2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of Great Britain

City of Cardiff
- Total
- % Water
Ranked 19th
140 km²
? %
Admin HQ Cardiff
ISO 3166-2 GB-CRF
Postcode CF-- ---
Telephone code 029
ONS code 00PT
Traditional county Glamorgan
Ceremonial county South Glamorgan
Coordinates 51°29N 3°11W
- (2005 est.)
- Density
Ranked 1st
Ranked 1st
2,263 / km²
Ethnicity 91.57% White
1.99% Mixed
3.96% S. Asian
1.28% Black
1.20% Chinese or other.
Welsh language
- Any skills
Ranked 18th

Cardiff County Council
Control NOC (Liberal Democrat administration)
Welsh Assembly and UK Parliament Constituencies
  • Cardiff West
  • Cardiff South
  • Cardiff North
  • Cardiff Central
  • Vale of Glamorgan

Cardiff (English: Cardiff  Welsh: Caerdydd ) is the capital of Wales and its largest city. Located on the south coast of Wales it is administered as a unitary authority. It was a small town until the early nineteenth century and came to prominence following the arrival of industry in the region and the use of Cardiff as a major port for the transport of coal. It eventually grew to become the largest city in Wales and a major centre of culture, sport and history in the UK. Cardiff was made a city in 1905 and proclaimed capital of Wales in 1955.


Millennium Stadium
Millennium Stadium

Cardiff is bordered to the west by the rural district known as the Vale of Glamorgan, to the east by the city of Newport, to the north by the South Wales Valleys and to the south by the Bristol Channel. The River Taff (Afon Taf in Welsh) winds through the centre of the city and together with the River Ely (Afon Elai in Welsh) flows into the freshwater lake of Cardiff Bay. A third river, the Rhymney (Afon Rhymni in Welsh) flows through the east of the city entering directly into the Bristol Channel. A fourth river, the Lleucu, (Afon Lleucu in Welsh) has been culverted.

Cardiff is built on reclaimed marshland on a bed of Triassic stones; this reclaimed marshland stretches from Chepstow to the Ely estuary, which is the natural boundary of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Triassic landscapes are usually shallow and low-lying which accounts and explains Cardiff's flatness. The classic Triassic marl, sand and conglomorate rocks are used predominantly throughout Cardiff as building materials. Many of these Triassic rocks have a purple complexion, especially the coastal marl found near Penarth. One of the Triassic rocks used in Cardiff is "Radyr Stone", a free-stone which as it name suggests is quarried in the Radyr district. Cardiff has also imported some materials for buildings: Devonian sandstones (the Old Red Sandstone) from the Brecon Beacons has been used. Most famously, the superbly elegant buildings of Cathays Park, arguably Britain's finest civic centre buildings are built of Portland stone which was imported from Dorset. A widely used building stone in Cardiff are the surreal yellow-grey Lias limestone rocks of the Vale of Glamorgan, including the very rare "Sutton Stone", a conglomerate of lias limestone and carboniferous limestone that is, apart from Radyr Stone, the only free-stone in South-East Wales (freestones can be cut to a perfectly smooth surface). The yellow-ish complexion of the lias limestone used mainly in the city centre give Cardiff an unusually sunny, light and breezy complexion for a city in the U.K..

Cardiff is situated near to the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, stretching westward from Penarth and Barry (which are commuter towns of Cardiff), with its striped yellow-blue Jurassic "lias" limestone/carboniferous limestone cliffs that thrust outwards towards the Bristol Channel. The Glamorgan coast is the only part of the Celtic Sea that has exposed Jurassic ( blue lias) geology. This west facing stretch of coast, which takes the brunt of brutal Atlantic westerlies and has reefs, sandbanks and serrated cliffs aplenty (like Cornwall) was a ship graveyard during the age of sail; ships sailing upto Cardiff during the industrial era often never made it as far as Cardiff as most were wrecked around this hostile coastline during brutal west/south-westerly gales. Consequently, just like its Celtic cousin in Cornwall, smuggling, deliberate shipwrecking and attacks on ships became a way of life for many people living in the small coastal villages of the Vale.

Cardiff is linked to the West Somerset/North Devon seaside resorts (such as Minehead, Ilfracombe and Lundy Island) via the paddle steamers Waverley and Balmoral which sail from Penarth pier, as they have done for over 150 years. Sailing across the Bristol Channel to North Devon is a much a part of Cardiffian life as a pint of Brains and watching rugby. In fact, Devon's tourist trade began in the 19th century when the paddle steamers spent weekends crusing the Bristol Channel taking the expanding population of Cardiff to places such as Lynmouth, Ilfracombe, Bideford and Clovelly.

Cardiff is a relatively flat city and its geographic features were influential in its development as one of the world's largest coal ports. Most notably this included its proximity and easy access to the coal fields of the south Wales valleys. Cardiff has a relatively dry climate compared to most of Wales , with an average rainfall of 1,065 mm. It is also a relatively mild city, with an average January temperature of 4.5 °C and an average July temperature of 16 °C

Since 1922 Cardiff has included the suburban cathedral 'village' of Llandaff, whose bishop is currently Archbishop of Wales. Since 1916 Cardiff has been the seat of a Catholic archbishop, but there appears to have been a fall in the estimated Catholic and Jewish population of the city. There are a significant number of Nonconformist chapels.


There have been seven major expansions to Cardiff's boundaries between the years 1875-1996. Before 1875 Cardiff was comprised of the two parishes of St John and St Mary and totalled an area of 7.86 km², however this had increased to 139.53 km² by 1996. The first expansion, of 1875 included the areas of and around Canton and Roath. The expansion of 1922 took in the areas between Ely and Llanishen. The next expansion in 1938 incorporated Rumney in Monmouthshire into the city. Further expansion in 1974 included an arc from St Fagans in the west, through Lisvane in the north and St Mellons in the east. The most recent expansion of 1996 has brought the areas of and around Creigiau and Pentyrch into the city's boundaries.

Roughly speaking, "Inner Cardiff" can be considered to consist of the following wards: Penylan, Plasnewydd, Gabalfa, Roath, Cathays, Adamsdown and Splott ward on the north and east of the city centre, and Butetown, Grangetown, Riverside and Canton to the south and west. The inner-city areas to the south of the A4161 road known as the "Southern Arc" are, with the exception of affluent and trendy Cardiff Bay, some of the poorest districts of Wales with low levels of economic activity and high ethnic minority populations. The proximity of these areas to Cardiff Bay have led some critics of the project to argue that the regeneration scheme has failed as it has done little to improve the economic prospects of local people, and may have worsened problems of exclusion and alienation. On the other hand Gabalfa, Plasnewydd and Cathays have very large student populations, and Pontcanna in Riverside is a favourite for young professionals. Penylan which lies to the north east side of Roath Park is an affluent area popular with those with older children and the retired.

"Suburban Cardiff" can be broken down into three distinct areas. To the west lie Ely, Caerau and Fairwater which contain some of the largest housing estates in the United Kingdom. With the exception of some of the outlying privately built estates at Michaelston Super Ely and 1930s developments near Waun-Gron Road, this is an economically disadvantaged area with high numbers of workless households. Radyr, Llandaff, Llandaff North, Whitchurch & Tongwynlais, Rhiwbina, Heath, Llanishen, Lisvane, and Cyncoed which lie in an arc from thenorth west to the north east of the centre can be considered the main middle class suburbs of the city. In particular, Cyncoed, Radyr and Lisvane contain some of the most expensive housing in Wales, and the last of these is likely to see considerable expansion in coming years with the council planning 4000 houses in the area. Further to the east lie the wards of Pontprennau & Old St Mellons, Rumney, Pentwyn, Llanrumney and Trowbridge. The latter 3 are again largely of public housing stock, although new private housing is being built in Trowbridge in considerable number. Pontprennau is the newest 'suburb' of Cardiff, whilst Old St Mellons has a history going back to the Norman Conquest.

To the North West of the city lies a region that may be called "Rural Cardiff" containing the villages of St Fagans, Creigiau and Pentyrch. The latter two are primarily "planned" communities developed from the mid 20th century and are popular with families looking for green space close to the city. St Fagans, home to the Museum of Welsh Life, is protected from further development.


The Norman Keep, Cardiff Castle.
The Norman Keep, Cardiff Castle.

The name Cardiff is an Anglicisation of the Welsh name "Caerdydd". There is uncertainty concerning the origin of "Caerdydd"—"Caer" means "fort" or "castle," but although "Dydd" means "Day" in modern Welsh, it is unclear what was meant in this context. Some believe that "Dydd" or "Diff" was a corruption of " Taff", the river on which Cardiff castle stands, in which case "Cardiff" would mean "the fort on the river Taff" (in Welsh the T mutates to D).

Others favour a link with Aulus Didius Gallus, as it is known that the Romans established a fort in Cardiff when he was governor of the nearby province, in which case Cardiff might mean "the Fort of Didius". A Norman castle still exists, within the site of the earlier Roman fort, but was substantially altered and extended during the Victorian period by John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, and the architect William Burges. Original Roman work can, however, still be distinguished in the wall facings.

There is a second castle north of the city, called Castell Coch (Welsh: "the Red Castle"). The current castle is an elaborately decorated Victorian folly designed by Burges for the Marquess and built in the 1870s. However, the Victorian castle stands on the footings of a much older medieval castle possibly built by Ivor Bach, a regional baron with links to Cardiff Castle also. The exterior has become a popular location for film and television productions.

Situated on the narrowest part of the south Wales coastal plain, Cardiff had a crucial strategic importance in the wars between the Normans (who had occupied lowland Wales) and the Welsh who maintained their hold on the Uplands. As a result Cardiff claims to have the largest concentration of Castles of any city in Europe. As well as Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch the remains of Castell Morgraig, Bishop's Castle, Y Twmpath, Ruperra Castle and Saint Fagans Castle are still in existence while Whitchurch Castle and King's Castle have disappeared under later developments.


Cardiff has a chequered linguistic history with Latin, English, Welsh, and Norse dominating at different times. Although it was the Romans who established the "castle on the Taff" it was the Vikings who first began developing the maritime trade from which the town (later to become a city) was to derive its prosperity. The Vikings - who controlled the Bristol Channel - used Cardiff as a raiding base, a port and a trading post. Many street-names in Cardiff are of Viking origin including Dumballs Road and the oldest street in the city, Womanby Street. Womanby Street is a corruption of the original Norse name Humandaby Street. Some believe that Welsh was the majority language from the thirteenth century until the city's explosive growth in Victorian times. As late as 1850 five of the twelve Anglican churches within the current city boundaries conducted their services exclusively in Welsh, while only two worshipped exclusively in English.

A substantial Irish population settled in Cardiff during the 19th century. They were drawn to Cardiff by the work available on major building and engineering projects in the docks and the city itself. The Irish are credited with having introduced the distinctive flat-vowelled "Cardiff accent". By 1891 the percentage of Welsh speakers had dropped to 27.9% and only Lisvane, Llanedyrn and Creigiau remained as majority Welsh-speaking communities. The Welsh language became grouped around a small cluster of Chapels and Churches, the most notable of which is Tabernacl in the city centre, one of four UK churches chosen to hold official services to commemerate the new millennium. Following the establishment of the city's first Welsh School Ysgol Gymraeg Bryntaf in the 1950s Welsh has slowly regained some ground.

Aided by Welsh-medium education and migration from rural Wales the number of Welsh speakers in Cardiff rose by 14,451 between 1991 and 2001 and is now spoken by 11% of Cardiffians. The highest percentage of Welsh speakers is in Creigiau where over twenty per cent of the population are able to speak the language.

Capital City Status

King Edward VII granted Cardiff city status on October 28, 1905. It was then proclaimed capital city of Wales on December 20, 1955, by a Written Reply by the Home Secretary. Caernarfon had also vied for this title. Cardiff therefore celebrated two important anniversaries in 2005.

The city is county town of Glamorgan, although this role has diminished since council reorganisation in 1974 paired Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan together as the new county of South Glamorgan. Further local government restructuring in 1996 resulted in Cardiff City's district council becoming a unitary authority.

On March 1, 2004, Cardiff was granted Fairtrade City status.


Cardiff's population is a growing one, with a likely population figure exceeding 321,000 in 2006 representing an increase of over 10,000 since the 2001 final revised Census estimates of 310,400. The Council has also predicted growth of 16,000 in the decade following 2011, which, extrapolating current growth rates until that date would give a population of the county borough of 333,000 in 2011 and 349,000 in 2021. The population of the urban area (which officially includes Dinas Powys & Penarth) will thus pass 380,000 within the next 15 years. If one also includes the towns of Caerphilly, Barry, Llantrisant and some other neighbouring towns in an unofficial larger metropolitan area, the population would approach 500,000 by the same date. The ethnic make-up of Cardiff's population ,at the time of the 2001 census was: 91.6% white, 2% mixed race, 4% Asian, 1.3% Black, 1.2% Chinese or other ethnic origin. 66.9% described themselves as Christian, below the Welsh and UK average, while 3.7% described themselves as Muslim, significantly above the Welsh average but in line with the UK average. The proportion of people declaring themselves to be Hindu, Sikh and Jewish were all considerably higher than the Welsh averages, but less than the UK figures. 18.8% stated they had no religion, while 8.6% did not state a religion.

Official estimates derived from the census are controversial. The city council has published two articles that argue the 2001 census seriously under reports the population of Cardiff and, in particular, the ethnic minority population of some inner city areas. If this work is given credence, a current official population of approximately 340,000 with up to 11% ethnic minority would be preferred. </ref>

Year Population Year Population Year Population
1801 6,342 1941 257,112 1981 274,500
1851 26,630 1951 267,356 1991 272,557
1901 172,629 1961 278,552 2001 305,340
1921 227,753 1971 290,227 Source:


Cardiff Central Market on St Mary Street in the Town Centre
Cardiff Central Market on St Mary Street in the Town Centre


Cardiff was originally a small town - much smaller than Swansea and Merthyr Tydfil. What changed it was the demand for iron, brought to the sea by packhorse from Merthyr. The Ironmasters, the proprietors of the smelters in Dowlais and Merthyr, wanted to reduce the cost of carrying iron by road to ships berthed in the estuary of the River Taff at Cardiff. They sought permission of Parliament to build a 25-mile long canal from Merthyr (510 feet above sea-level) to the Taff Estuary at Cardiff.

Work on building the Glamorganshire Canal began in 1790, took eight years and involved installing 50 locks. The Cardiff Sea Lock, which enabled barges to unload iron into sea-going ships, was built at Harrowby St (Harrowby - a Viking place-name - had been the original Norse trading post in Cardiff). Eventually the Taff Vale Railway replaced the canal barges and massive marshalling yards sprang up as new docks were developed in Cardiff - all prompted by the soaring world-wide demand for South Wales coal.

Cardiff's port, known as Tiger Bay, became one of the busiest ports in the world and - for some time - the world's most important coal port. Indeed, Cardiff's Coal Exchange was reputedly the first host to a business deal for a million pounds Sterling.

The Tiger Bay area also housed one of the UK's earliest immigrant communities. After a long period of neglect as Cardiff Bay, it is now being regenerated as a popular area for arts, entertainment and night-life. Much of the growth has been thanks to the building of the Cardiff Barrage.

Present day

Today, Cardiff is the principal finance and business services centre in Wales, and as such there is a strong representation of finance and business services in the local economy. In December 2003, 19 % of the city's workforce (33,850 individuals) were employed in the sector - higher than the proportion across both Wales (9.6%) and Great Britain (15.4%). However many analysts claim that Cardiff suffers from the failure to attract high value added jobs in this sector when similar cities such as Bristol and Leeds are more successful.

Companies such as Legal & General, Barclays, Admiral Insurance, HBOS, Zürich, ING Direct, The AA, Principality Building Society, 118118, British Gas, SWALEC Energy and BT all operate contact centres in the city. Other major employers include NHS Wales and the National Assembly for Wales.

Cardiff is home to BBC Wales, S4C and ITV Wales and is the UK's largest Film, TV & Multimedia sector outside London. Employment in the sector has grown significantly in recent years, and currently provides employment for 2.1% of the City's workforce - higher than the level across Wales (1.1%) and marginally lower than that across Great Britain as a whole (2.2%).

Retail also plays a strong role in the city's employment, with it being crowned the 8th best place to shop in UK according to recent surveys, and this ranking is likely to rise into the top 5 once the St David's 2 shopping development is completed. The majority of Cardiff's shopping portfolio is in the city centre around Queen St and St Mary's St, and there are numerous out of town retail parks.

The city is also host to S A Brain, a brewery with premises in Cardiff since 1882.

In 2003 Cardiff combined with the Vale of Glamorgan had a GDP of £8.335 billion GBP. The GDP per head was £18,794, making the city more affluent than the UK as a whole, at 130% of the national average..

Trend of regional gross value added of Cardiff and the Vale at current basic prices . Figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
Year Regional Gross Value Added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 4,797 11 1,121 3,666
2000 6,584 11 1,260 5,313
2003 8,335 11 1,410 6,913


The Wales Millennium Centre.
The Wales Millennium Centre.

Cardiff has a strong and varied culture, with sites varying from the historical Cardiff Castle and out of town Castle Coch to the more modern Wales Millenium Centre and Cardiff Bay which have raised the cities cultural profile considerably as a mahor tourist attraction.


Cardiff is home to Cardiff Castle, the National Assembly for Wales, St. David's Hall, the National Museum and Gallery, and Cathays Park (including municipal buildings modelled on those in New Delhi), and the Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral. The Welsh National Opera moved into the Wales Millennium Centre in November 2004. Cardiff was a European Capital of Culture finalist for 2008.

Cardiff Castle is a major tourist attraction in the city and is situated in the heart of the city centre, near to the main shopping streets of Queen St and St Mary's St.

Other major tourist attractions are the Cardiff Bay regeneration sites which include the recently opened Wales Millenium Centre and the National Assembly for Wales and many other cultural and sites of interest including the Cardiff Bay Barrage and the famous Coal Exchange. The New Theatre was founded in 1906 and completely refurbished in the 1980s. Until the opening of the Wales Millennium Centre in 2004, it was the premier venue in Wales for touring theatre and dance companies, and is located in the city centre.


The Big Weekend Festival, is held annually in late July/August in the city centre and is the place for many theme park events, rides and regularly attracts annually over 200,000 visitors. The annual Cardiff Festival claims to be the UK's largest free outdoor festival and plays host to a range of different festivals including the Children's Festival that takes place in the grounds of Cardiff Castle.

Cardiff hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1883, 1899, 1938, 1960 and 1978, and is set to host it again in 2008. Cardiff is unique in Wales in having two permanent stone circles used by the Gorsedd of Bards during Eisteddfodau. The original circle stands in Gorsedd Gardens in front of the National Museum while its 1978 replacement is situated in Bute Park.

Every other year, Cardiff plays host to the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, a world renowned event on the Opera Calender.

Cardiff Philatelic Society is the oldest Philatelic Society in Wales. It was formed in 1899.

The city now hosts The Cardiff Design Festival and began showcasing the best of Welsh design during the summer of 2005. Since then the festival has grown into a diverse range of designers exhibiting their wares at the 2006 portable exhibition.


Cardiff's centre is a particularly green one with Bute Park, formerly the castle grounds, extending northwards from the top of the Cardiff's main shopping street (Queen Street); when combined with the adjacent Llandaff Fields to the north west it produces a massive open space skirting the river Taff. The popular name of Taffy, for the Welshman abroad has its origins in the name of the river. Other popular parks include Roath Park in the north, donated to the city by the 3rd Marquess of Bute in 1887 and which includes a very popular boating lake; Victoria Park, Cardiff's first official park; and Thompson's Park, formerly home to an aviary removed in the 1970s.

It is possible to cycle from Cardiff to Brecon almost completely off road on the Taff Trail, a cycle route which follows the River Taff and many of the old disused railways of the Glamorganshire valleys.

Music and nightlife

Cardiff has an established and wide-ranging music scene. It is the home to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Welsh National Opera. It has produced several leading acts itself and, as a Capital City, has acted as a springboard for numerous Welsh bands to go and become famous both nationally and internationally. These include Charlotte Church, The Automatic, Catatonia, Super Furry Animals, Lost Prophets, The Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers, Budgie and Shakin Stevens, among others.

Cardiff has a strong nightlife and is home to many bars, pubs and clubs. Most clubs and bars are situated in the city centre especially St Mary's St and more recently Cardiff Bay has built up a strong night scene. Cardiff is home to one of only four Barfly venues in the UK.


The city has a regional rugby union team, Cardiff Blues who play in the Celtic League at their Cardiff Arms Park stadium. Cardiff has one main professional football club, Cardiff City F.C. who currently play in the English Coca-Cola Championship and are also known locally as the Bluebirds. Their stadium is at Ninian Park in South Cardiff, but are currently in a process to build a new stadium across the road in Leckwith which is due to be opened in 2009. Cardiff also has a county cricket side, Glamorgan CCC, who play at the city centre's Sophia Gardens ground, and will undergo a multi-million pound improvement in time to host a Test Match as part of the Ashes in 2009. Cardiff also plays host to a rugby league side, Cardiff Demons and a professional ice-hockey team, the Cardiff Devils.

Cardiff hosted the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. The Wales Empire Swimming Pool was demolished to make way for the Millennium Stadium, and eventually, a 50 metre replacement pool will be built in Cardiff Bay as part of the International Sports Village. Of the venues used for the Games only the cycling track at Maindy remains. Cardiff also plays host to motorsport's World Rally Championship.

The city also features an international sporting venue, the 74,500 capacity Millennium Stadium, where the Welsh rugby team and the Welsh national football team plays, however they also play occasionally at Swansea and Wrexham. The 1999 Rugby Union World Cup final was held at the Millennium Stadium, and also doubles up as a venue for other concerts and festivals. The first ever indoor special stages of the World Rally Championship were held at the Millennium Stadium in September 2005.

Government and politics

Cardiff is host to the National Assembly for Wales, which is situated in Cardiff Bay. The building which is now known as the Senedd (parliament in Welsh) was opened on March 1, 2006, by the Queen. The executive and civil servants are based in Cardiff's Cathays Park while the Assembly Members, the Assembly Parliamentary Service and Ministerial support staff are based in Cardiff Bay.

Cardiff City Council is based at County Hall in Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff Bay.

Cardiff elects 4 AM's to the Welsh Assembly and 4 MP's to the UK Parliament. There is also an electoral region for Cardiff, South Wales Central, that provides top-up seats to parties in the Assembly. Cardiff is part of the Wales constituency in European Parliament elections.

Local government

Since local government reorganisation in 1996, Cardiff has been governed by Cardiff City Council. Voters elect 75 councillors every four years, with the next elections due to be held in 2008.

Following the 2004 local elections, no individual political party has a majority on Cardiff City Council. The Liberal Democrats have 32 councillors (33 were elected, but one councillor crossed the floor to Plaid Cymru) and have formed a minority administration, Labour have 27, the Conservatives have 12 and Plaid Cymru have 4. The Leader of the Council, Cllr Rodney Berman, is from the Liberal Democrats.

National Assembly for Wales

The National Assembly for Wales is based in Cardiff Bay since 1999. Cardiff elects 4 constituency AMs to the Assembly, with the individual constituencies for the Assembly being the same as for the UK Parliament. All of the cities residents have an extra vote for the South Wales Central region which increases proportionality to the Assembly. The next Welsh Assembly elections are due to be held on May 5, 2007.

Political representation

Cardiff is presently split into four parliamentary constituencies which form the electoral basis for elections to the United Kingdom Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales.

The constituencies and their representatives are:

  • Cardiff Central: MP Jenny Willott, AM Jenny Randerson
  • Cardiff North: MP Julie Morgan, AM Sue Essex
  • Cardiff South and Penarth: MP Alun Michael, AM Lorraine Barrett
  • Cardiff West: MP Kevin Brennan, AM Rhodri Morgan

Famous politicians who have represented Cardiff constituencies include:

  • Lord Callaghan
  • George Thomas, 1st Viscount Tonypandy


Cardiff is a major transport hub in Wales and is the focus for many arterial road and rail routes that connect the city to the rest of South and West Wales and England.


The M4 motorway is the principal motorway in the region that connects Cardiff with towns in West Wales such as Llanelli, Swansea and Camarthen, and also England, principally, Bristol and London.

The A48(M) motorway is another motorway within the city, acting as a short spur off the M4 to the city centre. The A470 is another major road within the city that provides an important link with the Heads of the Valleys.

As with many other cities car traffic has caused congestion problems and as such the council has designated bus lanes to improve transport into and out of the city centre. There are also ideas to introduce congestion charging, as in London

There are several road and rail bridges that cross the River Taff in Cardiff. These include the Clarence Road bridge, a comparatively modern bridge which replaced a swing bridge. The original bridge was named after the Duke of Clarence.

Rail and Bus

Cardiff enjoys a comprehensive bus network, with council-owned Cardiff Bus providing the vast majority of routes in the city and out as far as Newport, Penarth, Barry and Llantwit Major. Cardiff Bus has recently introduced "bendy buses" on the popular 17 and 18 routes to Canton, Ely and Caerau and on the Cardiff Bay route.

National Express provides direct services to most cities in the UK, including high frequency services to nearby Swansea and Merthyr Tydfil.

Train transport is well developed in Cardiff with there being 20 train stations in the city. The largest stations are Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street which are both in the city centre. Over 10m passengers use these two stations every year.

Arriva Trains Wales operates train services connecting the city centre to all other stations in Cardiff as well as the Valleys. Cardiff Central is the largest railway station in Wales and one of the busiest in the country which provides an interchange for many local services.

Cardiff Queen Street railway station is the second busiest in Wales and is hub for routes via the Valley Lines services that connect the South Wales Valleys and the Cardiff suburbs with the city centre and is situated on the eastern end of the city centre which is quite convenient for shoppers. This station is also for services to Cardiff Bay (from Platform 3), which do not call at Central.

Cardiff benefits from having a centralised and integrated transport system. The central bus and train stations are sited together in the centre of the city, allowing passengers to easily utilise both methods of transport in journeys.

Proposals to include a light-rail network in the city have been shelved due to rising costs.


Cardiff and South & West Wales are also served by Cardiff International Airport (CWL), the only large airport in the whole of Wales. It is served by scheduled and charter airlines as well as low-cost carriers such as bmibaby which provide links internationally as well as some domestic flights. It is situated in the town of Rhoose 10 miles west of the city. There are regular bus services linking the airport with the Cardiff Bus Station as well as a train service from Rhoose Cardiff International Airport railway station to Cardiff Central.

The Taff Trail enables cyclists to cycles across Cardiff Bay and into the Brecon Beacons uninterrupted.


Universities and Colleges

Cardiff is home to three major institutions of higher education: Cardiff University, founded by Royal Charter in 1883,, is a " red brick" university and member of the Russell Group of leading research led universities; University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC) gained university status in 1992; The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama is a conservatoire established in 1949 and is based in the grounds of Cardiff Castle. The University of Glamorgan will also have a Cardiff campus from 2007.

The City also has two dedicated further education (FE) colleges: Coleg Glan Hafren and St David's College.

Cardiff University was home to Millicent McKenzie who was possibly the first female in Britain to be addressed as ‘Professor’, becoming associate Professor in 1904 and full Professor in 1910.. Famous alumni of Cardiff University include Neil Kinnock, Glenys Kinnock, millionaire businessman and philanthropist Julian Hodge, the BBC newsreader Huw Edwards, and fellow BBC personalities Jeremy Bowen and Adrian Chiles.


Cardiff has eighty-three state primary schools (two bilingual, ten Welsh medium), and twenty state secondary schools, of which two are Welsh medium.. There are also a number of independent schools in the City, including Llandaff Cathedral School and Howell's School, a single-sex girls' school. Notable schools include Whitchurch High School, the largest in Wales, and Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf the largest Welsh medium secondary in the country.

As well as academic institutions, Cardiff is also home to other educational and learning organisations such as Techniquest, a hands on science discovery centre that now has franchises throughout Britain. Techniquest is also part of the Wales Gene Park in collaboration with Cardiff University, NHS Wales and the Welsh Development Agency (WDA).


There are seven major hospitals in the city. The University Hospital of Wales, which is also known simply as 'The Heath', is the third largest hospital in the UK and deals with most Accidents and Emergencies. Llandough Hospital is located in the south of the city. The city's newest hospital, St David's Hospital (built behind the former building) is located in the Canton area and provides services for the elderly and children. Cardiff Royal Infirmary closed in 1999 but reopened as a medical centre in 2003. There is also Rookwood Hosptial, Llandaff and Velindre Hospital, Whitchurch. BUPA has a hospital in the city which is located in Pentwyn.


Cardiff has twinning arrangements with:



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