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Cardiff bay

There are precious few countries that share the same passion for rugby as the people of Wales, with Cardiff serving as the cathedral for what is a national religion.

The Welsh capital has seen its fair share of rugby legends over the years and there will surely be many more to come, meaning a visit to Cardiff is a must for any fan.

The city, which is the largest in Wales, is home to most of of the country's cultural and sporting institutions, as well as the Welsh national media and the seat of the National Assembly for Wales.

Cardiff is a significant tourist centre and the most popular visitor destination in Wales with 18.3 million visitors in 2010 alone.

In 2011, Cardiff was ranked sixth in National Geographic's global list of alternative tourist destinations.

Principality Stadium

First opened ahead of the 1999 Rugby World Cup, Principality Stadium (formerly called the Millennium Stadium) is the undoubtedly one of the finest stadiums in the world. Although it's hosted everything from speedway to football, it is unquestionably the home of Welsh rugby.

The stadium boasts a capacity of just over 74,000 and is the only the stadium in the UK with a retractable roof.  

The North Stand of the stadium backs out onto Cardiff Arms Park, the home of local sides Cardiff Blues and Cardiff RFC.

The predecessors to the Millennium have hosted crowds that have borne witness to some of the country's most electrifying rugby. Since Wales first started to compete on the international stage in 1881, the locals have been treated to plenty of success in the Six Nations and its previous incarnations, enjoying 25 titles and 11 Grand Slams. The most recent success was in the 2013, which was capped by a 30-3 thumping of bitter rivals England. 

Getting Around

principality stadium

The stadium is unique due to its central location, meaning it is largely accessible on foot from almost anywhere in city.

Cardiff is primarily served by two rail stations, both of which are within a short walk of the stadium. Cardiff Central is the main station, providing connections with the rest of the UK, including Newport, Bristol, Manchester and London.

Meanwhile, Cardiff Queen Street only serves destinations within Wales, including those to the Vale of Glamorgan and the South Wales Valleys. It's worth noting that Cardiff Bay is nowhere near the ground.

Due to its compact nature, much of Cardiff is easy to explore on foot. However, the city does also boast an extensive bus network throughout the city and the local area.

Most of the inner-city buses move around the city-centre in an anti-clockwise direction while Trawscymru run the express bus service T9 between Cardiff and Cardiff Airport.

Fans coming by car can park at one of the many nearby NCP car park and at the St David's Centre

What to see

Cardiff Castle

Take a short walk into the city centre and you will find Cardiff Castle, one of the Welsh capital's most popular tourist attractions.

The site boasts some 2,000 years of history and has been the home of Roman soldiers, noble knights, and the Bute family. A guided tour round this wonderful sight is well worth it.

Visitors looking for a bit of culture should head to the National Museum, which has collections of archaeology, botany, fine art, geology and zoology, all with free admission.

Meanwhile, head to Cardiff Bay and you will find the Welsh National Assembly, which stands as a beacon of devolutionary powers across Wales.

The Bay is also home to the Millennium centre, which hosts various shows and cultural events throughout the year. Much of the iconic Dr Who series is also filmed in and around this part of town.

Where to drink

Cardiff cityscape

Getting a drink is never difficult in Cardiff, although many bars can be pretty busy on match day. That said there are plenty of options in the surrounding areas of the Millennium Stadium.

The West End of the city is particularly lively and is home to a large number of bars, pubs and restaurants.

For a simple bite to eat, head to Caroline Street (near the Motorpoint Arena), otherwise known as 'Chippy Lane'. Here you will find some of the most popular takeaways in the city.

If you're looking to get away from the bustle of the city centre, then head to Cardiff Bay, where there are a number of trendy restaurants and bars that will suit all tastes.

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