Discover Cardiff

Today, a visit to the fairy-tale-like castle facilitates the perfect family-fun day out.

First-time visitors to the city are instantly intrigued and transfixed by the imposing and hard-to-miss, Cardiff Castle. Located in the heart of the city, surrounded by a commanding fort, the castle is a great starting point from which to discover the city’s long history. 

An amalgamation of Roman remains, a Norman keep and Victorian fantasy, the castle spruiks a heritage that dates back to AD 55—in fact, it was from the citadel that Cardiff was built. Today, a visit to the fairy-tale-like castle facilitates the perfect family-fun day out. Visitors can gain insight into 2000 years of history with guided curator tours, lecture series and seasonal events. 

If castles tickle your fantasy than a day-trip to Caerphilly is in order. Located just under 20 minutes’ drive north of Cardiff, the town boasts one of the greatest medieval castles of Western Europe, Caerphilly Castle. A 13th century revolutionary masterpiece of military planning, Caerphilly Castle strikes a commanding post, flanked by a massive moat in the centre of the town. Second only to Windsor Castle in size, Caerphilly Castle is one of Britain’s most impressive forts. 

Back in Cardiff, history also abounds in the city’s architecturally-rich Civic Centre, Cathays Park. Covering 60 acres with beautiful buildings and gardens, the park is touted to be "the finest civic centre in the British Isles".  Situated to the north of the castle, a range of magnificent late Victorian, Edwardian and twentieth century buildings  such as the Temple of Peace, City Hall, the National Museum and Gallery of Wales and Cardiff University sites  are dispersed amid beautiful green spaces. 

While areas like Cardiff Castle and Cathays Park proudly display the city’s rich heritage, contemporary Cardiff shines on the city’s ultramodern waterfront, Cardiff Bay. Formerly one of the world’s largest coal ports, Cardiff's Bay deteriorated into a wasteland of empty docklands following World War I. In 1987 the government completely redevelop the district, turning it into an architect's playground of important national institutions, interesting buildings, large open spaces and public art.

The centrepiece of Cardiff Bay's regeneration is the superb Millennium Centre. Opened in 2004, the Centre is Wales' premier arts complex, replete with major cultural organisations like the Welsh National Opera, National Dance Company, National Orchestra, Literature Wales, HiJinx Theatre and Ty Cerdd (Music Centre of Wales). 

Just west, the waterfront also hosts thriving commercial precinct, Mermaid Quay. Packed with bars, restaurants and shops and decked out in maritime-inspired architecture  comprising towers, balconies, terraces, colonnades and bridges  the Quay is an exciting hub of activity and energy.  

Plan Your Cardiff Crusade

  • Flights to Cardiff: Cardiff is located just over two and a half hours’ drive west of London. Together with partner airline Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia operates flights to London, via Abu Dhabi, from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.  
  • Cardiff Holiday Packages: Plan your holiday with expert help, Virgin Australia Holidays can tailor an exceptional Cardiff holiday package to suit your needs.  
  • Cardiff Hotels: Establish a great base from which to experience all that Cardiff has to offer. Select from a wide choice of hotels deals with our hotel partner Agoda.
  • Cardiff Car Hire: Take to the road and discover the South Wales’ many riches, with car hire deals from one of our partners. 
Words by Alice Nash - Published 21 April 2014
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