Cardiff City Guide
The modern capital of Wales is one of the UK’s most interesting and exciting cities. With historic castles and grand museums alongside world-class venues and stunning modern architecture, this small but vibrant city has enthusiastically taken its place among the capitals of Europe. There’s fantastic shopping and a buzzing nightlife, and a whole world of countryside walks, beautiful coastline, and ancient monuments within easy reach.
Header image credit: Pete Birkinshaw
Why Visit Cardiff?
Cardiff was designated the capital of Wales only in 1955, but since then has embraced its newfound place as a showcase for the nation. Combining the old with the new, Cardiff serves as a working centre of government for Wales, as well as a cultural and historic hub.
From the elegant Bute Park and the grand edifices of the National Museum and Cardiff City Hall, and the medieval romance of Cardiff Castle, to the vibrant and modern Cardiff Bay with its breathtaking Wales Millennium Centre and the modern heart of Welsh democracy, the Senedd.
You’re never short of great places to eat in Cardiff either, with fresh seafood and local fare, as well as cuisine from all over the world. There are also fantastic music venues and clubs showcasing the best in local and visiting talent, along with many great bars and pubs for unforgettable evenings on the town.
Image credit: Mario Sánchez Prada
Cardiff has great motorway links from Dover and London, and can be reached in around 3 hours 30 minutes’ drive from the ferry port via the M4.
You can also make use of our other Channel routes such as Dieppe to Newhaven, which also puts you 3 hours 30 minutes’ drive from Cardiff.
The city is also within easy reach of other exciting destinations such as Bath, Gloucester, and the Brecon Beacons National Park.
What to See in Cardiff
Whatever your taste in sightseeing, Cardiff has something to delight everyone. Starting from the heart of the city you have the beautiful green space of Bute Park with the River Taff running alongside, within which stands the stunning Cardiff Castle. This huge fortress contains a genuine medieval keep alongside Victorian gothic fantasies in towers and arches.
Nearby you can find the grand buildings of Cardiff City Hall and Crown Court, along with the National Museum Cardiff. This fantastic museum forms the centrepiece of the Welsh National Museum, and its collections are mainly based around natural history and art, including a humpback whale skeleton and the largest turtle in the world.
If you fancy some shopping, you’ll be well catered for in the city centre, with small boutiques and larger department stores, as well as local markets serving up fresh produce. In the centre of the shopping district you’ll find The Cardiff Story museum, offering visitors an engaging and interactive look at the history of the city.
Beyond Butetown to the south you’ll find Cardiff Bay, home to many fantastic sights and attractions. The Wales Millennium Centre rises above the rooftops in a great bronze curve and walls of Welsh slate, housing the Welsh National Opera and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Nearby is the distinctive red brick Pier Head with its clock tower, and the Senedd building, home of the Welsh Assembly. Fans of Doctor Who should definitely make time for the Doctor Who Experience on the other side of the bay.
Just outside of the city you have more great things to see, such as Castell Coch, a perfectly formed little castle perched on a forested hill to the north. There’s also St Fagans National History Museum a few miles out of town, which showcases historic buildings from all over the country that have been dismantled and rebuilt in this rural village. There are thatched farmhouses, a chapel, a watermill, and old-fashioned shops, and much more to explore.
WE'RE AWARD WINNING
It’s always a proud moment when you’re recognised for your good work, we’re honoured to have been named as Europe's and the World’s Leading Ferry Operator in the 2015 World Travel Awards. We've won these awards for 5 years running.