Welcome to Cardiff! A quick 2.5 hours drive from Oxford, we took a day trip offered via UK Study Tours (and its not just for students; anyone can join). Cardiff is the capital of Wales and a significant tourist destination. Oxford is in Britain while Cardiff in Wales. Two countries in one day! Phew
Just opposite the Cardiff Castle is the Castle Street. One of the best streets to start exploring Cardiff. The street is full of gift shops, restaurants, cafes and the very famous Cardiff Central Market.
Located at Castle Street is the Castle Arcade (an outstanding Victorian arcade) - it is a historical part of Cardiff’s architecture and retail heritage. You can see the covered entrance to the arcade here in the picture.
Originally home to many specialist shops of the era – drapers, apothecaries, tailors, jewellers - has grown and adapted to the needs of a modern shopping environment without losing any of it old world charm.
Local cafes and restaurants are lined up within the Castle Arcade with cutesy sitting areas.
Our next stop was the Cardiff Market. Also known as Central Market, it is an impressive Victorian structure which offers a unique shopping experience in the heart of Cardiff. There are two entrances; one found from St. Mary Street, with the other entrance being located at Trinity Street.
Under one great glass roof you will find a wealth of products ranging from pots and pans to bread and butter, and from nuts and bolts to rock and roll. Cardiff Market has been trading in one form or another since the 1700s.
It was now time to visit the Cardiff Castle! You can buy the tickets online with prices ranging from 10 GBP (for students) to 40 GBP (for adults).
When you first look at the Castle, you may notice what looks like poor construction work or perhaps badly patched holes in its outer walls. However, these well-worn areas are actually Roman ruins of a fort atop which the castle was built by Normans.
The twelve-sided Norman Keep at Cardiff is the finest in Wales and is known as a ‘shell’ keep. Its outer walls provided a shell for smaller buildings within it. It is located within the Cardiff Castle premises. There are approximately 50 steep stone steps leading to the Keep entrance.
The Norman Keep from another side
With a further few steps to reach the viewing platform, once there, you get the best panoramic views of the city and buildings within the Keep. It's worth the effort.
The Welsh Dragon is the national animal of Wales. It also appears on the national flag of Wales. It is popularly supposed to have been the battle standard of King Arthur and other ancient Celtic leaders.
Around the bay, stands the magnificent Pierhead Building. It stands as one of the Cardiff's most familiar landmarks and was built in 1897 as the headquarters for the Bute Dock Company. It currently serves as a Welsh history museum and exhibition. It is free entry and worth half an hour time there.