Cardiff: What To See, Where To Go When You Visit Cardiff

By: Frederick Hoymer

Cardiff, the capital of Wales, has undergone massive redevelopment in recent years. It boasts that it is the largest city in Wales and the 11th largest in the UK.

Recently, it has been famous for the television series Dr Who being filmed here.

So what should you do when you visit Cardiff?

1. Cardiff Castle

For those who like history, Cardiff Castle should be on the top of your list. Originally built in medieval times, the castle has more recently been host to rock concerts, the Welsh Mardi Gras as well as the Cardiff University Summer Ball.

2. Festivals

The Welsh National Eisteddfod is regularly held in the city and the two stone circles are used as part of the event. Alternate years see the opera world focus on the famous BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. Almost a quarter of a million people flock to the Big Weekend Festival held here each year for the rides and other attractions. There is also an annual free outdoor Cardiff Festival, one of the UK's largest outdoor festivals.

3. Music and Nightlife

Whether your musical style is Shakin' Stevens, Charlotte Church or something else altogether, many acts have started their careers in Cardiff. The city centre is home to a wide range of bars, pubs and clubs - check out the Brewery Quarter if you don't like to travel far between a variety of bars and restaurants.

4. Shopping

Choose from the three main shopping arcades: St David's Centre, Capitol Centre and Queen's Arcade. These are host to hundreds of shops and a number of different department stores. If you prefer more traditional shopping, you will find yourself at home wandering around Cardiff's numerous Victorian shopping centres, where you can admire the architecture as well as the goods on sale. Take time to visit Howells, the oldest and largest department store in Wales. Cardiff is also home to Spillers Records, which is reckoned to be the oldest record shop in the world.

5. Sports

As you would expect in Wales, the Cardiff Blues are a rugby union team who play at the Cardiff Arms Park stadium. Football isn't ignored either, so you could choose to watch the successful Cardiff City F.C. Cricket fans will migrate towards the Sophia Gardens ground, close to the centre of the city to watch a test match and maybe even part of the Ashes. The Millennium Stadium can cope with up to 75,000 spectators and hosts both rugby and football matches on a regular basis. Speedway fans aren't neglected either: they have their own speedway stadium so they can watch the thrills and spills of this sport.

6. Visit Television Locations

As well as much of the recent Dr Who series, Cardiff is regularly used as a backdrop for television shows, closely rivaling London in this respect. It was the subject of a "time rift" in both Dr Who and Torchwood.

7. Attractions

As well as the castle mentioned earlier, there are plenty of other attractions to visit if you have the time. Fans of the author Roald Dahl, who was born here, can visit the Roald Dahl Plass (or Plaza). The Welsh National Assembly meets in the city. There are plenty of museums to take your interest. Cardiff Bay has a Coal Exchange and the more recently constructed barrage, which was one of the large projects completed in Europe in the late 20th century. If you prefer more leisurely activities, take a stroll around one of the many parks located in the city.

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