Cardiff Guide

The city of Cardiff has had a relatively mild history. The first known human site here was the Roman fort built in 75BC, which was abandoned not 30 years later. The area was revived in 1091 when Robert Fitzhamon began constructing a castle inside the fort. The castle still stands as the heart of Cardiff today.

Soon the population began to steadily grow but, and the same holds true today, Cardiff was never overflowing with people. By the 14th century it was a bustling Staple port. By 1542 it'd become a free borough, by 1573 head port, by 1581 its first royal charter from Elizabeth I, and another in 1608. It saw several rebellions around this time but by 1766 the city was at peace for more than a century.

In the early 19th century, John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute, dedicated his life to building up the Cardiff docks. The town expanded rapidly thanks to his aid and by 1905, the little town that could was granted city status by King Edward VII. The city suffered through World War II and entered into a post war slump. However, because of its deep roots in industry, Cardiff was able to claw its way out and prosper again in the cargo, finance, business, and tourism sectors.

Today many illustrious companies are located here including ING Direct, Legal & General, Admiral Insurance, British Gas, SWALEC Energy, British Gash, NHS Wales, and BT. It is also the head honcho of UK media, television and film as BBC Wales, S4C, and ITV all have studios sited here. As of 2007, the port saw more than 3 million tons of cargo. Cardiff was also noted as one of the top 10 places in the UK to shop til you drop. It is currently undergoing tourist oriented renovations and is building up its $1.4 billion International Sports Village so it is ready to take part in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

When to go

Cardiff's climate is of the temperate, oceanic sort. Both summer and winter are mild. July sees about 22°C (61°F) while the coldest month, January, averages about 8°C (40°F). It also sees less precipitation than the rest of Wales. The best month to go is July, when the weather is fair, sunny, and has a heck of a lot less rain than other months. Plus, it is the time of the Cardiff Festival, when countless events join in collaboration including the Cardiff Castle and Everyman open air theatre, International Food & Drink Festival, Lloyds TSB Welsh Proms, Tesco Children's Festival, WOW on the Waterfront, The Red Dragon Centre Family Festival, and Admiral Cardiff Big Weekend.

Getting there

By Car: Cardiff is well linked nationally by the M4, which makes London easy to get to. From the north a very straightforward drive on the M6, M5, and M50/M4 also provide access. The same roads come in from the south and west as well. There are also parks and rides at County Hall and Crown Way or a handful of parking locations throughout the city. By Air: Cardiff has its own international airport that offers frequent, direct flights from major UK and European cities. By Rail: InterCity trains offer a great alternate into Cardiff. A 2 hour ride to London Paddington is available and trains depart every 30 minutes. Regional railways provide travel from Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Bristol, Southampton, Exter, Torbay, and Portsmouth. Cross country trains have routes from Aberdeen to Penzance and back again. First Great Western has trains from London as well as other locations in South and East England. Arriva Trains has access to most of Wales and England's border. Lastly, Eurostar connects Cardiff internationally to Brussels, London, Paris, Lille, Avignon where further connections Amsterdam, Strasbourg and others cities can be found. By Coach: National Express Coaches have routes directly from Heathrow and Gatwick airports as well as many other cities through the UK. Megabus also has frequent rides from London and fares as low as £1. Cardiff Bus operates in nearby towns and within Cardiff. By Sea: There are a handful of ferry companies that link Cardiff to Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, France, and additional spots in the UK. They are Stena Line, Brittany Ferries, Condor Ferries, Irish Ferries, and Swansea Cork Ferries.

Getting around

Board: The Cardiff Bus company is extensive and exclusive. It runs through the city center and also connects to Cardiff Bay and a handful of small towns just outside city limits.

Drive: Cardiff avidly asks traveler's to use the County Hall Park and Ride to save street space. There are also numerous car parks throughout the city with low daily fares.

Black and white taxis are abundant in the city center as well as several landmarks including Central Station, Wood Street, St Mary Street, and Greyfriars Road.

Pedal: Cardiff is a cycling center that has many bike shops, bike rentals and bike routes to save emissions, money, and street space. It is the recommended way to get around. You can also hail a Velotaxi, which is a pedal powered taxi that has pick up points at Central Station and the Visitor Center. The Velotaxi takes passengers to nearly any center city location free of charge.

Walk: Cardiff is easy to navigate by foot though there are not many pedestrian only walks.

Sail: A Waterbus service operates between Millennium Stadium, Mermaid Quay, and Penarth. Services are roughly every half hour and the Waterbus is open from 11am - 6pm.


Cardiff Web Sites

We haven't found any good Cardiff web sites yet! Please let us know if you know any.

Search Hotels