Travel To Cardiff - The Capital Of Wales

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Cardiff is the Capital of Wales and has been officially since, ooh, 1955. It’s Europe’s youngest capital city (even though it’s long been the country’s most important city), and that very recent elevation to greatness is reflected in the youthful feel which makes it ideal for a family visit (even though its roots can be traced back to 600BC when the Celts invaded Europe). At its centre is Cardiff Castle, deep down an ancient monument (a Roman fort) but rebuilt a century ago as the holiday home of the third Marquess of Bute, at the time reputedly the richest man in the world.

The second Marquess of Bute owned Cardiff docks and built the railway that brought coal from the family’s mines down to the docks – a neat monopoly which funded his son’s extravagant transformation of Cardiff Castle and Castle Coch nearby. However, the docks also brought prosperity to Cardiff, just a small town at the beginning of the 19th century but with full city status by 1905. That prosperity can be seen in the city’s impressive civic centre, which incorporates Cathays Park, the National Museum and Gallery and is made of the same elegant Portland stone as Cardiff University next door.

The docks once handled more coal than any other port in the world but after the First World War demand began to fall. The Great Depression of the 1930s badly affected the city’s economy and during the Second World War Cardiff was badly bombed.
However, though the docks have largely been decommissioned – in the same way as the Welsh Valleys coal pits – the waterfront has found an exciting new lease of life. A few years back a barrage was built to one side of the remaining docks, creating a vast freshwater lake (with sea locks). Stand amid the stunning new buildings, historic sites, busy attractions and booming restaurants and it’s almost like being by the sea.

What to do in Cardiff 

Cardiff, seen from a window in Castell Coch

It’s a new nightlife hub but there’s plenty for families to do during the day, including exhibitions, concerts and shows at the magnificent Wales Millennium Centre, and there are child-friendly restaurants both during the day and in the evening. With Cardiff Bay only a mile from the city centre by bus, train or boat up the River Taff, it’s an unmissable part of the Cardiff experience.
Cardiff April 2010
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The city itself is also family-friendly with pedestrianized shopping streets, indoor shopping centres, Victorian arcades and an atmospheric indoor market all only a stone’s throw from the National Museum and Gallery where dinosaurs all but rub shoulders with the Millennium Stadium’s sports heroes.
Cardiff

Further afield are seaside resorts, some of Britain’s most impressive castles, industrial heritage centers, Roman ruins, country parks and beautiful countryside.
Cardiff

Yet you can travel the universe without ever leaving the city, which is home to the regenerated TV favourite Doctor Who and the scary,alien-hunting spin-off Torchwood. The ever-changing Doctor Who Up Close exhibition is a delight – and you can search out real-life sets around the streets.

Visitor Information    

Cardiff Gateway Visitor Centre, Old Library, The Hayes.
This is at the heart of the city, next to St David’s Hall and near the main shopping centres and central market, where, as well as providing free information leaflets, staff can book accommodation, and there’s a left luggage service.
Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre
Cardiff harbour sits on the promontory between the Bay attractions and the docks; a big, squashed metal cylinder, it’s known as The Tube so you can’t miss it. Offers plenty of info to pick up and take away, along with interactive exhibitions on the Bay’s history and ecology, and a scale model of the city. 
Featured images:
Bispo is a full time traveler, who loves Europe. You can find out more about him in his site http://www.lisbon4all.com

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Travel To Cardiff - The Capital Of Wales

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