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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Cardiff

In 1956 the modern city of Cardiff/Caerdydd became the first ever official capital of Wales (Cymru). It lies on the wide estuary of the Severn and is traversed by two much smaller rivers, the Taff and the Rhymmey. An important port, it has been a university town since 1893 and is the cultural as well as the economic center of Wales. Cardiff makes an excellent base from which to explore the many interesting places in South Wales.

Cardiff offers a wide range of entertainments and sports facilities of all kinds, including a golf course and a riding center.

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff CastleCardiff Castle View slideshow

Welsh Folk Museum (Museum of Welsh Life)

Set in exceptionally beautiful parkland 4mi/6.4km west of St Fagan's, the open-air Welsh Folk Museum has an intriguing collection of buildings such as cottages, farmhouses, workshops and mills, together with gardens, costumes, equipment and much more, bring the living and working conditions of the past vividly to life.
Special events take place during the May Fair, Mid-Summer festival, Harvest Festival and Christmas festival.
Address: St Fagans, Cardiff CF5 6XB, Wales

Caerphilly Castle

View of the Caerphilly Castle at Cardiff.
Situated 7.5 mi/12km north of Cardiff is the industrial town of Caerphilly (pop. 28,700), with a mighty castle, excellently restored. The town itself, which is also known for its tasty Caerphilly cheese, offers little else of interest.
The castle, built to consolidate the English hold on the area in the face of opposition from Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales, was begun between 1268 and 1271 by Baron Gilbert de Clare. It has the most elaborate defensive system of any British castle. It was enlarged several times and presents a formidable and imposing aspect, with its two drawbridges, massive walls, round towers and moat. However there are virtually no interior furnishings.
Don't miss the siege engines: four life-size replicas of medieval artillery pieces, ready to fire across the lake.
Exhibits in the castle display its involvement in the wars between the Welsh and the Anglo-Normans. A new display on the castles of Wales has been added, and for a unique view of the fortress, boat trips are available on the lake.
PRINT MAP EMBED < > Caerphilly Castle - Floor plan map Caerphilly Castle Map

National Museum of Wales

The National Museum of Wales was founded in 1907 to "tell the world about Wales, and the Welsh about their own country". It contains important early Christian material, archaeological collections, exhibits illustrating the development of industry, and pre-industrial crafts and implements.
Address: Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP, Wales

National Museum Art Gallery

The National Museum of Wales' Art Gallery provides an excellent survey of the work of Welsh and English painters such as Madox Brown, Wilson, Lawrence, Constable and Gainsborough. Major works by artists of other nationalities include landscapes by Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain.
Address: Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP, Wales

Castell Coch

Castell Coch near Cardiff.
Castell Coch is an enchanting mixture of Victorian Gothic fantasy and fairytale. It features rounded towers and turrets, and impressive murals depicting Aesop's fables.
Another of the 'Sham' castles, this fantasy Medieval castle was actually constructed near the end of the 19th century. A tremendous amount of detail was put into it by its creators, the third Marquess of Bute and William Burges. Rich decorations house the interior, including details of the saints, Aesop's fables and many animals.

Civic Centre

The imposing Cardiff Civic Center was the first of its kind in Britain. Among the public buildings ranged around Cathays Park are the neo-Baroque City Hall (1904), with a bell tower and a dome crowned by the Welsh dragon. The Marble Hall is decorated with historical figures from the story of Wales. In the center of the complex is a War Memorial. Other buildings in the Civic Center include the University College of South Wales, the Law Courts and many government offices.

Llandaff Cathedral

Llandaff Cathedral was founded in the time of Bishop Urban (1107-34). The main part of the Cathedral dates from the 13th century; the northwest tower was rebuilt in the 15th century. Later the whole Cathedral fell into a dilapidated state, and in 1734 an "Italian temple" was built within its walls by John Wood of Bath.
The Cathedral was severely damaged during the last war (1941), but has since been restored. It contains a notable figure of "Christ in Majesty" by Epstein.
Address: Cathedral Road, Wales

Boulders Indoor Climbing Centre

Boulders is an Indoor Climbing Centre in Cardiff that offers a facility where children can try climbing and keep fit through climbing. There are school holiday activities every half term and end of term break. The focus is on having fun in a family safe environment.

Cardiff Bay

The Welsh Assembly building in Cardiff Bay.
Since the beginning of the 1990s almost 2700acres/1100ha of former dockland have been redeveloped, creating housing, offices, restaurants, theaters, sports grounds and parks.

Techniquest

Techniquest offers visitors the opportunity for some "hands on" experience of science and technology today.
Techniquest, in Cardiff, features a Planetarium, Science Theatre and Discovery Room that will provide hours of entertainment to people of all ages.
Address: Inner Harbour, Stuart Street, Cardiff CF1 6BW, Wales

Cardiff Arms Park National Rugby Stadium

Below Castle Bridge, on the river, is the Cardiff Arms Park National Rugby Stadium, where international and club matches take place.

Greyfriars Church

In Greyfriars Road can be seen the foundations of Greyfriars Church (1280) and the ruins of a mansion built on the site of the friary after the Reformation.

Millenium Stadium

The Millenium Stadium, at Cardiff Arms Park, boasts a retractable roof, and the "Rugby Experience" museum.
Address: Westgate Street, Cardiff CF10 1NS, Wales

National Botanical Garden of Wales

Geodesic Greenhouse at the Welsh Botanic Gardens.
From the lost gardens of Middleton Hall the National Botanical Garden of Wales are being created. The garden has the world's only sing-span glass house.
Address: Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire SA32 8HG, Wales

Queen Street

Cardiff is well supplied with good shops. Queen Street is the busiest pedestrian precinct in Wales.

St David's Hall

Queen Street is the site of St David's Hall, a conference center accommodating up to 2,000 people.
Address: Queen Street, Cardiff CF10 1SH, Wales

Sully

Sully is a popular resort, with a sandy beach and cliffs. Sully's offshore island can be reached on foot at low tide.

Events

Cardiff Festival of Music

This annual festival takes place from end of June to earlySeptember and focuses on a different theme every year. Daily events range from operas and musical performances to theatrical shows and film screenings. An art exhibition is also part of the festival. The repertoire is equally varied, focusing on Welsh music, while at the same time featuring works by traditional composers such as Brahms and Haydn.
Performances take place in St Davids Hall, the University Concert Hall, the Welsh Folk Museum, Llandaff Cathedral and many other prominent buildings.
Address: St David's Hall, The Hayes, Cardiff CF1 2SH, Wales

Welsh Proms

This annual week-long festival takes place in mid-July and includes six major orchestral concerts every year. The Welsh Symphony Orchestra and other British groups perform traditional classical works. Clowns, mimes and puppeteers are also present to entertain visitors. All the events take place in St David's Hall.
Address: Box Office, St David's Hall, The Hayes, Cardiff CF1 2SH, Wales

Cardiff Mayday Celebration

This annual day-long festival takes place on May 1. Maypole dancing, carnivals, clowns, food stalls and street entertainment are only some of the events offered throughout the day.

Singer of the World Competition

The Singer of the World Competition is a week-long event which takes place in mid-June.

Sacred Music in Cardiff

This month-long festival runs between mid-January and mid-February.

Surroundings

Barry, Wales

Barry (pop. 43,000) lies 9mi/14km southwest of the Welsh capital on a narrow peninsula and has several beaches, well-tended parks, a ruined medieval castle, good entertainment facilities, a golf course and a small zoo.
Extending westwards beyond the airport are a number of small seaside resorts, including West Aberthwaw, Llanwit Major and Porthcawl, whose sandy beaches attract many day-trippers from Swansea and Port Talbot.

Llantwit Major

Llantwit Major is located on the south coast of Wales, southwest of Cardiff. Its annual three-week festival takes place in mid-August and highlights the world's most famous living composers. Events include operas, orchestral, choral and chamber concerts and recitals. Classical music combines with newly-commissioned work and modern pieces for a truly diverse program. Performances take place in historical buildings throughout the town.

St Donat's Castle - Welsh International Festival of Storytelling

St Donat's Castle is located in St Donat, just east of Llantwit Major. Its annual three-day festival is also referred to by the name "Beyond the Border" and takes place in late June or early July.

Welsh Hawking Centre

The Welsh Hawking Centre is home to more than 200 birds of prey. Daily flying displays are offered weather permitting. The facility also includes a children's playground and a picnic area.

Penarth, Wales

Along the coast between Cardiff and Swansea are a number of small seaside resorts. Nearest to Cardiff (5mi/8km south) - indeed almost a suburb of the city - is Penarth (pop. 22,500), which has a shingle beach and offers excellent facilities for water skiing, sailing and fishing, as well as wide scope for attractive cliff walks. One such walk leads south to secluded Ranny Bay, St Mary's Well Bay at Lavernock and on to Sully.
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