Another city with a big history coupled to a modern outlook, Cardiff now stands as somewhere with a dynamic present to match its imposing past. First settled by the Romans in AD75 and at one point the world’s biggest coal port, the Welsh capital is today as much defined by its events calendar and its regeneration projects as it is by the spirit and traditions of the past.
Cardiff received the official title of European Capital of Sport for 2014, which says plenty about the local passion for on-field action, particularly where oval balls are concerned. The superb Millennium Stadium (Westgate Street) sits in the heart of town, close to numberless pubs and shops – on international match days the whole city seems to rumble with beery enthusiasm. The stadium also gets used for international football games and big-name concerts. Tours of the venue are available year-round.
Time Lord central
Doctor Who is filmed in and around Cardiff, with much of it recorded at the BBC Studios in CardiffBay. Next door, the Doctor Who Experience (Discovery Quay) is an entertaining attraction that has bundles of interactive features and lets kids and adults get up close to Daleks and Cybermen. For those in search of something extra, there are walking tours and bus journeys around the Doctor’s filming locations – and don’t forget spin-off series Torchwood is also created here.
Big and small
A city break to Cardiff from Glasgow Airport is a way of taking in the Welsh city’s varied attractions, which range from the supersized to the diminutive. On the city outskirts, the Big Pit (Blaenafon) is the national coal museum and every bit as large as it sounds, while the tiny NorwegianChurch (Harbour Drive) is where Roald Dahl was christened. It’s now an arts centre – check listings well ahead of time as events tend to sell out.