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Cardiff tourist information & travel guide

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Cardiff tourist guide

It would be a shame to visit South Wales and not take a trip into Cardiff, the capital city, main commercial centre of Wales and home to so many Welsh sporting and cultural institutions. Truly a European city, it is also home to the National Assembly of Wales, located on the new waterfront area of the city. Also worth noting is that while it is the capital of Wales, it is also the county town of Glamorgan county - a great achievement for a town that was only made a city in 1905 and the country's capital as recently as 1955.

There are several famous international sporting venues in Cardiff, the most notable being the Millennium Stadium (home of Welsh football and rugby union), the Cardiff City Stadium (sports and concert events) and the SWALEC Stadium (cricket). For a small admission charge, you can soak up the wonderful atmosphere of these great venues for yourself.

For those who can't manage without their retail therapy, it is worth noting that Cardiff is the sixth best city in the United Kingdom for shopping, competing and even surpassing cities such as Leeds, Edinburgh and Newcastle upon Tyne. The St David's Centre is acknowledged as one of the largest shopping centres in the UK. Together with modern retail space, home to famous national high street names as well as many independent clothing, craft, food, art and specialty shops. And Cardiff's famous market is always worth a visit, especially if you are self-catering and want some really fine, fresh produce to make a meal from. There are two main shopping streets, Queen Street and St. Mary Street, and three main shopping arcades, St. David's Centre (already mentioned), Queens Arcade and the Capitol Centre.

Aside from the impressive sports stadia, there are many other landmark buildings in the city worthy of a souvenir photograph. The Grade 1 listed Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay remains one of the city's most familiar landmarks and is a building of the National Assembly for Wales. Interestingly, the tower clock is unofficially known as the "Baby Big Ben" and is also a Welsh history museum.

The St David's National Concert Hall and Conference Centre of Wales hosts numerous events throughout the year, including the annual Welsh Proms as well as all music genres and light entertainment from world famous to the quirky. You'll often find exhibitions by local artists on display.

The medieval castle and Victorian architecture Gothic revival mansion Cardiff Castle is one of the city's major tourist attractions and well worth a visit, situated in the heart of the city near the main shopping area. Perfect for families when dad has had enough retail therapy and wants to escape! Other attractions in the city include the open-air National History Museum at St Fagans and the National Museum and Gallery of Wales. The Cardiff Bay regeneration sites are other areas popular with visitors and residents alike, and include the famous Coal Exchange, Cardiff Bay Barrage and New Theatre.

If you want to have a very quick overview of this fascinating city, there are numerous organised or trail walks to follow, the most popular of which is the 2.3 mile (3.7km) Centenary Walk that takes in many of the city's historic and landmark buildings. Don't forget your camera!

Finally, Cardiff's musical heritage is worthy of a mention. The Welsh are world famous for being naturally musical, and the city is home to both the Welsh National Opera and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The city has world acclaim for producing some great international music acts, including Dame Shirley Bassey, Charlotte Church, Shakin' Stevens, Manic Street Preachers, Catatonia, Budgie and The Oppressed, to name but a few.

And when it comes to evening time, there are many restaurants, pubs, bars and clubs to choose from. There are several areas in the city that have built up a reputation for a great night out, including The Brewery Quarter, Cardiff Bay, Charles Street and St Mary's Street, offering good food, recreation and entertainment for all tastes.

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