The Romans invaded Britain in AD43 and the capital takes its name from the Roman general Aulus Didius, Caer Didi (Fort of Didius). On the outskirts west of Cardiff are St. Fagans National History Museum and Llandaff Cathedral. The city centre boasts numerous tourist attractions, including the Castle, National Museum and Gallery and the Principality Stadium.
In the 20th Century Cardiff became the biggest coal exporting port in the world. At its peak in 1913 more than 13 Million tons left here. In 1955 it was proclaimed the capital of Wales.
West of Cardiff don't miss!
St Fagans National History Museum
Take a walk around Welsh history at one of the most highly acclaimed visitor attractions in Wales. More of a village chronicling the story of Wales than a museum where over forty buildings from across Wales have been rebuilt to create a fascinating record of Welsh daily life throughout history. The stunning castle is an Elizabethan Manor with its exquisitely restored gardens gives a taste of how the other half lived. The latest restored building is a rare example of a medieval church. Currently being added to the exhibits are a medieval prince's hall, an Iron Age farm and a pub from Cardiff's docklands. Free entry, charge for car park, open all year except Christmas and New Year
Three Celtic missionaries who sailed up the river Taff established Llandaff Cathedral the first religious community here 1400 years ago. The present Cathedral built in 19th C, was partly destroyed by a wartime air raid in 1941, now rebuilt the interior is dominated by Epstein's modernist controversial sculpture, Christ in Majesty.
In the city centre don't miss!
National Museum & Gallery of Wales
The museum houses the largest collection of impressionist paintings in Europe outside Paris, along with the best Welsh art, and world-class collections of everything from archaeology to zoology. Free entry, closed on Mondays
Featured in 'Britain's Best Buildings', the castle's history spans 2000 years dating from the arrival of the Romans in the 1st century. It was rebuilt after Norman Conquest when the 12th century Norman keep was added which affords magnificent views across the city. From 1865 the 3rd Marquis of Bute,reputedly the richest man in the world employed architect William Burgess to transform the castle lodgings.
Within Gothic towers he created lavish & opulent interiors rich with murals, stained glass, marble gilding and elaborate woodcarvings. Other points of interest are the regimental museums and the famous animal wall.
Bute Park, the grounds of Cardiff Castle
The 56 hectare park is a green haven in the heart of the city and has recently undergone a 5.6.million restoration project supported by a 3.1 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Grade 1 listed park is renowned for its historic designed landscape, scheduled ancient monument, arboretum and a wealth of archaeological and nature conservation interest.
The Summerhouse Kiosk echoing the design of the original William Burgess summerhouse in the park provides much needed refreshment and toilet facilities.
The iconic William Burgess Animal Wall was cleaned and restored.
The West Lodge of the Castle has been restored and is now home to Pettigrews, Cardiff's proudly independent Traditional Tea Rooms. Named in honour of Mr. Andrew Pettigrew, head gardener at the Castle from 1873-1903. The tea rooms serve fine teas & coffees, sandwiches, salads, fresh soups and a delicious selection of homemade cakes.
Other City Centre Attractions
City Sightseeing Hop on/ Hop Off Tours
Take in the sights of the City and the Bay from an open topped bus. The twelve stops include Cardiff Castle, the Millennium Stadium and the National Museum & Gallery in the city centre and Mermaid Quay and the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.
City Hall, Cathays Park
Completed in 1906 - centrepiece of a magnificent collection of Edwardian buildings built in Portland stone & set around a haven of formal gardens
Originally known as the Millennium Stadium and built to host 1999 Rugby World the stadium hosts the Home Games of the Welsh Rugby and Football Teams. It is also the venue of International Speedway and conferences and concerts. The guided tours include the Pitch, the Home Dressing Room, the Press Conference Suite and the Players' Tunnel.
The Cardiff Story
In this fun and interactive gallery sited in Cardiff's original library discover how Cardiff was transformed from the small market town of the 1300's to one of the world's biggest ports in the 1900's to the cool, cosmopolitan capital we know today.
See Wales Tours
Sightseeing day tours from Cardiff available every day of the year.
Pedal Power : Cycling Centre and Bike Hire
Enjoy the countryside in the middle of the city! Cycle hire service at Pontcanna Fields and Cardiff Bay
Discover Cardiff's Forgotten Past
Tales of fire and flood! Pirates and Paupers! Royals and Rogues! Martyrs and Mayhem!
An entertaining 90 minute city centre history walk .
Saturdays 10 am
The Cardiff Walking Tour
Explore Cardiff's heart, the historic castle quarter district, on the city's famous walking tour. Follow in the footsteps of Celtic Tribes, Roman Legions, Viking Raiders, Welsh Princes and Norman Invaders as you trace Cardiff's rise from medieval port and pirate base to centre of world trade and national capital.
Tours begin at Castle Welsh Crafts, opposite the castle and last just under 2 hours.
St. John's Church
First built as an independent chapel inside city walls in the 12th C until 1404 when rebuilt it became Cardiff's parish church. The handsome building with its 132ft tower built in 1473 and peal of ten bells is an eloquent reminder of its part in the history of the city.