Cardiff ( , ) is the
capital, largest city and most
populous county of Wales.
city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for many national
cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and
the seat of the National
Assembly for Wales
. According to recent estimates, the
population of the unitary
is 324,800. Cardiff is a significant tourism
centre and the most popular visitor destination in Wales with
11.7 million visitors in 2006.
of Cardiff is the county town of the
historic county of
Glamorgan (and later South
Cardiff is part of the Eurocities
network of the largest European
cities. Cardiff Urban
Area covers a slightly larger area, including Dinas Powys, Penarth and Radyr.
small town until the early 19th century, its prominence as a
for the transport of coal following
the arrival of industry in the region contributed to its rise as a
Cardiff was made a city
in 1905, and
proclaimed capital of Wales
1955. Since the 1990s Cardiff has seen significant
development with a new waterfront area at Cardiff Bay which contains the new Welsh Assembly Building and the
Centre arts complex. The city
centre is undergoing a major redevelopment.
International sporting venues in the city
include the Millennium
Stadium (rugby union and
football) and SWALEC Stadium (cricket).
was awarded with the European City Of Sport in 2009 due to its role
in hosting major international sporting events.
Caerdydd (the Welsh name of the city), and its anglicised form Cardiff, derive from post-Roman Brythonic words meaning "the fort on the
fort refers to that established by the Romans. "Dydd" or "Diff" are both modifications of
"Taff", the river on which Cardiff Castle stands, with the T mutating to D in Welsh.
to Professor Hywel Wyn Owen, a leading modern authority on toponymy
, the Welsh pronunciation of "Caerdyff" as
"Caerdydd" shows the colloquial alternation
of Welsh "-f"
The antiquarian William Camden
(1551–1623) suggested that the name Cardiff may derive from the
name "Caer-Didi" ("the Fort of Didius"), given in honour of
Aulus Didius Gallus
, governor of
a nearby province at the time when the Roman fort was established.
some websites repeat this theory as fact, it is disputed by modern
scholars on linguistic grounds, with Professor Gwynedd Pierce of
University recently describing it as
Archaeological evidence from sites in and around
Cardiff—the St Lythans burial chamber, near Wenvoe (about four
miles (6.4 km) west, south west of Cardiff City Centre), the
burial chamber, near
St Nicholas (about six miles
(10 km) west of Cardiff City Centre), the Cae'rarfau Chambered Tomb, Creigiau (about six miles (10 km) north west
of Cardiff City Centre) and the Gwern y Cleppa Long Barrow, near
Coedkernew, Newport (about eight and a quarter miles (13.5 km)
north east of Cardiff City Centre)—shows that Neolithic people had settled in the area by at
least around 6,000 BP (Before
Present), about 1,500 years before either Stonehenge or The Egyptian Great Pyramid of Giza was completed. A group of five
Bronze Age tumuli is at the summit of The Garth ( ), within the county's northern boundary.
Iron Age hillfort and enclosure sites have been identified
within Cardiff's present-day county boundaries, including Caerau
Hillfort, an enclosed
area of .
Until the Roman conquest of
, Cardiff was part of the territory of an Iron Age
Celtic British tribe
called the Silures
. That territory
included the areas that would become known as Breconshire, Monmouthshire and Glamorgan. The Roman fort established by the River Taff in 75 CE was built
over an extensive settlement that had been established by the
Silures in the 50s CE. The fort was one of a series of military
outposts associated with Isca Augusta (Caerleon) that acted as border defences.
The fort may
have been abandoned in the early 2nd century as the area had been
subdued, however by this time a civilian settlement, or
, was established. It was
likely made up of traders who made a living from the fort,
ex-soldiers and their families. A Roman villa has
been discovered at Ely.
Contemporary with the Saxon Shore
of the 3rd and 4th centuries, a stone fortress was
established at Cardiff. Similar to the shore forts, the fortress
was built to protect Britannia
raiders. Coins from the reign of Gratian
indicate that Cardiff was inhabited until at least the 4th century;
the fort was abandoned towards the end of the 4th century, as the
last Roman legions left the province of Britannia with Magnus Maximus
Little is known about the fort and civilian settlement in the
period between the Roman departure from Britain and the Norman
Conquest. Historian William Rees suggests that the settlement
probably shrank in size and may even have been abandoned.
absence of Roman rule, Wales was divided into small kingdoms; early
on, Meurig ap Tewdrig emerged as
the local king in Glywysing (which later became Glamorgan).
passed through his family until the advent of the Normans in the
Norman occupation to the Middle Ages
View of Caerdiffe Castle (sic)
In 1081 William I of England
began work on the castle keep within the walls of the old Roman
fort. Cardiff Castle has been at the heart of the city ever
The castle was substantially altered and extended
during the Victorian period by John Crichton-Stuart,
3rd Marquess of Bute
, and the architect William Burges
. Original Roman
work can, however, still be distinguished in the wall
A small town grew up in the shadow of the castle, made up primarily
of settlers from England. Cardiff had a population of between 1,500
and 2,000 in the Middle Ages, a relatively normal size for a Welsh
town in this period. By the end of the 13th century, Cardiff was
the only town in Wales with a population exceeding 2,000, but it
was relatively small compared with most notable towns in the
Kingdom of England
In the early 12th century a wooden palisade was erected around the
city to protect it. Cardiff was a busy port in the Middle Ages, and
was declared a Staple port
Cardiff on his journey to Ireland and had a premonition against the
holding of Sunday markets at St Piran's Chapel, which stood in the
middle of the road between the castle entrance and Westgate.
In 1404 Owain Glyndwr
and took Cardiff Castle. As the town was still very small, most of
the buildings were made of wood and the town was destroyed.
However, the town was soon rebuilt and began to flourish once
County town of Glamorganshire
In 1536, the Act of
between England and Wales led to the creation of the
of Glamorgan, and Cardiff was made the
. It also became part of
this same time the Herbert family became the most powerful family
in the area. In 1538, Henry
closed the Dominican
friaries in Cardiff, the
remains of which were used as building materials. A writer around
this period described Cardiff: "The River Taff runs under the walls
of his honours castle and from the north part of the town to the
south part where there is a fair quay and a safe harbour for
Cardiff had become a Free Borough in 1542. In 1573, it was made a
head port for collection of customs duties, and in 1581, Elizabeth I
granted Cardiff its first
. Pembrokeshire historian George
Owen described Cardiff in 1602 as "the fayrest towne in Wales
yett not the welthiest.", and the town gained a second Royal Charter in 1608.
flooding led to a change in the course of the River Taff and the
ruining of St Mary's Parish Church, which was replaced by its
chapel of ease, St John the Baptist. During the Second English Civil War, St Fagans just to the west of the town, played host to the
Battle of St Fagans.
battle, between a Royalist
rebellion and a
New Model Army
detachment, was a
decisive victory for the Parliamentarians
and allowed Oliver Cromwell
conquer Wales. It is the last major battle to occur in Wales, with
about 200 (mostly Royalist) soldiers killed.
In the ensuing century Cardiff was at peace. In 1766, John Stuart, 1st Marquess of
married into the Herbert family and was later created
, and in 1778 he began
renovations on Cardiff Castle. In the 1790s a racecourse
and coffee house
all opened, and Cardiff gained a
service to London. Despite
these improvements, Cardiff's position in the Welsh urban hierarchy
had declined over the 18th
century. Iolo Morgannwg
called it "an obscure and inconsiderable place", and the 1801 census found the population to be only
1,870, making Cardiff only the twenty-fifth largest town in Wales,
well behind Merthyr and Swansea.
Building of the docks
In 1793, John
Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute
was born. He would spend
his life building the Cardiff docks and would later be called "the
creator of modern Cardiff". A twice-weekly boat service between Cardiff
and Bristol was established in 1815, and in 1821, the Cardiff
Gas Works was established.
After the Napoleonic Wars Cardiff entered a period of social and
industrial unrest, starting with the trial and hanging of Dic
Penderyn in 1831.
The town grew rapidly from the 1830s onwards, when the Marquess of Bute
built a dock
which eventually linked to the Taff Vale Railway
. Cardiff became the
main port for exports of coal from the Cynon, Rhondda, and Rhymney valleys,
and grew at a rate of nearly 80% per decade between 1840 and
Much of the growth was due to migration
from within and outside Wales: in
1841, a quarter of Cardiff's population were English-born and more
than 10% had been born in Ireland. By the 1881 census, Cardiff had
overtaken both Merthyr and Swansea to become the largest town in
Wales. Cardiff's new status as the premier town in South Wales was
confirmed when it was chosen as the site of the University College South Wales and
faced a challenge in the 1880s when David Davies of Llandinam and
the Barry Railway Company
promoted the development of rival docks at Barry.
Barry docks had the advantage of being
accessible in all tides
, and David Davies
claimed that his venture would cause "grass to grow in the streets
of Cardiff". From 1901 coal exports from Barry surpassed those from
Cardiff, but the administration of the coal trade remained centred
on Cardiff, in particular its Coal
, where the price of coal on the British market was
determined and the first million-pound deal was struck in 1907. The
city also strengthened its industrial base with the decision of the
owners of the Dowlais Ironworks
Merthyr (who would later form part of Guest, Keen
) to build a new steelworks
close to the docks at East Moors,
which was opened on 4 February 1891
by Lord Bute
City and capital city status
King Edward VII
Welsh National War Memorial, Cathays
granted Cardiff city
on 28 October 1905
, and the city acquired a Roman Catholic Cathedral
in 1916. In subsequent years an increasing number
of national institutions were located in the city, including the
Museum of Wales, Welsh
National War Memorial, and the University of Wales Registry
Building—however, it was denied the National
Library of Wales, partly because the library's founder, Sir John
Williams, considered Cardiff to have "a non-Welsh
After a brief post-war boom, Cardiff docks entered a prolonged
decline in the interwar period
1936, their trade was less than half its value in 1913, reflecting
the slump in demand for Welsh
. Bomb damage during the Cardiff Blitz in World
War II included the devastation of Llandaff
Cathedral, and in the immediate postwar years the city's link
with the Bute family came to an end.
The city was proclaimed capital
city of Wales on 20 December 1955
, by a written reply by the Home Secretary Gwilym Lloyd George
Caernarfon had also vied for this title.
therefore celebrated two important anniversaries
in 2005. The Encyclopedia of Wales
notes that the decision to recognise the city as the capital of
Wales "had more to do with the fact that it contained marginal
than any reasoned view of what functions a Welsh capital should
have". Although the city hosted the Commonwealth Games
in 1958, Cardiff only
became a centre of national administration with the establishment
of the Welsh Office
in 1964, which
later prompted the creation of various other public bodies such as
the Arts Council of Wales
the Welsh Development
, most of which were based in Cardiff.
The East Moors Steelworks closed in 1978 and Cardiff lost
population during the 1980s, consistent with a wider pattern of
Britain. However, it recovered and was one of the few
cities (outside London) where
population grew during the 1990s.
During this period the
was promoting the redevelopment
of south Cardiff; an evaluation
of the regeneration of Cardiff Bay published in 2004 concluded that
the project had "reinforced the competitive position of Cardiff"
and "contributed to a massive improvement in the quality of the
built environment", although it had failed "to attract the major
inward investors originally anticipated".
In the 1999 devolution referendum
, Cardiff voters rejected the
establishment of the National Assembly for Wales
55.4% to 44.2% on a 47% turnout, which Denis Balsom partly ascribed
to a general preference in Cardiff and some other parts of Wales
for a 'British'
exclusively 'Welsh' identity
. The relative lack of support for the
Assembly locally, and difficulties between the Welsh Office and
Cardiff Council in acquiring the original preferred venue, Cardiff City
Hall, encouraged other local authorities to bid to house
the Assembly. However, the Assembly eventually located at
Hywel in Cardiff Bay in 1999; in 2005, a new debating chamber on an adjacent site, designed by Richard Rogers, was opened.
was county town of Glamorgan until the council reorganisation in 1974 paired
Cardiff and the now Vale of Glamorgan together as the new county of South Glamorgan. Further local
government restructuring in 1996 resulted in Cardiff city's
district council becoming a
unitary authority, the City and County of Cardiff, with the
addition of Creigiau and Pentyrch.
Since local government
reorganisation in 1996
, Cardiff has been governed by The City and County Council of Cardiff
which is based at County Hall
in Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff Bay. Voters elect 75 councillors every
four years, with the next elections due to be held in 2012.Since
the 2004 local elections, no individual political party has held a
majority on Cardiff County Council. The Liberal Democrats
have 35 councillors, the
have 13, Plaid Cymru
have seven and three councillors sit
as Independents. The Leader of the Council, Cllr Rodney Berman
, is from the Liberal Democrats
. The Liberal Democrats
and Plaid Cymru have formed a partnership administration to run the
National Assembly for
Wales has been based in Cardiff Bay since its formation in 1999. The building, known
as the Senedd (which
translates into English as Legislature, Parliament or Senate) was
opened on 1 March 2006,
Queen. Many Welsh Assembly Government civil
servants are based in Cardiff's Cathays Park, with smaller numbers in a variety of other
locations in the city centre, Coryton, Llanishen, Tremorfa and Morganstown.
The Assembly Members
the Assembly Parliamentary Service and Ministerial support staff
are based in Cardiff Bay. Cardiff elects four constituency Assembly
Members (AMs) to the Assembly, with the individual constituencies
for the Assembly being the same as for the UK Parliament. All of
the city's residents have an extra vote for the South Wales Central
increases proportionality to the Assembly. The most recent Welsh
Assembly general election
on 3 May
The centre of Cardiff is relatively flat and is bounded by hills on
the outskirts to the east, north and west. Its geographic features
were influential in its development as the world's largest coal
port, most notably its proximity and easy access to the coal fields
of the south Wales valleys.
is built on reclaimed marshland on a bed of Triassic stones; this reclaimed marshland stretches
from Chepstow to the Ely Estuary, which is the natural boundary
of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.
Triassic landscapes of
this part of the world are usually shallow and low-lying which
accounts and explains the flatness of the centre of Cardiff. The
classic Triassic marl
used predominantly throughout Cardiff as building materials. Many
of these Triassic rocks have a purple complexion, especially the
found near Penarth. One of the
Triassic rocks used in Cardiff is "Radyr Stone", a freestone
which as it name suggests is
quarried in the Radyr district. Cardiff has also imported some materials for
buildings: Devonian sandstones (the
Old Red Sandstone) from the
Beacons has been used. Most famously, the
buildings of Cathays
Park, the civic centre in the centre of the city, are
built of Portland stone which was
imported from Dorset. A widely used building stone in Cardiff is
the yellow-grey Liassic limestone rock of the Vale of Glamorgan, including the very rare "Sutton Stone", a
conglomerate of lias limestone and carboniferous limestone.
is bordered to the west by the rural district of the Vale of
Glamorgan—also known as The Garden of Cardiff— to the east by
the city of Newport, to the north by the South Wales Valleys and to the south by the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel. The River Taff winds through the centre of the city and together
with the River
Ely flows into the freshwater lake of Cardiff Bay. A third river, the Rhymney flows through the east of the city entering
directly into the Severn Estuary.
is situated near the Glamorgan Heritage Coast,
stretching westward from Penarth and Barry—commuter towns of
Cardiff—with striped yellow-blue Jurassic limestone cliffs.
Glamorgan coast is the only part of the Celtic Sea that has exposed Jurassic
(blue lias) geology.
of coast, which has reefs, sandbanks and serrated cliffs, was a
; ships sailing up to
Cardiff during the industrial era often never made it as far as
Cardiff as many were wrecked around this hostile coastline during
west/south-westerly gales. Consequently, smuggling, deliberate
shipwrecking and attacks on ships were common.
Cardiff" consists of the following wards: Penylan, Plasnewydd,
Cathays, Adamsdown and Splott ward on
the north and east of the city centre, and Butetown, Grangetown, Riverside and
Canton to the
south and west.
The inner-city areas to the south of the
(known as the "Southern Arc")
are, with the exception of Cardiff Bay, some of the poorest
districts of Wales with low levels of economic activity. On the
other hand Gabalfa, Plasnewydd and Cathays north of the 'arc' have
very large student populations, and Pontcanna (situated north of
Riverside and alongside Canton) is a favourite for students and
young professionals. Penylan
, which lies to
the north east side of Roath Park, is an affluent area popular with
those with older children and the retired.
"Suburban Cardiff" can be broken down into three distinct areas.
west lie Ely, Caerau and Fairwater which contain some of the largest housing estates
in the United Kingdom.
With the exception of some of the
outlying privately built estates at Michaelston Super Ely and 1930s
developments near Waun-Gron Road, this is an economically
disadvantaged area with high numbers of unemployed households.
Cross is a more affluent western area of the city.
Radyr, Llandaff, Llandaff North,
Whitchurch & Tongwynlais, Rhiwbina, Heath, Llanishen, Thornhill, Lisvane and Cyncoed which lie in an
arc from the north west to the north east of the centre can be
considered the main middle class suburbs of the city.
particular, Cyncoed, Radyr and Lisvane
contain some of the most expensive housing in Wales.
to the east lie the wards of Pontprennau & Old St Mellons,
Rumney, Pentwyn, Llanrumney and Trowbridge.
The latter three are again largely of
public housing stock, although new private housing is being built
in Trowbridge in considerable number. Pontprennau is the newest 'suburb' of Cardiff, whilst Old St Mellons has a history going back to the Norman Conquest in the 11th
north west of the city lies a region that may be called "Rural
Cardiff" containing the villages of St. Fagans, Creigiau, Pentyrch, Tongwynlais and Gwaelod-y-garth. St. Fagans, home to the Museum of
Welsh Life, is protected from further
Since 2000, there has been a significant change of scale and
building height in Cardiff, with the development of the city
centre's first purpose-built high-rise apartments. Tall buildings
have been built in the city centre and Cardiff Bay, and more are
planned. A luxury hotel, Bayscape, has been granted
planning permission at the Cardiff
International Sports Village and it will be the tallest building in Wales upon
Cardiff lies within the north temperate
and has an essentially maritime climate
, characterised by mild
weather that is often cloudy, wet and windy. Summers tend to be
warm and sunny, with average maximum temperatures between and .
Winters tend to be fairly wet, but rainfall is rarely excessive and
the temperature usually stays above freezing. Spring and autumn
feel quite similar and the temperatures tend to stay above —also
the average annual daytime temperature. Rain is unpredictable at
any time of year, although the showers tend to be shorter in
The northern part of the county, being higher and inland—e.g.
The Garth ( ), about north west of Cardiff city centre,
(elevation )—tends to be cooler and wetter
than the city centre.
Cardiff's maximum and minimum monthly temperatures average (August)
and (January and February).
For Wales, the temperatures average (July) and (February).
Cardiff has 1518 hours of sunshine during an average year
(Wales 1388.7 hours). Cardiff is sunniest during July, with an
average 203.4 hours during the month (Wales 183.3 hours),
and least sunny during December with 44.6 hours (Wales
Cardiff experiences less rainfall than Wales as a whole.
Rain falls in Cardiff on 146 days during an average year, with
total annual rainfall of . Monthly rainfall pattern shows that from
September to January average monthly rainfall in Cardiff exceeded
each month, the wettest month being December with . Cardiff's
dryest months are from April to July, with average monthly rainfall
fairly consistent, at between and .
Rain falls in Wales on 165.5 days during an average year, with
total annual rainfall of . Monthly rainfall pattern shows that from
September to January average monthly rainfall in Wales exceeded
each month, the wettest month being December with Wales' dryest
months are from April to July, with average monthly rainfall fairly
consistent, at between and .
||Population of Cardiff
source: Vision of Britain except *,
which is estimated by the
Office for National Statistics,
and † which is estimated by National Statistics for Wales.
Historical populations are calculated
with the modern boundaries
Following a period of decline during the 1970s and 1980s, Cardiff's
population is growing. The local authority area had an estimated
population of more than 324,800 in 2008, compared to a 2001 Census
figure of 305,353.
Between mid-2007 and mid-2008, Cardiff was the fastest-growing
local authority in Wales with population growth rate of 1.2%.
to Census 2001 data, Cardiff was the 14th largest
settlement in the United Kingdom, and the 21st largest urban
area. The Cardiff Larger Urban Zone (a Eurostat definition including the Vale of
Glamorgan and a number of local authorities in the
Valleys) has 841,600 people, the 10th largest LUZ in the
Official estimates derived from the census regarding the city's
total population have been disputed. The city council has published
two articles that argue the 2001 census seriously under reports the
population of Cardiff and, in particular, the ethnic minority
population of some inner city areas.
Cardiff has a ethnically diverse population due to its past trading
connections, post-war immigration and the large numbers of foreign
students who attend university in the city. The ethnic make-up of
Cardiff's population at the time of the 2001 census was: 91.6%
white, 2% mixed race, 4% South Asian, 1.3% black, 1.2% other ethnic
groups. According to a report published in 2005, over 30,000 people
from an ethnic minority live in Cardiff, around 8.4% of the city's
total - many of these communities live in Butetown
, where ethnic minorities make up around a
third of the total population. This diversity, and especially that
of the city's long-established African and Arab communities, has
been celebrated in a number of cultural exhibitions and events,
along with a number of books which have been published on this
See also: Cardiff
Cardiff has a chequered linguistic history with Welsh
preponderant at different times.
Welsh was the majority language in Cardiff from the 13th century
until the city's explosive growth in the Victorian era
. As late as 1850, five of the
churches within the current
city boundaries conducted their services exclusively in the
, while only two
worshipped exclusively in English. By 1891, the percentage of Welsh speakers
had dropped to 27.9% and only Lisvane, Llanedeyrn and Creigiau remained as majority Welsh-speaking
The Welsh language became grouped around a
small cluster of chapels and churches, the most notable of which is
Tabernacl in the city centre, one of four UK churches chosen to
hold official services to commemorate the new millennium. Following
the establishment of the city's first Welsh School (Ysgol Gymraeg
Bryntaf) in the 1950s, Welsh has slowly regained some ground. Aided
by Welsh-medium education and migration from other parts of Wales,
the number of Welsh speakers in Cardiff rose by 14,451 between 1991
and 2001; Welsh is now spoken by 11% of Cardiffians. The highest
percentage of Welsh speakers is in Pentyrch, where 15.9% of the population speak the
In addition to English and Welsh, the diversity of Cardiff's
population (including foreign students) means that a large number
of languages are spoken within the city. One study has found that
Cardiff has speakers of at least 94 languages, with Somali
most commonly spoken foreign languages.
1922 Cardiff has included the suburban cathedral 'village' of
Llandaff, whose bishop is also Archbishop of Wales since 2002.
also a Roman
Catholic cathedral in the city.
Since 1916 Cardiff has been the
seat of a Catholic archbishop, but there appears to have been a
fall in the estimated Catholic population, with estimated numbers
in 2006 being around 25,000 less than in 1980. Likewise, the
population of the city also appears to
have fallen—there are two synagogues in Cardiff, one in Cyncoed and
one in Moira Terrace, as opposed to seven at the turn of the 20th
century. There are a significant number of nonconformist
chapels, an early-20th century
Greek Orthodox church and 11 mosques. In the 2001 census 66.9% of
Cardiff's population described itself as Christian, a percentage
point below the Welsh and UK averages.
In the 2001 census Cardiff's Muslim population stood at 3.7%, above
the UK average
above the Welsh average
. Cardiff has
one of the longest-established Muslim populations in the UK,
started by Yemeni sailors who settled in the city during the 19th
century. The first mosque in the UK (on the site of
what is now known as the Al-Manar Islamic Centre) opened in 1860 in the Cathays district of
Cardiff is now home to over 11,000 Muslims from
many different nationalities and backgrounds, nearly 52 per cent of
the Welsh Muslim population.
The former Cardiff Synagogue,
Cathedral Road—now an office block.
The oldest of the non-Christian communities in Wales is Judaism.
Jews were not permitted to live in Wales between the 1290 Edict of Expulsion
—given by Edward I of England
—and the seventeenth
century. A Welsh Jewish community was re-established in the
eighteenth century. There was once a fairly substantial Jewish
population in South Wales, most of which has
disappeared. The modern community is centered in the
The proportion of Cardiff residents declaring themselves to be
Hindu, Sikh and Jewish were all considerably higher than the Welsh
averages, but less than the UK figures. The city has been home to a
sizable Hindu community since Indian immigrants settled there
during the 1950s and 1960s. The first Hindu temple in the city was
opened in Grangetown on 6 April 1979 on the site of an abandoned
printing press (which itself was the former site of a
The 25th anniversary of the temple's founding
was celebrated in September 2007 with a parade of over 3000 people
through the city centre, including Hindus from across the United
Kingdom and members of Cardiff's other religious communities.
Today, there are over 2000 Hindus in Cardiff, worshiping at three
temples across the city.
In the 2001 census 18.8% of the city's population stated they had
no religion, while 8.6% did not state a religion.
As the capital city of Wales, Cardiff is the main engine of growth
in the Welsh economy. The economy of Cardiff and adjacent areas
makes up nearly 20% of Welsh GDP and 40% of the city’s workforce
are daily in-commuters from the surrounding south Wales area.
The new Cardiff John Lewis, the 2nd
biggest John Lewis in the U.K. and the 2nd largest department store
in the UK outside London.
Industry has played a major part in Cardiff's development for many
centuries. The main catalyst for its transformation
from a small town into a big city was the demand for coal required
in making iron and later steel, brought to the sea by packhorse from Merthyr Tydfil.
This was first achieved by the construction
of a long canal from Merthyr (510 feet above sea-level) to the Taff
Estuary at Cardiff. Eventually the Taff Vale Railway
replaced the canal
barges and massive marshalling yards sprang up as new docks were
developed in Cardiff - all prompted by the soaring worldwide demand
for coal from the South Wales valleys.
At its peak, Cardiff's port
area, known as
, became the busiest port in the
world and—for some time—the world's most important coal
port. In the years leading up to the First World War, more than 10 million tonnes of
coal was exported annually from Cardiff Docks.
In 1907, Cardiff's Coal Exchange
was the first host to a business
deal for a million pounds Sterling
After a period of decline, Cardiff's port has started to grow again
– over 3 million tonnes of cargo passed through the docks in
Cardiff is the principal finance and
business services centre in
Wales, and as such there is a strong representation of
finance and business services in the local economy.
sector, combined with the Public Administration, Education and
Health sectors, have accounted for around 75% of Cardiff's economic
growth since 1991. The city was recently placed seventh overall in
the top 50 European cities in the fDI 2008 Cities of the Future
list published by the fDi magazine
also ranked seventh in terms of attracting foreign investment.
Notable companies such as Legal
, The AA
, British Gas
, all operate large
national or regional headquarters and contact centres in the city,
some of them based in Cardiff's office towers such as Capital Tower
and Brunel House. Other
major employers include NHS Wales
National Assembly for
. On 1 March 2004
, Cardiff was granted Fairtrade City
Cardiff is the one of the most popular tourist destination cities
in the United Kingdom, with one survey recording just under 12
million visitors in 2006. One result of this is that one in five
employees in Cardiff are based in the distribution, hotels and
restaurants sector, highlighting the growing retail and tourism
industries in the city. There are a large number of hotels of
varying sizes and standards in the city, providing almost 9,000
available bed spaces.
Cardiff is home to the Welsh media and the UK's largest film, TV
and multimedia sector outside London with BBC
and ITV Wales
all having studios in the city. In particular, there is a large
independent TV production industry sector of over 600 companies,
employing around 6000 employees and with a turnover estimated at
£350 m. Just to the north west of the city, in Rhondda Cynon Taff
, the first completely
new film studios in the UK for 30 years are being built, named
. The studios are set to be the
biggest in the UK.
has several regeneration projects such the St David's 2 Centre and
surrounding areas of the city centre, and the $1.4 billion International Sports Village in Cardiff Bay which will play a part in London 2012 Olympics.
features the only Olympic-standard swimming pool in
Wales, the Cardiff International Pool, which opened on 12 January 2008.
According to the Welsh Rugby Union, the Millennium Stadium has
contributed GBP1 bn to the Welsh economy in the ten years since it
opened (1999), with around 85% of that amount staying in the
majority of Cardiff's shopping portfolio is in the city centre
around Queen Street and St. Mary's Street, with large suburban
retail parks located in Cardiff Bay, Culverhouse Cross, Leckwith, Newport Road and Pontprennau, together with markets in the city centre and
major £675 million regeneration programme for Cardiff's St. David's Centre
is underway which,
when completed in 2009, will provide a total of of shopping space,
making it one of the largest shopping centres in the United
is sixth best city in the United Kingdom for shopping, according to a poll in November 2009,
surpassing other major cities such as Bristol, Leeds, Edinburgh and Newcastle upon Tyne.
Landmarks and attractions
has many landmark buildings such as the Millennium
Stadium, Pierhead Building and the National Assembly for
Wales. However Cardiff is also famous for Cardiff
David's Hall, Llandaff
Cathedral, the Wales Millennium Centre.
Castle is a major tourist attraction in the city and is
situated in the heart of the city centre, near the main shopping
area of Queen Street and St. Mary's Street. The National
History Museum at St Fagans in Cardiff is a large open air museum housing
dozens of buildings from throughout Welsh history that have been
moved to the site in Cardiff.
Centre in Cathays
Park comprises a collection of Edwardian buildings such as the
Hall, National Museum and Gallery of
Wales, Cardiff Crown Court, and buildings forming part of Cardiff
University, together with more modern civic buildings.
These buildings surround a small green space containing the
Welsh National War
and a number of other smaller memorials.
major tourist attractions are the Cardiff Bay regeneration sites which include the recently
opened Wales Millennium Centre and the Senedd, and many
other cultural and sites of interest including the Cardiff Bay
Barrage and the famous Coal
Exchange. The New Theatre was founded in 1906 and completely refurbished in
Until the opening of the Wales Millennium Centre
in 2004, it was the premier venue in Wales for touring theatre and
dance companies. Other venues which are popular for concerts
and sporting events include Cardiff International Arena, St David's Hall and the Millennium Stadium.
Cardiff has over 1,000 listed buildings, ranging from the more
prominent buildings such as the castles, to smaller buildings,
houses and structures.
has walks of special interest for tourists and ramblers alike, such as the Centenary Walk, which runs for within
This route passes through many of Cardiff's
landmarks and historic buildings.
addition to Cardiff
Coch ( ) is located in Tongwynlais, in the north of the
The current castle is an elaborately decorated
designed by William Burges
for the Marquess
and built in the 1870s, as an occasional retreat. However, the
Victorian castle stands on the footings of a much older medieval
castle possibly built by Ifor Bach
regional baron with links to Cardiff Castle also. The exterior has
become a popular location for film and television productions. It
rarely fulfilled its intended role as a retreat for the Butes, who
seldom stayed there. For the Marquess, the pleasure had been in its
creation, a pleasure lost following Burges's death in 1881.
Situated on the narrowest part of the south Wales coastal plain,
Cardiff had a crucial strategic importance in the wars between the
Normans (who had occupied lowland Wales) and the Welsh who
maintained their hold on the uplands. As a result Cardiff claims to
have the largest concentration of castles
any city in the world. As well as Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch,
the remains of Twmpath Castle, the Llandaff Bishop's Palace and
Fagans Castle are still in existence, whilst the site of Treoda
(or Whitchurch Castle) has now been built over.
Culture and recreation
Music and performing arts
has many cultural sites varying from the historical Cardiff
Castle and out of town Castell Coch to the more modern Wales
Millennium Centre and Cardiff
Cardiff was a finalist in the European Capital of Culture
2008. In recent years Cardiff has grown in stature as a tourist
destination, with recent accolades including Cardiff being voted
the eighth favourite UK city by readers of the Guardian. The city
was also listed as one of the top 10 destinations in the UK on the
official British tourist boards website Visit Britain, and US
travel guide Frommers have listed Cardiff as one of 13 top
destinations worldwide for 2008.
number of concerts are held within the city, the larger ones being
performed in St David's
Hall, the Cardiff International Arena and occasionally the Millennium
Stadium. A number of festivals are also held in
Cardiff—the largest of these is the Cardiff Big Weekend Festival, which is
held annually in the city centre during the summer and plays host
to free musical performances (from artists such as Ash, Jimmy Cliff,
Cerys Matthews, the Fun Loving Criminals, Soul II Soul and The Magic Numbers), fairground rides and
cultural events such as a Children's Festival that takes place in
the grounds of Cardiff
The annual festival claims to be the UK's
largest free outdoor festival, attracting over 250,000 visitors in
Cardiff hosted the National
in 1883, 1899, 1938, 1960, 1978 and 2008. Cardiff is
unique in Wales in having two permanent stone circles
used by the Gorsedd of Bards
during Eisteddfodau. The original circle
stands in Gorsedd Gardens in front of the National Museum while its 1978 replacement
is situated in Bute
Since 1983, Cardiff has hosted the
BBC Cardiff Singer of
competition, a world renowned event on the opera
calendar which is held every two years. The city also hosts smaller
of performing arts venues are located within the city—the largest
and most prominent of these is the Wales
Millenium Centre, which hosts performances of opera, ballet,
dance, comedy and musicals, and (as of autumn 2008) is home to the
BBC National Orchestra
of Wales. St David's Hall (which hosts the Singer of the World competition)
has regular performances of classical music and ballet as well as
music of other genres. The largest of Cardiff's theatres is the
Theatre, situated in the city centre just off Queen
Other such venues include the Sherman Theatre
, Chapter Arts Centre
and the The Gate Arts Centre
The Cardiff music scene is established and wide-ranging—it is home
to the BBC National
Orchestra of Wales
, has produced several leading acts itself and,
as a capital city, has acted as a springboard for numerous Welsh
bands to go and become famous both nationally and internationally.
Acts who hail from Cardiff include Charlotte Church
, Shirley Bassey
, Kids In Glass
, Los Campesinos
, The Hot Puppies
, Pagan Wanderer Lu
, and Shakin'
. Also, performers such as The
, Manic Street
, Super Furry Animals
and Bullet for My Valentine
with the city and are associated with the Cardiff music
Cardiff has a strong nightlife and is home to many bars, pubs and
clubs. An extensive venue and events list can be found at What's on in Cardiff
guide. Most clubs and bars are situated in the city centre,
especially St. Mary's Street, and more recently Cardiff Bay has
built up a strong night scene, with many modern bars &
restaurants. The Brewery Quarter on St. Mary's Street is a recently
developed venue for bars and restaurant with a central courtyard.
Charles Street is also a popular part of the city.
Cardiff is known for its extensive parkland, with parks and other
such green spaces covering around 10% of the city's total area.
main park, Bute
Park (which was formerly the castle grounds) extends
northwards from the top of one of Cardiff's main shopping street
(Queen Street); when combined with the adjacent Llandaff Fields and
Pontcanna Fields to the north west it produces a massive open space
skirting the River
Taff. Other popular parks include Roath Park in the north, donated to the city by the
of Bute in 1887 and which includes a very popular boating lake;
Park, Cardiff's first official park; and Thompson's
Park, formerly home to an aviary removed in
Wild open spaces include Howardian Local
, of the lower Rhymney valley in Penylan noted
for its Orchids, and Forest Farm Country Park
, over along the river
Taff in Whitchurch.
is one of the top ten retail destinations in the UK, with two main
shopping streets (Queen Street and St. Mary Street), and three main
shopping arcades; St. David's
Arcade and the Capitol Centre.
The current expansion of St. David's Centre
as part of the St. David's 2 project will see it become one of the
largest shopping centres in the United Kingdom. As well as the
modern shopping arcades, the city is also home to many Victorian
shopping centres, such as High Street Arcade, Castle Arcade,
Wyndham Arcade, Royal Arcade and Morgan Arcade. Also of note is
, home to Spillers Records
, the world's oldest record
shop. Cardiff has a number of markets, including
the vast Victorian indoor Cardiff Central Market and the newly-established Riverside Community
Market, which specialises in locally-produced organic
Several out-of-town retail parks exist, such as
Newport Road, Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff Gate and Cardiff
Cardiff is the Welsh base for the national television broadcasters
, ITV1 Wales
) along with Capital TV
locally-based free-to-air television station serving the city on a
The main local newspaper, the South
and the national paper the Western Mail
are based in Park Street
in the city centre. Capital Times
, Cardiff Post
and the South Wales edition of Metro
are also based and
distributed in the city. There are also a number of magazines based
in the city including Buzz magazine
and a monthly Welsh
language paper called Y Dinesydd
A number of other radio stations serve the city and are based in
Cardiff, including Red Dragon FM
, BBC Radio Wales
, BBC Radio Cymru
, Radio Cardiff
from Cardiff on 29 November 2007, making the South Wales region its
fourth dedicated area. Transmissions have now been replaced by
which is based in
Google Street View
available in Cardiff city centre and some surrounding locations.
The introduction of this was controversial at the time, but an
online poll has since voted the Millennium Stadium to be one of six
locations in the UK to be specially photographed and made available
on Google Street View as a 360-degree virtual tour. This new media
has been quickly adopted by local companies to be incorporated in
their websites. CPS Homes ( property agent in Cardiff
) became the first
Cardiff letting agents to use Google Street View to showcase houses
Use in media
along with London, is one of
the most-visited locations in the new series of Doctor Who, due to the programme being
produced by BBC Wales there.
exclusively in Wales, with all but one
being mainly set in Cardiff. In both programmes, a
"time rift" transects the city, with
specific focus on Roald Dahl Plass and the Wales Millennium Centre.
" and "Utopia
rift's recent activity is used to fuel the TARDIS, while in
, the eponymous
is based under the paving. Parts of "Gavin and Stacey
", "The Worst Witch
", "Tracy Beaker
", and other popular television
series are also filmed within Cardiff.
Cardiff was referenced by Tom
in the Tim Burton
, and was the
setting for several scenes in the film Frankenstein Meets the Wolf
. It is the setting for the 1999 film "Human Traffic
". Cardiff is also the
birthplace of Dalek creator Terry
Nation and popular children's author Roald Dahl, for whom the Roald Dahl
Plass outside the Wales Millennium Centre is
Inside the Millennium Stadium
Cardiff plays host to many high-profile sporting events at local,
national and international level and in recognition of the city's
commitment to sport for all Cardiff has been awarded the title of
European City of Sport 2009. Organised sports have been held in the
city since the early 19th century.
Arms Park ( ), in central Cardiff, is among the world's most
famous venues—being the scene of three Welsh Grand Slams in the 1970s (1971, 1976 and 1978) and six Five Nations titles in nine
years—and was the venue for Wales' games in the 1991 Rugby World Cup.
Park has a sporting history dating back to at least the 1850s, when
Cardiff Cricket Club (formed 1819) relocated to the site. The
ground was donated to Cardiff CC in 1867 by the Marquess of Bute
Cardiff Cricket Club shared the ground with Cardiff Rugby Football
Club (founded 1876)—forming Cardiff Athletic Club
them—until 1966, when the cricket section moved to Sophia Gardens.
Cardiff Athletic Club and the Welsh
established two stadia on the site—Cardiff RFC
played at their stadium at the northern end of the site, and the
Wales national rugby
played international matches at the National
Stadium, Cardiff Arms Park, which opened in 1970. The National Stadium
was replaced by the 74,500 capacity Millennium Stadium ( ) in 1999—in time for the 1999 Rugby World Cup—and is home
stadium to the Wales
national rugby and football teams for
international matches. In addition to Wales' Six Nations Championship and other
international games, the Millennium Stadium held four matches in
the 2007 Rugby World Cup and
six FA Cup finals (from the 2001–02 to 2005–06 seasons) while Wembley
Stadium was being rebuilt.
The Cardiff Blues
( )—one of Wales'
four professional, regional, rugby union teams—compete in the
the Celtic League, this league includes teams from the Celtic nations
of Ireland, Scotland and
Wales), the European Heineken Cup
the Anglo-Welsh EDF Energy Cup
they won in the 2008–09
. The region played their home games at
Arms Park from their formation in 2003 until the end of the
2008–09 season, although some of their bigger games have been
played at the Millennium Stadium. Cardiff Blues' new
home is the Cardiff City Stadium, which they share with Cardiff City F.C.
Cardiff's rugby union club sides play in the Welsh Premier Division: Cardiff RFC, founded in 1876, will continue to
play their games at their Cardiff Arms Park stadium; and Glamorgan Wanderers RFC (founded
1893) play in the western Cardiff
suburb of Ely.
Other Cardiff based rugby union teams include UWIC RFC
, (who play in WRU Division One East
) and the
WRU Division Three South
teams of Llandaff North
, Llanishen RFC
and St. Peters RFC
. Cardiff's rugby league team, the Cardiff Demons, play at St. Albans RFC's
ground in Tremorfa, in the Rugby League Conference
Welsh Premier league.
Cardiff City F.C. (founded 1899 as
Riverside FC) played their home games at Ninian Park from 1910 until the end of the 2008–09
season. The Bluebirds' (as Cardiff City are known)
new home is the Cardiff City Stadium, which they share with Cardiff Blues.
Cardiff City have played in the English Football League
since the 1920–21
season, climbing to Division 1 after one season. Cardiff City are the
only non-English team to have won the The
Football Association Challenge Cup, beating Arsenal in the 1927 final at Wembley
The Bluebirds were runners up to Portsmouth
in the 2008 final
, losing 1–0 at the new Wembley
Stadium. Cardiff City currently play in the Football League Championship
the highest division of The Football
and second-highest division overall in the English football league
, after the Premier League
Cardiff has numerous smaller clubs including Grange Harlequins A.F.C.
, UWIC Inter Cardiff F.C.
, Cardiff Corinthians F.C.
Ely Rangers A.F.C.
who all play
in the Welsh football
Glamorgan County Cricket Club
competed as a first class county since 1921. Their headquarters
and ground is the SWALEC
Stadium, Sophia Gardens,
since moving from Cardiff Arms Park in 1966.
Gardens stadium underwent a multi-million pound improvement since
being selected to host the first ‘England’
v Australia Test Match
of the 2009 Ashes
Cardiff has a long association with boxing, from 'Peerless' Jim Driscoll
—born in Cardiff in
1880—to more recent, high profile fights staged in the city.
include the WBC Lennox Lewis vs. Frank
Bruno heavyweight championship fight
at the Arms Park in 1993, and many of Joe
Calzaghe's fights, between 2003 and 2007, including his
victories over Mikkel
Kessler—in the super
middleweight reunification bout at the Millennium Stadium,
Calzaghe retaining his WBO
title and winning the WBA
and WBC world titles from
Kessler—and over Juan Carlos Giménez
Ferreyra—retaining his WBO title at Cardiff Castle.
International Sports Village
were hosted by Cardiff. The Games involved
1,130 athletes from 35 national teams competing in 94 events. One
of the venues for those Games—The Wales Empire Swimming Pool—was
demolished in 1998 to make way for the the Millennium Stadium.
International Pool in Cardiff Bay, opened to the public on 12 January 2008—part of
the GBP1bn International Sports Village
—is the only Olympic-standard swimming pool in
Wales. When complete, the ISV complex will provide
Olympic standard facilities for sports including boxing and fencing, gymnastics, judo, white water events (including canoeing and kayaking) and wrestling as well as a snow
dome with real snow for skiing and
snowboarding, an Arena for public ice skating
and ice hockey and an hotel.
Cardiff's professional ice hockey team, the
Cardiff Devils, play in the temporary
Arena in the ISV.
Some of the sports facilities at
the ISV will be used as training venues for the London 2012 Olympics
The Millennium Stadium also hosts motorsport events such as the
World Rally Championship
as part of Wales Rally
. The first ever indoor special stages of the World
Rally Championship were held at the Millennium Stadium in September
2005 and have been an annual event until 2008. Speedway
was staged at Cardiff's White
City Greyhound Stadium from 1928 until World War II. The sport
returned to the city in 1951, at a purpose built stadium in Penarth
Road but the track closed mid season 1953. The team, known as the
, raced in the
National League Division Three in 1951 and 1952 and in the Southern
League in 1953. Speedway returned to the city in 2001, when the
, one of the World Championship events, moved in to
the Millenium Stadium. While the track—a temporary, purpose built,
shale oval—is not universally loved, the venue is considered the
best of the World Championship's 11 rounds.
Cardiff International Sports
Stadium, opened 19 January 2009, replacing the Cardiff
Athletics Stadium—demolished to make way for the Cardiff City
Stadium—is a 4953 capacity, multi sport/special event venue,
offering fully certificated international track and field athletics
facilities, including an international standard external throws
The stadium houses the Headquarters of Welsh Athletics
, the sport's governing body
for Wales. The city's indoor track and field athletics sports venue
is the National Indoor
, an international athletics and multi sports
centre at the University of Wales
Cardiff is host to two Yacht Clubs:
- Cardiff Yacht Club (CYC) (founded 1900) has a clubhouse in
Butetown, Cardiff Bay, complete with
moorings, a pontoon system and a slipway for launching dinghies.
CYC organise events, including yachting,
dinghy sailing, dragon boat race, fishing and angling competitions, in the freshwater Cardiff Bay,
in the Severn and on the 'high
recognised training is provided through a number of
Training establishments around the city, with the notable ones
- Llanishen Sailing
Centre, a local authority run facility which has been providing
RYA training in Cardiff for almost 30 years
Centre ( ) includes a cycle
track and indoor swimming pool facility in Maindy.
The cycle track was another of the venues
used in the 1958 British Empire
and Commonwealth Games
and the swimming pool opened in
is the one of the centres of British
Baseball and hosts the annual Wales vs England international
game every other year, usually at Roath Park, although the 2008 game—marking the centenary
of the fixture between the two countries—was held in Llanrumney.
Wales won the encounter again, having
not lost to England, home or away, since 1995.
The Cardiff Celts
(formed 1964) compete in the English Basketball League
Division 1. The Celts play their home games at the Welsh Institute
The Welsh Institute of
( ) was established in 1972 to provide facilities to help
develop excellence in Welsh sport. The institute has indoor sports
halls, next to Glamorgan CCC's SWALEC Stadium in Sophia Gardens.
Sports activities in the Main Hall include gymnastics, table tennis
, fencing, dance
and boxing. The site also contains squash courts
and weight training
rooms. Outdoors, the
Institute has an international standard permeable artificial pitch,
which is one of the home international venues for Welsh hockey
. The pitch is also used for lacrosse
and football. Their outdoor tennis
courts are also used for netball
and five-a-side football
. Welsh national
teams that train at the Welsh Institute of Sport include the Welsh
National Rugby team (on the Institute's full-size, floodlit rugby
pitch), Welsh National Badminton team, the Womans Welsh National
Netball Team and the Welsh National Gymnastic Team.
Gôl is Wales' first purpose built 5 a side football centre.
Canton, there are ten floodlit outdoor 5-a-side courts
and one 7-a-side pitch, all using artificial 'Soccer turf'—designed
to play and feel like grass.
& Snowboard Centre Cardiff, Fairwater—managed by the Ski Council of Wales—consists of
a floodlit dry ski slope, with
an overhead poma ski
lift and lubrication roller, to ensure good skiing and
snowboarding conditions—even in dry weather.
was a major horse racing
venue in Ely, Cardiff, pulling in
crowds of 40,000 or more for events such as the Welsh Grand National
—first held at Ely in
1895. Ely Racecourse closed on 27 April 1939, the last race being
won by Keith Piggott (father of Lester
) on Dunbarney.
The Millennium Stadium has been selected as one of the football
venues for the London 2012
, according to Chairman of the Organising
, Lord Coe
Many notable people have hailed from Cardiff, ranging from
historical figures such as the 12th century Welsh leader Ifor Bach
and the 17th century pirate Henry Morgan
to more recent figures such as
, Griff Rhys Jones
the former Blue Peter presenter Gethin
. In particular, the city has been home to many sports
stars such as Tanni
and Colin Jackson
well as many Premier League
, Football League
footballers, such as Gareth Bale
), Craig Bellamy
), Ryan Giggs
), Terry Yorath
), and the current manager
of the Wales national
football team John Toshack
Cardiff is also well-known for its musicians such as Ivor Novello
, after whom the Ivor Novello Awards
are named. Shirley Bassey
is familiar to many as the
singer of three James Bond
tunes, whilst Charlotte Church
famous as a crossover classical/pop singer, and Shakin' Stevens
was one of the top selling
male artists in the UK during the 1980s. A number of Cardiff-based
bands, such as Catatonia
Super Furry Animals
during the 1990s.
Cardiff is the major transport hub in Wales and is the focus for
many arterial road and rail routes that connect the city with the
rest of Wales, and with England.
M4 is the principal motorway in the
region that connects Cardiff with Bridgend, Swansea and Carmarthen to the west, and Newport, Bristol, Swindon, Reading and London to the east.
Cardiff is served by junctions
30 to 33 inclusive of the M4, plus junction 29a leading onto the
. The A470
is another major road within the city that
provides an important link with the Heads of
the Valleys road
, Mid and North Wales. The A4232
(also known as the Peripheral Distributor
Road or PDR) when completed, will form part of the Cardiff
ring-road system along with the M4 motorway between junctions 30
and 33. There are several road and rail bridges
that cross the River
Taff in Cardiff.
These include the Clarence Road
Bridge, a comparatively modern bridge which replaced a swing
bridge. The original bridge was named after the Duke of
As with many other cities car traffic has caused congestion
problems and as such the council has designated bus lanes to
improve transport into and out of the city centre. The council has
also revealed plans to introduce congestion
, as in London, but only once there has been
significant investment in the city's public transport
Much of Cardiff's central shopping zone is pedestrianised, and
further pedestrianisation is planned as part of the current St
David's 2 regeneration scheme. As part of these plans, St Mary
Street has been closed to private vehicles since 2007 with only
buses and taxis permitted to use it, with a possible view to fully
pedestrianise the road. This has proven controversial with many
traders calling for it to be re-opened, but popular with shoppers.
A final decision regarding St Mary Street is due in November 2008,
together with the publication of a strategy for the city's public
Central railway station is the largest railway station in Wales with seven
platforms, and one of the busiest in the UK. It provides direct
services to nearby Bridgend and Newport, and other major cities such as Bristol, Birmingham, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Southampton, Portsmouth, Newcastle upon Tyne, Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as serving as an interchange for services
from South West Wales. There is also a regular shuttle service to
Holyhead (for ferries to Ireland) and Wrexham in North
Queen Street railway station is the second busiest in Wales and is the hub for
routes via the Valley Lines services
that connect the South Wales valleys and the Cardiff suburbs with
the city centre.
It is located at the eastern end of the
city centre, and also provides services to Cardiff Bay.
Cardiff has a suburban rail system
known as Valley Lines
, which is
operated by Arriva Trains Wales
are eight lines which serve 20 stations in the city, 26 in the
wider urban area (including Taffs Well, Penarth and Dinas
Powys) and more than 60 in the South Wales valleys and
the Vale of
is currently proposing
adding an extra two platforms to both Cardiff Central and Cardiff
Queen Street station, and installing a light
system in the
has a comprehensive bus network, with municipal bus company Cardiff Bus providing the vast majority of
routes in the city and to Newport, Penarth, Barry, Cardiff
International Airport and Llantwit Major. Veolia
and Stagecoach in South
also provide services in the city. Cardiff Bus has
introduced "bendy buses"
on the 17
and 18 routes to Canton, Ely and Caerau and on the Cardiff Bay
route. Its hub is Cardiff
Central Bus Station. National
Express provides direct services to other major cities, as well
as to Swansea and Merthyr Tydfil. Megabus operates frequent
discounted services to London.
and international air links to Cardiff and South & West Wales
are provided from Cardiff Airport (CWL), the only international airport in
Wales. The airport is situated in the village of
Rhoose, west of the city. There are regular
bus services linking the airport with the Cardiff Central Bus
Station as well as a train service from Rhoose Cardiff International Airport
railway station to Cardiff Central.
waterbus firms operate half-hourly services along the River Taff from Bute
Park in the city centre to Cardiff Bay and onwards
to Penarth. Throughout the summer (March to October),
boats also depart from Cardiff Bay to take visitors to Flat Holm Island. The Paddle
Steamer Waverley and MV Balmoral
sail from Britannia Quay (in Roath Basin) to various destinations
in the Bristol
Taff Trail is a walking and cycle path
running for between Cardiff
Bay and Brecon in the Brecon Beacons National Park. It runs through
Park, Sophia Gardens
and many other green areas within Cardiff. It is possible to
cycle the entire distance of the Trail almost
completely off-road, as it largely follows the River Taff and many of the old disused railways of the
On Sundays in summer the Beacons
Bike Bus enables cyclists to take their bikes into the Beacons and
then ride back to Cardiff along the Trail.
A cycle hire system, similar to those in other large cities,
launched in September 2009, and includes 70 bikes and 35 hire
points (initially 7) around the centre and the south of the city.
The current stations are: Central Station; Cardiff Bay Station;
County Hall; Cardiff Bay Visitors’ Centre; Churchill Way; City Hall
and eastern Queen Street. It is necessary to register before using
bike. The first half an hour is free after which a small hourly fee
is home to four major institutions of higher education: Cardiff
University, University of Wales
Institute, Cardiff, University of Glamorgan and the Royal Welsh College of
Music & Drama.
University was founded by Royal Charter in 1883 as the
University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, is a "red brick" university and member of
the Russell Group of leading research
led universities, having most of its campus in Cathays and the city centre. University of Wales
Institute, Cardiff (UWIC) gained university status in 1997 and
has campuses in the Llandaff, Cyncoed and City
Centre areas. The Royal Welsh College of
Music & Drama is a conservatoire
established in 1949 and is based in the grounds of Cardiff
Castle. The University of Glamorgan's Cardiff campus, Atrium, is home to the Cardiff School of Creative
& Cultural Industries and is located in the city
The total number of higher education students in the city is around
43,900. The city also has two further
colleges: Coleg Glan
and St. David's College, although further education is
offered at most high schools in the city.
The new Cardiff Central Library
Cardiff has 86 state primary schools (two bilingual, ten Welsh medium
), 11 infant schools, ten
junior schools and 20 state secondary schools, of which two are
Welsh medium. There are also a number of independent schools in the
city, including Llandaff Cathedral School, Kings Monkton and
single-sex girls' school (until sixth form). Notable schools
include Whitchurch High School (the largest in Wales), Fitzalan
High School (which is one of the most multi-cultural state
schools in the UK), and Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf, which is the largest Welsh medium secondary in
as academic institutions, Cardiff is also home to other educational
and learning organisations such as Techniquest, a hands-on science discovery centre that now
has franchises throughout Wales, and is part of the Wales Gene Park
in collaboration with Cardiff University, NHS Wales and the
Welsh Development Agency
Cardiff is also home of the largest regional office
of the International
Organisation (IBO). This office is home to the
organisation's curriculum and assessment centre, which is
responsible for overseeing the creation and grading of various IBDP
There are seven NHS hospitals in the city, the largest of which is
the University Hospital of
. The University Hospital of Wales is the
third largest hospital in the UK and deals
with most accidents and emergencies.
The University Dental
Hospital, which provides emergency dental treatment, is also
located on this site. Llandough Hospital is located in the south of
The city's newest hospital, St. David's Hospital (built behind the
former building) is located in the Canton area and provides
services for the elderly and children. Cardiff Royal
is located on Newport Road, near the city centre. The
majority of this hospital was closed in 1999 but with the West Wing
remaining open for clinic services, genitourinary medicine and
rehabilitation treatment. Rookwood
are also located within the city, along with Rookwood
Hospital and Velindre Cancer Centre. All hospitals in Cardiff are
administered by the Cardiff
and Vale NHS Trust
, with the exception of the Velindre site
which is run by a separate trust. In addition Spire
has a private hospital in the city which is
located in Pentwyn.
Cardiff has twinning
A total of twenty-eight countries have a diplomatic presence in
Cardiff. Many of these nations, such as Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Canada, Thailand and the Czech Republic are represented by honorary consulates.
British Embassy of the United States operates a satellite office.
is the current telephone dialling code for
Cardiff, which is followed by eight digit local numbers.
includes the neighbouring towns of Penarth, Dinas
Powys and Caerphilly.
Prior to the Big Number Change
22 April 2000, the area had the code 01222 with shorter, six digit
local numbers. Prior to May 1995, the code was 0222. There remains
a common misconception that the code is 02920 due to all local
numbers beginning with 20 for a short period after the renumbering.
Newly-issued batches of numbers begin with 21.
- Hywel Wyn Owen, The Place-names of Wales, 1998, ISBN
- Esys Consulting Ltd, Evaluation of Regeneration in Cardiff Bay.
A report for the Welsh Assembly Government, December 2004
- Balsom, Denis. 'The referendum result'. In Jones, James Barry;
Balsom, Denis (ed.), The road to the National Assembly for
Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2000.
- Welsh Assembly Government|All offices
- Key Statistics for urban areas in England and
Wales, Census 2001, retrieved 2008-06-12
- Pointer, Graham, The UK’s major urban areas, Focus on People
and Migration, 2005, retrieved 2008-06-12
- European Commission (2007) State of European
- A Social Audit of the Muslim Community in
- Human Traffic at the Internet