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  • Cardiff Hotels Realised in the Revolution

    Cardiff lighthouse

    Cardiff lighthouse

    Cardiff grew up late and when it did, it did so quickly. The development of Cardiff hotels has benefited from the city’s relatively recent rejuvenation.It is easy to think that Cardiff has been Wales’ major city throughout history.

    When you wander through the streets and down to the ever-expanding waterfront, it feels obvious that this is the nation’s capital and that it has always been this way. Cardiff, however, ticked along quite quietly until the Industrial Revolution showed the city its true worth.

    Smaller than nearby Swansea and Merthyr, the old town of Cardiff had a small but steady growth that surrounded Cardiff Castle. Originally built as a Roman fort, there was a small amount of growth during Norman times but not much else.

    Then came the Industrial Revolution and the trading of Wales’ top commodity; coal. Suddenly, Cardiff blew up into one of the most important locations in Europe and experienced rapid growth that helped shape it into the city that exists today.

    The trade of coal certainly helped make philanthropist John Patrick Crichton-Stuart the richest man in the world during the late 19th century; enough to help him make part of Cardiff Castle his very own home. Cardiff was also the setting for the world’s first million pound deal; a trade that was agreed in the Coal Exchange building. As a result of all this, Cardiff became Britain’s first multicultural city, with the influx of workers that came to work at the docks.

    So, what has this rapid growth left today? The days of the trade of coal and the docks as a continental hub of activity are no longer, but in its place the waterfront continues to develop into a beautiful place to both visit and live. The Millennium Centre and Welsh Assembly Building are impressive examples of Wales’ continued identity within Britain, and one of the city’s main attractions, the Millennium Stadium, has become one the world’s great sporting arenas.

    Despite its role as part of the UK, there has always been a tremendous sense of identity among the Welsh people. The locals are extremely proud of their country and what it produces. Whether it is fantastic ingredients and produce to be eaten, such as its lamb or leeks, or the famous people (actors and singers in particular) that are from the country, you’ll never forget their origins.

    Visitors today will get this sense just from spending time in the city and with the locals. Cardiff Castle is a must see. There are organised tours, and it is possible to see the part of the castle that belonged to Crichton-Stuart and his family of Bute. Within his old home is an abundance of artistic works that are well worth a look.

    The Millennium Centre is the city’s cultural focal point. There are musicals, plays and the opera all performed here. Entry to the centre costs a fee but there are smaller, free performances performed in the foyer each lunchtime, so if you’re pushed for time, or money, or both, it may be worth heading down there to get a taster.

    For fans of architecture, there is St Fagans National History Museum. An incredible site within the grounds of St Fagans Castle is this open-air museum which houses reconstructed buildings from all over the country. The gardens are also incredibly beautiful but be warned that the site is rather large, so if you want to see all of it you will need a packed lunch and the entire day.

    If you are lucky enough, or indeed clever enough, to be in Cardiff when the Millennium Stadium is in use then it is a crime not to try and get tickets. It hosts many sporting events, but in reality a rugby game played by the national team generates an atmosphere of epic proportions. Even if you don’t love rugby as much as the Welsh do, being in the stadium with 75,000 other people, with the retractable roof closed during an evening game, creates a tremendous sense of awe and pride.

    It is easy to get caught up in the grandeur of the event, but just go with it and enjoy it for everything it is. It is possible to go on tours of the stadium, but you can only appreciate the tour if you have witnessed the atmosphere it creates first hand.

    Only in the last 200 years has Cardiff really come to the fore. Now the entire city is an example of the country’s identity and pride. It is the exciting, new developments amid a Victorian city that makes Cardiff a particularly special place.

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