Unique Places in Cardiff

  • Eglwys y Tabernacl
    Eglwys y Tabernacl
    by spidermiss
  • Cardiff Crown Courts, Cardiff
    Cardiff Crown Courts, Cardiff
    by spidermiss
  • Cardiff Crown Courts, Cardiff
    Cardiff Crown Courts, Cardiff
    by spidermiss

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Cardiff

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    Cardiff Masonic Hall

    by spidermiss Updated May 29, 2013

    I came across this building before getting my train home and the design and history caught my attention. The building was originally a Methodist church built in 1863 and design by John Hartland. The building is classical coupled with regency and Greek architecture. At the end of the 19th Century the Church sold the buildings and bought by the Freemasonry organisation. The building developed with refurbishment on support of members' subscriptions and opened to fellow members in 1895.

    Today the building is used for a variety of functions including weddings and conferences as well as the Freemasonry activities including its numerous Craft Lodges, Royal Arch Chapters, Masonic Degrees and Orders.

    Address: Cardiff Masonic Hall, 8 Guildford Street, Cardiff CF10 2HL.

    The Masonic Building, Cardiff
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    Eglwys y Tabernacl

    by spidermiss Updated May 27, 2013

    This is the only Baptist Church where services are conducted exclusively in Welsh. This city centre church has been establish since 1813. The current building was first built in 1821 and rebuilt in 1865. Please click onto the website for further information (Only in Welsh).

    Eglwys y Tabernacl
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    Rhiwbina Garden Village

    by uglyscot Updated Jan 22, 2013

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    This suburb of Cardiff is a conservation area. It is the oldest garden village in Wales.It is still like a village with a high street [Hoel y Deri] with a few shops: the ubiquitous Spar, a couple of Butcher shops, dry cleaners, coffee shop/bookshop, gift shops, chemist, bridal dress shop , to hairdressers travel agent, real estate agent , ahariy shop, restaurant and a few others. And the Church built in 1889, Beulah Church. Next to the church is its community centre which has a lot of activities- amateur dramatics, ballet classes for children...and I stocked up on books at a coffee morning although there is the library down a side street.

    There are has been a lot of building of new housing, but it is quite tasteful and doesn't spoil the look of the area. The original village had houses with hedges and back and front gardens, although some have these have disappeared.
    The high street leads up to the hills above the village, though unfortunately I believe building of a new estate is planned on the other side of the motorway.

    Until then there are pleasant walks to be taken.
    There is a large park too where children can play, sports can be practised.

    And railway connects to Cardiff in about 15 minutes.

    Rhiwbina Hill and motorway bridge the garden centre looking down towards Cardiff and the sea the playing fields looking towards the hill from the railway bridge
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    Cardiff Central Library

    by spidermiss Updated Dec 23, 2012

    I went past this wonderful venue. I was impressed with its architectural features so I had to stop and take a photo.

    The library is combined as a cultural venue with an internet cafe and information centre. Music can be enjoyed from its music pods and a grand piano. There are also study areas and public space available for anyone who wants to study and read.

    Cardiff Central Library Outside Cardiff Central Library
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    Goleulong 2000 Lightship

    by ettiewyn Updated Apr 11, 2012

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    The Goleulong 2000 is located in Cardiff Bay, and it is an old lightship that now serves as tourist attraction, café and chapel. The ship was built in 1953 in Dartmouth and her last station was off Rhossili at the Gower Peninsula in the 1980s. After that, she was bought by the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation.

    As I said, the ship now is three things: A tourist attraction, a café, and a chapel.

    You can explore different parts of the ships, like the motor room, different cabins, the mess room, the captain's bridge and the areas outside (you can only enter the lighthouse if accompanied by a member of staff, though). I liked this very much - I love ships and it was fun to climb the narrow ladders and to peep into the different rooms!
    The café is also very good. There is a selection of lunches and light refreshments as well as drinks, and the prices are very cheap. You can either sit inside, in a big room decorated with historical photos of the ship, or outside on the deck with nice views on the water. I just had an orange juice, and it was very windy, but it was actually fun to sit on a ship and have a drink :-)
    You can also see the small room converted into a chapel which shows that the ship is now also used as a christian centre.

    Free admission!
    Opening times: Monday to Saturday 10.00am to 05.00pm, Sundays 02.00pm to 05.00pm

    Directions: Close to the Norwegian Church

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    The Barrage

    by ettiewyn Updated Apr 10, 2012

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    If you are at the waterfront at Cardiff Bay and from the Norwegien Church continue walking, you will get to what is called "The Barrage". This is a large kind of dam that was constructed in the 1990s, when Cardiff Bay (then named Tiger Bay) was totally transformed, and was changed into a large freshwater area - the dam keeps the seawater out. One reason for this was to create a nice waterfront where there would constantly be water, as opposed to the tidal sea that would leave large, unappealing mudflats for half the day.
    The project has succeeded - Cardiff Bay is now a successful tourist attraction, and the cafés and restaurants seem to be thriving. On the other hand, it was of course a disaster for the local wildlife!

    The pedestrian and cycle way along the barrage was only opened in 2008, so now you can walk or cycle along it and enjoy views of the Bay on one side, and of the open sea on the other side. It is a nice walk, and there is also a playground on the way, as well as a café.
    If you walk all the way until the other side, you finally end up in Penarth.

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    BBC at Cardiff Bay

    by ettiewyn Written Apr 6, 2012

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    At Cardiff Bay, where previously large docklands were located, there is now a huge BBC production facility which was just opened in 2011. Popular TV shows such as Doctor Who or Upstairs, Downstairs are filmed here.
    The actual name of the facility is "Roath Lock", referring to the fact that the lock keeper's cottage was located here, the lock itself was a waterway connecting several parts of the docks.

    Since March 2012 it is also possible to go on guided tours and see some of the sets, but so far the website does not give any information on this (or I did not find it).

    It is possible to see the buildings from several points in Cardiff Bay, even if you do not actually go there. I took this picture during the boat trip on the Daffodil, but I also saw them from the lightship.

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    Millennium Walkway

    by ettiewyn Updated Apr 5, 2012

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    If you walk through the city centre all the way to the castle and then continue a little further and turn left, you get to the imposing Millennium Stadium. The River Taff runs beside it, and a nice walkway has been installed in 1999, so that you can walk between the stadium and the river. I walked here in the morning when I went to the train station, and it was really nice - very quite, as there were only a few joggers and commuters, and the light was beautiful. I took the main picture of my Cardiff page there.
    The walkway provides a good opportunity to have a closer look at the stadium and the river, but there are also some very interesting mosaics. They depict different rugby nations (as far as I understood it, as I don't know anything about rugby). My home country Germany is not included in the mosaics (fair enough, we are not a rugby nation), but there are many others and the mosaics are really colorful and show symbols of the country as well as the flag.

    The walk is a good way to escape the city for a while and get to a quieter place, and it is also a good opportunity if you need to walk from the city centre to the train station, as you cannot get lost on the walkway - there is only one direction :-)

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    Glamorgan Building

    by ettiewyn Updated Apr 4, 2012

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    This is another fine building in the Civic Centre, but it is located a little further behind the impressive row of the Law Courts, the City Hall and the National Museum, so it might easily be overlooked. It is also not as well looked after as the other buildings, but it is still worth a look if you are in this part of the city! I especially liked the two stone sculptures, one each left and right of the building. The one in the first picture is called Mining and depicts Minerva, while the other one is called Navigation and depicts Neptun.

    The Glamorgan Building was constructed in 1912 (the sculptures were also done at that time) and was the county hall of Glamorgan until it was acquired by Cardiff University in 1997.

    Address: King Edward VII Avenue
    Directions: Civic Centre, west of Alexandra Gardens

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    Public Art - Sculptures

    by ettiewyn Updated Apr 4, 2012

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    Cardiff is full of public art, and in the city centre there are many contemporary sculptures and statues. A lot of them are connected to the mining heritage of Wales. If you just walk around, you cannot miss them!

    One statue I really liked I found when I walked to the Civic Centre. It is called Nereid and is a bronze statue of a dancing girl with a bird. I just like the atmosphere of freedom the statue conveys, and that the girl seems to be content just by herself (or at least this is what the statue seems to say to me). Nereids are girls of the sea in Greek mythology, and at the foot of the girl there is a wave of water, and two fish.

    When I later did some research I found that the sculptor is called Nathan David, and the statue was unveiled in 1996.

    I usually am not that much into public art, but I liked this one so much that I decided to write a tip about it. However, as I said, there are many more sculptures all around Cardiff, so if you are interested in public art you will for sure find something you like!

    Directions: The Nereid is located north of Greyfriars Road on a small plaza. More sculptures are all around the city centre.

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    The Coal Exchange

    by ettiewyn Updated Apr 4, 2012

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    The Coal Exchange is an historical building at Cardiff Bay, located a few blocks north of the waterfront. It now is a performance centre mainly used for musical events and private functions, so if you are not a guest of such a happening you cannot enter, but it is still quite impressive to see it from the outside.

    The building was constructed in the 1880s and was the place where the coal price was fixed. It was thus one of the most important industrial places in the world, as at that time Cardiff was the biggest coal exporting city in the world.
    In March 1908, the first ever £1,000,000 cheque was written here!

    Although I could not enter I found it interesting to see this grand historical building, as it allowed me to catch a glimpse of Cardiff's most glorious times. And it also was a contrast to the pictures I had seen in the Bute Town Arts Centre - the times were not as glorious for the workers, of course.

    Address:Mount Stuart Square
    Directions: North of the waterfront

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    Bute Town History & Arts Centre

    by ettiewyn Written Apr 4, 2012

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    Bute Town is an area at Cardiff Bay, north of the waterfront, where during the flourishing times of the coal shipping the people working in the harbor lived. It was, as you can imagine, quite a cruel area, with many problems and cramped living conditions where the coal trade had brought workers from all over the world together. It was of course named after the Bute family, who were incredibly rich and owned practically everything here.

    The Bute Town History & Arts Centre is both a small art gallery and a centre of documentation. They are devoted to collecting everything connected to the history of Bute Town, especially oral histories. None of this is on display, though, which disappointed me a bit.

    The art gallery shows changing exhibitions of local contemporary artists. When I visited there was only one room in use as the other one was in the process of being changed, but the paintings I saw I liked very much. They were done by artist Jack Sullivan and showed scenes of life in Bute Town in the Victorian Age, and did not hide the cruelty of the times. The exhibition was called "Nightlife in Old Cardiff Bay" and the pictures were very dark, involving policemen, drunk men, men beating each other etc... but I still liked them because they really helped me to understand what the area was like in the past. So different to the posh world of what Cardiff Bay is now!

    Admission free!
    Opening times: Tuesday to Friday 10.00am to 05.00pm, weekends and bank holidays 11.00am to 04.30pm

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    Norwegian Cardiff

    by aaaarrgh Updated Jul 22, 2011

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    This is a mixture of 'Off the Beaten Path' tip, 'Local Customs' and 'Restaurants'.

    One of Cardiff's most famous sons was the children's author, Roald Dahl. He was born in 1916 in the suburb of Llandaff and christened in Cardiff's Norwegian Church. Roald's father was a wealthy Norwegian businessman who operated a shipping company from Cardiff Docks. There was a large, thriving Norwegian community here.

    When the docklands were redeveloped in the 1990's, the dilapidated Norwegian Church was one of the first things to be relocated and restored. It opened in 1992 as a cafe and arts centre. Today you will find it at the far end of the paved walkway around Cardiff Bay, near the Helswick Lightship and the new Waterguard Pub. It is an excellent place to stop for a coffee, soup, hot meal or cake. In 2011 the Church has been improved and refurbished, including an outdoor terrace for the cafe.

    In addition to that, the church holds art and photography exhibitions in the upstairs gallery and, in the actual body of the church, holds regular live music events.

    Rather ironically there is a memorial to Captain Robert Scott next to the church. Scott died in the Antarctic in 1912 after being (just) beaten to the South Pole by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen!!

    Address: Harbour Drive, Cardiff Bay. Near Cardiff Bay bus stop for buses 8 and 35. Cafe and gallery generally open 7 days a week, 10am to c.4pm

    roald dahl statue and church
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    Chapter - Cardiff's trendy arts centre

    by aaaarrgh Updated Apr 5, 2011

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    If you are in Cardiff for more than a few days, the Chapter Arts Centre is worth a visit. This is where all the trendy middle-classes and art-set of Cardiff like to spend time.

    Chapter has been located in a large red brick ex-school since the 1970's and celebrates its 40th birthday in 2011. It has a large art gallery with visiting national and international exhibitions. There are two cinemas, which show mainstream films, art-house films and some foreign language stuff too. Upstairs is a theatre, which often stages modern dance and drama.

    Downstairs there is a large eating and drinking area. The bar serves a wide variety of foreign beers and lagers. During the day you can get very nice healthy wholefood meals, cakes and coffee. And then during the evening the area becomes a large pub.

    Next to the front door is an excellent noticeboard. This is very useful for finding accommodation, or language teachers, or to find out what is going on around Cardiff.

    In 2010 Chapter had a makeover, courtesy of respected architects Ash Sakula

    DIRECTIONS
    Chapter is in the Canton area of Cardiff, about 2km west of the city centre, behind Canton Police Station. Catch any of the Ely buses (17,18 etc.) that go along Cowbridge Road East. There is also a carpark behind Chapter.
    ADDRESS: Market Road, Canton

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    The Twmpath

    by uglyscot Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Tympath is off Rhiwbina Hill, near the roundabout at Pantamawr Road. A sign for the footpath leads to it .
    Archaeologists say it is the remains of a Norman motte, one of the largest in Wales. It is about 6.40m high on its west side and has a flat top of around 15m diameter. The ditch is still visible but the bailey and other buildings have disappeared.
    A medieval ridge and furrow 4.88m wide crosses the field and extends about 100m towards the Cwm Nofydd stream at the foot of the field. Only a piece of what could be iron was discovered when the Twmpath was excavated in 1849.
    Legends exist about the Rhiwbina Twmpath. It is said to be the burial mound of Iestyn ap Gwrgant, the last Welsh king of Glamorgan. At the end of 11th century, a group of Normans led by the Earl of Gloucester , Robert fitz Hamo, were sent by William I to suppress the Welsh in the south west. He was said to have sought the help of Eynion, a Norman knight, who was to pretend to make peace with Iestyn ap Gwrgant. The Norman army met Iestyn at Rhiwbina . After the battle, Eynion withdrew his men, leaving Iestyn's men outnumbered, and they were cut to pieces. Afterwards the dead were heaped up and covered with soil.
    Another version has it that Iestyn was placed on his horse and buried upright in the mound. A wizard then cast a spell on the mound and anyone breaking into the mound would unleash the forces of Nature.
    Another legend says the devil had travelled from London carrying a shovel of earth to dam the Taff valley at Castell Coch Gorge so that the people of South Wales would be drowned because they were becoming too religious.
    Not sure where he was, he stopped at a stile to rest and asked a passing cobbler where the castle was. The cobbler noticed the Devil's tail and told him he was a long way from the castle and showed the devil a bag of shoes and boots which he said he'd worn out walking from the gorge.
    The Devil decided to give up and threw the earth from his shovel into the nearby field, where
    it remains till now.

    The  Twmpath
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Cardiff Off The Beaten Path

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