The capital and largest city in Wales, Cardiff is located in the southeastern part of the country. Home to about 365,000 residents, the mid-size city owes its contemporary success to the coal mining industry, which began operating in the Cardiff region beginning in the late 19th century. The mining industry increased the city’s population and wealth along with that of Cardiff’s suburbs. Today, Cardiff remains Wales’ economic and commercial hub, as well as a major destination in the United Kingdom.
Flights to Cardiff arrive at Cardiff International Airport (CWL). Owned and operated by the government of Wales, it is the only airport in the country that handles commercial passenger flights. About 860,000 travelers arrive on flights to Cardiff International Airport each year. Direct Cardiff flights are available from Bulgaria, Ireland, Spain, France, Greece, and the Netherlands as well as from other large cities in the United Kingdom. Some flights to Cardiff are seasonal, operating only during the summer tourist season, when volume is at its peak.
Cheap flights to Cardiff can often be booked on the Irish low-cost carrier, Ryanair. This option can be helpful for travelers or tourists looking to visit the area on a tight budget.
Business travelers who book tickets to Cardiff often work in the banking and finance industries, as the city is Wales’ financial hub. Although the coal industry is no longer the city’s main source of economic growth, Cardiff is still home to several energy companies, including British Gas and SWALEC Energy. Cardiff’s financial firms include multinational companies such as Zurich Insurance Group, ING Direct, Legal & General, Admiral Insurance, and Llyods Banking Group.
Cardiff is a popular tourist destination, especially for residents of the United Kingdom. About 18 million leisure travelers fly to Cardiff each year to enjoy the city’s castles and historic sites, shopping areas, museums, and festivals.
The city is home to several popular shopping areas including Saint David’s Centre. At 700,000 square feet, it is the largest retail area in Wales and one of the busiest in the United Kingdom. Cardiff’s Castle Quarter is also popular with shoppers. The historic neighborhood is home to several shopping streets lined with boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. It gets its name because Castle Quarter is the closest part of city center to Cardiff Castle. Though the neighborhood is retail heavy, there are plenty of historic sites to see. Many Victorian and Edwardian arcades can be explored throughout Castle Quarter, and the Truffles tea room is famous for being the location where John Wesley first began to preach Methodism. The Animal Wall is on Castle Street is a long series of 15 animals sculptured into a wall.
During the holidays, Castle Quarter is home to a sprawling Christmas market that only seems to grow in size each year. In other seasons, many pop up events and art initiatives add beauty, culture, and liveliness to the area.
Among the city’s notable historic sites are its many castles. The medieval Cardiff Castle, built in the 11th century, is located in the center of the city. Just north of Cardiff is the Castle Coch, which was originally built as a fortification to protect the city in the 2nd century. Castle Coch was renovated in the 19th century in the gothic revival style and is today open to visitors. Other castles in the greater Cardiff region include the Elizabethan-era Saint Fagan Castle, built in the 16th century, and the remains of Llandaff Castle, Twmpath Castle, Morganstown Castle, and Morgraig Castle.
Notable people from Cardiff include children’s book author Roald Dahl; historical thriller author Ken Follet; and Game of Thrones actor, Iwan Rheon.