Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

June 2015: Cardiff

Cardiff (Welsh: Caerdydd) is the largest city in Wales, but it comes as a surprise to many people to learn that it has only been the country's capital since 1955. (Prior to that, Wales had no designated capital city.) The combination of capital status, growing political devolution within the UK and massive urban regeneration has caused Cardiff to be transformed over the course of the last decade. Once known only for coal and rugby, it has emerged as a popular visitor destination; indeed in 2011, the city was listed by the prestigious National Geographic magazine as one of the world's top ten 'alternative destinations'.

I finally got around to making my own first visit in 2015, travelling with Bruce on the train from Bristol and then flying home directly.

Cardiff Bay

Described as Europe's largest waterfront development, Cardiff Bay is what has emerged from the city's former docks area. The transformation has included the installation of the Cardiff Bay Barrage to create a large freshwater lake. Specific attractions include the bright red Pierhead Building, the Senedd (which houses the National Assembly for Wales), the Wales Millennium Centre (a venue for the performing arts) and an arts centre based in a Norwegian church, all of which are complemented by an array of shops, restaurants and bars. For me, walking around this area felt a bit like being on the set of the former BBC television series Torchwood, much of which was filmed here.

BELOW: National Assembly for Wales

Cardiff Castle

As well as offering much of military interest, Cardiff Castle contains a former home of the Marquis of Bute. We contented ourselves with the view from the street and from the adjoining Bute Park.

Cathays Park

Cathays Park is a striking civic centre complex comprising City Hall, the Crown Court, the Welsh National War Memorial and the National Museum and Gallery of Wales, together with a number of Cardiff University buildings.

More views of central Cardiff

City of Arcades

Cardiff city centre has the highest concentration of indoor shopping arcades in Britain. Some of these date from Victorian and Edwardian times.

Base: Hilton

Linked reports from same trip:

Cheltenham & Tewkesbury

The Wye Valley

Worcester and the Malvern Hills

The Cotswolds

Bradford on Avon