Explore Welsh culture in Cardiff

Explore Welsh culture in Cardiff

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

Sitting along the tributary of the River Taff and Bristol Channel, just across the water from Weston-super-Mare in England, Cardiff dates back to the 1st century, with a small Roman fort established in the city center. Over time, Cardiff became a lively port municipality. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was the leading coal exporter in the world. When the mining industry collapsed during the 1950s and 60s, residents began to look for other ways to revitalize their beloved capital. The result is a tapestry of culture, tradition and beauty intricately woven together.

What to see

Cardiff Castle

Built in the 1080s during the Norman conquest, Cardiff Castle sits upon the ruins of the aforementioned Roman fort. The imposing castle served as the protectorate of the region. Complete with the Norman Keep, Castle Apartments detailing daily life inside the castle, wartime tunnels used as air-raid shelters and the newly excavated section of the Roman Wall, there is plenty of history on display. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, castle tours are currently suspended. However, visitors can still walk through the gardens and explore the exterior of the mighty fortress.

Norwegian Church

This humble house of worship holds quite a bit of history. During the Industrial Revolution, Norwegian sailors used the building as a landmark. Throughout World War II, seafarers would use the church as a meeting point and refuge as it was difficult to navigate a return to Norway. Famed Welsh children’s author Roald Dahl was baptized in the church and would often attend services there. Although the interior is currently shuttered due to the pandemic, the site also boasts stunning views of Cardiff Bay.

Victorian arcades

Dotted throughout the city center along the High Street, visitors can glimpse into the city’s storied past at one of the six renowned arcades. While you won’t find arcade games (unless you pop into one of the game shops), these arcades are akin to Victorian-era shopping districts. With ornate architecture and facades, you feel as though you’re walking through a beautiful piece of history. Market stalls appear throughout the week offering delicious local fare and goods.

Wales Millennium Centre

This state-of-the-art performing arts venue is not only an awesome place to catch a live show or concert but a beacon of Welsh culture. Created with materials sourced exclusively from Wales, the Millennium Centre pays homage to its cultural roots. With the inscription, “In these stones horizons sing,” emblazoned in both Welsh and English, it’s a beautiful example of modern architecture anyone can appreciate.

Sports

Cardiff is definitely a great place to visit for sports lovers. Home to professional rugby, European football and cricket, there’s no shortage of events to partake in. Although many of the venues such as Principality Stadium and Cardiff Arms Park are not currently allowing fans inside, there are plenty of parks and green spaces to practice your skills. Or take a gander at Cardiff International White Water. At the U.K.’s first on-demand white water facility visitors can experience the thrill of white water rafting and kayaking through an Olympic-standard course.

With travel limitations for those stationed in the U.K., Cardiff offers a wonderful glimpse into Welsh culture and history while staying a little closer to home.

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