Cardiff

Travel guide - Cardiff

When you arrive, you will notice that Cardiff is rather small for a capital city. However, the moderately-sized city is home to a unique heritage, as is embodied by its Victorian arcades. As you discover Cardiff Castle and contemplate the bay, you will be surprised by the city’s original, quirky character.

Cardiff’s origins

Cardiff has a distinctly medieval feel to it, as is the case with several cities in the United Kingdom. The city’s historical monuments give off an air of the Middle Ages as they recount the story of this city with Norman and Roman roots. As you approach Cardiff Castle, you draw closer to the cradle of the city where everything began. Visit the ramparts, whose Roman foundations date back to a time when Celtic tribes were attacking the legions of soldiers. Behind the city walls, you can visit the library or attend a raptor show, for an experience that is immersive to say the least.
Continue your immersion inside the venerable walls of the St Fagans Museum, where you can travel back to the 16th century. This restored manor house plunges you into the daily life of a medieval Welshman.

No lack of Welsh culture

Wales’ ultramodern capital city of Cardiff aims to be a beacon of creativity for the rest of the country. Novelty and history keep company, as is the case with Cardiff Bay. Here, modern heritage is intermingled with the industrial, working-class history of the city, resulting in an artistic effervescence. In the Pierhead Building, which once housed the dock offices, the bright red bricks now contain an art gallery and a museum that explores the working class history of the city. The forecourt is often the setting for street performances and improvised concerts.
When visiting Cardiff, your eyes will also be drawn to the imposing Wales Millennium Centre. The metal facade with its monumental cutout letters is quite striking. But wait until you’re settled comfortably into one of the building’s performance spaces to discover the true treasure of this space: its acoustics. Both eclectic and challenging, the programming here offers you a chance to attend shows ranging from Broadway musicals to Shakespearean tragedies.

Cardiff: a nature that is as Celtic as it comes

Mystical and wild, Welsh nature can seem very far away from Cardiff, even in Bute Park, located near Cardiff Castle. Head to the Penarth Pier for a taste of the local seaside. Cardiff, by virtue of its location, is also the gateway to the Welsh countryside, which offers countless memorable hikes. For example, you can head to the north, where you will find Brecon Beacon Park. Walk past the ancient castles to reach the sloped prairies of Pen y Fan, or make your way to the steep trails of Forest Fawr, where you will find numerous waterfalls awaiting you. After all, you are in the birthplace of the legend of King Arthur.
Continue your Celtic adventure on the magnificent coastline of Pembrokeshire, on the edge of the Irish Sea, where you will discover coves featuring cliffs sculpted by the elements. It almost feels like you are in Ireland.

Shopping and regional products in Cardiff

Cardiff’s heritage is full of local traditions, which you will encounter along the way as you discover Queen Street and St Mary Street. These wide, prosperous avenues have been the beating heart of the city’s commerce for many centuries. Not far away, you will find the Cardiff Central Market. Here, you can appreciate both the local accents and the smells of the food stands. Amidst the labyrinth of greengrocers, book sellers and bakeries, you will discover the Welsh cheese tradition. If you have the chance, try the rarebit, a traditional open sandwich made with melted Welsh cheddar cheese.
The other high point of Cardiff’s shopping scene is the city’s countless Victorian arcades. The superb Castle Arcade represents the Cardiff of this glorious period, offering many boutiques where you can discover local craftsmanship.
Cardiff is a capital rich with a remarkable heritage and history. In the lands of King Arthur or on the cobblestone streets lined with Victorian shops, the Welsh city will charm you with its authenticity and British elegance.

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