Capital of Wales since 1955, Cardiff is unrecognisable from a few years ago. With an exhilarating mix of heavyweight cultural sights, exciting regeneration projects – not least the revitalized Cardiff Bay – world-class sport, a prolific music scene and some seriously banging nightlife, it’s easy to see why Cardiff now ranks alongside London and Edinburgh as one of the UK’s most compelling destinations. So if you were in any doubt, here are ten great reasons to visit…
If you want to shop like a local, head to the banks of the Taff, opposite the Principality Stadium, on Sunday mornings. You’ll find the tastiest local produce at the Riverside Food Market. Farmers from the surrounding countryside bring traditional Welsh meats and cheeses, while local chefs, bakers and makers share their artisan wares.
After launching in the Welsh capital in 2001, the annual FIM British SpeedwayGP celebrates its 20th visit to Cardiff in 2022. The Principality Stadium is transformed by way of a central circular dirt track measuring over 270 metres. This year's event takes place on 13 August 2022 in the Principality Stadium.
Sophia Gardens is a world class cricket ground in the heart of Cardiff city centre. The stadium seats 16,000 and has been the home of Glamorgan Cricket Club since 1967. It's an established venue that's used for international cricket too. It's held lots of international test matches, including sold-out Ashes Test matches in 2009 and 2015. On 28 July 2022, it will host England v South Africa in the IT20.
The Cardiff Bay Wetland Reserve makes up a huge part of the regeneration of the area and is testament to the fact that Wales’ wildlife can be enjoyed in the capital city as well as rural locations.
Craft in the Bay Gallery is an exhibition and craft shopping area located at the south end of Lloyd George Avenue – it champions Welsh crafts and supports local talent, and is well worth a visit.
If you’re looking to buy, make a pilgrimage to Spiller’s Records, which is generally acknowledged to be the oldest record shop in the UK; there’s not much you won’t find here.
Other great music and arts venues in the city include Chapter Arts Centre in Canton, Tramshed in Riverside and Spillers Records, which was established in 1894 and is the oldest record shop in the world.
For a more local experience, make for Y Mochyn Du – a former gatekeeper’s lodge popular with Welsh speakers. Or if you fancy one more for the road, enjoy a pint in one of Cardiff's oldest city centre pubs, the City Arms, located opposite the stadium.
His Dark Materials (2019–2022), produced by Cardiff-based Bad Wolf Studios features many locations throughout Wales, including Cardiff. The filming for live-action canine comedy Show Dogs (2018) saw Hollywood stars Will Arnett and Natasha Lyonne descend on Cardiff Bay, where the city’s historic Bute Street doubled up as a setting for a New York police station for some exterior scenes.
Among the seven unique arcades are Castle Arcade, famous for the impressive balconies that split the shops across two floors, Duke Street Arcade, with its striking Gothic design, and the city's oldest, Royal Arcade. Together, these independent businesses are at the heart of the city.
These are also great places to refuel, with two establishments in particular worth seeking out: The Plan (for the best coffee in town) and Madame Fromage (the best deli in town).
There are hundreds more accommodation options to choose from – from the sleek and stylish to the fun and quirky – find your perfect place to stay in Cardiff.
Top image: Cardiff Bay © Crown Copyright 2022 Visit Wales