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Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff Reviews

joseph98 joseph98
129 reviews
Wales' vibrant, beautiful capital Aug 31, 2014
Cardiff! I figured it was about time I boasted of the charms of the capital city of my homeland, which I grew up a mere 20 miles away from and visited often. This naturally makes me biased, so forgive me if I'm not as objective as I usually strive to be, but you don't have to be a nostalgic Welshman to appreciate the charms of this friendly, lively and very accessible city.

Small in comparison to the bigger cities in neighbouring England - which makes it easy to explore on foot - Cardiff nonetheless has at least as much to see and do as them.

The towering citadel that is Cardiff Castle sits majestically at the centre. A shame, then, that the photos I've included here see it surrounded by the massive security fence that was put up for the NATO summit of 4-5 September, but it couldn't fail to impress all the same. It may not have quite the heritage of the Middle Age castles scattered throughout Wales, but its Norman keep is a powerful sight, and the neo-Gothic architecture of the surrounding main castle walls are no less impressive. The interior decor of the castle apartments - from the mirrored bedroom ceiling to the ridiculously ostentatious fireplace - are also very much worth seeing.

The Millenium Stadium, Cardiff's other visually arresting landmark, is perched on the banks of the River Taff, which ebbs in a serene circuit around the city centre. The redevelopment of the centre several years ago has given it a real facelift, with pleasant green spaces dotted between the slick new shopping malls, trendy bars and restaurants, and wide range of accommodation. Just north of the centre is the National Museum of Wales, a place for culture vultures and natural history enthusiasts to get their fix, although it is a bit on the small side and certainly not as impressive as the truly international-standard museums of the world.

No matter, for the real jewel in the crown, what makes Cardiff a must-see, is Cardiff Bay. A scruffy, sorry-looking place when I was growing up, the significant investment and completion of the Cardiff Barrage (which created an inland lake between the harbour of Cardiff and the nearby coastal town of Penarth) has been transformed in to a beautiful waterfront. Attractive, distinctive buildings nudge the skyline, while the clear water of the harbour (which you can take excursion boats on) stretches across the bay and out to sea. To complement the views the Mermaid Quay complex of bars and restaurants is the perfect place to get a (slightly pricey) meal or drink, whereas attractions such as Techniquest and the Doctor Who Experience being perfect for the young and young at heart.

All this and an even more fairytale castle (Castell Coch, which makes Cardiff Castle look positively conservative in its design and furnishings) plus the fantastically evocative St Fagan's open-air museum both a mere few miles outside of the city, makes Cardiff a wonderful destination for any visitor to the UK.
N.B. NATO security fence. Should h…
10 / 10 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
joseph98 says:
Glad you agree :-)
Posted on: Aug 31, 2014
northlight says:
I've visited Cardiff many times and like it very much :)
Posted on: Aug 31, 2014
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