Urban Architecture, Urban Photography and Urban Tours in Cardiff

Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, boasts a rich and varied history and is the main commercial hub in Wales. Cardiff was is a popular destination for visitors to the area and benefits from continued redevelopment. The cityscape of Cardiff is an interesting mix of old and new, providing everything from castles to modern high rises.

Urban Architecture in Cardiff

Medieval Cardiff Castle combines Victorian and Gothic revival architecture. It was originally a Norman keep constructed over the ruins of a Roman fort. In 1947 the castle and surrounding park was given to the City of Cardiff. It is a popular tourist attraction, housing a regimental museum as well as the old castle's ruins and the Victorian reconstruction. Rock concerts and other performances accommodating up to 10,000 people have taken place on the castle grounds. The surrounding Bute Park provides abundant opportunities for scenic photography.

The Millennium Stadium acts as a venue for concerts and other theatrical productions. It is also the home stadium for the national football team and the Wales National Rugby Union Team. It opened in 1999 with a seating capacity of 74,500. The stadium is the second largest in the world with a fully-retractable roof. The structure affords modern architectural opportunities for photos.

An amazing historic building is located at the northern end of The Hayes. It is The Old Library. Opened in 1882 as the Cardiff Free Library it also housed a museum and schools for art and science, including an art gallery. Today it houses a museum and tourist information centre along with the head office of the British Boxing Board of Control. The nearby Cardiff Central Library houses 90,000 books with 10,000 in Welsh. Both are of photogenic value.

The ruins of St. Mary's Church rest on the site of a Celtic hill fort upon a natural plateau. It was built around 1260. Multiple repairs and changes have been made in the structure throughout the centuries. The church was closed and deconsecrated in 1973 and began deteriorating into a ruin. What remains provides extraordinary photo opportunities.

Originally a market trading floor for coal, The Coal Exchange acts as a live music venue today. Near The Point at Cardiff Bay makes a fantastic venue for major events. An oak balcony, rich wood panelling and paired Corinthian columns were part of its reconstruction in 1911. The elegantly updated interior makes a beautiful photographic backdrop.

The photogenic clock on The Pierhead Building is known as the "Big Ben of Wales." The structure also houses a Welsh History Museum. The administrative offices for the Port of Cardiff moved into the building in 1947.

The National Assembly Building or Senedd houses three committee rooms and the debating chamber for the National Assembly for Wales. Queen Elizabeth II opened the building in 2006. Its architectural design competition was won by Richard Rogers, winner of The Pritzker Prize in Architecture, who designed it using renewable technologies and sustainable efficient energy sources. This beautiful structure is a photographic gem.

Urban Photography and Tours in Cardiff

A great way to view the urban architecture of the capitol of Wales, Cardiff, for amateur or professional photographers, is a self-guided walking tour. The tour includes attractions that are significant historically and culturally. On average the 4.3 kilometre tour will take approximately 2 hours barring time for photographing.

Begin by visiting Cardiff University in the area of Cathays Park. The University received its Royal Charter in 1883 and still gets recognition as a high quality research-based educational facility. In 2008 the university celebrated 125 years of excelling education and research. Its structures and historic exhibits offer wonderful photographic opportunities.

Also in Cathays Park is the City Hall which opened in 1906, constructed of Portland stone. A competition was held to get the best design. The building provides an excellent example of early Edwardian Baroque style architecture. The firm of Lanchester, Stewart and Richards won the competition in1897 when construction began. This efficient office building provides fantastic photo opportunities due to its elegant design. Cardiff offers visitors numerous options for urban enthusiasts to tour and photograph this unique city.

Getting to and around Cardiff

The Welsh city of Cardiff provides both residents and visitors with a variety of choice when it comes to getting to and around the city. Cardiff Airport offers flights across the UK along with a number of international destinations. Regular train services operate from Cardiff Central station, with direct links into London Paddington. Cardiff is also home to an extensive urban rail metro network. Road users are also well catered for due to Cardiff's excellent road network. Don't drive yet? You can find a list of fully qualified local driving instructors in the Cardiff area here.