A day trip to the Welsh Capital Cardiff – Europe’s youngest capital city.

After exploring the dream city of London for Christmas our next stop in UK itinerary was Cardiff the capital city of Wales. A port city and a popular center for cultural and recreational activities the Welsh capital is rapidly transforming making it one of the pre-eminent cities of the UK and a favorite tourist destination.

As we could catch a flight to our next UK destination Ireland from Bristol airport we made a stay in the Bristol city which is around an hour from Cardiff by train. The train ride takes through the beautiful countryside of a vast stretch of greenery and grazing farm animals.

Once at the Cardiff station, we collected the walking tour map from the tourist information center and set off our city sightseeing. Cardiff can be easily explored on foot with the prominent attractions being located in close proximity. The weather was pleasant and welcoming. A street musician around the corner of the street made our day with his entrancing music.

Welsh Capital Cardiff

Cardiff market
We had enough time so we sauntered along the street exploring every nook and corner. Half the way to the castle we came to a bustling local market. Cardiff market is a Victorian indoor market in the Castle Quarter of Cardiff. The traders in the market offered a variety of products from readymade clothes, lace items, Cheese, Candies and fast food.

Welsh Capital Cardiff

St John the Baptist Church
We strolled around in the Cardiff Market and exited through the door at the other end which opened up to the magnificent St John the Baptist Church. The oldest parish church from medieval times dating back to the 12th century has an imposing tower and beautiful stained glass windows making it worth visiting.

Welsh Capital Cardiff

Cardiff Castle
At the end of the street is the 2,000 years old Cardiff Castle. The medieval castle is a major tourist attraction situated in the heart of the city center. It is just around 10 minutes walk from the train station. A visit to the castle is the best way to learn about the rich Welsh history. The people who work or live in Cardiff have free admission into the castle on issuing the Castle Keycard.

The clock tower with the seven ornate astronomical figures is a striking attraction at the entrance of the castle.

House Tour
We bought the entrance tickets of the castle and booked a guided House Tour of the castle clock tower at an extra charge of £3. In the 50-minute House Tour, the expert guide walked us through the Winter Smoking Room, the Nursery, Lord Bute’s Bedroom and the Roof Top Garden. One can only visit the interior of the castle with a guided tour.

The winter smoking room is the most extravagantly embellished room. An intricately ornate fireplace, appealing stained glass and opulent interiors and the vividly decorated walls and ceilings are phenomenal.

Welsh Capital Cardiff

Welsh Capital Cardiff

The banquet hall has splendid interiors and the impressive architecture on the ceiling.

Welsh Capital Cardiff

The rooftop garden has a tiled courtyard with a fountain in the middle. The walls depict the Old Testament story of Elijah.

Welsh Capital Cardiff

We ended the tour at a large library located beneath the banquet hall. Most of the rooms can be rented for parties, weddings, corporate and business meetings.

Castle Grounds
One can also explore the castle with a free audio guide and a map provided.

Welsh Capital Cardiff

The Norman Keep towering high above the Castle grounds provides with remarkable views over the city and scenic vistas of the hills.

Welsh Capital Cardiff
We visited the tunnels in the castle walls, which acted as the air-raid shelters for around 1800 people during the Second World War. The tunnels are recreated for an experience of bygone times with the kitchen, dormitories and the sounds of the siren.

Welsh Capital Cardiff
Cardiff Castle Museum houses information and exhibits on 300 years of Welsh military history.

Principality Stadium
After the amazing tour of the castle, we followed the route map to the Principality Stadium. Principality Stadium is the national stadium of Wales with a capacity for 74k supporters and features a retractable roof. The stadium hosts different kind of sports, events, and musical concerts.

Welsh Capital Cardiff

One can also book a tour to visit the Stadium to visit the conference rooms, changing rooms and the stadium grounds.

Cardiff bay
From Principality Stadium, we boarded a bus number 8 to the Cardiff Bay. The city’s docklands which were once booming coal export center is today a bustling recreation area. The Cardiff bay is a waterfront built around a freshwater lake with a miscellany of cafes, shopping centers, boat trips, exhibits from the Doctor Who Experience and play area for kids which create a lively and vibrant atmosphere for people of all ages alike. The Celtic Ring details the tidal charts, maritime instruments and the docks area.

Welsh Capital Cardiff

The vibrantly colored Pierhead Building is a Welsh history museum and exhibition center.

cWelsh Capital Cardiff

Millennium Center
The popular landmark of the Cardiff bay is the Millennium Center with large inscription bedecking the facade, which reads as “In these stones, horizons sing”.

Welsh Capital Cardiff

It is an art center, which hosts several concerts and performances. It consists of theaters, halls, cafes, and restaurants. We strolled around in the building and took a bus back to the station and thereafter a train to Bristol.

The capital city offers one with an amazing shopping experience, eating joints and entertainment and recreational activities around the bay. The city can be easily explored on foot and has good public transport with a day pass for unlimited journeys. A visit to the Welsh capital acquaints one with the knowledge of Wales’ history and culture and an immaculate charm of the city.

Have you visited the Welsh capital city, Cardiff? How has been your experience? Do share with us in Comments.

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19 Comment

  1. Norman says: Reply

    That rooftop garden certainly looks special. could call it pure kitsch. heh! but still..you wouldn’t expect it ontop of a castle!

  2. This post on Cardiff is a great piece of writing with loads of information. Loved reading it!

  3. I can so relate to this post. Just last month I visited Cardiff. The Cardiff Castle was amazing wasnt it? Did you see the Arab Room? I loved it the most in the entire castle. I even visited the Doctor Who Museum/Adventure near the Pier and stole some time away at a pier pub to enjoy the scene. Had a great time enjoying the view from the Cardiff Eye as well.

  4. Even if it’s the “youngest capital city” in that region of the world, it certainly sounds like it’s not lacking in history! Touring that castle would be so interesting. I’m also fascinated by the design of the church–so tall and narrow.

  5. Cardiff city is really beautiful for the castle and the amazing architecture at Bay! Your pictures make it look so lovely. 🙂

  6. I’ve only been to London so far, but would love to explore UK a little more. A trip to Cardiff sounds great. The castle looks fabulous!

  7. The architecture and artisan work of the castle looks incredible! The rooftop garden sounds like a great place to relax for a while!

  8. Rachel says: Reply

    Cardiff looks like such a fun place to explore! I’ve only been to London in the UK but hoping to change that soon!

  9. Yenor says: Reply

    Wow never knew Cardiff was so beautiful. Castles are my favourite so I enjoyed having a read over this post. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I feel like going through the medieval period while browsing on your photos and reading your post. It’d be nice to be there one of these days. Truly helpful! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  11. Ehsan says: Reply

    Your pictures are awesome! Ive been to London so many times but have never been to Cardiff. Will be going to Europe next month. It is possible I may go there on this trip 😀

  12. Cardiff has amazing architectures and structures! Castle looks awesome would wish to see the castle in person.

  13. Luca says: Reply

    I really like the style of that Pierhead Building! I guess it was what shone the most on that day, due to the (un)famous UK weather!
    I guess I’d like Cardiff, but I guiltily miss a lot of cities in the UK.

  14. Brian says: Reply

    I didn’t know that Wales was Europe’s youngest capital. Those castle pics look impressive. Wales is the only part of Great Britain I have not yet seen.

  15. Arunas says: Reply

    This is an interesting and well-illustrated read. I have visited London and Edinburgh, but I was never in Cardiff. Beautiful city!

  16. The castles are very majestic there! I’ve never been to the UK before. It seems very cold, and I’m not really a fan of the cold. I would love to visit one day, but this is still over my budget. So, thank you for posting and sharing your experience 🙂

  17. Lucine says: Reply

    I never know that cardiff is Europe’s youngest capital. It seems like a great city. I would love to go for a daytrip there

  18. Livia says: Reply

    I love those interiors in House Tour. They are just gorgeous with all those colours. I’ve never been here, I wouldn’t mind a visit one day.

  19. Exploring Cardiff looks like a great experience! Thank you for the information. My family would love exploring the castle!

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