While sharing many characteristics with the rest of the UK, the Welsh people also have a culture that is quite unique and of which we are fiercely proud including its own language, music and food.
Cultural attractions in Cardiff
- In 2,000 years, Cardiff Castle has been a Roman garrison, a Norman stronghold, a Victorian gothic fairytale fantasy, a war bunker and now an attraction and venue that boasts thousands of visitors each year.City residents (including students) can get a 'Castle Key’, which allows you free access to the Castle grounds. It’s a perfect place to relax after a busy day of lectures.
- The National Museum in Cardiff is home to Wales' art, archaeology, natural history and geological collections. Built in 1927, the Museum is located next to the University campus and is free entry.
- St Fagans is one of Europe's foremost open–air museums and Wales's most-visited heritage attraction.
- Expand your learning in the extensive Central Library Hub, located in the city centre across from the St David's Centre.
- Cardiff has 330 parks and gardens. Once part of the Castle grounds, Bute Park is in the city centre (next to the University) and includes an arboretum and ornamental gardens. Best of all, it is a great place to relax, walk, cycle, jog and get some fresh air away from studies. Roath Park is north of the city centre and is popular with students (being near to where many students live).
Wales is often referred to as the 'Land of Song'. If you have ever heard one of the world famous Welsh male voice choirs you will find it is a deserved reputation.
Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey and Charlotte Church are also Welsh as well as famous bands such as Super Furry Animals, Stereophonics, the Manic Street Preachers and performers such as Cardiff's Cate Le Bon, Llandudno's Catfish and the Bottlemen and Los Campesinos! The city also boasts the oldest record store in the world: Spillers Records.
BBC DJ Huw Stephens's also hosts the annual Sŵn music festival, now in its 10th year. Clwb Ifor Bach in Womanby Street in the city centre attracts eclectic Indie acts and has regular Welsh language music nights. Mainstream pop lovers can hear performances from world renowned acts such as Adele, Rhianna and Beyonce in Cardiff's Principality Stadium or the Motorpoint Arena. Further afield, is Festival no 6 in Portmeirion, North Wales.
The Great British Cheese Festival is held annually in Cardiff Castle and farmers' markets run each week in the city including Roath. Cardiff's annual International Food and Drink Festival is held each July in Cardiff Bay. Some traditional Welsh foods worth sampling include Welsh cakes, laverbread (seaweed), cawl (a traditional stew) and Welsh rarebit. Further afield, it's quite easy to travel to the Abergavenny Food Festival, winner of the Visit Wales Best Event Award on several occasions.
Wales is a country of myth and legend, with an oral storytelling tradition, celebrated annually in the week-long National Eisteddfod which dates back to 1176.
The Hay-on-Wye festival located an hour from Cardiff welcomes the top names in the literary world to the festival every year. Closer to home, the annual Tafwyl Festival, a free event held in Cardiff Castle's grounds, celebrates Welsh literature and music and now attracts close to 40,000 visitors.
The unofficial national sport of Wales is Rugby Union and the festival atmosphere that descends on Cardiff on international match days is definitely not to be missed, even if you're not a fan. Matches are played at the Principality Stadium, a 70,000 seater stadium in the city centre.
Football is also very popular with Swansea City playing in the Premier League and Cardiff City in the Championship. You will also find the home of one of the UK's best ice hockey teams: the Cardiff Devils in Cardiff Bay. Cricket fans can enjoy watching Glamorgan Cricket Team play in the Swalec Stadium nearby.Motorsport fans can experience the Great Britain Rally, which is based in Wales and finishes in Cardiff each year.
Cardiff hosted the 2016 World Half Marathon in partnership with Cardiff University. 25,000 runners, including four times Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah, took part in the event, which was supported by staff, students and alumni. Cardiff boasts plenty of other events for all levels of runners – a weekly 5km park run takes place in Blackweir Fields and then there’s the famous Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon, the second largest race of its type in the UK.
Keen cyclists should experience the 55km picturesque Taff Trail which begins in Cardiff Bay and ends in the market town of Brecon. A large proportion of the Trail is 'traffic free' and parts are also suitable for horse riders.