“The timeline of Cardiff history shows the significant events in the history of Cardiff which transformed it from a small Roman fort into the modern capital city of Wales.  The word Caerdyf has its origins in post-Roman Brythonic words meaning “the fort of the Taff”. The fort probably refers to that established by the Romans. Caer is Welsh for fort and -dyf is in effect a form of Taf (Taff), the river which flows by Cardiff Castle.”  (Wikipedia)

Photo below:  Where we stayed in Cardiff – Lincoln House

More information below.

Scenes from the City Market in photos below – Cardiff is a small city so it’s lovely to have the market right in the centre of the city

Women making traditional Welsh cakes at Cardiff markets.  Most of their cafes sell them..

Photos below:  Centre of Cardiff – the City Market on the right next to the tavern.

 

The weather was cool and cloudy when in Cardiff but we still had a great time.   It’s only a small city and easy to walk around – we stayed in Cathedral Road, a 15 – 20 min walk to the centre of the city;  a really lovely walk through a park/across the river (see photos below).  The B&B (more like a small hotel) where we stayed was called Lincoln House – we were pleased with our choice – unlike the night before (see last post)!  The breakfast was beautiful – set in the dining room at the front of what was once a very large Victorian townhouse before it was converted to a small hotel.  It’s in a street of very similar townhouses – the wide, leafy street has an interesting history and now many of the townhouses have been converted to professional offices, restaurants or accommodation like at Lincoln House.

Photos below:  Such a lovely 20ish min stroll from Lincoln House (on Cathedral Rd) to the City Centre.  We passed by gardens, the rivers, historic walls, towers and sculptures and even musicians along the way – if you get tired after a day in the city there are plenty of taxi ranks…

 

The next day we visited Cardiff Castle.  A detailed history timeline can be found on the Cardiff Castle website:

The first evidence of a fort on the site was from 55 – 400 AD by The Romans (a wooden fort) and it went on to function as a defensive castle right through to The Butes 1776 – 1947 AD ie. the end of World War II.

Evidence of a Roman Fort discovered in 1888:

“For nearly 900 years, Cardiff Castle’s Roman past remained hidden and forgotten and was only discovered in 1888 when the 3rd Marquess of Bute decided to build a new tower and his workmen discovered the remains of the Roman fort. Archaeological excavations indicate that this was the first of four forts, each a different size, that occupied the present site. Remains of the Roman Wall can be seen today in the Interpretation Centre.”  (Castle site)

1947 – the Castle was given to the City of Cardiff

“The lordship was to be held by the Bute family, until 1947, when the Castle was given to the City of Cardiff.  The Bute family brought power and prosperity to Cardiff, which they turned from a sleepy backwater into one of the greatest coal exporting ports in the world. They transformed the Castle into the gothic fantasy we see today, as well as revealing the Castle’s Roman past.”  (Castle site)

Another v interesting piece of information on the same site:

“In 1865, the 18 year old Marquess met the Gothic Revival architect William Burges. It was an incredible meeting of minds. Over the next 16 years, the extraordinary combination of Burges’ genius and Bute’s wealth created one of the most remarkable buildings in Victorian Britain.”

During these times things such as a modernised bathroom were installed (see photo below).  We were told on our tour of the castle that this was one of the very first bathrooms/toilets of it’s kind!

 

Photo below:  View toward the Norman Keep (Norman occupation – 1091 – 1216 AD)

“The twelve-sided Keep at Cardiff is the finest in Wales and is known as a ‘shell’ keep. Its outer walls provided a shell for smaller buildings within it. From the top of the Keep the panoramic views of the city are breath-taking and to the north you can see as far as Castell Coch. There are approximately 50 steep stone steps leading to the Keep entrance and further steps to reach the viewing platform, but it’s worth the effort!” (Castle site – an interactive map is on this site)

We walked to the top of the Keep and took a photo (see 2nd photo below here)


1939 – 1945...The tunnels beneath the castle were used as air raid shelters during World War II.

“It was estimated that more than 1800 people could take shelter within the walls and when the sirens sounded, people who lived and worked in the city would rush to the shelters. Special ramps were built so that people could gain access into the walls quickly. Research has revealed there were dormitories with bunks, kitchens, toilets and first aid posts concealed within the walls.

Now, you can see what the air-raid shelters looked like, hear the sounds from a bygone age.”  (Castle site)


Our last morning in Cardiff was spent at one of the modern shopping complexes in the city followed by time at an exhibition at the National Museum, including a light lunch there.

Photo below: In the afternoon we went to the historic “New Theatre” (built 1906) to see “Mousetrap” which has been running at various theatres around the world for 60 years!


The next day we continued our road trip to the coast with the first stop in the picturesque seaside village, Tenby…more posts to come.