CARDIFF

Wales, UK

Cardiff is the capital and largest city in Wales and the tenth largest city in theUnited Kingdom. The city is the country's chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for Wales. The unitary authority area's mid-2011 population was estimated to be 346,100, while the population of the Larger Urban Zone was estimated at 861,400 in 2009.

Info Cardiff

introduction

Cardiff is the capital and largest city in Wales and the tenth largest city in theUnited Kingdom. The city is the country's chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for Wales. The unitary authority area's mid-2011 population was estimated to be 346,100, while the population of the Larger Urban Zone was estimated at 861,400 in 2009. The Cardiff metropolitan area makes up over a third of the total population of Wales, with a mid-2011 population estimate of about 1,100,000 people. Cardiff is a significant tourist centre and the most popular visitor destination in Wales with 18.3 million visitors in 2010. In 2011, Cardiff was ranked sixth in the world in National Geographic's alternative tourist destinations.

The city of Cardiff is the county town of the historic county of Glamorgan (and later South Glamorgan). Cardiff is part of the Eurocities network of the largest European cities. The Cardiff Urban Areacovers a slightly larger area outside the county boundary, and includes the towns of Dinas Powys and Penarth. A small town until the early 19th century, its prominence as a major port for the transport of coal following the arrival of industry in the region contributed to its rise as a major city.

Cardiff was made a city in 1905, and proclaimed the capital of Wales in 1955. Since the 1980s, Cardiff has seen significant development. A new waterfront area at Cardiff Bay contains the Senedd building, home to the Welsh Assembly and the Wales Millennium Centre arts complex. Current developments include the continuation of the redevelopment of the Cardiff Bay and city centre areas with projects such as the Cardiff International Sports Village, a BBC drama village, and a new business district in the city centre.

Sporting venues in the city include the Millennium Stadium (the national stadium for the Wales national rugby union team),SWALEC Stadium (the home of Glamorgan County Cricket Club), Cardiff City Stadium (the home of Cardiff City football team), Cardiff International Sports Stadium(the home of Cardiff Amateur Athletic Club) and Cardiff Arms Park (the home ofCardiff Blues and Cardiff RFC rugby union teams). The city was awarded the title of European City of Sport twice, due to its role in hosting major international sporting events: first in 2009 and again in 2014. The Millennium Stadium hosted 11 football matches as part of the 2012 Summer Olympics, including the games' opening event and the men's bronze medal match.

info
POPULATION :• City & County 346,100
• Urban 447,287
• Metro 1,097,000 
FOUNDED :  City status 1905
TIME ZONE :• Time zone GMT (UTC0)
• Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
LANGUAGE : 
RELIGION : 
AREA :• City & County 140.3 km2 (54.2 sq mi)
• Urban 75.72 km2 (29.24 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 
COORDINATES : 51°29′N 3°11′W
SEX RATIO : Male: 49.3%
 Female: 50.7%
ETHNIC :84.7% White (80.3% White British)
8.0% Asian
2.4% Black
2.9% Mixed Race
2.0% Other
AREA CODE : 029
POSTAL CODE : CF
DIALING CODE : +44 29
WEBSITE : http://www.cardiff.gov.uk/

Tourism

Cardiff (Welsh: Caerdydd) is the capital of Wales in the United Kingdom and is on the south coast of the country. Though it had a reputation of being an industrial city, Cardiff has changed dramatically in recent decades. It is now a lively and modern capital city, gaining popularity with tourists interested in its history and Welsh culture. It is quickly becoming one of the United Kingdom's tourism hot spots. Summer is by far the best time to visit as the city hosts large festivals with al fresco dining and drinking becoming ever more popular due to large areas of pedestrianisation. The city centre has seen huge development over the last decade and is now considered to be one of the top ten shopping destinations in the United Kingdom. Cardiff is a very green city, having the most green space per person in the UK, and this is complimented by Bute Park which sits in the heart of the city. It has a reputation as acity of castles, having 5 different castles within its surroundings. The city's core population stands at roughly 341,000, with 861,000 living in the larger urban area.


festivals

Cardiff's festivals are increasingly contributing to its development as a major tourist attraction. As most of them are concentrated in the summer months, it is ideal to visit then to make sure that you experience all the attractions and the festivals as an added bonus. Unlike Edinburgh, Cardiff is still pretty cost effective during the summer months so its ideal for those who don't want to go all out!


Understand

Cardiff is on the south coast of the south Wales plain, with a shoreline on the Bristol Channel. It lies at the mouth of three rivers: the Taff, the Ely and the Rhymney, with the Taff flowing through the city centre and all three reaching the sea at Cardiff Bay. Cardiff is quite a flat city, a characteristic that helped it become one of the world's leading ports for the transport of coal from the rugged south Wales Valleys.

Around 12% of the residents of Cardiff speak Welsh, and all public signs in the city are in both Welsh and English. However, as elsewhere in Wales, English is universally understood.

City

Cardiff's city centre is in the southern portion of the city just north of Cardiff Bay. It is traditionally centred at the castle, bounded to the north by the historic civic centre, large Bute park arboretum and university buildings, by the River Taff to the west, and by the Valleys and National rail lines to the east and south respectively. Growth in recent years, however, is pushing the city centre beyond these boundaries, especially in regards to commercial office and residential provision. In particular, the area south of the original city centre towards and including Cardiff Bay has been almost completely redeveloped.


When to go

Cardiff is best to visit during late spring to early autumn as the warm weather adds to the city's pleasures and allows maximum experience of all the sites and areas of the city. Although the city usually benefits from mild weather all year round, like much of Wales it also receives substantial rainfall, especially in winter.

History

Cardiff's history follows its castle which has been occupied for over 2,000 years when the Romans created a fort on the river Taff (where the name may have come from 'Caer' = fort, on the 'Taff'); the fort's original walls can still be seen highlighted around the base of Cardiff Castle's walls. In Medieval times the castle grew, and a small town spread from its south gate, the medieval street pattern can still be seen around High Street. In the 15th century the town was destroyed by the last great Welsh Prince Owain Glyndwr. Successive owners fortified the castle and the town timidly grew, until the industrial revolution when the 2nd Marquess of Bute built the Glamorganshire canal to transport coal from the Welsh valleys through Cardiff's docks. Combined with the later arrival of the railways, Cardiff's population exploded and the docks grew to become the largest coal exporting port in the world. At its peak, the price of the world's coal was determined at Cardiff's Coal Exchange and the first ever £1,000,000 cheque was written here in 1901 (equivalent to £77,837,000 today). Cardiff was the 3rd largest port of the British Empire resulting in Edward VII granting Cardiff city status in 1905. With the rise of the city's fortunes the Marquis of Bute transformed Cardiff castle into a fairytale gothic palace, donating land to build the truly impressive civic centre which contains the City Hall, National Museum, university and government buildings, all built in elaborate neo-classical Baroque styles out of expensive white Portland stone. The Marquis also commissioned the architect William Burges to design very many public and residential buildings in a distinctive Gothic style - many are still visible in the city centre and the inner suburbs. Cardiff was lucky not to have its city centre heavily bombed like other industrial cities during WWII, and was spared the worst excesses of the post war rebuilding, so a stroll around throws up many contrasts in eras and designs. It may surprise people that Wales (Cymru) did not have a de jure capital until 1955, when Cardiff was chosen as the outstanding candidate as largest city. However, with the post-War decline of coal, the city's docks became increasingly abandoned, and in the 90's the citys transformation began with the building of a barrage to stop the worlds second largest tidal range from revealing dirty mud flats, and creating what is today Europe's largest waterfront regeneration project. The Bay today is a mixture of apartments, sport, leisure and culture and its success has also seen a rejuvenation of the city centre, where large scale pedestrianisation and the recent massive St David's redevelopment have created a vibrant city, combining the best of the old, sitting close to modern architecture and amenities. As for the Castle, it was handed over to the people of Cardiff, and is now a major tourist, corporate and cultural attraction, an indication of where the city's future lies.

Climate

Cardiff lies within the north temperate zone and has an essentially maritime climate (Köppen: Cfb), characterised by mild weather that is often cloudy, wet and windy. Summers tend to be warm and sunny, with average maximum temperatures between 19 and 22 °C (66 and 72 °F). Winters tend to be fairly wet, but rainfall is rarely excessive and the temperature usually stays above freezing. Spring and autumn feel quite similar and the temperatures tend to stay above 14 °C (57 °F)—also the average annual daytime temperature. Rain is unpredictable at any time of year, although the showers tend to be shorter in summer.

The northern part of the county, being higher and inland—for example, The Garth (Welsh:Mynydd y Garth), about 7 miles (11 km) north west of Cardiff city centre, (elevation 1,007 feet (307 m))—tends to be cooler and wetter than the city centre.


Temperature

Cardiff's maximum and minimum monthly temperatures average 21.5 °C (70.7 °F) (July) and 2.1 °C (35.8 °F) (February).
For Wales, the temperatures average 19.1 °C (66.4 °F) (July) and 1.1 °C (34.0 °F) (February).


Sunshine hours

Cardiff has 1518 hours of sunshine during an average year (Wales 1388.7 hours). Cardiff is sunniest during July, with an average 203.4 hours during the month (Wales 183.3 hours), and least sunny during December with 44.6 hours (Wales 38.5 hours).


Rainfall

Cardiff experiences less rainfall than the average for Wales. Rain falls in Cardiff on 146 days during an average year, with total annual rainfall of 1,111.7 millimetres (43.77 in). Monthly rainfall pattern shows that from September to January average monthly rainfall in Cardiff exceeded 100 millimetres (3.9 in) each month, the wettest month being December with 128 millimetres (5.0 in). Cardiff's driest months are from April to July, with average monthly rainfall fairly consistent, at between 60.5 and 65.9 millimetres (2.38 and 2.59 in).

Climate data for Cardiff

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)13.8
(56.8)
15.0
(59)
19.5
(67.1)
24.0
(75.2)
26.6
(79.9)
32.1
(89.8)
32.0
(89.6)
33.5
(92.3)
27.0
(80.6)
24.6
(76.3)
17.1
(62.8)
16.7
(62.1)
33.5
(92.3)
Average high °C (°F)8.3
(46.9)
8.6
(47.5)
11.1
(52)
13.8
(56.8)
17.1
(62.8)
19.8
(67.6)
21.7
(71.1)
21.5
(70.7)
18.8
(65.8)
14.9
(58.8)
11.3
(52.3)
8.7
(47.7)
14.7
(58.5)
Daily mean °C (°F)5.3
(41.5)
5.4
(41.7)
7.6
(45.7)
9.5
(49.1)
12.7
(54.9)
15.4
(59.7)
17.4
(63.3)
17.2
(63)
14.7
(58.5)
11.3
(52.3)
8.0
(46.4)
5.7
(42.3)
10.9
(51.6)
Average low °C (°F)2.3
(36.1)
2.1
(35.8)
4.0
(39.2)
5.2
(41.4)
8.3
(46.9)
11.0
(51.8)
13.1
(55.6)
12.8
(55)
10.5
(50.9)
7.7
(45.9)
4.6
(40.3)
2.6
(36.7)
7.0
(44.6)
Record low °C (°F)−10.3
(13.5)
−8.8
(16.2)
−8.1
(17.4)
−4.8
(23.4)
−2.0
(28.4)
1.0
(33.8)
5.3
(41.5)
3.6
(38.5)
2.4
(36.3)
−2.7
(27.1)
−8.4
(16.9)
−8.8
(16.2)
−10.3
(13.5)
              
Source #1: Met Office
Source #2: KNMI

Geography

The centre of Cardiff is relatively flat and is bounded by hills on the outskirts to the east, north and west. Its geographic features were influential in its development as the world's largest coal port, most notably its proximity and easy access to the coal fields of the south Wales valleys. The highest point in the authority is Garth Hill 307 metres (1,007 feet) above sea level.

Cardiff is built on reclaimed marshland on a bed of Triassic stones; this reclaimed marshland stretches from Chepstow to the Ely Estuary, which is the natural boundary of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Triassic landscapes of this part of the world are usually shallow and low-lying which accounts and explains the flatness of the centre of Cardiff.The classic Triassic marl, sand and conglomerate rocks are used predominantly throughout Cardiff as building materials. Many of these Triassic rocks have a purple complexion, especially the coastal marl found near Penarth. One of the Triassic rocks used in Cardiff is "Radyr Stone", a freestone which as it name suggests is quarried in the Radyr district. Cardiff has also imported some materials for buildings: Devonian sandstones (the Old Red Sandstone) from the Brecon Beacons has been used. Most famously, the buildings of Cathays Park, the civic centre in the centre of the city, are built of Portland stone which was imported from Dorset. A widely used building stone in Cardiff is the yellow-grey Liassic limestone rock of the Vale of Glamorgan, including the very rare "Sutton Stone", a conglomerate of lias limestone and carboniferous limestone.

Cardiff is bordered to the west by the rural district of the Vale of Glamorgan—also known as The Garden of Cardiff— to the east by the city of Newport, to the north by the South Wales Valleys and to the south by the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel. The River Taff winds through the centre of the city and together with the River Ely flows into the freshwater lake of Cardiff Bay. A third river, the Rhymney flows through the east of the city entering directly into the Severn Estuary.

Cardiff is situated near the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, stretching westward from Penarth and Barry—commuter towns of Cardiff—with striped yellow-blue Jurassic limestone cliffs. The Glamorgan coast is the only part of the Celtic Sea that has exposed Jurassic (blue lias) geology. This stretch of coast, which has reefs, sandbanks and serrated cliffs, was a ship graveyard; ships sailing up to Cardiff during the industrial era often never made it as far as Cardiff as many were wrecked around this hostile coastline during west/south-westerly gales. Consequently, smuggling, deliberate shipwrecking and attacks on ships were common.

Economy

As the capital city of Wales, Cardiff is the main engine of growth in the Welsh economy. Though the population of Cardiff is about 10% of the Welsh population, the economy of Cardiff makes up nearly 20% of Welsh GDP and 40% of the city's workforce are daily in-commuters from the surrounding south Wales area.

Industry has played a major part in Cardiff's development for many centuries. The main catalyst for its transformation from a small town into a big city was the demand for coal required in making iron and later steel, brought to the sea by packhorse from Merthyr Tydfil. This was first achieved by the construction of a 25-mile (40 km) long canal from Merthyr (510 feet above sea-level) to the Taff Estuary at Cardiff. Eventually the Taff Vale Railway replaced the canal barges and massive marshalling yards sprang up as new docks were developed in Cardiff – all prompted by the soaring worldwide demand for coal from the South Wales valleys.

At its peak, Cardiff's port area, known as Tiger Bay, became the busiest port in the world and—for some time—the world's most important coal port . In the years leading up to the First World War, more than 10 million tonnes of coal was exported annually from Cardiff Docks. In 1907, Cardiff's Coal Exchange was the first host to a business deal for a million pounds Sterling. After a period of decline, Cardiff's port has started to grow again – over 3 million tonnes of cargo passed through the docks in 2007.

Today, Cardiff is the principal finance and business services centre in Wales, and as such there is a strong representation of finance and business services in the local economy. This sector, combined with the Public Administration, Education and Health sectors, have accounted for around 75% of Cardiff's economic growth since 1991. The city was recently placed seventh overall in the top 50 European cities in the fDI 2008 Cities of the Future list published by the fDi magazine, and also ranked seventh in terms of attracting foreign investment. Notable companies such as Legal & General, Admiral Insurance, HBOS, Zurich, ING Direct, The AA,Principality Building Society, 118118, British Gas, Brains, SWALEC Energy and BT, all operate large national or regional headquarters and contact centres in the city, some of them based in Cardiff's office towers such as Capital Tower and Brunel House. Other major employers include NHS Wales and the National Assembly for Wales. On 1 March 2004, Cardiff was granted Fairtrade City status.

Cardiff is one of the most popular tourist destination cities in the United Kingdom, receiving 18.3 million visitors in 2010 and generating £852 million for the city's economy . One result of this is that one in five employees in Cardiff are based in the distribution, hotels and restaurants sector, highlighting the growing retail and tourism industries in the city. There are a large number of hotels of varying sizes and standards in the city, providing almost 9,000 available bed spaces.

Cardiff is home to the Welsh media and a large media sector with BBC Wales, S4C and ITV Wales all having studios in the city.In particular, there is a large independent TV production industry sector of over 600 companies, employing around 6000 employees and with a turnover estimated at £350 m.Just to the north west of the city, in Rhondda Cynon Taff, the first completely new film studios in the UK for 30 years are being built, named Valleywood. The studios are set to be the biggest in the UK. The BBC has announced it is to build new studios in Cardiff Bay to film dramas such as Casualty and Doctor Who, with the BBC intending to double media output from the city by 2016.

Cardiff has several regeneration projects such the St David's 2 Centre and surrounding areas of the city centre, and the £1.4 billion International Sports Village in Cardiff Bay which played a part in the London 2012 Olympics. It features the only Olympic-standard swimming pool in Wales, the Cardiff International Pool, which opened on 12 January 2008.

According to the Welsh Rugby Union, the Millennium Stadium has contributed £1 billion to the Welsh economy in the ten years since it opened (1999), with around 85% of that amount staying in the Cardiff area.

Prices in Cardiff

PRICES LIST - EUR

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter€0.98
Tomatoes1 kg€2.00
Cheese0.5 kg€7.00
Apples1 kg€2.00
Oranges1 kg€1.80
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€1.80
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€6.95
Coca-Cola2 liters€2.16
Bread1 piece€0.60
Water1.5 l€1.15

PRICES LIST - EUR

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2€24.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2€55.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€6.60
Water0.33 l€0.90
Cappuccino1 cup€3.00
Beer (Imported)0.33 l€4.00
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€3.70
Coca-Cola0.33 l€1.12
Coctail drink1 drink€7.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets€18.00
Gym1 month€30.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut€11.00
Theatar2 tickets€92.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.17
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€9.60

PRICES LIST - EUR

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack€12.00
Tampons32 pieces€4.45
Deodorant50 ml.€2.20
Shampoo400 ml.€4.10
Toilet paper4 rolls€2.30
Toothpaste1 tube€2.20

PRICES LIST - EUR

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1€62.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1€41.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1€68.00
Leather shoes1€70.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter€1.28
TaxiStart€3.00
Taxi1 km€2.00
Local Transport1 ticket€2.15

Tourist (Backpacker)  

71 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

225 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

The main airport is Cardiff International Airport. This is the only major airport in Wales and is situated some 12 miles to the south-west of the city in the Vale of Glamorgan. The airport is served by a number of airlines including Flybe [www], KLM [www], Thomsonfly [www] and Skybus [www]. KLM provide worldwide links to Cardiff via Schiphol (Amsterdam, NL). Domestic services operate daily to Anglesey, Belfast,Newcastle, Newquay, Jersey, Glasgow and Edinburgh. As for European routes,Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Dublin, and many other holiday routes such as Faro,Palma de Mallorca and Alicante, operate daily.

Car parks serving Cardiff Airport
 AddressOn/Off AirportDistance / Transfer TimeSecurityPark Mark
Award
Additional InformationClients Retain Car Keys
AirparksDays Inn Cardiff, Port Road, Rhoose, Vale of Glamorgan, CF62 3BTOff1 mile / 5 minutesCCTV, security fencing, floodlighting and 24-hour security patrols.YesNo minibuses or high-sided vehicles are accepted.No
Highwayman ParkingHighwayman Security Park, Fonman Rhoose, Barry, South Glamorgan, CF62 3BHOff0.3 miles / 7 minutes24-hour CCTV coverage, floodlighting, razor-wire security fencing, guard dogs and airport security patrols every 15 minutes.YesTrailers are permitted, but will be charged for an extra space.No
NCP Long Stay Car ParkCardiff International Airport, Cardiff, CF62 3BDOn0.4 miles / walking distanceCCTV, perimeter fencing, automated entry/exit barriers and security patrols.NoTrailers are not permitted.Yes
Cardiff Short StayCardiff International Airport, Cardiff, CF62 3BDOnN/ACCTV, perimeter fencing, automated entry/exit barriers and security patrols and disabled accessNoTrailers are not permitted.Yes
Cardiff Long StayCardiff International Airport, Cardiff, CF62 3BDOnN/ACCTV, perimeter fencing, automated entry/exit barriers and security patrols and disabled accessNoTrailers are not permitted.Yes

Increasingly, Bristol International Airport is used as well by residents and visitors of Cardiff. Prices can be lower, and it can be easily reached by car or public transport.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

Cardiff Central railway station is a major hub for many services and is in an ideal location being very close to the main city centre attractions and is in close proximity to Cardiff Bay. Arriva Trains Wales [www] operate the vast majority of intra-Wales services with regular departures from Cardiff Central to the South Wales Valleys,Swansea, and a frequent service to North Wales. They also operate regularly to Manchester and Birmingham making Cardiff ideal to visit via rail. All inter-city travel is via Cardiff Central while Cardiff Queen Street station near the eastern end of the city centre is the hub for Cardiff's Valley Lines services, connecting the centre of the city with the suburbs and commuter towns. Both stations are controlled by ticket barriers, so you will need a ticket to enter or leave the platforms. Ticket machines are in the entrance of both stations and in Central station there are many maps that will help you plan your journey.

Cardiff Central is two hours from London Paddington by train, however some may take longer with more stops. Trains depart half hourly during the day and are operated by First Great Western [www]. These services also continue hourly to Swansea. First Great Western run a service from Cardiff to Portsmouth Harbour via Newport, Bristol, Bath and Southampton.

Rail service provides quick and easy links to other interesting areas (such as the Vale of Glamorgan and West Wales), making Cardiff a pleasant and cheaper place to use as a home base while exploring the surrounding areas.

The city itself has around 22 train stations within its boundaries, with travel to North Cardiff especially accessible, Travel to tourist attractions such as Cardiff Bay, Castell Coch and Barry Island can be easily and cost effectively reached by train or bus.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

National Express [www] operate regular services to and from most other major cities in Britain with Cardiff Central bus station, which is in the forecourt of Central railway station, making it quite easy to switch between train and bus. In addition, MegaBus [www] offer a regular and very cheap service to London and departs from near Cardiff Castle. Cardiff is about 3 hours, depending on traffic, from London.

Transportation - Get In

By Car

From London and the South East of England, Cardiff is most swiftly reached by taking the M4 motorway west across the Severn Bridge and into Wales. Journey times from Central London to Cardiff are usually 3 hours, although visitors from Heathrow could shave up to an hour off this time. Don't forget the bridge charges a toll to cross, although after years of accepting cash only, the bridge operators now accept major credit and debit cards. See [www] for up-to-date information on toll charges. The M4 is also the main artery linking Cardiff with West Wales including Swansea, while the A470 road mainly links Cardiff with the South Wales Valleys, Mid Wales and North Wales. Travelling from North or Central England and Scotland the M50 links the M5 motorway with Wales and continues down to south Wales eventually linking with the M4. Cardiff's junctions are 29 - 34 inclusive.

Within Cardiff, it is cheaper to find a train station and continue onto the city centre via train, as car parking within the city although plentiful, can be expensive. Getting around the city by car is straightforward, even within the city centre, it is quite easy moving around; although, it's best to restrict entering the city centre area during off-peak times as congestion can occur at rush hour like any city. Generally though, the city centre is pretty compact and its much easier and cheaper to move around on foot. Note that when major events (in particular international rugby matches) take place at the Millennium Stadium, most streets in the city centre are closed to vehicles.

See [www] for a list of Cardiff City Council operated car parks.


Transportation - Get Around

Transportation - Get Around

On foot

Cardiff, especially the central area, is pretty compact with the main attractions being quite close to each other making getting around on foot quite easy. Most sights are signposted to help you guide your way around the city centre and the bay.

Transportation - Get Around

By bike

The city's flatness makes cycling fairly painless, especially around the Bay and City Centre (including Bute Park). The Taff Trail and Ely Trail provide mainly off-road paths through the city and beyond, although on days with good weather these paths can be almost inaccessible for cyclists due to inconsiderate pedestrians filling up the paths. Most parts of the city provide pleasant cycling, although some areas are more difficult due to heavy traffic or no-cycling pedestrianised roads (such as Queen Street). The 'Oy Bike' scheme has now been cancelled but bike hire is available from 'Pedal Power' in the Pontcanna Fields Campsite and from 'Cardiff Cycle Tours' at NosDa backpackers hostel.

Transportation - Get Around

By bus

Cardiff Bus [www] offer a comprehensive network of services across the city, to the nearby City of Newport and to destinations in the Vale of Glamorgan. Fares are a straightforward £1.70 for any adult journey across the city, whereas £3.40 buys an all day 'Day to Go' pass to travel across the network (including Penarth, Dinas Powys, Llandough, Sully and Wenvoe) all. Another option is the 'Network Dayrider' ticket. This costs £7.00 for an adult ticket, but gives unlimited access to any bus travel in South East Wales.

The central bus station is in Central Square, in the forecourt of Central railway station, and maps are readily available that will help you plan your journey.

If you are sightseeing in Cardiff during the day and then going to Caerphilly and onto Newport, for example, this one ticket will cover all that travel.

Cardiff Bus also operate a frequent 'Baycar' service between the city centre and Cardiff Bay, which makes it easy to get between the main attractions and is good value if you don't want to walk. Stagecoach in South Wales, Veolia Transport Cymru and First Cymru also offer regular routes in and around Cardiff and South East Wales.

Open top sightseeing buses operate regularly during the summer season at a price of approximately £8.00/person.

There are also park and ride sites based at County Hall and Crown Way, see National Park and Ride Directory [www]

Transportation - Get Around

By train

It can be quite cost-effective, quick, and easy to visit areas with a local train station, such as Llandaff Cathedral or Penarth Pier as services leave from both Cardiff Central or Queen St stations so check on maps for train services, if you'd rather this than the bus. The wider Cardiff metropolitan area (including Penarth, Taffs Well,Pontypridd and Dinas Powys) contains 26 stations, making train travel a viable alternative in many cases.

Transportation - Get Around

By taxi

Cardiff is not short of taxis. They can be flagged down on the street or booked in advance:

  • Capital,  +44 29 2077-7777
  • Delta,  +44 29 2020-2020
  • Celtic,  +44 29 2045-2045
  • Dragon Metro,  +44 29 2033-3333

Although a lot of taxis in the city centre are black, they have no set colour. Licensed taxis have a yellow plate on the rear bumper of the vehicle.

Transportation - Get Around

By waterbus

For a different experience, the River Taff Waterbus runs regularly during the summer season between the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Bay and Penarth. Tickets cost around £4 and are available to buy online.

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Shopping

Nicknamed the City of Arcades, Cardiff is great place for shopping in style and the Victorian arcades are worth a visit in themselves. They have lots of little shops, food markets, etc. Up-market home stores include Melin Tregwynt (now closed), and Banana Custard (for kids).

Queen St, St Marys Street and The Hayes are the major pedestrianised shopping streets which all branch off the castle, so it is easy to walk from shop to shop without fear of traffic. Queen street has most of the usual lineup of Marks and Spencer, Top Shop and River Island. The Hayes has recently been refurbished along with the massive St Davids shopping centre that has drawn in a few big names such as Hugo Boss and the biggest John Lewis outside of London. St Marys street, the original shopping street of Cardiff has gradually declined, firstly after Queen street was pedestrianised when the street saw a shift towards restaurants, bars and clubs, and then during the councils year long trial of closing the street to traffic. St Marys street is now pedestrianised for most of its length, with work still ongoing but its worth a look as most of the citys grandest buildings are along its length with the large and oldest department store in Wales (Howells by House of Frasier), imposing entrance to the Central Market and elaborate entrances to the arcades particular high points.

The Hayes has recently undergone a massive transformation, seeing the construction of the £675 million St Davids shopping centre extension, along with the largest John Lewis department store outside of London and a new public library well situated at the opposite end of the street to the original Library, now known as the 'old library', soon to open as the Cardiff museum. Here modern architecture contrasts beautifully with the historic shops and arcades on the opposite side of the street, which has quickly become the cities higher end of the market shopping street.

The Central market is a must for anyone looking for a find whether it be arts, crafts, food, souvenirs or even pets.

  • Queen Street, St. Mary's Street and The Hayesare the main shopping streets in Cardiff city centre. Queen Street houses the likes of Marks and Spencer, Boots and many other stores with entrances to the modern St Davids and Queens Arcade shopping centres, which also have entrances on the Hayes. Combine the old St Davids shopping centre, larger modern extension, John Lewis and Queens arcade and they make up one of the largest indoor shopping centres in the UK. St. Marys Street is home to a large 'Howells' or House of Fraser store, numerous arcades that house one-off shops with many of the arcades having entrances on the Hayes.
  • There are many tourist oriented shops in front of the Castle and inside the Arcades so have a look around where you can find many Welsh souvenirs and gifts there.
  • Fish from Ashton's stall in the atmospheric indoor market, off the Hayes, Church Street or St Mary St.
  • Cheese from Madame Fromage in the Castle Arcade.
  • Music from Spillers Records, the oldest record shop in the world, is in theMorgan Arcade. In addition to selling music, it is the city's main location for buying tickets for alternative music concerts. Spillers was founded in 1894 by Henry Spiller at its original location in Queen’s Arcade.

Restaurants

It can be very difficult to book a table in the better restaurants on a Friday or Saturday evening. As a rule of thumb Mermaid Quay and the city centre are jam packed full with a varied contrast of eateries allowing you to experience many different tastes within a small area.

In the centre see Cafe Minuet (Marcello's) in Castle Arcade, The Potted Pig on High Street. In Riverside try Madhav's for unusual vegetarian Indian food. In the Bay avoid all the chains at Mermaid Quay and look at Mr G's Soul Kitchen for Caribbean. In Canton try La Cuina (Catalan food) on Kings Road. Head to City Road for a massive variety of world cuisines and don't miss.cn - an authentic Chinese restaurant very popular with the local Chinese community and Chinese students.


Budget

There are lots of small eateries with reasonable, plentiful and quite tasty takes on the Full English breakfast, sandwiches, fish and chips, etc.

Also, there is the Brewery Quarter, which contains a few well known and different restaurants.

Vegetarians and vegans should head to Crumbs in Morgan Arcade for a great range of veggie and vegan food.

  • The Prince of Wales - a great city centre location offering great food all day at some good prices considering its very central location. This is a typical Wetherspoon pub. However less central Wetherspoons outlets are cheaper.
  • Caban at Number 40 (formally Canteen on Clifton Street), 40 Clifton St,  +44 29 2045 4999.
  • Garland's Eatery and Coffee House4 Duke Street,  +44 29 2066-6914. Arcade. This nice little restaurant has good prices for authentic Welsh fare and other sandwiches and cheap eats. The Cardiff native I stayed with recommended it.

Also there are small cafes in the Indoor Market offering typical cafe food from toast to full roast dinners. prices typically range from .50p to £4.00. good deal for a quick fix.


Mid-range

  • ffreshBute Pl,  +44 29 2063-6465. (Cardiff Bay). Restaurant and bar serves great locally sourced food, stylish surroundings offering a range of drinks.
  • Cibo Italian Café83 Pontcanna Street (at the non-city-centre end of Cathedral Road),  +44 29 2023-2226. Great little café-restaurant with superb food. Can get busy, booking strongly recommended. Expect to spend about £8-12 for a main course.
  • Ichiban201 Cowbridge Rd E,  +44 29 2066-8833. T. This is a wonderful Japanese restaurant offering excellent value noodle, curry and sushi dishes. There is one on Cowbridge Road, Canton and another on Albany Road, Roath. Both are a short bus or taxi ride from the city centre, or a 20-30 minute walk.
  • Tenkaichi236 City Rd,  +44 78 3142-1199. T. Tenkaichi offers authentic Japanese food with a British flare. It is a great restaurant if you want fresh noodles and sushi. It also provides an extensive wine list.
  • Mina43 Crwys Road,  +44 7763 491937. T. Highly-regarded and very good-value Lebanese restaurant in the Cathays area; small, family-run and very friendly. Can get busy, especially at weekends: booking recommended. About 25 minutes' walk from city centre, or take Cardiff Bus number 38 or 39, which stop outside the door.
  • The Goat Major33 High Street,  +44 29 2033-7161. This pub has some very good bar style food in an authentic Welsh atmosphere. Try the Welsh faggots (a type of meat ball) in peppercorn gravy.
  • Red Hot World Buffet3-6 Hills Street, St David's Dewi Sant, Cardiff, CF10 2LE,  +44 29 2034 2499. All-you-can-eat buffet-style restaurant serving food from all around the world.

Splurge

  • Castell RestaurantThe Angel Hotel, Castle St+44 29 2064-9200.Amazing views of the castle grounds, and serves traditional Welsh cuisine. Also caters for private parties.
  • Tempus Restaurant,  +44 29 2045-4045. The luxury restaurant at the St David Hotel and Spa. Amazing views all around Cardiff Bay, and serves a traditional freshly caught seafood. With drinks expect to pay between £40-60 per person.

Cafés

  • City Canteen & Bar1-2 Mount Stuart Square,  +44 29 2033-1020.City Canteen & Bar is a trendy bar. One can order a light lunch from the bar menu while listening to local DJs play music.

Sights & Landmarks


Landmarks

  • Cardiff Castle,  +44 29 2087-8100fax: +44 29 2023-1417. Castle St. Cardiff Castle is a large castle whose foundations are based upon a Roman fort. In the nineteenth century, it was the one of the homes of the Marquis of Bute. The Norman fort in the centre, the Welsh regimental museum and excavated Roman ruins are open, and tours of the Bute household are available. The Bute part of the castle is quite amazing. The interior was all done in the early 1900s in a very idiosyncratic and interesting style. There is barely an inch that is not adorned with some sort of artistic work. Yet, it is not overwhelming. The craftsmanship is well worth a look. Admission is £12 for adults, £9 for children and £10.50 for students and seniors. Admission with a tour is £15 for adults, £11 for children, and £13 for students and seniors. There are family group discounts.
  • The Millennium Stadium (Principality stadium). 74,200-seater stadium, opened for the 1999 Rugby World Cup, and now host to the Wales national rugby and football teams. It hosted the FA Cup Final for some years during the redevelopment of Wembley Stadium in London and is still the largest stadium in Europe with a completely retractable roof (good for those rainy days). A must see for any sport lover, tours are available online or at the ticket desk. Tours cost £12.50 for adults.
  • The Wales Millennium Centre. An outstanding piece of modern architecture, opened in 2004 by the Queen, the futuristic Wales Millennium Centre is host to opera, dance and West End musicals throughout the year, making it a must see for those who like theatre. Entry is free throughout the year. While entrance to the theatre is charged, free live performances take place in the foyer every lunchtime at 13:00 and before shows in the evening. It currently hosts the exhibition about Cardiff Bays development that used to be house in 'The Tube'
  • The National Assembly for Wales or the Senedd. Cardiff Bay. The seat of Wales' national government and was opened on St David's Day, 1 March 2006 by the Queen. Visitors have a chance to see public debates from the viewing gallery or a free tour around the building, which is made out of purely Welsh materials, and was designed by star architect Richard Rogers to be eco-friendly and as open as possible. Entry is free though expect security checks on entrance.
  • The Norwegian ChurchCardiff Bay (next to the Assembly). First established in Cardiff Bay to serve the large community of Norwegian sailors working in the docks. Originally elswhere in the bay its main claim to fame is as the place where the author Roald Dahl was christened, but today it is a cafe and art gallery.
  • Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre, (also known as the Tube). Home to displays and exhibitions on the development of Cardiff Bay as the world's largest port. Entry is free. Closed for work on the BBC drama studios, exhibition in the Millennium Centre.
  • Llandaff Cathedral. In the ancient 'city of Llandaff', now incorporated into the north west of the city, and is one of the oldest religious sites in Europe. The cathedral dates from 1107 and features some spectacular architecture. After bomb damage in World War II it was very boldly restored; the huge statue of Christ in Majesty by Jacob Epstein tends to divide opinion, but is well worth a look. The surrounding village is an interesting place to explore with a local coal magnate's house (Insole Court) donated to the people of Cardiff and open for visitors. The Ghost tour has really become the thing to do in the area, making it into the Guardian's top 10 list of things to do in the UK.
  • Castell Coch (meaning the 'Red Castle' in Welsh). A fairytale castle nestled on a hill overlooking the main gateway into the valleys from Cardiff in the outskirts of the city. Imaginatively reconstruted from ruins for the 3rd Marquis of Bute, its interiors follow the same elaborate designs as Cardiff castle except on a more intimate scale and would not look out of place in Germany. Entry costs £6 for adults.
  • City Hall, the domed roof of City Hall topped by a Dragon is one of the landmarks of Cardiff city centre. Dating from the start of the 20th century, it is built of beautiful white Portland stone and surmounted by many statues. Inside, the marble hall is dominated by statues of Welsh heroes, the main hall has large bronze chandeliers and the main debating chamber sits under the dome. Open to visitors, events may prevent you from seeing all the rooms but a must-see.
  • Cathays Park (pronounced "kut-AYS") is the prominent civic centre, comprising expensive white Portland stone buildings in a range of classical styles, all surrounding the formal gardens of Alexandra Gardens whose centre contains national war memorial of Wales.
  • Bute Park, more a collection of different parks that stretch continuously to the city's edge from the rear of the castle. Bute Park proper is an arboretum and former private grounds of the Bute family who owned the castle.
  • Pierhead building, (former headquarters of the railway and port authority). Sits between the ultra modern Millennium centre and Senedd as a strong contrast and link to Cardiff's glorious past. Covered in dragons and heraldry used for permanent and temporary exhibitions about Cardiff's development, and that of the docks.
  • Caerau Castle Ringwork - A Norman ringwork castle within an older Iron Age hillfort (as at Caer Penrhos). Much of the site has been overgrown with vegetation.
  • Beaupre Castle - late 13th century building with Tudor additions that make it appear more manor than castle. It is in village of St. Hilary, which lies just south of the A48, a few miles west of Cardiff
  • Penarth - a Victorian seaside resort, now a suburb south of Cardiff. Known as "the Garden by the Sea”, it has a beautiful, historic pier
  • Cosmeston Medieval Village is a "living history" medieval village near Lavernock, just outside Cardiff
  • Penmark Castle - once belonging to the Umfravilles family. Nowadays a part of a 13th-century stone curtain wall survives along with a semi-circular tower.
  • The Point was a church-turned-popular music venue in Cardiff Bay. The Point is situated in the old merchant's quarter of Mount Stuart Square. The square was named after Lord Mount Stuart, who represented Wales in Parliament during the Napoleonic period. The focal point of the square was St. Stephens, constructed around 1900, that would later be turned into The Point.

Museums & Galleries

  • St Fagans National History Museum,  +44 29 2057-3500.Free admission (£5 car park charge). Known universally as St Fagans (pronounced "FAG-uns") after the village in which it is located, this was named the UK's favourite visitor attraction byWhich? magazine in 2011, and is easily Wales's most popular. An open-air museum of buildings rebuilt, stone by stone, from all parts of Wales, built in the grounds of St Fagans Castle, an Elizabethan manor house which is also free to wander around. The Castle gardens, dating from the 19th century, are especially beautiful. You may not be able to see everything in a single visit due to the size of the grounds. Great for kids, the bus ride from/to central Cardiff is very pretty.
  • National Museum Cardiff,  +44 29 2039-7951. Free admission. Cathays Park. An excellent collection of paintings, archaeological finds and geological exhibits charting the history of Wales. The art collection is particularly noted for the collection of 19th-century French works assembled by Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, heiresses to a fortune made in exporting coal. This is of international importance and includes works by Rodin, Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh. Children love the dinosaurs and mammoths in the Evolution of Wales section. There is also archaeology from prehistory to the Middle Ages in the Origins section; there are daily volunteer-led tours of this and the art galleries. Buy parking vouchers here if needed. £6.50 charge for the museum car park.
  • Techniquest,  +44 29 2047-5475. Cardiff Bay, (near the Millennium Centre), Over 160 science and technology exhibits to entertain the whole family. There is also a Science Theatre and tours of the Universe in the Planetarium. A good opportunity for adults to be big kids. Entry: £7.50 Adults, £6 children with concessions available for groups
  • The Cardiff Story,  +44 29 2078-8334. Free admission. The Hayes. This is the museum of Cardiff's history, located in the Old Library building, which it shares with the tourist information centre.

Things to do

  • Relax in Bute Park or in the grounds of the castle, for a break from the hustle of the city centre.
  • Visit Cardiff Bay a truly cosmopolitan experience full of restaurants, bars and cafes. A good place for a 'passeggiata' on a Sunday afternoon. Boat rides in the Bay (permanently water-filled since the barrage was built), a few shops, and a children's playground at the far end (near the historic Norwegian church) along with beautiful views across to Penarth.
  • Take a speed boat ride as it makes 360 degree turns in the water at 70 mph.
  • Walk along the bay from Mermaid quay to the barrage (near Penarth) to see for yourself how the water comes into the harbour from the sea. It is a 2 km walk with the harbour on one side of the path and the sea on the other. If you don't feel like walking you can hire a bicycle (you will come across the rental company on the way) or take a ride on the road train.
  • At near-by Penarth, cruisethe Bristol channel during summer months to the likes of North Devon, Gower Peninsula and even occasionally Pembrokeshire on the paddle steamers Balmoral and Waverly. Penarth to Ilfracombe is particularly spectacular, taking in the massive cliffs of North Devon.
  • Next to Cardiff Airport, Barry is a port-town, which has a theme park, casino and heritage railway. With the closure of the docks, it has seen a renewed interest of recent times, thanks to a beautiful beach and a popular BBC series, called Gavin & Stacey. The amusement park on Barry Island contains several funrides.
  • Go on the Taff Trail, some of the sights close to the city centre are breathtaking and the tranquility offers a great contrast to the busy city centre.
  • Go to the Brecon Beacons. Just 40 minutes drive from Cardiff, this Welsh National Park is a scenic retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, offering activities such as climbing, paragliding, sailing and many more.
  • Go for a pint of Cardiff made Brains beer in one of the city centre pubs on a match day at the Millennium Stadium.
  • Canyoning WalesCardiff (Via A470),  +44 845 0573588. 9AM-9PM.Blue Ocean Activities & Adventure offer fantastic trips around Wales, whether up the mountains canyoning or gorge walking. Blue Ocean Adventure offer full safety gear, training and support.
  • Cardiff Cycle ToursNosDa backpackers Hostel (Opposite the Wales Millennium Stadium in the centre of Cardiff.),  +44 7500 564389, e-mail: . 8h30 am to 6h30 pm. Bike hire and guided tours available. From £10 for bike rental.

Cinemas and theatres

Cardiff has some of the best theatre and cinema in Wales and even across the UK, covering huge range including mainstream films, foreign and theatre.

  • St. David's Hall, City centre. Symphony hall used for orchestral concerts, recitals and other live music and comedy, host the Cardiff singer of the world competition, the world's premier singing competition.
  • The Coal Exchange - exceptionally important building in Cardiff's history, it once saw 10,000 men scurrying around trading, dictating the world's coal prices. It almost become home to the Welsh Assembly, it is converted to host mainly music gigs but drama and art shows too.
  • Chapter Arts Centre, Canton. Arthouse and alternative cinema.
  • Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay. Opera and ballet, West End Shows and musicals.
  • New Theatre. West end shows.
  • Sherman Theatre. Independent theatre.
  • Odeon, Cardiff Bay. Mainstream multiplex cinema.
  • 'Vue,' Central Square, (inside Millennium Plaza and next to Millennium Stadium)
  • Cineworld. Mainstream multiplex cinema, across the road fromMotorpoint Arena Cardiff.

Concerts

The Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, host to major bands and artists throughout the year.[www].

Look out for events at the Millennium Stadium too.

Smaller gigs can be seen at many venues across the city includingCallaghans, Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff Students Union, and Buffalo Bar.

More 'sedate' concerts are frequently held at St Davids Hall and The Welsh Millennium Centre.

Cardiff has a great number of Show and Gig Venues throughout the City Cardiff Shows [www].

Festivals and events

Cardiff's festivals are increasingly contributing to its development as a major tourist attraction. As most of them are concentrated in the summer months, it is ideal to visit then to make sure that you experience all the attractions and the festivals as an added bonus. Unlike Edinburgh, Cardiff is still pretty cost effective during the summer months so its ideal for those who don't want to go all out!

  • Cardiff Children's Festival, held in the grounds of Cardiff Castle each year, and hosts a number of events, exhibitions and play areas for children. Entry is usually free.
  • Cardiff Mela, annual event usually held in Roald Dahl Plas, Cardiff Bay.
  • St David's Day Parade, a parade held on St David's Day the patron saint of Wales (March 1), every year. Something different so it's worth a look.
  • Six Nations Rugby, the highlight of the international rugby season in the Northern hemisphere, in which Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy compete in February and March each year. Wales play either two or three home matches in each tournament at the Millennium Stadium; the team has done well in recent years, winning the Grand Slam (i.e. beating all other teams) in 2005, 2008 and 2012, and attracts fanatical support. Tickets often sell out well in advance, but the atmosphere in the city centre is worth sampling even without a ticket.
  • The Big Weekend, probably the most participated of Cardiff's festivals as hundreds of thousands of people dawn the city hall area to witness the carnival theme events and fun fair atmosphere. Usually on last weekend of July. Billed as the UK’s biggest free outdoor music festival, it offers three days of quality live music and entertainment. Each night comes to a close with a firework finale. There is always an eclectic line of up and coming artists, world music and established artists, and traditionally the Friday night has always had a strong presence of Welsh bands, such as Lostprophets, Sterophonics and Feeder. 2012 event is cancelled controversially due to Olympic football matches.
  • The Welsh Proms, series of classical concerts takes place at St David's Hall each July. The festival now includes 'Fringe' events, with genres of music from jazz and country to chamber music, folk and jazz.
  • Winter Wonderland, in Dec-Jan sees an outdoor ice-rink and funfair set up in front of City Hall, open early 'til late to the public.

Nightlife

Cardiff is one of top nights out in Britain having the most pubs per square foot than anywhere else in Britain it has many late night pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants. In the city centre, St Mary street, Greyfriars road and Mill Lane are especially lively and offer a variety of establishments to suit all tastes. Mermaid Quay is a lively, albeit smaller option to spend a warm summer night.

Cardiff is a place to drink, favoured by Stag and Hen Parties from all over the UK. St Mary St contains many pubs and clubs and becomes wild and exciting on Friday and Saturday nights. There are numerous clubs only a block short walk from Central Station that are bumping into the wee hours. An extensive venue and events list, including gigs and live bands can be found at What's on in Cardiff [www] guide.

For a quieter drink, seek out:

  • Cardiff Cottage25 St. Mary St+44 29 2033-7195. (except weekends and matchdays).
  • The Old Arcade14 Church St,  +44 29 2021-7999. Drinks in these venues, and other traditional pubs may vary from around £1.50-3.50 for a beer.
  • Zero Degrees27 Westgate St,  +44 29 2022-9494. Microbrewery has a utilitarian feel but fantastic beer brewed onsite, TV's with sport and excellent pizzas.
  • Y Mochyn DuSophia Close CF11,  +44 29 2037-1599. Y Mochyn Du is in Sophia Gardens, Pontcanna, by the Institute of Sport and Glamorgan's county cricket ground. One half is a traditional pub which has a good range of real ales, and the other side is mainly for bar food during the day. Due to it's location near the city centre, it's very busy during rugby and football internationals. The pub is also popular among the capital's sizable Welsh speaking community and all the bar staff are bilingual. On Monday nights, there is usually a group of around 10 session musicians jamming with traditional instruments. On the last Sunday night of every month, there is a Welsh language pub quiz in association with Menter Caerdydd.
  • A Shot in the Dark12 City Rd,  +44 29 2047-2300. Somewhere between a dimly lit bar and a chilled-out café, Has a certain joie de vivre in its unique atmosphere.

Things to know


City

Cardiff's city centre is in the southern portion of the city just north of Cardiff Bay. It is traditionally centred at the castle, bounded to the north by the historic civic centre, large Bute park arboretum and university buildings, by the River Taff to the west, and by the Valleys and National rail lines to the east and south respectively. Growth in recent years, however, is pushing the city centre beyond these boundaries, especially in regards to commercial office and residential provision. In particular, the area south of the original city centre towards and including Cardiff Bay has been almost completely redeveloped.


Profile

Cardiff has a strong sporting and cultural presence given that it is the capital city, and therefore plays host to most Welsh sporting events, especially since the opening of the Millennium Stadium in the city centre. In fact one of the city's charms is when it plays host to matches, the city centre atmosphere can be extraordinary, being swelled by 75,000 attendees and thousands of revellers.

In the past it was quite a gritty city with the port and industry playing a huge role, Cardiff's ports were once among the most important in the world. Notable milestones were when Cardiff Bay (sometimes called Tiger Bay) was the first area of modern Britain to be thought of as a multicultural area given the huge part immigrants played in the city's ports. The area is still home to one of the oldest and largest expatriate Somali communities in the world. The world's first 'million pound' deal was also signed at the Bay's own Coal Exchange building.

In the past few decades however, the city has moved away from its industrial past and has been transformed by developments such as Cardiff Bay, which now hosts famous and striking landmarks such as the National Assembly for Wales and the spectacular Wales Millennium Centre. Massive investments have also been made throughout other parts of the city, such as the opening of the Millennium Stadium and massive Saint David's shopping centre.

Safety in Cardiff

Stay Safe


Cardiff is quite a safe city, and certainly safer than most other major cities in the UK, with the centre having less overall crime than much smaller cities like Gloucester, Northampton and Derby, and far less than in the centre of London, Birmingham, Liverpool or Leeds. However, Cardiff has a relatively high rate of car theft crime rates . Make sure you remove all valuables from your vehicle, especially from show; and don't park at night in badly-lit streets in inner-city neighbourhoods such as Adamsdown, Splott, Riverside or Butetown. If you do need to leave a car overnight, several of the city-centre car parks offer cheap rates for all-night parking and are completely safe. Cardiff seems not to be plagued with a prominent red light district akin to many of the similarly-sized cities in England. However, areas such as Ocean Way in Adamsdown may be wise to avoid in the nights and early evenings in winter, as the area is known for prostitution. Anyone caught curb crawling is likely to be stopped and questioned by police, although more often than not, you will just be told to move on.

Alcohol-related violence is common in parts of Cardiff, especially on the weekends in the clubs and bars concentrated around St Mary Street and Greyfriars Road, so take extra caution to avoid offending anyone. (Cardiff Bay is usually less raucous at these times and attracts much less trouble.) In addition, as in any city, there are areas to avoid after dark: again, these include Adamsdown, Splott, Butetown, and Riverside. Bute Park is largely unlit at night so also best avoided.

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