City adventures in Cardiff, UK

Cardiff City. What to see in the capital of Wales

The city of Cardiff is the latest capital of Wales, dating back to 1955.

It only came into prominence in the 19th century. Hard coal mined in Wales began to be transported through the port of Cardiff and this gave the small Welsh city a boost.

Young countries and young capitals often behave with adolescent boldness, trying to stand out and make a name for themselves. The city of Cardiff is no exception. The sights of Cardiff are not too historical, but it’s impressive what has been built in the last two centuries. And then there’s the openness, the freshness, the carefree attitude that really adds to its appeal.

My last story was about Cardiff Castle, Cardiff’s main attraction, and let’s see what else you can see in the capital of Wales.

Cardiff on a map

City Hall and the National Museum of Wales

The administrative center of Cardiff looks quite capitalist.

The town hall was built in 1905. You can see the clock tower from many points around the city

Cardiff Town Hall

What do you think of these claws?

Cardiff Town Hall

Cardiff Town Hall

In Cardiff (as in all of Wales), English lettering is duplicated by Welsh lettering. Welsh (a member of the Celtic language group) can be spoken by about 20% of the population in Wales.

Cardiff Town Hall

The inscriptions in Welsh are puzzling. It seems to be all in Latin, but how to read it is unclear. Often there are very long words – in Celtic languages words are formed by adding various particles to the stem (not without reason the village with the longest name is in Wales). Dual letters are used: dd, ff, ll. The ll is especially common (I was immediately reminded of Lloyd’s Insurance Company).

In the photo above, the very last word is “Caerdidd. That’s how you spell “Cardiff” in Welsh. The “dd” is pronounced like an “f.” And the word “caer” is a fortress. The city’s name (according to one version) means “fortress on the river Tuff.”

The town hall is adjacent to the National Museum of Wales . The museum is famous for its collection of impressionists. Unfortunately we arrived after 5pm and the museum was already closed.

Behind the town hall are Cardiff University and the small but pleasant Alexandra Gardens.

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Beat Park.

There is also a large park in Cardiff, the city’s Bute park. It adjoins Cardiff Castle and runs along the River Taff. Previously it, like the castle, belonged to the Marquesses of Bute, but in 1947 the last Marquis of Bute gave both the castle and the park to the city.

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cardiff park

It is a large green area, but in general – nothing special, quite a traditional English park with lawns.

cardiff park

On the spacious lawn there is a small rock garden.

cardiff park

From the castle there is an exit to the park, which was used by the former owners of the castle.

cardiff park

Along the river Taff stretches a pretty alley with flower beds on both sides.

cardiff park

cardiff picture

Bridge over the Tuff

cardiff picture

The park’s stone fence is decorated with figurines of different animals

cardiff city

cardiff city

cardiff city

You can see the clock tower of Cardiff Castle through the trees.

cardiff city

And beyond that, on the river, you can see something spectacular. It’s the Millennium Stadium, built in Cardiff on the eve of the new millennium. It seats 74,000 fans. In case of bad weather its roof can be retracted. It is the world’s largest indoor stadium with a natural surface.

cardiff millennium stadium

The houses across the river from the Millennium look, on the contrary, quite traditional

cardiff

St. Mary’s Street

From the South Gate of Cardiff Castle begins the main city street of Cardiff. At first it is called High Street, then St. Mary’s Street. It is a lively, ornate street with many pretty houses.

cardiff city

cardiff city

Don’t look for a strict unity of style here, like in Bath – it’s all mixed-use. But look at the different facades.

cardiff city

cardiff city

A house with portholes on the roof.

cardiff city

cardiff city

cardiff city

cardiff city

cardiff city

My personal favorite.

cardiff city

cardiff city

The arcade leads to the central market.

cardiff city

And deep down the next street you can see the tower of the Anglican Church of St. John the Baptist.

cardiff city

Perpendicular to Saint Mary’s Street there is Queen Street, a pedestrian walkway with a number of green, low-rise buildings.

cardiff city

There are some interesting houses on it as well.

cardiff city

Cardiff Bay, Mermaid Wharf

After a little meandering around the city the River Taff flows into Cardiff Bay, and there in what is known as Mermaid’s Cove is Cardiff’s second center.

This is a huge entertainment and walking area which stretches for 12 km along the bay, with lots of bars, amusement park, Ferris wheel, a lot of ultra-modern buildings. If the castle is surrounded by buildings mostly from the 19th and 20th centuries, the avant-garde architecture of the 21st is widely represented here.

The first thing one sees when arriving on the coast is the Welsh Millennium Center, an original structure resembling a huge boulder of dark stone. It is Cardiff’s main theater and exhibition hall.

cardiff city

The windows on its facade, made in the shape of letters, fold into words. On the left side of the facade is an inscription in Welsh: lines from a poem by the Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis, “Create truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration.” On the right is written in English, “These Stones Horizons Sing.”

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The letters are illuminated in the evening.

The wings of the facade are lined with colorful bands of local stone. Look at the interesting shades.

cardiff city

cardiff millennium

cardiff city

Next to the Millennium Center stands the red-brick Pierhead Building, the former office of the Bute Dock Company and now the Museum of Welsh History.

cardiff city

Pierhead Tower is what the Welsh call “little Big Ben.”

cardiff

We turn the corner of Pierhead, walk along the promenade, and find ourselves in front of an unusual building with an elongated wooden canopy.

cardiff city

This glass cube under the canopy houses the National Assembly of Wales, or Senedd in Welsh. And the building was built by Richard Rogers, one of the creators of the “high-tech” style, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, author and co-author of such projects as the Pompidou Center in Paris, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, Lloyd’s Insurance Company and Reuters in London.

The building was built in compliance with the strictest environmental standards and contains numerous witty solutions to save as much as possible on the maintenance of such a large building.

The transparent walls of the building symbolize the openness of the legislative processes. Anyone can come to the parliamentary sessions.

After a high-tech building, this modest structure, and under the Norwegian flag, looks a bit strange.

cardiff

It turns out to be a Norwegian Lutheran church, and it was built in Mermaid Bay in the 19th century by Norwegian sailors, of whom there were many in Cardiff at the time.

In addition to the unusual and colorful buildings, there are many interesting sculptures on the waterfront

Expressive monument to fallen sailors

cardiff

Monument to the conquerors of Antarctica, the Terra Nova expedition led by Robert Scott. On June 15, 1910, their ship left Cardiff Bay and sailed for the shores of Antarctica, where Robert Scott and three of his comrades conquered the South Pole and died on the way back.

cardiff city

In 1987 the Hindu preacher Sri Chinmoy first organized the World Harmony Peace Run, in which runners from different countries participated by passing each other the torch of harmony. Every year this event becomes more and more popular.

Statues of Universal Peace Harmony dedicated to the event have been erected in several cities around the world, including Cardiff.

Great and mighty Welsh!) From the name of the building

And this is just a domestic scene

cardiff

Walking along the shore.

cardiff

cardiff

A restaurant in the shape of a ship

cardiff

The next photo in the background shows a building with a soaring roof.This is the five-star St. David’s Hotel.

(St. David is the patron saint of Wales. March 1, St. David’s Memorial Day, is a national holiday in Wales.)

cardiff

And here is that gray structure on the other side of the bay, the Visitor Centre, or “Tube.”

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cardiff

As you can see, Cardiff Bay’s coastline is a peculiar exhibition of modern architecture (with a smattering of past centuries’ buildings, also unusual and interesting). It’s lovely to walk around and at every turn you’ll come across something you’ll enjoy, or get a different perspective on the bay and the buildings lining the coastline – very quirky indeed.

To wrap up the story of Cardiff’s sights, there aren’t any exceptional objects in the city. Cardiff Castle is what they call a “new-fangled” castle, though it is very pretty. Nevertheless the city has a lot of beautiful buildings, parks and a vast coastal zone, provided for the most daring architectural experiments.

City adventures in Cardiff, UK

In the capital of Wales there are plenty of epic urban adventures waiting for you . So get ready for some fun in the city: culinary adventures, adrenaline rush, hiking, theater and more.

Food Adventure.

Cardiff has a growing number of great places to eat . If you’re looking for restaurants, cafes, grocery stores, farmers markets or bakeries, Cardiff is a place that will delight you and your taste buds. Street food attracts a lot of attention . Tucked between the main streets, you’ll find local favorites like Asador 44 and The Potted Pig.

City Adventures in Cardiff, UK - Photo 2

Food Adventure.

The menu and service at Milkwood in Pontcannon are top-notch: fine dining without being overly stiff.

Wales has first-class ingredients, so if you see Welsh trout (sewin) or Welsh blackbeef, locally caught sea bass, lobster or anything related to shellfish and bay bread on the menu, say yes. If you go to Ashton’s Fishmongers (the oldest business in Cardiff’s brilliant indoor market), you can buy small cans of clams with a moderate amount of vinegar and eat them right on the spot.

Try the drinks

For lovers of grapes, hops and everything in between, there are plenty of great places to drink in Cardiff. Head to the newly created “cocktail aisle” on High Street (opposite the castle entrance). You’ll find wine bars and cocktail bars there, most of them outdoors.

City Adventures in Cardiff, UK - Photo 3

Try the drinks

Popular spots include Gin and Juice, The Libertine, The Alchemist, and Pennyroyal. Move farther away from Main Street and you’ll find several other great spots to sip cocktails, including award-winning Lab 22, The Bootlegger, and Old Havana. If you prefer an intimate Speakeasy atmosphere, head to The Dead Canary.

Tiny Rebel has an excellent selection of Welsh-brewed beer and cider within walking distance of Principality Stadium.

Visit the market

If there’s one thing we miss about Cardiff, it’s the markets. Serious Cardiff shoppers will, of course, head to the arcades or shopping malls, but if you want something out of the ordinary, the markets are ideal .

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Cardiff’s indoor market offers a wide range of stalls from functional to kitschy. On Sundays, try the Riverside Farmer’s Market on the riverside opposite Principality Stadium, where you can buy a variety of organic or local foods from fresh to delicious ready-made treats.

City Adventures in Cardiff, United Kingdom - Photo 4

Visit the market

If you’re a true bargain hunter, try visiting the Splott Market or Cardiff’s indoor flea market, where you can find vintage items.

A newcomer to the Cardiff market is the Indie Superstore, which has many open-air venues around the city at weekends. You can find Indie Superstore in Canton, Lakeside and North Llandaff. They offer a variety of stalls such as vintage clothing, arts and crafts, food and beverages, and lifestyle products.

Another favorite indie market outside of downtown is Boneyard. Here, on Paper Mill Road, you’ll find some of the best boutiques: Blasus Succulent Emporium, Crane Jewellery and many others.

Adrenaline in the City

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, fear not, Cardiff has plenty of options for you too . Scooter riders should head to Spit and Sawdust.

City Adventures in Cardiff, United Kingdom - Photo 5

Adrenaline in the City

For those with no fear of heights, check out the indoor climbing center Boulders. There’s also Cardiff Jump, an indoor trampoline park (the largest soft play center in the UK).

If you really want to get on ice, the Viola Arena offers ice skating lessons for everyone (and the ice hockey champions, the Cardiff Devils, also play there).

If you feel like swimming, the nearby Cardiff Whitewater Rafting Center is a guaranteed hangover cure. The group, outfitted in helmets and life jackets, paddles through the rapids in a blue boat.

City Adventures in Cardiff, United Kingdom - Photo 6

Adrenaline in the City

Take a walk

There are acres of green spaces in and around the city. If you want to take a little walk, head to the Cardiff section of the Welsh Coastal Trail, which runs around Cardiff Bay and up to Penarth. It’s a few kilometers of beautiful trail that goes through the confluence of the rivers Tuff and Severn. The route around the bay is an easy six miles over flat terrain, where along the way you’ll see the Norwegian church where Roald Dahl was baptized. Today, it’s a great place for a cup of tea.

The Cardiff Bay Wetlands Preserve was created in 2002 when a freshwater lake appeared after the Barrage was completed . Look closely and you can see the “Circles of the Barrage,” an optical work invented by Swiss artist Felice Varini that shows a set of perfect concentric circles if you stand on the yellow-painted spot marked with an “X.”

In the city center you can find green areas . Be sure to check out Bute Park, located behind Cardiff Castle.

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City Adventures in Cardiff, United Kingdom - Photo 7

Take a walk

Live music

You might be able to time your visit with a big show at the Wales Millennium Centre. It’s a magnificent architectural structure that hosts a variety of musicals, theatrical performances, Welsh National Opera performances, and the impressive and ever-growing Festival of Voices . The city center, St. David’s Hall, hosts an eclectic program of rock, folk and comedy performances, but the perfect acoustics truly shine at classical music concerts at the home of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, which hosts the annual Welsh graduation parties and the BBC Cardiff’s world-class Singer of the World competition. The Sŵn Festival is held at various venues in the city over a weekend each October.

The underground music scene thrives in bars and clubs throughout the city . Pick up a copy of the free local Buzz magazine for details. If you’re looking for live music or club nights, the appropriate venues are : The Moon, Clwb Ifor Bach (or “The Welsh Club”), Undertone and Tramshed.

Be sure to visit the National Museum of Wales, which has the largest collection of Impressionist art outside Paris. It’s free to visit. There are rotating exhibitions, which change throughout the year. See the National Museum of Wales events website in Cardiff for more information.

City Adventures in Cardiff, United Kingdom - Photo 8

Live music

Cardiff Castle is the palace of the city’s history in one place: Roman walls, a Norman fortress, and a lavish Victorian mansion that was decorated by the Marquis of Bute. In the 1860s, he was the richest man in the world, making a huge fortune from coal exports and lavishing it on this Gothic Revival-style mansion. Be sure to take a tour at night, as there are haunted tours at this time of day and you will be led into rooms that are closed to visitors . The wall of animals outside the castle is a particular delight.

Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay is what made the capital city in the first place . It was once Tiger Bay, the world’s largest export point for coal, where millions of tons of Welsh fuel were shipped . In the 1990s, they built a dam across the Tuff and Ely Rivers to create a huge freshwater lake on which to take pleasure boats or speedboats.

There are some fine new architecture, including the Senedd (headquarters of the Welsh Parliament), Arts Centre, and Welsh Millennium Theatre, which sit happily alongside the original Pierhead and Norwegian Church. Also located is the newly renovated Exchange Hotel. Passing through the barge, you’ll notice the dramatic BBC Porth Teigr village.

City Adventures in Cardiff, United Kingdom - Photo 9

Cardiff Bay

Tip for a great walk : Walk along the shoreline to Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve, which is adjacent to St David’s Cardiff Hotel. The reserve is awarded a Green Flag.

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