Facts about Cardiff

Cool facts about Cardiff

From polar explorers to a radio first, there’s more to Cardiff than meets the eye.

The history of Cardiff
First settled by the Romans in 55AD, Cardiff was granted city status in 1905 and in 1955 was named the capital city of Wales. Cardiff (or Caerdydd as it’s known in Welsh) is home to an estimated 350,000 people and welcomes some 18 million visitors every year. The city made its fortune through coal and by the turn of the 20th century, it was the greatest exporter of coal in the world. Many areas of the city, such as Bute Park and the district of Butetown, are named after the Bute family, who developed the coal trade in Cardiff and built the city’s civic buildings. In the 1860s, the third Marquess of Bute, John Crichton-Stuart, was said to be the richest man in the world, due in large part to the city’s thriving coal trade. And in 1907 the world’s first £1 million deal was struck in the city’s Coal Exchange.
Cardiff celebrities
What do Shirley Bassey, Ivor Novello, Roald Dahl and Gareth Bale have in common? They were all born in Cardiff. Bassey is one of a number of singers to be born in the Welsh capital along with Charlotte Church and 1980s star Shakin’ Stevens. Author Roald Dahl was born in the city in 1916 and christened in the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay. There’s a blue plaque on the site of an old sweetshop in Llandaff where the author and his school friends placed a mouse in a jar of sweets as a joke – a tale recounted in Dahl’s autobiography Boy. Other famous Cardiffians include footballers Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy, actor Matthew Rhys, author Ken Follett and the broadcaster John Humphrys.
Island life
It’s a little known fact that Cardiff has its very own island. The island of Flat Holm (or Ynys Echni in Welsh) lies five miles off the Cardiff coast and a day trip to the island is one of the most unusual things to do in Cardiff. Visiting the island, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, is dependent on the tides, but once there you can explore the sea bird colonies and old buildings, which include war time barracks and a ruined cholera hospital, or stop for a drink at the Gull and Leek, the most southerly pub in Wales. It’s also where the world’s first radio signal was sent over sea when the Italian inventor Marconi successfully transmitted a message via Morse code from the island to nearby Lavernock Point on 13 May 1897 that said “Are you ready?”
Scott of the Antarctic
One of the most interesting facts about Cardiff is that the Polar explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott set sail from the city in the Terra Nova in June 1910 for his doomed expedition to the South Pole. Scott was aiming to become the first person to reach the South Pole and arrived there in 1912, only to find the explorer Roald Amundsen had beaten him to it. Captain Scott and his two remaining team members perished from cold and starvation on 29th March 1912 during the 800-mile trek back to base. Evidence of Captain Scott can be found throughout the city. There’s a lighthouse dedicated to him in Roath Park lake, and a blue plaque outside The Royal Hotel on St Mary’s Street marks the spot where a fundraising event for the expedition was held. There’s also a small exhibition dedicated to Scott in Cardiff Bay.
City of castles
Cardiff is reputedly home to more castles than any other city in Europe – although most of those castles now lie in ruins. The most famous of these is Cardiff Castle, which dominates the city centre and boasts a Norman keep and the remains of a Roman fort within its walls. On the outskirts of the city is Castell Coch, a Victorian folly built on the remains of an ancient castle, and St Fagans Castle, an Elizabethan manor house, now part of the St Fagans National History Museum. You can also find the remains of Morgraig Castle on the edge of the suburb of Thornhill, while other castles, now destroyed, include those in the districts of Rumney and Llandaff.
City of castles
Cardiff is reputedly home to more castles than any other city in Europe – although most of those castles now lie in ruins. The most famous of these is Cardiff Castle, which dominates the city centre and boasts a Norman keep and the remains of a Roman fort within its walls. On the outskirts of the city is Castell Coch, a Victorian folly built on the remains of an ancient castle, and St Fagans Castle, an Elizabethan manor house, now part of the St Fagans National History Museum. You can also find the remains of Morgraig Castle on the edge of the suburb of Thornhill, while other castles, now destroyed, include those in the districts of Rumney and Llandaff.
We recommend

Find out why Edinburgh is a place that many tourists fall instantly in love with
A compact centre and cultural vibrance make this northern city a top weekend destination
Novotel travel ideas
The places Londoners love to go to escape it all
Visit the local museums, have a close encounter with exotic wildlife or find out where Cadbury chocolate is made



Share by Email Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
ript> votel.com/gb/city/hotels-swansea-v3921.shtml" class="btn btn-border btn-small uppercase btn-effect" data-xiti="content::::nearbyhotels&f1=[]&f2=[cardiff]"> See the hotels