A mix of modern architecture and ancient buildings, a central city stadium for sports entertainment, and a thriving independent food scene makes a weekend break in Cardiff perfect for all to enjoy.
Providing visitors with beautiful Victorian arcades and quirky weekend markets, cultural sites including Cardiff Castle and the National Museum, the seaside of the updated Cardiff Bay, I ventured into the Welsh capital to discover this dynamic and fun-loving city. From Welsh cakes to culture, historic castles, where to eat, what to see and do, and where to stay, here's our guide to a city break in Cardiff.
Cardiff Castle is easily one of Wales' most prominent and visited heritage attractions. Dating back 2000 years, it was once a Roman fort, a Norman stronghold, and Victorian Gothic masterpiece.
With the exposed Roman Wall to view, the medieval Keep to climb, and the atmospheric Wartime Shelters to explore, make sure you allow plenty of time for your visit.
Situated alongside the South wall of Cardiff Castle, on Castle Street, is the much beloved Animal Wall. Life-size sandstone carvings from an age when the animals featured on the wall were still regarded as exotic and remote.
The original group consisted of nine sculptures including a bear, two lions wielding shields, a lynx and a hyena. Six were later added by Scottish sculptor Alexander Carrick, including interesting choices of a pelican and an anteater.
The home of Rugby in Wales is the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. If you can, get tickets to see one of the 4-5 international rugby matches annually held here and watch some of top teams in Europe: Wales, England, Ireland, Scotland, France and Italy battle it out in the Six Nations. Antipodeans might be better to wait for Autumn Internationals when Wales plays the Southern Hemisphere big guns of the Wallabies, the Springboks, or the All Blacks.
The stunning neo-classical building houses Wales’ National Museum Cardiff. Underneath the Edwardian dome, visitors can explore everything from a 3.3 billion years old Moon rock, to dinosaurs and woolly mammoths, to works by some of Europe’s finest artists including Turner, Monet, Rodin, Van Gogh. As you would expect, there is also work by leading Welsh artists such as Richard Wilson, Thomas Jones and more.
Most recently, the National Museum Cardiff has played host to Dippy, the beloved Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton who once held court in Hinze Hall of London’s Natural History Museum.
130 acres of mature parkland, flanked by the River Taff, Sophia Gardens, it once formed the grounds of Cardiff Castle and is named after the 3rd Marquess of Bute, whose family once owned the castle.