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Cardiff is one of the friendliest cities in the UK and at times feels more like a large, cosmopolitan town than a capital city.

And with an international airport and excellent transport links to London and the rest of the world it's the perfect location for work and play.

Sandwiched between the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, the world’s first coastal path to cover an entire country (870 miles worth) and the Brecon Beacons National Park  - voted one of the best in Europe and a designated international Dark Sky Reserve - Cardiff is a must-see destination.

And just an hour's drive away, you can find uncrowded, world-class beaches, perfect for surfing, walking and sun worshipping on the Gower Peninsula and in Pembrokeshire.

History and heritage

The red-bricked Pier head building in Cardiff Bay

Built on the site of a Roman Fort, Cardiff was once one of the busiest ports in Britain and a leading exporter of the world's coal. The first £1m cheque was written here, at Cardiff's Coal Exchange.

A man canoeing at the White Water Rafting Centre in Cardiff Bay

Signs of Cardiff's industrial heritage are still visible, but Cardiff Bay has been transformed.

Europe's largest waterfront development is now an enclosed lagoon perfect for sailing and water sports with shops and restaurants along its fringes at Mermaid Quay – a stone's throw away from Wales Millennium Centre, iconic Pier Head building and the Sennedd.

As one of Europe’s fastest growing cities, Cardiff is also a friendly, bilingual nation so you'll hear plenty of Welsh and other languages being spoken too.

A smiling black woman sat down, wearing a colourful dress

Multiculturalism runs deep here with 94 different languages spoken throughout the city, thanks to the melting pot of nationalities who came to work in the city's historic docks in the 1800s, when coal was king.

Shopping around

A young woman walking through a Victorian shopping arcade in Cardiff

Aside from all the usual high street brands Cardiff is also renowned for its beautiful Victorian and Edwardian arcades – full of smaller independent shops - such as Spillers Records – the world's oldest record shop and a great place to browse vinyl.

If vintage is your thing then visit the Cardiff Indoor Flea Market (Tremorfa). Other independent makers can be found at the Boneyard (Canton) and Bridge Studios (Ely) and Pipes Beer hold markets and events throughout the summer.

Getting around

People walking across a footbridge

Cardiff is easy to get around on foot, bike or using public transport. It’s a compact city, centred around the green heart of Bute Park.

The Taff Trail is perfect for walking, running or cycling and cuts through the city from north to south and public transport routes are expanding all the time.

Feeling sporty

Empty rugby pitches

Cardiff has more green spaces than any other major UK city with plenty of parks and open spaces and the pristine River Taff running through the heart of the city.

The Principality Stadium (our national stadium) is the only venue of its size in Europe to be located in a city centre and holds around 76,000 singing rugby fans. Cardiff on match day is a sight to behold, with a carnival-like atmosphere taking over the streets.

And if cricket is your thing then take a walk down Cathedral Road to Sophia Gardens, home of Glamorgan Cricket and a 16,000-seat Test Match Venue.

There are plenty of grassroots events too – for both watching and participating in. Popular teams include Cardiff City (football), the Cardiff Devils (ice hockey), and the Maindy Flyers (cycling).

Nightlife

Fatoumata Diawara singing to a crowd in a concert

There are loads of great venues of all shapes and sizes. The Principality Stadium doubles up as a gig venue for global superstars such as Beyoncé, Madonna and The Rolling Stones. 10 minutes walk away is the 5,000 capacity, Motorpoint Arena, where you'll find plenty of great bands and stand up comedy.

If you prefer smaller venues, then St Mary Street is packed with bars, clubs and a growing number of seriously good cocktail bars.

For an alternative experience, Womanby Street in the independent heart of the city, is home to Clwb Ifor Bach, The Moon, Fuel and Tiny Rebel.

Culture and Creativity

Welsh National Opera's: The Marriage of Figaro

If you're after a more cultural experience, then there’s plenty of choice from museums to theatres.

You’ll find plenty of world class productions, cutting edge theatre, cabaret and Festival of Voice here at Wales Millennium Centre with some great staff offers.

We’re also home to Welsh National Opera, National Dance Company Wales, and the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales.

There’s also St David’s Hall, the New Theatre, the Sherman TheatreChapter Arts Centre. various comedy clubs and smaller venues such as The Other Room, Cardiff’s pub theatre.

If you’re a creative type then you might like the Printhaus, Twin Made, Ffotogallery and the Sustainable Studio. For a comprehensive guide to Cardiff’s creative community, explore Creative Cardiff.

What can we say? We love it, and we hope you will too. You can find lots more information about Cardiff and Wales on the Visit Wales website.