City Guide: Cardiff

Known as the City of Arcades for its wide array of Victorian, Edwardian, and contemporary indoor shopping centres, Cardiff is a place unlike any other.

Known as the City of Arcades for its wide array of Victorian, Edwardian, and contemporary indoor shopping centres, Cardiff is a place unlike any other.

The Welsh capital boasts a fascinating and, at times, dark history.

But in recent years, Cardiff and its people have shown that the city’s future is very bright.

It is the home of Doctor Who, some iconic castles, beautiful parks and stunning architecture.

And during the 2023 Guinness Six Nations, thousands of fans will flock to the Principality Stadium.

Sandwiched between the city centre and the River Taff, the ground is one of the world’s most iconic sporting venues, but the city has so much more to offer.

The main attractions

Budding historians will love nothing more than taking a stroll through one of Cardiff’s many castles.

Of course, there is Cardiff Castle in the city centre, but the battle-hardened Caerphilly Castle and the more modern Castell Coch are also wonderful places to spend a day.

Science fiction fans can enjoy a Doctor Who walking tour, visiting filming locations like Llandaff Cathedral, Cathedral Green, Cardiff Museum and the Museum of Welsh Life at St. Fagans.

If you are only looking for a meal, Cardiff bay is a beautiful place to spend an evening eating and drinking with friends and family.

And if you want to stay focussed on sport, why not pop down to Cardiff City Stadium, home of EFL Championship side Cardiff City?

The food and drink

Rugby fans looking for a great meal are spoilt for choice in Cardiff.

The city has some fantastic restaurants and a selection of outstanding pubs and bars where you can soak up the atmosphere ahead of the match.

Steak lovers should head to Pasture Restaurant, conveniently located just an eight-minute walk from Principality Stadium.

It is home to some of the best beef in South Wales, offering a chic setting, charcoal-grilled meat and a bar with craft beers & cocktails.

Cardiff Market is a melting pot of different cuisines, but the exciting Indian street food vendor Tukka Tuk has got to be one of the highlights.

Tukka Tuk gives its customers big flavours at small prices, so get on down there on match day.

Duke Street Arcade is home to The New York Deli, an establishment that has built a reputation as one of the best sandwich shops in Wales.

It also has a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan hoagies, so pay it a visit if meat is not your thing.

Old Arcade is known as one of the best rugby pubs in Europe, providing fans with a wide selection of drinks and some mouth-watering Tex-Mex dining options.

It has a great atmosphere before and after kick-off, so win or lose, be sure to stop by.

City Arms is also near to the ground and has some incredible history, having originally opened in the 1880s.

The venue

The Principality Stadium is the second-largest stadium in the world with a fully retractable roof.

It was also only the second stadium in Europe to have this feature.

As a result, it is a cauldron of noise unlike any other in the world.

Famous for its pre-match rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of My Fathers), you can hear the voices of 73,931 passionate welsh men and women echo through the city centre when the ground is at its loudest.

Opened on the 26th June 1999, the Principality Stadium has hosted football, boxing, speedway, rugby league and music concerts.

But first and foremost, it is the home of Welsh rugby union, and there are few places in the world more synonymous with the sport.

How do I get there?

One of the best ways to get to the ground is by train.

Cardiff Central is the nearest station to the stadium, and it operates mainline services from West Wales, the Midlands, the South Coast and London, so you can get there from almost anywhere in the United Kingdom.

Cardiff Queen Street Station is a 15 minute walk to the east of the Stadium, offering local rail services across Cardiff and from the South Wales Valleys for those travelling a shorter distance to watch the rugby.

When arriving from Cardiff Central station, fans should stay left along Wood Street for Gates 5, 6 and 7,

For Gates 4, 3, and 2 bear right along Wood Street to Westgate Street and for Gate 1, keep walking around the stadium on Castle Street.

Fun facts

Cardiff used to employ someone to taste beer.

The office of ale taster disappeared in the mid-19th century, but there are definitely a few fans who would apply for the role if it were still available.

The last person to hold the office was a man named Edward Philpot.

There are also hidden tunnels underneath the city centre.

Useful for a quick and secretive getaway, the tunnels were built in the late 1970s by the then-British Post Office to carry cables.