Top Places to visit in Cardiff, Wales
So you fancy visiting Wales?
Well if your planning a trip to Wales (good on you!) or your thinking about visiting and wondering what you could do if you did, then this Hub is made for you! In this hub you will find a (fairly) definative list of all the main attractions you will find in Cardiff City Centre. If you are interested in Cardiff Bay and what it has to offer you can find my Hub on it here.
My aim is to give you a general over view of what Cardiff in its entirety has to see and do and some helpful tips and visitor info along the way, and to help map your visit. Plus point you in the right direction of all the extra info you could possibly need. I have also included my opinion of the attractions so you can have a personaly insight to the attractions and whether they are worth visiting (or paying to get in to).
I hope to be able to update these hubs regularly on any new attractions or changes to the attractions so if you would like something added to the hub, or want to know more about a specific attraction just let me know and I'll see what I can do,
Map of Cardiff
1. Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle sits right at the heart of Cardiff City, with a truly remarkable history that spans over 200 years. It is a great place to visit if your interested in not just the history of Cardiff and Wales but history in general. Many of the rooms have been restored to their original features and tour guides can provide a informative and fact filled trip around the main apartments.
The Castle is often a hive of activity with many events on all year round. From historical recreation and memorials, children's history and craft days, seasonal craft and trade days, medieval banquets and Joust (hugely popular jousting and medieval festival).
You can find out about all the upcoming events on the website. Prices start at £11 for adults and £8.50 for children, but if you live or work in the Cardiff area you can sign up for a 'Key to the Castle' Card which gives you free entry to the grounds on normal days and discounts for most events. All you need to do is visit the ticket desk with a form of id with Cardiff address or a payslip of cardiff based business - you will be issued with a photo id card that you can use to gain entry whenever you want.
My Opinion: Me and Jon have actually spent a number of afternoons in the castle grounds having picnics on the grass, watching the birds of prey being trained or taking photos off the top of the keep. So in my opinion it is a great place to go if you live here and have a 'Key to the Castle' card. If you are visiting for a one off, unless you are really interested in castles I think the prices are a bit steep as you can see the exterior all the way round the outside and can sit in the Bute gardens around it.
2. The Millenium Stadium
Rugby fan in the family? Or just a general sports buff? Then you simply have to visit the Millennium Stadium - the heart of Welsh Rugby (and possibly world rugby!). After all rugby is the national pastime of the Welsh Nation and we are a country of rugby fanatics!
So if you wish to visit the Stadium you will have to book onto a tour (you can see the outside fromt the street but must pay to go inside) the tours are very popular so book early to avoid disappointment. You will be given a VIP tour of the entire stadium including the pitch, the changing rooms, the hospitality suits and the press confrence room, where many pre and post match programmes are filmed and aired.
Avaliable every hour Mon-Sat 10am - 5pm and Sunday and Bank Holiday's 10am - 4pm. Although no tours on match days. Prices £7.50 Adults £4.95 Children and Concessions. For all other info on how to book see the website.
My Opinion: I have never taken the tour myself but i have been lucky enough to see a number of matches in the stadium and attend a number of business events in the hospitality suites and I will say it is an amazing beautiful building. I would love to go down to the changing rooms and on to the pitch though so I will take the tour some day I think. But if you are a real fan then I would say that you should aim to visit when there is a match on as the atmosphere is so intense during a match and the whole city comes alive.
3. National Museum Cardiff
"From art to science, everyday objects to beautiful artifacts, you'll find it all in one incredible museum" - That's the tag line on their brochure and it pretty much sums it up. The national Museum cardiff houses a great and varied collection of items. With both perminent and temporary exhibitions there will always be something to see - and something to interest the whole family.
The huge historical and modern art and sclpture collection housed in the newly built West Wing Galleries features the work from such artists as Turner, Van Gogh, Picasso, Hockney, Renoir and Freud - to name but a few!
The amazing natural history section literally spanning thousands of years features animals, birds, insects, dinosaurs, plants, and even some moon rock! Also houses the world's largest leatherback turtle (sadly its not alive though). And you can take a trip through space and time with the Evolution of Wales gallery.
Archaeology more your thing - then the Discover Ancient Wales exhibition may be more up your street. Tracing life in wales from the very earliest human remains 230,000 years ago throught the Stone Age to the end of the Middle Ages. Take a look at many of the long lost and rediscovered items on display.
For a list of the current temporary exhibitions you can find them all on the website. Entry is free thanks to the funding by the Welsh Assembly Government. Open Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm and most bank holiday Mondays
My Opinion: I am not hugely into classical art, although I can see the beauty and skill in it, and history isnt really my thing either, so I suppose a museum isnt really a place you would expect me to go, but that being said I do love to view art and the natural history section is truly amazing! Plus the galleries often have great temporary exhibition - I am mostly into photography so always like to attend the wildlife photographer of the year and other similar exhibitions. This is a lovely (free) place to spend and afternoon and is suitable for the whole family.
4. The Cardiff Story
This place is fairly new and I have yet to go there actually. So I shan't give you my opinion just yet (will update when I eventually get there) but what I can tell you is that the Cardiff Story is situated in the centre of town next to, and above the Tourist Info Office. It contains history exhibitions about the Cardiff area as well as interactive displays and exhibitions for children. With a huge gallery of Cardiff photos, paintings, oral histories and Cardiff based items you'll be able to learn all about different aspects of Cardiff life and its development into the city it is today.
Check the website for some more info and upcoming events
5. Cardiff Victorian Arcades
There isn't really a huge amount to say about these other than you really should take a stroll through at least one of them if you are visiting Cardiff. There are 6 original victorian arcades in Cardiff - now what I mean by arcade is little covered streets of shops leading though (and underneath) other buildings. These are mostly filled with small independent retailers and rarely high street chain store. So the items you get in them tends to be a little more boutiquey and individual, They are really beautiful buildings too as most of the features are original or restored at least.
My Opinion: Like every woman I am a shopper, I love to shop and am happy when I'm shopping, so I adore the arcades. There are a number of great boutiques in them, stocking unique, vintage or limited run clothing and brands. But it's not just fashion stores, the arcades are filled with every shop imaginable. From deli's, hairdressers, 2 camera shops (Jons favourite one included), jewellerys, bridal store, restaurants, gift shops, beauticians, music stores, antique shops, sports shops, a printers and even a truly stunning mini department store! Worth a visit every time even if your not that into shopping they are a great place to go.
Other Places that may be of interest.
- St David's Hall - theatre and music hall, very popular with orchestras and choirs as well as comedians and folk musicians
- The New Theatre - Cardiff City's major theatre showing a number of large touring theatre shows
- The Sherman - A small theatre showing a lot of small independent acts, welsh and local theatre productions.
- Cardiff University - Self explanatory I think!
- Bute Park - the large castle grounds and gardens that surround the castle
- Welsh National War Memorial - a large scale statue and memorial in the century of the university area.
- Cardiff Indoor Market - Original working victorian market
- Jacobs Antiques Market - Antiques centre
- Motorpoint Arena Cardiff - Formally the CIA (Cardiff International Arena) one of the largest live music and show venues in Wales
So there you have it...
That is pretty much everything Cardiff City has to offer in terms of tourist stuff, (it is mostly a huge shopping centre). If you want to read about what there is to do in Cardiff Bay check my Hub on the Bay here.
I really hope you chose to visit Cardiff one day as it is a beautiful, lively, cosmopolitan City that so many people overlook just because it is in Wales and not England. I hope you enjoy your visit and find this hub helpful when you come.
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