Discover the City of Cardiff, the capital of Wales, and the home of the National Assembly
Discover the City of Cardiff, the capital of Wales, the home of the National Assembly. See the great castle and delve into 2000 years of history on a private tour of Wales.
The Romans first occupied Cardiff and constructed a fort around AD 55. In the 13th Century, the town had grown enough to receive a Royal Charter but remained a quiet backwater. During the 19th Century, Cardiff’s became a boomtown; it became the busiest coal exporting port on earth.
Explore the covered market, Cardiff Castle and Fagans National History Museum on a private tour of Cardiff.
The Capital of Wales
Coal exporting powerhouse
A brief history of Cardiff
There is evidence of human habitation in the Cardiff area from around 6000 BC. There are also the remains of Iron Age forts. The warlike and powerful Celtic tribe the Silures dominated the region before the arrival of the Romans.
The Romans built an eight-acre stronghold; parts of the original wall are embedded in the current castle. Although Caerdydd (Cardiff) was a military outpost on the North Western border of the Empire, the city became a civilian town and then abandoned in the late 4th Century. The Roman Empire begins to crumble. We sink into a period known as the dark ages; humanity in northern Europe became mostly illiterate, allowing events in history to go on without record.
The next wave of invasion brings the Normans to British shores. Under the leadership of William the Conqueror, the Normans subdued most of England and southern Wales brutally. The site of the Old Roman fort is utilised to build a new castle and used to launch attacks into surrounding lands. By the later middle ages, Cardiff is important enough to receive a Royal Charter.
The Great Storm Surge
The fertile plains to the south and the port generated prosperity. Further, Royal charters were granted, giving Cardiff trading prestige. On 30 January, a Tsunami (or giant storm surge) devested western England and Wales; the waters flooded many towns, farmland, and Bristol and Cardiff.
Modern Cardiff and Coal
After the Civil war (1642-51) ) Although now peaceful, Cardiff remained an obscure place for long periods with a decline in population under 2000. The 2nd Marquess of Bute (John Crichton-Stuart 1793-1848) spent his life building modern docks, making him the creator of modern Cardiff. Coal from the mines of South Wales exported their coal through the new Cardiff docks, the world’s busiest coal exporting port.
Steamships owners used the super-high-quality coal from the Rhondda valley to fuel journeys around the globe. Ultimately, coal from South Wales facilitated the reach of the British Empire. From the early 20th Century, Ships moved from coal to oil, which led to the decline of Cardiff.
Today, after much investment Cardiff has been renewed, upgraded and developed. It remains an extremely exciting capital city and has some superb attractions.
Highlights of Cardiff
Cardiff Castle began life as a Roman Fort; see the 1st-century building elements in the stonework. In the 12th-century, a vast medieval stronghold grew up within the ruins of the Roman remains. The banqueting hall murals depict the history of the castle in a grand style. The roof garden with a glass enclosure gives the building an exotic Mediterranean feel.
Wales Millennium Centre
The Wales Millennium Centre is a cultural centre. When visiting Cardiff, see musical productions, Welsh music concerts, dance, and theatre.
The market has been trading in some form for over 300 years. The Victorian arcaded space is a delight. Yes, you can buy fruit and veg, and also Welsh cheese, vintage clothing, vinyl records, and see a psychic medium.
National Museum Cardiff
Enjoy a fabulous art gallery and see exhibitions relating to Welsh culture. Take a journey through the evolution of Wales, from the big bang to local dino fossils.
St Fagans National History Museum
Set in the grounds of St Fagan Castle, a fine Elizabethan Manor House, the museum has saved historic buildings from all over Wales, dismantled them and re-built them on a 100-acre site. Wonder through the grounds and see schools, old bakehouses, ancient cottages, a Sawmill and a pigsty. The whole experience is a fascinating insight into life in Wales in the past.
There has been a place of Christian worship on the site since the 6th Century. The current building dates from 1120 AD, although old churches often go through many restorations and remodelling. On 2 January 1941, a German landmine exploded, devastating the structure. The restoration took place in the 1950s.
The Rossetti Triptych is a visit highlight; Dante Gabriel Rossetti was commissioned in 1855 to create a triple panelled alter piece. The nativity scene features fellow members and associates of the Pre-Raphealite brotherhood, who modelled for Rossetti. They are; Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, Lizzie Siddal, Algernon Swinburne, Fanny Cornforth, and Jane Burden.
Touring and accommodation
Our Tour Designers will tailor a private tour of Wales based on your interests. Spending a day in Cardiff allows you to see the highlights. Cardiff Castle and Fagans National Museum are superb attractions. Cardiff is a 3hr drive from London and 1hr 20 mins from Bath. Cardiff is an hour from the Cotswolds and 30 mins to the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Heritage sites nearby include the majestic ruins of Tintern Abbey and the great medieval fortification of Chepstow Castle. On the western edge of the Brecons Beacons is the intriguing Carreg Cennen Castle with a secret tunnel, and nature lovers with want to walk the Four Falls Trail. The half-day hike takes you under a dark green canopy of old trees with stops at magical waterfalls.
Our recommended five-star hotel is Celtic Manor Hotel and Resort. Enjoy the spa, world-class golf course and choice of lodges or hotel rooms. Those who prefer to visit Cardiff on a day trip from Bath stay at the five-star Royal Crescent Hotel and take a Cotswolds, the Brecon Beacons National Park and Cardiff day tour.
The Proud Capital of Wales
- Private Walking Tours
- Visit Cardiff Castle
- Fagan's National Museum
- Llandaff Cathedral
- The Covered Market
Cardiff Castle Interior
Vintage Clothing at Cardiff Market
St Teilo's Church Interior, St Fagans National Museum
The Millennium Stadium
Help us make your trip exceptional
Our UK, EU and US office-based staff will listen to what you want to see and experience.
Whether you are a honeymoon couple, a family or a corporate incentive group, our team’s collective resources will be brought together to build the experience that’s right for you.
We will require your arrival and departure dates, details of your personal preferences and places that you would like to visit as well as the events you would like to experience.
We will then prepare a draft itinerary and send it to you by email for your approval. Once agreed, we will send you a Booking Confirmation with Personalised Itinerary and Information Pack via email.