Cardiff, Wales Vacation Ideas

Cardiff Wales Vacation Ideas #1: Cardiff, Wales is not only the capital of Wales but it has over one third of it’s population and it is the tourism center for the country.

If you are visiting Cardiff for the first time it’s a very good idea to start with a Sightseeing Bus Tour. These buses allow you to get off to check out a venue and then get back on the next bus to continue your sightseeing. Most of the buses are two tiered with the top deck open to view in all directions.

By touring the city this way you get to know the city and get a glimpse of several of the venues which will help in deciding what to visit on the remainder of your stay.

Most of the buses have a guide on board who can answer your questions as you ride. Be fair warned, however, Cardiff is a tourist Mecca. There are so many interesting things to see and do that you really would need a couple of weeks to see them all.

#2: Caerphilly Castle - Now that you have had your bus tour the first thing you probably want to see is a castle. Let’s start with Wales’ largest castle, the Caerphilly Castle which is located in the town of Caerphilly.

This little town is a suburb of Cardiff on its south side. She was built about 1270 which makes her both oldest and the largest.

This castle is considered to be an excellent example of medieval castle design for the reason of its large use of water for its defense and her large size allowed for a greater defensive manpower.

The castle was designed and built by Gilbert de Clare for the purpose of holding all of south Wales from those who were seeking to control the whole country.

He also designed and built the Castell Coch and others. Very few renovations and remodeling were made to the castle over these many years so it still stands as a superb excellent illustration of 13th century martial structural design.

Cardiff Wales Vacation Ideas #3: Fagans National History Museum - (aka St Fagans) is known as one of the leading open air museum in Europe and is conveniently located near St Fagans Castle on a large parcel of land. The museum is dedicated to recording and showing the history of the Welch including their culture, their buildings and the way they lived.

Reaching these goals has been quite successful as proven by the museum’s popularity as a highly popular attraction for tourists. The museum has as many as forty two structures that represent Welch architecture from different periods of history. Most of the buildings are moved from their locations and carefully reconstructed to represent their particular purpose.

The buildings include a Unitarian schoolhouse, a flour mill, and a couple of Watermills. They also have an Elizabethan Manor, a Celtic Village and a tollbooth from a toll road. You will also see several circular houses which are reconstructed from the actual building remains. The project of restoring St Teilo’s Church is particularly interesting as the original church was built in about 1100 and it took twenty years to move all the stones to its present location. 

#4: Cathays Park - You could say that Cathays Park (aka Cardiff Civic Centre) is the hub of Cardiff because just about everything related to the running of Cardiff is located in this park area. There are a plethora of buildings in the park with many different responsibilities and purposes. First, there is the Cardiff City Hall with all of the administrative systems that keep the city operating smoothly.

Secondly, Alexandra Gardens is located centrally and is a jeweler’s collection of beautiful beds of flowers of all kinds and all colors. Amidst these gardens is the Welsh National War Memorial which is a unique sculpture in Corinthian style. Also included in the park are Edwardian structures like the National Museum and Gallery of Wales as well as some of the buildings of the Cardiff University, and the Temple of Peace.

Remembering that Cardiff is the capital city of Wales, it is not unusual to find that the Cardiff Crown Court is located in the park plus the Welsh Assembly Government and the Cardiff Central Police Station. The park has something of interest to every visitor, so all in all, you really can’t go wrong by including Cathays Park in your plans for a Welsh vacation.  

Cardiff Vacation Ideas #5: Cardiff Bay - You really should investigate Cardiff Bay when you visit Wales on your vacation. This bay is formed by the Cardiff Barrage which is considered by many to be one of the most valuable regeneration efforts in the UK. In this case the barrage was a special dam which created a large freshwater lake around the disused docking area of the city.

Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle

This massive project was done in the 1990’s and it provided a beautiful lake with controlled water depth due to the absence of tidal effects. The construction of the barrage had many positive effects. From the point of view of a tourist it provided a beautiful bay with many interesting attractions to enjoy.

It opened up a safe, new walking and bicycle path over the barrage which connects Cardiff with Penarth and allowed a variety of boating as well. Several new buildings were built along the bay. Typical is the Wales Millennium Centre which has the facilities for performances of ballet, musicals, comedy or opera plus shops and restaurants. The new Cardiff Bay is a tourist’s dream so be sure to check it out.

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