CARDIFF- A WORLD CLASS CITY.
Cardiff is a Capital City with attitude, culture, vigour, history and personality! Being a part of it invokes a special feeling you don’t get living anywhere else. Cardiff is recognised as one of the best cities for shopping in the UK. The transformed and enlarged St David’s Centre is the 11th largest shopping centre in the UK with all the brands and shops you could hope for. The City is recognised as a leading academic centre with two very strong Universities and an excellent Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama with world famous alumni including Rob Brydon, Anthony Hopkins and the irrepressible Ruth Jones. Indeed, the latest edition of Lonely Planet guidebooks praises Cardiff as being one of Britain’s leading urban centres of the 21st century. Not many cities have their own airport, and if they do, it’s rarely as accessible as Cardiff. If you’re looking ahead to your next holiday or weekend break abroad, then Cardiff International Airport being just ten miles away is a convenient point from which to start your international journey.
A CITY OF CASTLES AND CATHEDRALS
Cardiff has more than its fair share of historically and architecturally important landmarks, including prominent castles and cathedrals. Cardiff Castle occupies a prominent location in the city centre. It is a site of international significance, and has a very long history dating back to Roman times. The castle was built in its current form in the 19th century by the 3rd Marquis of Bute and the architect William Bruges. Transformed into their interpretation of a fairytale castle, in the Victorian Gothic style, the castle also served as their main residence. It was handed over to the City of Cardiff in 1947 and is now open to the public, with free access to residents of Cardiff. The grounds and landscaped fields surrounding it are breathtakingly beautiful as is the Animal Wall, which has just benefitted from a massive renovation project. Perched on the side of a steep hill in north Cardiff, Castell Coch is a dazzling sight to behold. Castell Coch (Red Castle) is the product of the collaboration of two mad geniuses, the 3rd Marquis of Bute and his architect William Bruges. Built on the foundations of a 13th century fortress, the castle displays many outstanding architectural features such as a moat, working portcullis, conical roofs, and some of the most lavish and fanciful interiors preserved by Cadw. It is easily accessible by car, public transport, and by cycle. The popular Taff Trail passes the castle, and it is a breathtaking experience to approach it as you cycle or walk through the beautiful woodlands. Another important landmark is the Llandaff Cathedral. Situated in the atmospheric district of Llandaff, the Cathedral is a striking example of Gothic ecclesiastical architecture. It is an oasis of calm in a busy and bustling city and maintains an other-worldly atmosphere. The Cathedral suffered significant damage in the Second World War, and was subsequently carefully rebuilt and restored back to its original glory. The restoration and improvement of the structure continues today, with the most modern addition being a majestic 20th century reinforced concrete arch, framing Sir Jacob Epstein?s statue of Christ in Majesty. In the shadow of the Llandaff Cathedral is this well maintained memorial to the casualties of the First World War. It has been the location for episodes of Doctor Who, notably being used to create the hometown of the Doctor?s companion, Amy Pond.
SPORTS IN CARDIFF
Cardiff has always been the home to passionate Welsh Rugby fans, but over the last few years it has also become home to a number of international sports arenas. Boasting the Cardiff City Stadium, the Athletics Stadium and the Swalec Cricket Stadium, and various golf courses all within easy reach of the city centre by car and by public transport, Cardiff has had the privilege of hosting several international sports fixtures in the last decade. Millenium Stadium is the premier stadium for various sporting events. In the past few years it has been the venue for Formula One, FA Cup and other motor racing events. It has also hosted many football matches at various levels, including the Heineken Cup. The Cardiff City Football Club however, has recently got their very own home in the CCFC Stadium in Leckwith. Football fans flock to the city to follow their favourite team, and the city centre comes alive with the atmosphere. If cricket is more your thing, then the Swalec Stadium is for you. A state-of-the-art stadium purpose built to host cricket matches, it is the home for the Glamorgan Cricket County. It is located right in the heart of Bute Park, and surrounded by lush greenery and ancient trees; the perfect place to relax and watch a game of cricket with a picnic laid out before you. In addition, there is also the International White Water Rafting arena, the Ice Rink (home to the Cardiff Devils), and the International Swimming Pool which offers unrivalled access to learn and practice the sport that captures your interest. On the outskirts of Cardiff is the Celtic Manor Golf Club, which was the venue for the Ryder Cup in 2012, and has world-class facilities to offer to golfers from around the world. A short drive from Cardiff takes you to the Chepstow racecourse, which is famous over the world for horse racing. It is currently preparing for the Welsh National 2012, and is a favourite place for office events and Christmas parties.
MAKING THE RIGHT CONNECTION
Cardiff Pointe is a well connected place to live. You can walk to work in the City, catch the train anywhere you please, and if you are driving, you can be on the M4 and headed deeper into Wales or towards the bridge in around 10 minutes. Cardiff Pointe gives you a unique link to the City, the Valleys, and just over the bridge, England. With Cogan Train Station moments away, you can be in Cardiff Central in less than ten minutes or on the beach in Barry in fifteen. From Cardiff Central you can travel directly to London Paddington station in just over 2 hours. For those travelling further afield, you?re on the right side of Cardiff for the airport with a journey of less than twenty minutes (it?s just ten miles), you could be airborne within the hour.
CULTURE IN CARDIFF
Cardiff is the home of not one, not two, but three state-of-the-art theatres, showcasing a variety of plays, musicals, dance performances, and other cultural events. St Davids Hall and The New Theatre have been flying the flag for Welsh theatre for several decades and are continuing the good work by hosting several original plays, and also tours from the West End companies. The highlight of the year is the pantomime held at The New Theatre, which always boasts a cast of popular celebrities. Wales Millenium Centre (WMC) is one of the most striking additions to the cultural scene, and is the home to the BBC National Orchestra for Wales, Urdd, and Literature Wales. It is an architectural masterpiece and stands proudly as the gateway to Cardiff Bay. It has already seen many popular performances being played out on its stage, such as Grease, Dirty Dancing, Sound Of Music and Phantom Of The Opera. Smaller centres, such as The Gate and Chapter, are host to ever-changing art exhibitions. They not only foster young and upcoming artists and artisans, but also let the general public come into close contact with the art. It is an important part of the fabric of Cardiff, as it brings art and theatre closer to the layman, and also gives a chance for more experimental and risky works to find an audience. If comedy is more your thing, then there are several comedy clubs dotted around the city. In the last year, Cardiff has welcomed several well-known stand-up comics such as Dara O?Brien, Sandi Toksvig, Michael Macintyre, and Sarah Millican.
MERMAID QUAY / CARDIFF BAY
Cardiff's Vibrant, Captivating Waterfront Mermaid Quay is the ideal destination to kick your feet up and relax in the cosmopolitan atmosphere. With its plethora of restaurants, cafes, and shops, you can find something that appeals to your taste buds, and all with a breathtaking view of Cardiff Bay. Mermaid Quay also plays host to various public events, with the Roald Dahl Plass often becoming an arena for concerts and music shows. Cardiff?s very own exciting science museum is a favourite destination for children as well as adults. Making science accessible to everyone with the help of interactive displays and fun exhibitions, Techniquest has a solid reputation for excellence. On most days, the sprawling building is filled with excited children, learning science through fun. The latest addition to Cardiff?s list of must-go-to places, the Doctor Who Experience is the new and permanent home of props and artefacts relating to the iconic sci-fi show. The Doctor and his monsters are an integral part of the childhood of many British children, and a visit to the Doctor Who Experience brings the magic of the show alive. Housing costumes of all eleven Doctors, sets, the Tardis, and displaying the technique for creating various iconic monsters, the Experience is a fabulous day out for the whole family.
SHOPPING IN CARDIFF
Cardiff is the place to be if you want to shop till you drop. Cardiff is the home of the flagship stores of John Lewis, House of Fraser and Debenhams, providing the best in departmental shopping. In addition, the recently completed St Davids 2, along with the newly refurbished Hayes, provides the best in designer and high end brands to choose from. Cardiff will also soon be welcoming designer brands like Armani Exchange and Vivienne Westwood. No matter what your fashion tastes or budgets, Cardiff has something to put a spring in your step. Get dressed for every new fashion season with a walk around Cardiff.
Cardiff has a vibrant and lively nightlife, with several nightclubs where you can dance till dawn. St Mary Street in the heart of the city is where a range of clubs are clustered together, allowing revellers to move safely from one club to the next. There is also a thriving sector of live music clubs all over the city, such as Globe in Roath or Tafarn in the city centre.
CARDIFF FOR STUDENTS
Cardiff is the home of Cardiff University and the Cardiff Metropolitan University. Cardiff University has its campus sprawled around the city centre, and Cardiff Metropolitan University has two dedicated campuses in Llandaff and in Penylan. The various student buildigns and campuses are well connected by public transport, and easily accessible by bike. Student accommodation is plentiful and easily available, ranging from university halls, en-suite flats in purpose-built apartment blocks, or house-shares. They are all within easy reach of the campus and the city centre, either on foot or by cycling.
EATING OUT IN CARDIFF
Cardiff has a wide variety of restaurants and pubs to cater to every taste. If it is traditional Welsh food that you want, then there are cafes and delis dotted round the city, such as Garlands or The Plan in the city centre, or Jaspers in Llandaff. If you want a taste of international cuisine, then there are restaurants ranging from Thai to tapas. Jamie?s Italian, Bill?s, and Carluccio?s are only some of the well-known restaurants. Mill Lane is the city?s cafe area, with a tremendous choice of small independent delis to visit for a quick rest while shopping, while Brewery Quarter in St Mary Street offers the best in chain restaurants such as La Tasca and Nandos. St Davids 2 also has its own dedicated food hall, featuring Yo! Sushi and Signor Valentino among other well-known restaurants. on the outskirts of Cardiff are more gems to discover. Lisvane has several pubs with a unique ambience, and Penarth has even more to offer, with Pier64 and La Marina along the waterfront. Further afield well-known TV chef Matt Tebutt runs The Foxhunter in Usk, which has received several awards, and is known for producing fantastic meals from foraged ingredients. Food lovers will love wandering through Cardiff market, one of the oldest surviving markets in the country. There are also weekly farmers markets in Riverside and Roath with an array of farmers produce and stalls selling freshly cooked food to make any foodie happy.
OUTDOORS IN CARDIFF
While Cardiff is a bustling city, you don?t have to go very far to experience the outdoors. Dotted around the city are various sprawling parks and fields, all maintained by the Council. The most famous and breathtaking are Bute Park and Coopers Field which form the castle grounds and are open to the public. Equally stunning are the Llandaff Fields, which are only a short distance form the castle gorunds. Together they form the lungs of the city, and make a beautiful pathway for cyclists and walker to use to get from one end of the city the other, without seeing a single car! The best way to experience the outdoors is to follow the Taff Trail. This is a path that meanders through the city, taking in various sights and areas of natural beauty. You can either walk the trail, or cycle through it, taking care to follow the markers. The trail will take you through the obvious places like Bute Park, and Castell Coch, but will also give you the opportunity to see well-hidden waterfalls, and defunct canalways. There are natural stopping points such as the Gelynis Farm, which is also a popular destination for fruit pickers. Many of the routes have improtant historical significance to the industrial heritage of South Wales. For more information about the Taff Trail please see http://www.tafftrail.org.uk/
CHRISTMAS IN CARDIFF
For the last six years, Cardiff has been home to a fantastic Winter Wonderland set in the iconic gardens outside the City Hall. With an open air ice rink, several rides (including the spectacular Star Ride), eating stalls, and Santa?s Grotto, this is the highlight of the Christmas season in Cardiff. Set right in the heart of the city, you can walk or cycle right to the centre of the action, maybe after a day of shopping for presents in any of the enthralling shops in the City Centre. You could then continue your festivities right into the evening by taking a bite to eat in the restaurants and pubs dotted round the city centre, all easily reached on foot or car. Sprawled over the newly redeveloped Hayes is the atmospheric Christmas Markets. Wander through the traditional wooden chalets, and browse through an array of handcrafted and unique Christmas gifts. When you are tired, there will be plenty of hot food and mulled wine to lift your festive spirits. Christmas would not be complete without taking in some culture in the form of a panto or a ballet performance. The New Theatre hosts the most popular Panto in South Wales, showcasing celebrities. There are also several festive- themed performances in the various theatres around the city, with many of them tailored for a younger audience.