Architectural Jewels (Self Guided), Cardiff

Old and new architecture beautifully combine together to create that unique and vibrant landscape of Cardiff. Take this self-guided walking tour to discover the city's most prominent landmark buildings such as the University building, City Hall, Millennium Stadium and many others.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Architectural Jewels Map

Guide Name: Architectural Jewels
Guide Location: Wales » Cardiff (See other walking tours in Cardiff)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 Km or 2.8 Miles
Author: Nick
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Cardiff University
  • City Hall
  • Cardiff Castle
  • Millennium Stadium
  • The Old Library
  • Central Library
  • St. Mary's Church
  • The Coal Exchange
  • Pierhead Building
  • Senedd
Cardiff University

1) Cardiff University

Cardiff University is a research university located in the Cathays Park area of Cardiff. It received its Royal charter in 1883 and is a member of the Russell Group of Universities. The university is consistently recognised as providing high quality research-based university education in Wales. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, almost 60 per cent of all research at Cardiff University was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent – 4 and 3 the top two categories of assessment.

Ranked number 122 of the world's top universities, Cardiff University celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2008. Before August 2004, the university was officially known as University of Wales, Cardiff, although it used the name Cardiff University publicly.
Sight description based on wikipedia
City Hall

2) City Hall (must see)

City Hall is a civic building in Cathays Park, Cardiff. Built of Portland stone, it became the fifth building to serve as Cardiff's centre of local government when it opened in October 1906. The competition to design a town hall and adjacent law courts for Cardiff was won in 1897 by the firm of Lanchester, Stewart and Rickards. Construction was carried out by local builders, E. Turner and Sons. Cardiff received its city charter while construction was underway, in 1905. The building is an important early example of the Edwardian Baroque style.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cardiff Castle

3) Cardiff Castle (must see)

Cardiff Castle is a medieval castle and Victorian architecture Gothic revival mansion, transformed from a Norman keep erected over a Roman fort in the Castle Quarter of Cardiff. In 1947, the Bute South Wales estates having all been sold, the castle, and surrounding park, was gifted to the City of Cardiff by the fifth Marquis. It is now a popular tourist attraction, and houses a regimental museum in addition to the ruins of the old castle and the Victorian reconstruction. It sits in the expansive grounds of Bute Park.

The castle has hosted a number of rock concerts and performances and has the capacity to accommodate over 10,000 people. Notable concerts include the Stereophonics's Live at Cardiff Castle in June 1998 and Green Day in 2002. Tom Jones performed here before a large crowd in 2001. In 1948 a crowd of 16,000, a record for a British baseball game, watched Wales defeat England in Cardiff Castle grounds. During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s the castle was the setting for a military tattoo to rival that of Edinburgh, the floodlit keep providing a spectacular backdrop. Currently, Cardiff Castle plays host to Cardiff University's Summer Ball each year, and is the site of Wales's largest Mardi Gras held every August.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Millennium Stadium

4) Millennium Stadium (must see)

The Millennium Stadium is the national stadium of Wales, located in Cardiff. It is the home of the Wales national rugby union team and also frequently stages games of the Wales national football team, but is also host to many other large scale events, such as the Super Special Stage of Wales Rally Great Britain, Speedway Grand Prix of Great Britain, boxing and many music concerts, including Tina Turner, Madonna, The Rolling Stones, U2, Stereophonics, and the Tsunami Relief concert. It was built to host the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

The stadium opened in June 1999, and the first major event to be held was an international rugby union match on 26 June 1999, when Wales beat South Africa in a friendly by 29–19, before a test crowd of 29,000. With total seating capacity of 74,500, it is the third largest stadium in the Six Nations Championship behind the Stade de France and Twickenham, which is the largest. It is also the second largest stadium in the world with a fully retractable roof and was the second stadium in Europe to have this feature.
Sight description based on wikipedia
The Old Library

5) The Old Library (must see)

The Old Library is located at the northern end of The Hayes. Declared a public holiday, it was opened on 31 May 1882 by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Alfred Thomas as the Cardiff Free Library, Museum and Schools for Science and Art, which included an art gallery. A competition was held to choose a design for the Cardiff Free Library, Museum and Schools for Science and Art. The winning design was by architects James, Seward and Thomas, erected for just over £9,000. The Schools of Science and Art were housed in the building until 1890 when it moved to buildings that were part of the University College.

The entrance to the building featured a corridor lined with ornamental wall tiles, designed to depict the four seasons and night and morning. These tiles were impressed with coloured clay to give the impression of a mosaic. The Old Library still exists, and is used as a museum and tourist information centre, and is the head office of the British Boxing Board of Control, the governing body of professional boxing in the United Kingdom.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Central Library

6) Central Library

Cardiff Central Library is the main library in the city centre of Cardiff. Four buildings have been named as such, with the newest building opening on 14 March 2009 and officially being opened a few months later on 18 June 2009 by the Manic Street Preachers. The first Cardiff library was opened in 1861 as the Cardiff Free Library, later expanded and known as the Cardiff Free Library, Museum and Schools for Science and Art.The present day Central Library building is located on The Hayes, cornered in between Mill Lane and Canal Street, opposite the St. David's 2 development. The library contains 55,000 ft (17,000 m) of space, 90,000 books, 10,000 of which are written in Welsh, and an additional 10,000 CDs and DVDs.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Mary's Church

7) St. Mary's Church

St. Mary the Virgin Church is a deconsecrated and ruined church in the parish of Caerau with Ely, Cardiff. It was built in the thirteenth century and closed for the last time in 1973. The ruins of St. Mary’s Church stand on the site of a Celtic hill fort on a natural plateau at the Caerau end of a hill range extending from Leckwith to Caerau.

The church is first mentioned in the Taxatio Ecclesiasticus of Pope Nicholas IV in 1291 and was probably built in 1260. Since then it has undergone many repairs and alterations. Archaeologia Cambrensis in 1901 describes its 1848 state as a "a small church on an abrupt eminence, where was a Roman encampment." It was substantially rebuilt by the Reverend Victor Jones in 1960-61. In 1973 it was closed and deconsecrated and it has subsequently deteriorated into a ruin. Since 1999 a group of former and current parishioners, the Friends of St. Mary’s Church at Caerau, have been campaigning to preserve and commemorate the remains of the church. The church is open for visits and worship and other events.
Sight description based on wikipedia
The Coal Exchange

8) The Coal Exchange (must see)

The Coal Exchange is a live music venue in Cardiff, originally used a market floor for trading in coal. Situated in Cardiff Bay, near The Point, it is used extensively for live music and other events on the Cardiff music scene. It has a capacity of 1,000. Before the Coal Exchange was built in Mount Stuart Square, the area was a residential square with a central garden. It was taken over by commerce as the city grew in prosperity. Coal merchants used to chalk up the changing prices of coal on slates outside their offices or struck deals in the local public houses.

As Cardiff became the biggest coal port in the world, the building was constructed between 1883 and 1886 by Edwin Seward as a base from which to conduct trade negotiations regarding the coal mines of the South Wales Valleys - most of which was shipped to Cardiff for distribution. The building played an important role in the industrial Cardiff of the 19th century. Paired Corinthian columns, an oak balcony, and rich wood paneling adorn the trading hall, which was reconstructed by Edwin Seward in 1911.

During the peak trading hour of midday to one o'clock, the floor might have as many as 200 men gesticulating and shouting. It was estimated that up to 10,000 people would pass in and out of the building each day. At one time the price of the world's coal was determined here.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Pierhead Building

9) Pierhead Building

The Pierhead Building stands as one of the city of Cardiff's most familiar landmarks and was built in 1897 as the headquarters for the Bute Dock Company. The clock on the building is unofficially known as the "Baby Big Ben" or the "Big Ben of Wales", and also serves as a Welsh history museum. The Pierhead Building is part of the estate of the National Assembly for Wales, which also includes the Senedd and Ty Hywel. It was a replacement for the headquarters of the Bute Dock Company which burnt down in 1892. Frame's mentor was William Burges, with whom Frame worked on the rebuilding of Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch until Burges's death in 1881.

The Bute Dock Company was renamed the Cardiff Railway Company in 1897. The Pierhead became the administrative office for the Port of Cardiff in 1947. The 1897 clock mechanism, by William Potts & Sons of Leeds, was removed, being replaced with an electronic motor, and sold to an American collector in 1973. It was returned to Cardiff in 2005 and, in 2011, installed as a piece of contemporary art in Cardiff city centre.
Sight description based on wikipedia

10) Senedd (must see)

The Senedd, also known as the National Assembly building, houses the debating chamber and three committee rooms for the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff. The 5,308 square metres Senedd building was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 1 March 2006 and the total cost was £69.6 million. The Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Rogers won an international architectural design competition to design the building. It was designed to be sustainable with use of renewable technologies and be energy efficient.

The Senedd was constructed in two phases, the first in 2001 and the second from August 2003 until it was handed over to the National Assembly in February 2006. The building was nearly six times over budget and four years and 10 months late, compared to the original estimates of the project in 1997. Total costs rose due to unforeseen security measures after the September 11 attacks, and because the National Assembly did not have an independent cost appraisal of the project until December 2000, three years after the original estimate.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Cardiff, Wales

Create Your Own Walk in Cardiff

Create Your Own Walk in Cardiff

Creating your own self-guided walk in Cardiff is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Cardiff Introduction Walking Tour

Cardiff Introduction Walking Tour

The capital of Wales Cardiff is an exciting tourist destination, rich in historic sights and places to visit. The city center and Cardiff Bay area are particularly popular with visitors for the number of cultural locations contained - museums, theaters, art centers and more. Take this self-guided tour and have a great time exploring key attractions of Cardiff.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 Km or 3.1 Miles
Walking Tour Around Cathays Park

Walking Tour Around Cathays Park

Cathays Park, also known as Cardiff Civic Centre, is the core of the Welsh Capital city. Central park area of Alexandra Gardens park is surrounded by late 19th century's stunning construction including Cardiff City Hall, Temple of Peace, Cardiff University and National Museum of Wales. Take this self-guided walking tour to discover Cardiff's most beloved landmarks.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
Top Religious Buildings

Top Religious Buildings

The long and rich history of Wales is reflected by the presence of beautiful religious buildings. Cathedrals and churches had always dominated the architectural landscape of Britain. Take this self-guided walking tour to discover Cardiff's most beautiful places of worship.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 Km or 3.5 Miles
Cardiff Family Fun

Cardiff Family Fun

Cardiff is a vibrant city and a popular tourist destination with lots of interesting places for children and their parents see and visit. Take this self-guided walking tour to discover the best family fun attractions Cardiff can offer such as fascinating Techniquest science museum and workshop, Hollywood Bowl games entertainment, Wharf water-front picnic pub and many more.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Cardiff Shopping Tour

Cardiff Shopping Tour

The coal-mining capital of Britain, Cardiff offers an exciting shopping opportunity in many state-of-the-art shopping centres like St.David's or Capitol. Along with modern shopping arcades, the busy Cardiff streets are packed with lovely, small specialty shops and galleries. Take this walking tour to discover some of Cardiff's best shopping spots.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.5 Km or 0.3 Miles