Cardiff Bay in 37 clicks

Hello world!

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!

Roath Lock
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:
Wikipedia entry:


Roath Lock entrance
Roath Lock entrance


Roath Lock studios
Roath Lock studios

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.

Official website:
Wikipedia entry:


National Assembly for Wales entrance
National Assembly for Wales entrance


Tŷ Hywel
Tŷ Hywel


Tŷ Hywel , picture taken from the main street
Tŷ Hywel , picture taken from the main street


Tŷ Hywel - Vview from the car park
Tŷ Hywel – view from the car park

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.

Official website:
Wikipedia entry:


Western facade of Pierhead Building
Western facade of Pierhead Building


The Big Ben of Wales block tower
The Big Ben of Wales clock tower

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:
Wikipedia entry:


The main entrance to National Assembly building
The main entrance to National Assembly building

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:
Wikipedia entry:


A view on  The Wales Millenium Centre from Roald Dahl Plass
View of Wales Millenium Centre from Roald Dahl Plass


Wales Millenium Centre - front
Wales Millennium Centre – front


Two poetic inscription  on the front of the building: "Creu Gwir fel gwydr o ffwrnais awen" (Creating truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration in Welsh) and  In These Stones Horizons Sing in English
Two poetic inscription on the front of the building: “Creu Gwir fel gwydr o ffwrnais awen” (Creating truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration in Welsh) and In These Stones Horizons Sing in English


Wales Millenium Centre  - a side view
Wales Millennium Centre – a side view


Wales Millennium Centre  again
Wales Millennium Centre again


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:
William Pye (water sculptor) official website:
Nicholas Hare Architects official website:


Roald Dahl Plass 1
Roald Dahl Plass 1


Roald Dahl Plass - circle of illuminating pillars
Roald Dahl Plass 2 – circle of illuminating pillars


Entrance to Roald Dahl Plass
Entrance to Roald Dahl Plass


Tardis was parked in this exact spot in "Boom Town" - the eleventh episode of the first series Doctor Who
Tardis was parked in this exact spot in “Boom Town” – the eleventh episode of the first series of revived Doctor Who


Roald Dahl Plass  from a distance
Roald Dahl Plass from a distance


Water Pillar fountain
Water Pillar fountain by William Pye

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:
Ivor Novello Appreciation Bureau:
Ivor Novello Awards:
Peter Nicholas (sculptor) profile:


Ivor Novello sculpture1
Ivor Novello sculpture –  front


Ivor Novello sculpture - back
Ivor Novello sculpture – back


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:
Official Facebook:
Wikipedia entry:,_Cardiff


Norwegian Church Arts Centre - a portrait of a dog 1
Norwegian Church Arts Centre – a portrait of a dog 1


Norwegian Church Arts Centre - a portrait of a dog 2
Norwegian Church Arts Centre – a portrait of a dog 2


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:
Jonatha Williams (sculptor) official website:
More information:


Antarctic 100 Captain Scott Memorial sculpture - side view
Antarctic 100
Captain Scott Memorial sculpture – side view


Antarctic 100 Captain Scott Memorial - front view
Antarctic 100
Captain Scott Memorial – front view

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:
Celfwaith Public Art in Wales website:
Merchant Seafarers’ War Memorial at Geograph:
More information:


Merchant Seafarers’ War Memorial by Brian Fell
Merchant Seafarers’ War Memorial by Brian Fell


Another shot of the sculpture
Another shot of the sculpture

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.

Official website:
Wikipedia entry:
Crafts in the Bay:


Water Taxi at Mermaid Quey
Boat Hire at Mermaid Quey


Water Taxi and  Bay rides
Water Taxi and Bay rides


Landsea Gardens
Landsea Gardens


 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:
Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre:
Cardiff Bay Waterfront Partnership:
County Council of the City and County of Cardiff:
Wikipedia entry:


Official map of the Cardiff Bay
Official map of the Cardiff Bay


Cardiff Bay 1
Cardiff Bay 1


Cardiff Bay 2
Cardiff Bay 2


Cardiff Bay3
Cardiff Bay3


Cardiff Bay
Cardiff Bay

Welsh Carousel

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:
NSA on Facebook: – they joined on May 7th 2014 and have only several likes. Give them a shout, they are doing a good job!


Welsh themed carousel
Welsh themed carousel

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:
Welsh Coffee Company on Facebook:
WCC on Twitter:


And that's the reason why  we keep dragons in Wales!
And that’s the reason why we keep dragons in Wales!

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)


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