Although proclaimed a city quite late by King Edward VII (1905), and became the capital only in 1955, Cardiff becomes an important commercial, cultural, and sports center visited annually by millions of tourists from all over the world. In 2011 it was declared the sixth most visited tourist destination in the world, and in 2011 and 2014 it was declared the European City of Sports.

The development and modernization of the locality, which later became a city, is largely due to a descendant of the Scottish royal Stuart family, the Marquis of Bute (John Stuart), born on the Scottish island of Bute.

Schooled and educated in the United Kingdom, he becomes a successful businessman and builds the docks in Cardiff Bay, the export of coal from the south of the country takes off, and in a short time, the Marquis of Bute becomes the richest man in the world.

A consummate philanthropist, he provides his entire wealth for the development and beautification of the city. Throughout my walks around Cardiff, I came across the Marquis's name in almost every area I visited, a sign that the authorities have great respect for his contribution to almost everything that was built here in the late 19th century.

We divided the visit into two days: one in the central area of the city and one in the bay area (Cardiff Bay). Later we returned to Cardiff for shopping and also wandered through other beautiful places in the city.

The main tourist area of the city is in the streets around St. David's Centre, a huge shopping center in the UK's top 10. Here, near Bute Teracce Street, there are two large multi-story car parks, one in St. David's Dewi Sant and one in John Lewis. We always parked in the first mall on the 6th or 7th floors. Although they are huge, these parking lots are always full, but there are no barriers, the cars are constantly coming and going, some come and others leave, and there is enough space to walk on the floors and "lay in wait" for someone to take his place.

Our visit started from the western entrance of St. David's Center and continued along The Hayes pedestrian street. The street leads to the old castle of the city (about 300 meters away) and is full of shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants, and of course tourists. After passing a statue of a Welsh politician and a beautiful park, I noticed the supporting anchors of Cardiff's famous Millennium Stadium on the left.

We knew from the net that it can be visited (and still free), so we immediately went to it. The stadium sits on the banks of the river that runs through Cardiff city, the River Taff, it is bordered to the north by another famous stadium, Cardiff Arms Park, and to the south is the main CF station, Cardiff Central Railway.

I visited the locker room area, the conference room, the entrance corridor to the stadium, and the stands, and upon leaving, with the consent of the hosts, I took a tuft of grass from the lawn as a souvenir.

Past some old and very beautiful buildings, we returned to Hayes Street, and at the end of it, we visited St. John, with a tall spire that can be seen from the entire central area of the city. After a 5-minute walk, we reached Castle Street, where the most important tourist attraction of the city, Cardiff Castle, is located. (locals also call it Bute Castle).

Built on the ruins of an old Roman castle, it was modernized by the Normans, restored, and transformed by the Marquis of Bute into a Victorian fortress. The castle is located on the perimeter of Bute Park in the north of the city, is surrounded by square-shaped walls, and at first sight impresses with the clock tower to the left of the entrance.

The cost of an entry ticket is £12 (£10.50 for seniors), a bit steep in my opinion for what this castle has to offer. Above the ticket office, to the right of the entrance, is an enclosure where you are handed some sort of walkie-talkie and a map of the castle. The map has marked the access points of the castle from 1 to 24 and depending on the area where you are, press on the respective number and you will find out details from the device in your preferred language.

We started the visit with a small museum located behind the ticket office, in a room left, like the walls of the castle, from the Roman period. It is a military museum with weapons and combat equipment captured from the Russians and Germans in the two world wars, but also weapons captured from different conflict zones that took place in the last hundred years (Angola, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, and Korea from the North, etc.).

We then followed a route through the tunnels of the defense walls and accompanied by the sounds of explosions produced by the bombings of the Second World War we arrived at the central ruins of the castle. There is not much to see here, except for the terrace on the top level which offers a very nice panoramic view of the edifice's courtyard.

To the left of the entrance is a conglomerate of very beautiful architectural buildings that house part of the private collections of the Marquis of Bute. Unfortunately, the public has limited access to these buildings (only about five, six rooms) and hence my dissatisfaction with the price of the entrance ticket.

To the right of the castle, in the extension of Castle Street, there is another well-known shopping center in Wales, The Capitol Shopping Centre, just as busy as the one in the central area. In the southern part of this center is the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. David, and further north, about 500 meters, a small park with the statue of the Marquis of Bute and two huge and very beautiful buildings, the National Museum of Cardiff and Cardiff City Hall.

Another day I visited another tourist area in the east of the city called Cardiff Bay. It is the area of the docks built by the Marquess of Bute that brought so much prosperity to Wales. Today it is a place full of history, where tourists can take a leisurely stroll along the bay's shores, admire the historic buildings in the neighborhood, and finally end their visit in one of the many nearby restaurants.

We spent a good amount of time in Cardiff Bay, we enjoyed and were impressed by the buildings in this area of the city, the promenades, the harbor, the berths, the locks, etc. Most of all we liked the red brick building where the Bute Dock Company operated, called the Pierhead.

The building is part of a complex of buildings, the National Assembly of Wales, and today houses a museum of Welsh history. In the hall on the ground floor, on a giant screen, you can watch a documentary film related to the German bombing of London with the dreaded V1 and V2 rockets. The clock on the tower of the building is known as Baby Big Ben or Big Ben of Wales.

There would be a lot to tell about the capital of this small and interesting country, but I don't want to make this review too long.

I wish you many happy vacations!