August 04, 2019 6 min read

Cardiff Capital City  - Dinas Caerdydd

Cardiff is the capital city of Wales. Wales' capital city is it's main commercial and economic centre and is the home of many national and cultural institutions, including the Parliament for Wales (the Senedd), the Welsh media (BBC and S4C), museums and arts centres and the Wales Rugby Union and the Welsh rugby team. As capital cities go, it is small with a population of about 350,000. But Cardiff is one of Europe's most dynamic, vibrant and fastest growing capital cities. Cardiff Bay, some 2 miles from the city centre is a place of recreation as well as the home to the Senedd, the Wales Millennium Centre and the unusual Norwegian Church with its connections to Roald Dahl!

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Cardiff city, Penarth Marina the Cardiff Bay area, Europe's largest waterfront development, combines to make an exciting tourist attraction. Cardiff is a green city, having the most green space per person in the UK including Bute Park which stretches from the city centre to Llandaff. The city has an amazing five different castles within it's city boundary, including Castell Coch, regularly voted by the public as their favourite building in Wales. The city's population stands at roughly 350,000, with 1.2 million living in the newly formed Cardiff Capital Region.

There are at least two theories regarding the origins of the name Cardiff or Caerdydd in Welsh. It is not clear what is the origin of the name “Caerdydd” — “Caer” means “fort” or “castle,” but although “Dydd” means “Day” in modern Welsh, it is unclear what was meant in this context. The word “Dydd ” or “Diff” maybe a corruption of “Taff”, the river which flows through Cardiff, and if that were true then “Cardiff” would mean “the fort on the river Taff”. A different theory suggests a link with Aulus Didius Gallus who was a Roman governor in the region at the time the fort was established. The name may have originated as Caer Didius – The Fort of Didius. Either way it is now Cardiff or in Welsh Caerdydd!

Cardiff Capital Region

The Cardiff Capital Region is a programme agreed in 2016 between the UK Government, the Welsh Government and the ten local authorities in South East Wales to bring about significant economic growth in the region through investment, upskilling, and improved physical and digital connectivity.

The ten local authorities are Blaenau Gwent; Bridgend; Caerphilly; Cardiff; Merthyr Tydfil; Monmouthshire; Newport; Rhondda Cynon Taf; Torfaen; and Vale of Glamorgan.

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle is a medieval Roman and Norman castle with a later Victorian Gothic revival mansion located in the city centre. The original motte and bailey was built in the late 11th century by the Normans on the site of the original 3rd-century Roman fort. The stone keep was built in 1121 and still stands today as the centre piece of the whole castle.

There is one other significant castle in the Cardiff area, namely Castell Coch. Castell Coch overlooks the A470 dual carriageway and the gateway to the Taff Vallies and the northern part of Cardiff, and is a blend of medieval masonry and Victorian Gothic fantasy.

The original defensive structure was built in the late eleventh or early twelfth century during the conflict between the Anglo-Normans and native Welsh for the control of the lands of south-east Wales. By the thirteenth century the castle was in the hands of the Clare family and by the end of that century the three great towers - the Well Tower, Kitchen Tower and Keep Tower- had been reconstructed. Castell Coch was severely damaged during Welsh rebellions of the early fourteenth century, and by the 1530's the castle had become a ruin.

The castle came to prominence once again in the nineteenth century when the third marquess of Bute engaged William Burges to recreate a new vision of the Middle Ages on the foundations of the medieval castle. Burges started work in 1875 and although he died in 1881 his work was carried on by his team of craftsmen and assistants. The result is a high gothic masterpiece rich in colourful decoration, furniture and fittings that parallels Burges' earlier work with the marquess at Cardiff Castle. It is now a Cadw guardianship monument and open to the public.

Cardiff Castle - Castell Caerdydd

Cardiff Bay Area

Cardiff Bay was created by the building of the Cardiff barrage in south Cardiff, from Penarth to Cardiff Bay, effectively damming two rivers, the Taff and the Ely.  The Cardiff Bay Barrage is now regarded as one of the most successful urban seafront regeneration projects in the United Kingdom. It is also Europe's largest waterfront development and is also the name commonly given to the surrounding areas of the city. The two rivers that flow into Cardiff Bay form a 500-acre freshwater lake around the former dockland areas. Prior to the Cardiff Bay Barrage, Cardiff Bay was tidal with sea access limited to a few hours each side of high water but now provides 24-hour access through three locks. Tiger Bay was a name given to the area around the Cardiff docks which became known as Butetown. Tiger Bay was featured in a 1959 film, called Tiger Bay, starring Hayley Mills.

Cardiff Bay now the home of many restored and new buildings including the Senedd and Pierhead (the new Wales parliament buildings), the Coal Exchange, the Wales Millennium Centre, the Doctor Who exhibition centre and the Norwegian Church. It is also famous for Captain Scott of Antarctica fame who sailed from Cardiff on his ill-fated voyage. A once almost derelict pit-holed road was rebuilt as Lloyd George Avenue that connects the city centre to the Bay area. Back when coal was in high demand, Cardiff’s port was a thriving hub of industry, shipping out coal mined in the Welsh Valleys.

The Coal Exchange is a relic of that prosperous time, a beautiful old building which housed a market floor for trading in coal and where the world’s first million-pound business deal was struck. It became a major music venue and housed offices, before being closed in 2013 as it began to deteriorate. It was recently refurbished, and is now a hotel Andrew a museum about the building’s and Cardiff Docks’ history connects the city centre to Cardiff Bay. 

The National Eisteddfod of Wales was held in Cardiff Bay in 2018 which established an innovative 'fence-free' Eisteddfod field or Maes. 

Cardiff Bay - Bae Caerdydd - Tiger Bay - Butetown

St Ffagan (St Fagans) National Museum of History 

The St Fagans Museum (Sain Ffagan: Amgueddfa Werin Cymru) is an oper air museum chronicling the historical lifestyle, culture, and architecture of the Welsh people. The museum is part of the wider network of the National Museum of Wales. 

There are nearly fifty re-erected buildings from all over Wales, and is set in the grounds of St Fagans Castle which in 2011 was named the United Kingdom's favourite museum visitor attraction.

Llandaff Cathedral

Llandaff Cathedral (Eglwys Gadeiriol Llandaf) is an Anglican cathedral and parish church in Llandaff, some 2 miles north of Cardiff city centre. The current building dates from 1107 but it has been altered and added to over the years. It is now the 'home' of the Bishop of Llandaff, who is the leader of the Church in Wales Diocese of Llandaff. It is dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and three Welsh saints, namely Dubricius, Teilo and Oudoceus.

Llandaff Cathedral - Eglwys Gadeiriol Llandaf

Born in Cardiff

Famous people born in Cardiff include, Ivor Novello in 1893 (silent movie star) Dame Shirley Bassey in 1937 (singer), John Humphrys in 1943 (BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter), Colin Jackson in 1967 (world record hurdles champion) Cerys Mathews 1969 (singer in the band Catatonia) and Charlotte Church in 1986, the youngest artist to top the Classical Charts in the UK.

Things you may not know about Cardiff

  • Sir Lancelot of King Arthur fame is said to have sailed from Cardiff after he was banished from King Arthur's court
  • The famous adventurer Robert Falcon Scott sailed from Cardiff in the ship named Terra Nova on his journey to the South Pole. There is now a monument, a lighthouse to him in Roath Park lake and in 2003 a Captain Scott Memorial was unveiled at the seafront from where he sailed.
  • Cardiff has more green spaces per head of population than any other city in the United Kingdom.
  • Cardiff City footbal cluB are the only non-English team to have won the FA Cup in 1927, beating Arsenal 1 - 0.
  • Terry Nation, who became a scriptwriter for the famous television series Doctor Who and also invented the Daleks, Doctor Who's greatest enemy. He was also born in 1930 in Llandaff, Cardiff.
  • Cardiff was once the largest coal and iron exporting port in the world.
  • In 1839, the 2nd Marquis of Bute opened the West Bute Dock at which time it was the largest masonry dock in the world.

About FelinFach

Our company, FelinFach Natural Textilesis located in the heart of the Preseli area of Pembrokeshire near to Boncath. We design Welsh blankets, Welsh woollen blankets and throws which are traditionally woven at Welsh mills. We also design and make natural hand dyed yarn, cotton, silk and wool scarves and other handmade products. We are a proud supporter of the Campaign for Wool, Global Welsh and Wales International.

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Last updated 12th September 2020

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