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Culture Guide To Cardiff

Culture in Cardiff As the birthplace of singing sensation Charlotte Church, author Roald Dahl, composer Ivor Novello, actor Griff Rhys Jones and film director Marc Evans, it’s no wonder Cardiff is one of the best places in the UK for culture. So whether you’re after live music, history, theatre, art, literature or film, you can find it all within the city limits if the Welsh capital.

For a start there’s the Cardiff Festival, an annual celebration to mark all that is great in Europe’s youngest capital city. Now firmly established as one of the UK's largest open-air festivals it incorporates events such as the Cardiff Worldport Festival, the International Food and Drink Festival and the Welsh Proms.

If it’s a taste of Welsh history you’re after then pay a visit to one of the many museums and castles dotted around the city.

Beginning life as a Roman fort some 2000 years ago, Cardiff Castle [map] boasts a 12th century keep, a number of Tudor buildings, 19th century towers along with the Roman ruins.

Another great example of historic Welsh culture comes in the form of Castell Coch [map], which is affectionately referred to as Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in recognition of its fairytale appearance.

To uncover more details about the country’s past, head to the National Museum and Art Gallery [map], which houses one of Britain’s finest collections, including displays of Bronze Age gold, early Christian monuments and Celtic treasures. Here you can also get to grips with art, as the building is home to a magnificent collection of impressionist art by the likes of Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh, as well as work by the first great Welsh artists.

For contemporary art get along to the renowned Chapter Arts Centre [map], a jewel in the crown of Cardiff’s arts scene. The centre regularly organises exhibitions, workshops and dance productions that should not be missed.

If you’re looking for something a little different then pay a visit to the Museum of Welsh Life [map], which is based at St Fagans. Here you‘ll find an open-air museum full of buildings, such as a row of miners’ cottages and an old schoolhouse, which have been taken from all over Wales and carefully rebuilt in 100 acres of parkland.

Cardiff has plenty to offer when it comes to ballet, drama, opera and classical music as the city is home to the Welsh National Opera, National Orchestra of Wales and the Cardiff Singer of the World competition. But perhaps the city’s most well known venue for entertainment is the New Theatre [map], which offers plenty of drama productions and touring West End musicals.

For contemporary drama the Sherman Theatre [map] is probably your best bet, while St David’s Hall [map] attracts musicians, artists and orchestras from around the world, and also hosts the Welsh Proms.

Another of Cardiff’s well known music venues is The Coal Exchange [map], which is a favourite for classical concerts from the likes of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Vale of Glamorgan Festival.

Finally if its architecture you’re after then you won’t be disappointed as Cardiff boasts wonders such as the Pier Head Building, the neo-classical City Hall and many Edwardian and Victorian arcades. You can also marvel at the many statues and Edwardian buildings at the glorious Cathays Park in the heart of the city centre.

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