Home to an astounding 364,000 of Wales’ 3,138,0000 population, capital city Cardiff has long been a cultural hotspot, attracting as many as 21.3 million visitors each year. These leading numbers mean that the city is now considered the most important visitor destination across the entirety of Wales. And, it’s hardly surprising. After all, this is a must-visit to anyone setting foot on Welsh soil for a host of reasons, not least because of an impressive city centre. With easy access over the Severn, there’s certainly plenty of incentive for UK visitors to take a trip. But, why exactly is Cardiff creating such a storm in the tourism stakes right now?
Visit Cardiff in Cymru (Wales)
1 – The best shopping in Wales
Let’s make no bones about it – the amazing shopping on offer has played a huge part in making the city what it is today. The Victorian offerings evident in the City of Arcades are especially popular, with the most notable ‘Royal Arcade’ having been built way back in 1858. As well as those astounding covered walkthroughs, visitors to Cardiff town centre can enjoy glass-roofed Cardiff Central Market, another Victorian icon that boasts local delicacies such as lava bread.
And, of course, the shopping delights don’t end there. There’s also some spectacular shopping on offer with many 21st century options. St David’s Centre is especially popular and offers all your favourite retailers right alongside the history inherent in this capital city.
2 – Cardiff Castle
As much as Cardiff’s shopping has seen it shoot to fame, city centre-based Cardiff Castle has also played its part. When they’re finished shopping, tourists can easily step into the history of Wales by walking through the iconic castle gates. Here, they’ll be faced with a 2,000-year-old hilltop fortification which remains the most visited tourist destination in Wales. It’s certainly one of the best-preserved castles on offer, with some areas dating as far back as the 10th century!
Unsurprisingly, there’s plenty to see here, including State Apartments, Banqueting Halls, and even defensive walls that doubled as air-raid shelters during the war. Visitors can opt for either guided tours or take the castle’s sights at a leisurely pace. Either way, booking ahead is advised, as this site alone boasts as many as 230,000 visitors each year!
3 – Principality Stadium
Wales and rugby are pretty synonymous, and never is that more the case than at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. Constructed using 56,000 tonnes of concrete and steel, this 73,931-seater arena, originally coined ‘the Millennium Stadium’, makes for a pretty imposing sight on the outskirts of the city centre.
Originally built to host the 1999 Rugby World Cup, Principality has certainly gained fame for a fair few spectacular rugby occasions in its twenty-two-year history, and that’s not even all this location is known for. When balls aren’t flying, Principality also hosts some big-name concerts including Elton John and Wales’ own Manic Street Preachers to name just a few. Visitors looking for a trip to remember could certainly do a lot worse than looking here.
4 – Cardiff Bay
Proudly holding the title of Europe’s largest waterfront development, Cardiff Bay is like a city all of its own. So much so, in fact, that hordes of visitors flock to this site alone each year. Hardly surprising considering it can take a full day of exploration to get around this enormous complex!
Occupying an astounding 2,700 acres of waterfront, the Bay covers the majority of what was once Cardiff’s dockyards. Cardiff Bay’s Sened is even home to the Welsh Government Offices, which goes to show just how iconic this location is. Guests can also enjoy fun for all the family, with Techniquest science centre, Roald Dahl Plass, and a whole lot more besides.
5 – Cardiff International White Water
As well as keeping shoppers and history buffs happy, Cardiff can thank International White Water for at least part of its fame. Located within aforementioned Cardiff Bay, these Olympic-grade rapids were first built for the 2012 Olympics.
Fantastic for families of all ages and experts alike, this 250-meter course is fully adjustable to suit a user’s needs. Even if rapids seem like too much of a wildcard, visitors can instead opt for canoeing, kayaking, or even surfing on an amazing indoor wave machine.
While Cardiff certainly has a lot more than these five things to thank for its fame, these top contenders have played a huge part in boosting tourism. Indeed, anyone paying a visit would be remiss not to include these Welsh hotspots on their wish-list.
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