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Cardiff Bay part I
In the past the Dockland's at Cardiff Bay have been a major roll in the developing of the city Cardiff. As it was growing and growing in those days, people settled in neighbourhoods close to the docks which is known as Tiger Bay.
After the second world war the coal industry declined and the docklands fell into disuse, but in 1999 new life was given to the area with the construction of the Cardiff Bay Barrage, which transformed an area of tidal mudflats into a 200 hectare freshwater lake and sparked the development of the surrounding area.
Cardiff Bay is just a mile from the city centre. It is now a popular part of Cardiff. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of restaurants, bars and shops in Mermaid Quay, cruise or sail on Cardiff Bay, or explore attraction such as the impressive Wales Millennium Centre, Norwegian Church, Red Dragon Centre or Techniquest - an interactive science discovery centre.
Visitors to Cardiff Bay can now walk to the barrage and across to Penarth Head, with the opening of the Cardiff Bay Barrage Coast Path from the Inner Harbour to the barrage. The new route provides a safe pedestrian and cycle route with direct access to and from the Inner Harbour, linking with the existing footway, cycle way and transport network through to the city and beyond.
- Hiking and Walking
A day on the Bay
Cardiff bay has developed over the years, and it's just growing and growing.
What was once the old docklands has been transformed into a whole new world.
Not only does it have cafes, restaurants, ice cream parlors and a few shops,it also has the Nation Assembly for Wales, of which you can visit and view as the assembly debate their issues. There are boat rides around the bay and trips to the Cardiff Bay barrier.
The Opera house also hosts the Cardiff information centre, well worth a visit.
A damp morning at Cardiff Bay
We parked in the large multi-storey car park and as we came out of the building it started to rain - heavily. We made a dash for the Millenium Centre where we found the Tourist Information Centre and a helpful introductory video of how the Cardiff Bay area has been re-developed into a major new re-vitalised district full of exciting buildings, leisure and retail facilities.; not to mention the National Assembly of Wales. Nestling amongst these are some historically important buildings such as the Pierhead and the Norwegian Church and some entertaining street sculptures.
Unfortunately the rain hadn't stopped so we continued to the right for a short distance to find all the regular and expected chain restaurants and coffee shops plus many other outlets that had a more home-grown Cardiff feel to them. We could see in the distance the TechniQuest building; a science discovery centre. Turning to the left we looked inside the Pierhead building where there was a more extended slide show, free of charge, clearly aimed at school children - indeed there was a very well behaved school group closely watching the story of Cardiff Bay from the 19th century to the present day. The film also showed how the Pierhead was the administrative centre for much of the dock activities and in this way it played a key role during the war. Unfortunately its distinctiveness as a landmark was used by the bombing raids during the second world war to act as a target for bombers. It's remarkable that the building wasn't destroyed even though much of the surrounding docks were heavily damaged.
It was still raining when we came out so we had a quick look at the National Assembly building. We'd just missed one of the guided tours. Further over we took cover in the Norwegian Church where we had some strong coffee before making our way back to our car and our homeward journey.
Clearly there is loads to do in the area. I'd love to see inside the Millenium Centre and go to a concert there. The foyer in itself is impressive so I'd imagine the concert hall is spectacular. Maybe that will be for my next visit to Cardiff?
- Historical Travel
Europe's Largest Waterfront Development
Cardiff Bay bills itself as Europe’s largest waterfront development and if you go you will find it hard to argue with this claim. It is a very large and lovely area with a large Basin behind the barrage which was built to minimize the effects of the tides. In addition to having the Welsh National Assembly building there is also the Millennium Center which is the venue for a great many operas, movies and shows and there are literally dozens of entertainments for adults and kids as well as tons of shops and restaurants.
Cardiff was a great coal shipping port (the largest in the world at one point) but after WWII this industry had declined and the harbor was pretty much abandoned to derelection. In spite of some controversies, like the destruction of some wading bird habitats, and with the addition of some new fresh water fowl habitats, the redevelopment appears to be highly successful. Housing construction in the area may suffer from the current economic situation but it remains to be seen what effect, if any, this will have on the Bay Complex
A walk around Tiger Bay
We were going to go and see Brecon Beacons, but it was lashing down with rain most of the morning and extremely windy, so dear Patty decided to take us to see Tiger Bay instead... Yes, I know it is now called Cardiff bay, but I think Tiger Bay sounds more historical and prettier.
The car park is only a very short walk from the bay, so we had a good old mosey around, as there is a lot of different things to see here. It is mostly modern architecture surrounding the bay, but it sort of spoils the old fashioned and pretty buildings that are still here. On the first photo, over the bay, is one of Cardiff's most expensive hotels... I don't think we'll ever be staying there though.
- Historical Travel
Doctor Who Up Close
Update: This exhibition closed in March 2011. It will be replaced in 2012 with a new, bigger exhibition, 'The Doctor Who Experience' on another site.
This exhibition displays props and costumes used in the filming of the new Doctor Who TV series, which is made in Cardiff. Clips from the programme are used to show the items as they actually appeared on screen. There are also some exhibits from the old series.
It's a chance to come face to face with a Dalek.
I went in February 2006, when admission was free. There is now an admission charge of £4 per head, (£3 for children) but extra exhibits from the second series have been added, including Cybermen.
- Family Travel
The waterfront of Cardiff is found about 2 km from the city centre. We walked there along the river Taff, which took about 40 minutes. But of course you also can take the bus, and there are also boats that tour between the centre and the bay (www.cardiffwaterbus.com, www.cardiffboat.com).
At Cardiff Bay, you find several sights like the Techniquest, a science museum with hands-on exhibitions. Then there’s the Pierhead, a red brick building from 1897 that immediately catches your eyes. It used to be the headquarter of the dock company and now you here find an exhibition about the history of the building and Wales (free entry). Also, there’s the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, in a building that used to be a church for Norwegian sailors. And there’s much more, you can spent quite a lot of time there! And of course there are also lots of restaurants and bars, as well as shops.
- Museum Visits
Mermaid Quay is a dining, recreation and entertainment area at Cardiff Bay. There are over 20 restaurants, bars and cafes fronting the bay where one can relax and chill out on a summer's evening. It is within walking distance to the Millenium Center.
- Business Travel
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Cardiff Bay , once a rough are as were so many ports, is now a pedestrian friendly area of shops, restaurants and interesting buildings- The Norwegian Church, The Tube or information centre, Techniquest,and the Administration buildings.
I particularly like the statue at Maiden Quay showing an African woman and a young man, and a dog. It reminds one that this port once was the departure point for people seeking a new life, or a transit port for slaves on their way to the Carribean or America.
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Walk along the waterfront
Cardiff Bay is the name now used for the dock area that was known as Tiger Bay.
This brick and terracotta building facing the bay was opened in 1897 as the headquarters of the Cardiff Railway Company (formerly the Bute Docks Company).
Cosmo Cardiff Bay
Take a trip to Cardiff Bay!
This area is infant in its year but very cosmopolitan with a down to earth flavour. There are plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants for you to sample different cuisines.
You can also take the Bay tour boat which stops off at Penarth Marina and The Milennuim Stadium, or just stay on for a round trip! this is great fun and gives you a good view of the surrounding area.
Check out the Norweigan Church and the Oval Basin!
- Historical Travel
Cardiff Bay – Bae Caerdydd
Cardiff Bay, formally Tiger Bay is the former docks area that has been transformed into Europe's largest waterfront development with a freshwater lake, a barrage that separates the lake from the sea and plethora of bars and restaurants around the quay. The area was Wale’s oldest multi-ethnic community with a community that consisted from over 50 countries settling and mixing. The original Bay was also notorious and included a red-light district and gambling dens as well as producing singer Dame Shirley Bassey.
Statues and art around the Bay
When walking around Cardiff Bay, you cannot fail to notice various art works. The main one is the poignant bronze of the man, African woman and dog.
Another metal structure looks like part of a wrecked ship embedded in the concrete.
Also in the area is a huge bronze open-ended circle with etchings into the bronze It marks the beginning of a walk .
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
There is a very red lightship that stands next to the Cardiff bay visitors centre (see other tip). It was built in the 1950's and saw about 40 years service before being brought here and resored. It's main purpose is to serve as a chaplinacy centre for the varoius churches in the area. "That would be an ecumenical matter" as father Jack would say and I'm sure they do a great job.
From a tourist point of view, it provides free entry for a look around a lightship - which kids absolutley love. you can also visit the actual 'light' if a staff member is about. As you would normally pay a fiver or so for an attraction such as this it would be rude nit to buy a tea and bun in the cafe on board - this is a charity venture after all.
P.s why is a 'lightship' so relevant to christian work - i get the light thing and the boat thing in terms of christian imagery, but surely Christian Chaplinacy is about 'picking up the pieces' after the event : would a lifeboat not be more appropraite. Anyway, what would I know ?
The pierhead building
The pierhead was built at the end of the 19th century. It was the offices of the harbour company for many years, even when it was renamed as the Cardiff railway company.
It only recently re-opened in 2010 following restoration and is now a small free museum extolling a few prominent welsh figures over the years. There is also an exhibition about the development of the port area and some interesting pieces such as Scott's of the Antartic's binnacle. I'm not surprised they all perished if he couldn't even remember he had left his binnacle in a office in Cardiff.
The real star of the (free) show is however the building itself. The high victorian masterpiece is covered in terracotta mouldings on the outside and stunning glazed tiles on the inside. this was a headquarters building that clearly wanted to show off and impress the visitor. I suspect they thought they could see no end to their fortunes - how wrong they were.
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