family, who originally owned this land before bequeathing it to the City of Cardiff. Today, the park consists of woodland mixed with historic gardens and sports fields, among other beautiful natural elements. Over 2000 trees are found in the park, including some of the largest specimens of their kind to be found in the United Kingdom. There is an abundance of wildlife in the park, as well, including otters, leaping salmon, herons, and woodpeckers. Cardiff Castle is nearby and, among other historic sites in the park, the Blackfriars site, from the 12th century, is considered one of the most important friary sites in Wales. Web: http://www.cardiff.gov.uk/content.asp?nav=2868,4407,4413,5511&parent_directory_id=2865 Enter the park from the City Center, via footbridges at Sophia Garden and Pontcanna or along the Taff Trail. You can also get there by water bus from Cardiff Bay. Entry: free Open: year round from 7:30 a.m. to one/half hour before sunset.
Cardiff Bay is considered to be one of the most successful waterfront regeneration projects in all of Britain. It is the large freshwater lake created by the Cardiff Barrage in the area of the previously derelict dockyards, which consisted largely of mudflats, and the area’s transformation is thought to be largely responsible for the resurgence of Cardiff as a vibrant city. Today, Cardiff Bay is a popular place for a variety of water sports, and it is ringed by plenty of attractive restaurants and pubs. A nice way to spend the afternoon is to take a ferry across the Bay to the town of Penarth or watch the boats come in from the Bristol Channel at the sea gates. Web: http://www.cardiffbay.co.uk/index.php/en/ Contact: http://www.cardiffbay.co.uk/index.php/en/contact
The second-largest castle in Britain, Caerphilly is a medieval structure, originally built in the 13th century by Gilbert de Clare. The “walls within walls” of the castle are further surrounded by a moat and then a number of artificial lakes, designed to help protect it from invaders. Visitors to the site describe it as huge, crumbling, and incredibly atmospheric and recently the castle was featured prominently on BBC’s popular TV show Merlin. There are live exhibits as well as plenty of displays, including an informative video that many visitors rave about, but most tourists to the castle simply love to explore the grounds and all its hidden nooks and crannies.Caerphilly Castle, Twyn Square, Caerphilly, Wales, United Kingdom, CF83 1JL Web: http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/caerphilly-castle/?lang=en http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/about/contact-us/?lang=enOpen daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except for the months of July and August, when it is open until 6:00 p.m. Adult - £4.75 Family - £14.25 Senior citizens, students and children under 16 - £3.60 Disabled and companion - Free
The Rhonda Heritage Park is a living history museum located at the former Lewis Merthyr Colliery about 40 minutes north of Cardiff (by car). If you want to know how miners and their families lived, this is the place to visit. Take a “cage” ride to the bottom of the coal pit to explore underground, all under the safe guidance of an ex-miner. On the surface, stroll down a village street from the heyday of coal-mining. There are also a children’s play area, a cafeteria, an art gallery, and a gift shop on site.Rhondda Heritage Park, Lewis Merthyr Colliery, Coed Cae Road, Pontypridd, Rhondda, Cynon, Taf, CF37 2NP Tel: +44(0)1443 682036 Fax: +44(0)1443 68742Web: http://www.rhonddaheritagepark.com/ Contact: http://www.rhonddaheritagepark.com/contact-us.aspxOpen daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily with the exception of Mondays between October and Easter. Adult £3.50 Child/Concession £2.50 Senior £3.00 Family (4) £10.00 Family (6) £14.00
Vacation rentals in Cardiff (Wales)
How to get there ?
Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, is located in South Wales, on the west coast of the United Kingdom. Because Cardiff is located only two hours from London, England, by car or by train, it is a very easy place to get to from anywhere in the world. After all, Heathrow is one of the world’s busiest and most well-known airports. If you are travelling to Cardiff from outside the United Kingdom, simply choose an airline that flies to Heathrow – and most airlines that offer international flights do. Once you arrive in Heathrow, you can get a connecting flight on to Cardiff Airport. But the cheapest travel option for getting to Cardiff from Heathrow is to take a National Express Coach, which leave from Heathrow almost every hour at a cost between £34 and £42.10. The journey takes about three and a half hours. Or take the Heathrow Express train from Heathrow Airport to Paddington Station and then change to the train to Cardiff. The cost can vary widely, from between £44 and £138 for the three hour journey. You could also hire a car at Heathrow and drive yourself.
Hotels in Cardiff (Wales)