Summertime is a great time for adventures and recently we have been out and about a lot!
Do you remember our post about Malta in 41 clicks? If you missed it, please use the link below to read it. This article is one of our most popular blogs and has been for the last two years! Last week, we realized that we haven’t done anything like this in a long while so we are bringing the formula back:
How can you present a place filled with numerous attractions to readers who do not have much time? Cardiff Bay is enormous, a single day is not enough to see it all and fully appreciate it. Yet, we have found a way. Keep it sweet, short and interesting – this is our recipe for success.
Dear visitors, let us give you Cardiff Bay in just 37 clicks! Enjoy the information, look at the pictures and once you have read it all, we guarantee, you will know more than a licensed tour guide! Allons-y!
BBC Cymru studios, media and drama village are located in Porth Teigr area of Cardiff Bay, between Roath Basin, Roath Dock and the channel to Queen Alexandra Dock. The studio houses nine ready-to-go sets that have been used during filming of Doctor Who, Casualty, Pobol y Cwm, Upstairs Downstairs, Wizards vs Aliens and The Sarah Jane Adventures. The whole building is an equivalent of three football pitches and covers a jaw-dropping 170,000 sq ft (16,000 m2).
Official website: http://roathlock.com/index.php/working-at-roath-lock
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roath_Lock
National Assembly for Wales –Tŷ Hywel
Unofficially known as The Assembly Building, Tŷ Hywel has been opened in 1993 to provide assembly members and their staff with places to stay during parliamentary sessions. It was fully redecorated in 2006 to match the rest of newly constructed building. Nowadays it is a popular venue for teaching, conferences and lectures. Its name comes from Hywel Dda or Hywel ap Cadell, better known to English citizens as Hywel the Good, the first Welsh lawmaker.
National Assembly for Wales – Pierhead Building (Adeilad y Pierhead)
This monumental Victorian Revival grade I* (star) building has been constructed in 1897 as the headquarters for the Bute Dock Company, a trade and industrial conglomerate founded and chaired by John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute. It has been designed by Wiliam Frame, a student of William Burges, the most famous architect of Victorian era. The building is famous for its clock tower, affectionately known as The Little Ben or Big Ben of Wales. There is a coat of arms and motto “wrth ddŵr a thân” (by fire and water) on the main facade of the tower, a souvenir inherited after previous tenants, The Cardiff Railway Company (now part of Great Western Railway). Today, the building houses Welsh History Museum and The Futures Art Gallery.
National Assembly for Wales – Senedd
Senedd (Welsh for Senate or Parliament) is the largest building in The National Assembly for Wales Estate complex. Built in 2006 for nearly 70 million pounds, it was designed by award winning architect, Richard George Rogers, Baron Rogers of Riverside. Senedd houses Siambr (debating chamber for 60 members of the National Assembly) and Committee Rooms. The building is open to visitors each day (Siambr public gallery can accommodate up to 120 people) who have access to two event spaces called The Neuadd and the Oriel. Senedd is also known for its large collection of works of arts including blue and gold glass installation called Heart of Wales by Alexander Beleschenko, Assembly Field by American sculptor Danny Lane and The Meeting Place on the Plinth by Richard Harris which serves as an unofficial sitting area.
Official website: http://www.assemblywales.org/abthome/about_us-assembly_history_buildings/senedd_history.htm
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senedd
Wales Millennium Centre (Canolfan Mileniwm Cymru)
This enormous structure has been called as “unmistakably Welsh and internationally outstanding”. It is an art centre for all types of performances including opera, ballet, dance, comedy, drama, pantomimes and musicals. The center has three main auditoriums: Donald Gordon Theatre (capacity of 1,897 seats), Hoddinott Hall (350 seats), the Weston Studio Theatre (250 seats) and three supporting performance halls: Neuadd yr Urdd Hall (153 places, recital, activity hall, conferences and events), Dance House (capacity of 100 places) and Glanfa (foyer). Wales Millenium Centre also offers access to Crema – coffee shop, Portmeirion – gift Shop, Tourist Visitor office and 9 partner organizations (Literature Wales, National Dance Company Wales, Hijinx Theatre, Touch Trust, Tŷ Cerdd, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Welsh National Opera and BBC National Orchestra of Wales).
Official website: http://www.wmc.org.uk
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wales_Millennium_Centre
Roald Dahl Plass (Plas Roald Dahl)
Roald Dahl Plass is a popular public plaza located in front of Wales Millennium Centre. It was formerly known as Oval Basin and was redecorated in 2000 by William Pye and Nicholas Hare Architects. The stone pillars you can see below on the pictures are actually concrete lamps that illuminate the plaza after nightfall. The most popular attraction is the 70 feet (21 m) Water Pillar fountain. The plaza is often used for open air concerts and serves as Doctor Who set.
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roald_Dahl_Plass
William Pye (water sculptor) official website: http://www.williampye.com/
Nicholas Hare Architects official website: http://www.nicholashare.co.uk/
Ivor Novello sculpture
Born and raised in Cardiff, Ivor Novello (real name David Ivor Davies, born on 15th of January 1893 and died on 6th March 1951) was an acclaimed poet, playwright, songwriter, actor, performer and composer. His career spanned more than 4 decades and covered every part of show business from being involved in theater, choir, movies, radio to being a manager! The 7ft (2.1m) bronze sculpture was made by artist Peter Nicholas and has been unveiled on 27th of June 2009. Apparently it cost more than 80.000 pounds (Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber was one of the donors!). It now stands next to the entrance to Roald Dahl Plass, outside the Wales Millennium Centre.
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivor_Novello
Ivor Novello Appreciation Bureau: http://www.ivornovello.com/
Ivor Novello Awards: http://www.theivors.com/
Peter Nicholas (sculptor) profile: http://peter-nicholas.artparks.co.uk/artpark_sculpture_sculptor_details.php?artistID=64&sculptor=peter_nicholas
Norwegian Church Arts Centre and Norsk Coffee Shop (Canolfan Gelfyddydau’r Eglwys Norwyaidd)
Built in 1868, the thriving arts centre, coffee house and art gallery known as Norwegian Church Arts Centre and Norsk Coffee Shop, is an iconic structure in Cardiff Bay. The church is Rita’s favorite spot and their hot chocolate is worth every penny. Originally, the church was located at the spot occupied now by Wales Millennium Centre but had to be refurbished after it fell into disrepair in late 1970’s. Moved close to Atlantic Wharf, the church is now a home to hundreds of events and exhibitions. From a temple to ruin to major tourist attraction – the transformation of this beautiful place is simply stunning. If you are in Cardiff, don’t you dare to miss it!
Official website: http://www.norwegianchurchcardiff.co.uk
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/norwegianchurchcardiff
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegian_Church,_Cardiff
Antarctic 100 (Captain Scott Memorial)
Very original mosaic sculpture located near the Norwegian Church is entitled Antarctic 100. It has been designed and sculpted by Jonathan Williams to commemorate the British Antarctic Expedition led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott in 1910. The sculpture has been unveiled on 6th June 2003 by Her Royal Highness – Anne, Princess Royal. Antarctic 100 is protected against vandals by a metal fence as it has been twice damaged. At night, this mosaic wonder is illuminated by colorful lights.
Captain Scott Society website: http://www.captainscottsociety.com/memorial.html
Jonatha Williams (sculptor) official website: http://www.williamssculpture.co.uk/
More information: http://www.vanderkrogt.net/statues/object.php?webpage=ST&record=gbwa015
Merchant Seafarers’ War Memorial
Designed, sculpted and donated by artist Brian Fell, this monumental sculpture made of riveted galvanized steel has been commissioned by the Cardiff Bay Arts Trust (now Celfwaith Public Art in Wales) in 1997. It was created using traditional ship building technique of riveting plates of metal together and is dedicated to those who served in Merchant service. The sculpture can be found near Senedd Building.
Brian Fell (sculptor) official website: http://www.brianfell.org.uk/index.php?/albums/merchant-seamans-memorial/
Celfwaith Public Art in Wales website: http://www.celfwaith.co.uk/
Merchant Seafarers’ War Memorial at Geograph: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3112403
More information: http://lost-at-sea-memorials.com/?p=681
Mermaid Quey (Cei’r Fôr-forwyn)
30 restaurants, coffee houses and bars, 20 shops, 14,000 m² (150,000 sq ft.), one million visitors a year – this is a short description of Mermaid Quey. The world’s largest waterfront development was opened in 1999 and has numerous water taxi stands, bay trips, cruises, large arts and crafts area, Landsea Gardens & Graving Docks relaxation space (called Landsea Square) and a web of well established public paths leading to Doctor Who Exhibition, hotels, World of Boats showroom, city center and Techniquest – a science and discovery centre.
Cardiff Bay (Bae Caerdydd)
Cardiff Bay is called the most successful redevelopment project in the history of Great Britain. At the beginning of 20th century, Cardiff port was one of the biggest ports in Europe, exporting coal and steel from the mines in South Wales to almost every part of the globe. It had a vibrant multicultural character, habituated by people of 45 different nationalities. When the coal deposits depleted, the port fell into disuse and was sold in 1986 to Cardiff Bay Development Corporation. Extensive revitalization plans were undertaken in 1990’s a now the area of 1,100 hectares (2,700 acres) is completely unrecognizable! The Bay was once a tidal bay with extensive mudflats, but it has been changed after the creation of Cardiff Bay Barrage in 2001. Now the bay is an artificial fresh water lake 500-acre (2.0 km2) supplied by rivers Ely and Taff.
Cardiff Harbour Authority: http://www.cardiffharbour.com/
Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre: http://www.visitcardiff.com/
Cardiff Bay Waterfront Partnership: http://www.visitcardiffbay.info/
County Council of the City and County of Cardiff: https://www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/Pages/default.aspx
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiff_bay
Wanna go for a ride? The only one Welsh themed carousel in the world is standing right in the front of The Pierhead Building. You can ride on a horse, sit in dragon chariot and listen to traditional Welsh organ music. The carrousel is opened every day from April to October the first. It is a property of Norman Sayers Amusements, a family run firm that specializes in outdoor recreation and events.
Norman Sayers Amusements website: http://sayers-amusements.co.uk/
NSA on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Norman-Sayers-Amusements/246377972218286 – they joined on May 7th 2014 and have only several likes. Give them a shout, they are doing a good job!
Welsh Coffee Company
When in Wales, do as the Welsh. There is nothing better than relaxing near the Millennium Centre with a cup of freshly brewed coffee in your hand. Welsh Coffee Company is a 100% Welsh family run company, fair trade certified and established in 2011. They make a really strong, aromatic drink from authentic Arabica beans “shade grown at altitude under a canopy of rain forest”. The owners are also experienced dragon handlers as they use native Red Welsh dragon species to roast the beans. If you haven’t tried their coffee yet, do it next time when visiting Cardiff Bay. You can buy it from cafeteria in Wales Millennium Centre.
Welsh Coffee Company website: http://www.welshcoffee.com/
Welsh Coffee Company on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Welsh-Coffee-Company/172392379469098
WCC on Twitter: https://twitter.com/welshcoffeeco
Wow, that was a long and exhausting journey!
Hang in there as this is just one of our summer trips to Wales.
More to come very, very soon.
Rita and Mal
(this entry is dedicated to our Welsh friend Rebecca. Thanks for your help with writing!! xx)