Cardiff Castle Wales
Cardiff Castle in Wales. Taken by Flickr user Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia Commons.

Wales’ capital is full of intrigue and culture, so we’ve put together a little compilation of 10 tidbits about Cardiff to give an overview of this unique city.

1. Cardiff (Caerdydd) is the capital city of Wales with a population of 324,800.  Once ranked in 2011 by the National Geographic as one of the top alternative tourist destinations, this city is full of history, architecture and culture.

2. There are two main theories behind the origins of the city’s name, Cardiff or Caerdydd (Welsh). The first is that ‘Caer’ translates into fort/castle and ‘diff’ is a variation upon the river ‘Taff’ therefore meaning ‘the castle on the river Taff’. However, others believe that it was named after a Roman governor of the fort called Aulus Didius Gallus. Therefore meaning “The Fort of Didius’.

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3. A brief history of Cardiff includes that up until the 19th century, Cardiff was but a small principal town of Glamorgan county. As the industrial revolution came around, the city became an integral link in coal transportation and Cardiff became a major port. As coal mining increased so did the economy causing it to boom into a major city – it was officiated as a city in 1905 and deemed the capital of Wales in 1955.

4. Cardiff is an international city; over 100 languages are spoken there and 10% of the population speak Welsh. Additionally, the city welcomes more than 18 million visitors annually and 20% of the overall population are students coming from places far and wide.

5. Cardiff goes by the name of ‘the city of castles’ concerning the 5 castles that it houses   within the city limits; it claims to have more castles than any other city in the world. The main castle is no other than Cardiff Castle in the heart of the city, which dates back to the 11th century.

6. One of the most popular places to visit is Cardiff Bay; home to the Mermaid quay. The redeveloped docks overlook a freshwater lake offering boat trips, water sports and beautiful views. As for the bay itself, there are a plethora of restaurants and bars, as well as the Wales Millennium Centre and Roald Dahl’s Norwegian Church amongst other attractions.

7. The hugely popular Doctor Who is filmed primarily in Cardiff, alongside its spinoff Torchwood. Therefore it is not surprising that fans of the franchise travel from places near and far to see where these beloved TV shows have been filmed, as well as checking out the Doctor Who Experience and a shrine to one of Torchwood’s deceased fictional main characters.

8. The popular children’s book author Roald Dahl (Matilda, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Boy etc.) was christened in the Norwegian Church found in Cardiff Bay and also grew up in the city. His book ‘Boy’ was largely set in Wales and many places mentioned can still be found in Cardiff to this day.

9. With more than 330 parks and gardens, Cardiff is officially the UK’s greenest city. Bute Park is perhaps the most notable of them all featuring ornate gardens, an arboretum, waterways and beautiful landscaping. You don’t have to go far to find green space within this Welsh city.

10.  Cardiff’s weather is incredibly fickle, switching between clear blue skies and grey rainy spurts frequently. In the winter temperatures can drop past 7 degrees Celsius, whilst in the summer it can reach up to a toasty 30 degrees. However, one thing is for sure – Cardiff keeps going whatever the weather.

Bethan Newman is an English girl trundling through life and jaunting to places the world over.

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