Cathays Park Cardiff

Cathays Park in Spring

The capital and cultural centre of Wales. Cardiff is also a major seaport and a university city. Its prosperity dates mainly from the export if iron and coal in the 19th Century, when Cardiff became Britain's first planned city centre. The expansion of the city was due mainly to the efforts of the Bute family, who built the vast docks and developed the town as a living and working community. The Bute family also restored the living quarters of Cardiff Castle to its current fanciful Neo Gothic style.

Cardiff's principal buildings include the City Hall and County Hall, the University College, the National Museum of Wales and the Welsh Assembly. The tower and spire of Cardiff's Cathedral, in the Llandaf district, a is a familiar local landmark. So too is the famous Cardiff Arms Park with its magnificent new Millennium Stadium. Cardiff's greatest link with the past is its magnificent Castle, occupying an 8-acre site in the heart of the city centre.

This international city has a reputation as a party town with a good nightlife, first class shopping facilities and a broad selection of accommodation. The city centre is well laid out, with classic Victorian and Edwardian streets, boulevards and gardens. There are many neoclassical buildings here, as well as wide pedestrianised shopping precincts and a lovely 19th-c covered market. Quaint Victorian arcades, lined with bespoke shops, also lead off from the main streets; the oldest of these being Royal Arcade (circa 1856).

Cardiff's New Theatre stages a wide range of attractive professional productions, including opera and pantomime. The Chapter Arts Centre is in Market Street and the Sherman Theatre in Senghenydd Road, both provide a varied programme of entertainment.

Cardiff also enjoys large expanses of greenery and parkland, such as Bute Park (bequeathed by the Marquess of Bute), Sophia Gardens, Cathays Park and Alexandra Gardens, which included the national war memorial. Bute park was originally the private estate of the castle and contains a splendid arboretum set amongst extensive flower beds and the remains of the old priory.

Golfers have a good choice of 18-hole courses, and on the steep slopes of Fairwater Park you can combine the joys of winter and summer holidays on the artificial ski slope.

Tourist Information Centre:

The Old Library , The Hayes, Cardiff, CF10 1AH - Tel: 029 2087 3573

What to See and do in Cardiff

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle MoundLocated in the heart of the city, the castle's rich history spans some 2000 years. The original Norman keep and later 19th-c buildings stand within walls that date partly from Roman times. The current mixture of period remains, and later 19th-c reconstruction, was the brainchild of John Crichton-Stuart (3rd Marquess of Bute), working with architect William Burges. Inside its massive curtain walls, the handsome Norman keep surmounts a motte surrounded by a defensive moat. In direct contrast, are the outlandish 19th-c living quarters built in a fantasy style of romantic medievalism by Bute and Burges.

The castle's visitor centre provides a film and media presentation of the castle's history. Regular annual events include medieval and Roman reenactments. The castle also houses the Welsh Regiment Museum and The Queen's Dragoon Guards Regimental Museum.

Opening times: all year, daily from 9.30am (Closed Xmas & NY) - Admission Charge
Location: Castle St, Cardiff, CF10 3RB - Tel: 029 2087 8100 - Website

National Museum of Wales

One of the largest museums in Britain. The museum's extensive galleries illustrate the history of Wales from the earliest times. Exhibits mainly cover archaeology, natural science and industrial heritage. The art gallery includes masterpieces by Cezanne, Monet and Renoir, plus many other internationally famous paintings and sculptures. Regular temporary exhibitions, lectures and activities for children.

Opening times: Tue-Sat 10am to 5pm, Sun 2.30pm to 5pm, Closed Mon (ex BHs) - Free Entry
Location: Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP - Tel: 029 2057 3000 - Website

Llandaff Cathedral

A 12th-c medieval cathedral built on the site of a much early Christian place of worship. Totally rebuilt after severe bomb damage in WWII. Epstein's sculpture of "Christ in Majesty" dominates the interior. Regular events run throughout the year.

Opening times: all year, daily from 8am. - Donations expected
Location: Llandaff, Cardiff, CF5 2LA - Tel: 029 2056 4554 - Website

Millennium Stadium Tours

The home of Welsh Rugby and Welsh Football, with a Seating capacity of 75,000. Also host to major music events, exhibitions throughout the year.

Opening times: all year, daily from 10am - Admission Charge
Location: Gate 3, Millennium Stadium, Westgate St, Cardiff, CF10 1NS - Tel: 029 2082 2228 - Website


Exciting science discovery centre, situated in the heart of the Cardiff Bay area. There is a digital planetarium, an interactive Science Theatre Show and hundreds of hands-on exhibits. Special events run throughout the season.

Opening times: all year, from 10am (Closed Xmas) - Admission Charge
Location: Stuart St, Cardiff, CF10 5BW - Tel: 029 2047 5475 - Website

Map of Cardiff


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