CARDIFF CAPITAL CITY OF WALES
Cardiff is the capital and largest city in Wales and the tenth largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is the country's chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for Wales. The unitary authority area's mid-2011 population was estimated to be 346,100, while the population of the Larger Urban Zone was estimated at 861,400 in 2009. Cardiff is part of the Cardiff and south Wales valleys metropolitan area of about 1,100,000 people. Cardiff is a significant tourist centre and the most popular visitor destination in Wales with 18.3 million visitors in 2010. In 2011, Cardiff was ranked sixth in the world in National Geographic's alternative tourist destinations.
The city of Cardiff is the county town of the historic county of Glamorgan (and later South Glamorgan). Cardiff is part of the Eurocities network of the largest European cities. The Cardiff Urban Area covers a slightly larger area outside the county boundary, and includes the towns of Dinas Powys and Penarth. A small town until the early 19th century, its prominence as a major port for the transport of coal following the arrival of industry in the region contributed to its rise as a major city.
Cardiff was made a city in 1905, and proclaimed the capital of Wales in 1955. Since the 1990s, Cardiff has seen significant development. A new waterfront area at Cardiff Bay contains the Senedd building, home to the Welsh Assembly and the Wales Millennium Centre arts complex. Current developments include the continuation of the redevelopment of the Cardiff Bay and city centre areas with projects such as the Cardiff International Sports Village, a BBC drama village, and a new business district in the city centre.
Sporting venues in the city include the Millennium Stadium (the national stadium for the Wales national rugby union team), SWALEC Stadium (the home of Glamorgan County Cricket Club), Cardiff City Stadium (the home of Cardiff City football team), Cardiff International Sports Stadium (the home of Cardiff Amateur Athletic Club) and Cardiff Arms Park (the home of Cardiff Blues and Cardiff RFC rugby union teams). The city was awarded with the European City of Sport in 2009 due to its role in hosting major international sporting events. Again Cardiff was the European City of Sport in 2014. The Millennium Stadium hosted 11 football matches as part of the 2012 Summer Olympics, including the games' opening event and the men's bronze medal match.
TOURISM IN CARDIFF
Cardiff the capital of Wales is one of the finest cities not only in Wales but in the whole of the UK. Cardiff has under gone a lot of redevelopment in recent years with the new bay area the symbol of this modern city.
The city has many great attractions, shops, restaurants, theaters, cinemas, bars and clubs to make for a great day out. All within walking distance. Innovative architecture sits alongside historic buildings.
Cardiff is a thriving city, just 2 hours by train from London.
- Cardiff Castle, Gatehouse and Grounds: The foundations of the castle date back to 50AD, and the imposing building walled with elaborate gargoyles is a 19th century gothic fantasy. It was created by renowned architect William Burges for the third Marquis of Bute, who was reputedly the richest man in the world at the time. It’s a monument to eccentricity that should be on your must-see list.
- National Museum of Wales: The art collection alone at the National Museum draws visitors from all over the world, with a broad range, including world-renowned impressionist and post-impressionist work, 1930s surrealism and 20th century art from Wales. With natural history, archaeology and geology exhibitions too, best clear the diary for the rest of the day.
- Wales Millennium Centre: Is a striking slate and steel structure. It’s nicknamed The Armadillo due to its copper-coloured dome. The centre hosts a huge range of concerts and performances in one main theatre and two smaller halls. It also features a number of cafes and restaurants, with regular free events creating a vibrant atmosphere.
- Millennium Stadium: Very few international sports arenas occupy a plot of land in a city centre, but this remarkable stadium really is a sight to behold both inside and out. International rugby and football is played here, as well as a variety of the other sports events and major live music concerts.
- Take in a show: When a lot of people think of Wales they picture the traditional male voice choir, luckily South Wales has a number of fantastic choirs who are certainly worth a visit during your Short Break in Wales.
- Market: The rise of Wales as a paradise for food lovers is reflected by the growth in popularity of farmers’ markets in the Welsh capital city. There are four regular markets in Cardiff, showcasing the rich variety of small businesses in Wales producing their own food and drink.
- Cardiff Bay: the superb Cardiff Bay redevelopment covers nearly 2,700 acres of former dockland and is home to high-end housing, offices, hotels, restaurants, theaters, sports grounds and numerous parks. Highlights of a visit include the redbrick Pierhead Building, built in 1897 and now home to displays relating to the history of Wales, and Mermaid Quay with its trendy restaurants, cafés and boutiques.
You also will find the Senedd, the architecturally pleasing new home of the National Assembly for Wales, as well as the wonderful Norwegian Church, an arts center and concert venue in a former church often visited by Roald Dahl. (The writer's importance to the city is widely recognized, and includes Roald Dahl Plass, a large public plaza notable for its summer concerts.) Cardiff Bay is also where you'll find Techniquest, a fun hands-on science center featuring a planetarium and theatre.
In the boardwalk at Mermaid Quay plays host to a whole menu of funky bars, tasty restaurants and amusements. At weekends in summer you could be forgiven for thinking you were on the Med when the sun’s out and terraces are full. It’s the perfect spot for a lazy lunch or coffee by the waterside or a more boisterous beer or two in the evening as the sun goes down and the lights come on. The traditional carousel ride is the perfect way to keep the kids happy too.
- Walk the Pembrokeshire Coast: The coast line is full of rugged cliffs, pretty coves, sleepy bays, golden beaches and tranquil isles. The coastline now forms part of Britain’s only coastal National Park.
- Taff Trail by Castell: Cardiff has more green space than any other city in Europe, per head of population. The Taff Trail makes the most of former rail routes, towpaths and tramways, allowing you to walk or cycle from Cardiff Bay through 2000 acres of parkland, all the way to the moorland of the Brecon Beacons, if you really need some extra miles to work off that Sunday lunch.
- Experience the Gower: The Gower peninsula near Swansea was the countries very first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The area not only offers stunning views but is also home to a variety of wildlife and some fascinating historical landmarks.
- Visit the smallest city in Britain: A walk around the city of St David’s won’t take very long at all because despite the name St David’s is actually the size of a small town, though despite its size there are plenty of things to see and do.
LANDMARKS AND ATTRACTIONS
Cardiff has many landmark buildings such as the Millennium Stadium, Pierhead Building the Welsh National Museum and the Senedd, the home of the National Assembly for Wales. Cardiff is also famous for Cardiff Castle, St David's Hall, Llandaff Cathedral and the Wales Millennium Centre.
Cardiff Castle is a major tourist attraction in the city and is situated in the heart of the city centre. The National History Museum at St Fagans in Cardiff is a large open-air museum housing dozens of buildings from throughout Welsh history that have been moved to the site in Cardiff. The Civic Centre in Cathays Park comprises a collection of Edwardian buildings such as the City Hall, National Museum and Gallery of Wales, Cardiff Crown Court, and buildings forming part of Cardiff University, together with more modern civic buildings. These buildings surround a small green space containing the Welsh National War Memorial and a number of other smaller memorials.
In addition to Cardiff Castle, Castell Coch (Red Castle) is located in Tongwynlais, in the north of the city. The current castle is an elaborately decorated Victorian folly designed by William Burges for the Marquess and built in the 1870s, as an occasional retreat. However, the Victorian castle stands on the footings of a much older medieval castle possibly built by Ifor Bach, a regional baron with links to Cardiff Castle also. The exterior has become a popular location for film and television productions. It rarely fulfilled its intended role as a retreat for the Butes, who seldom stayed there. For the Marquess, the pleasure had been in its creation, a pleasure lost following Burges's death in 1881.
Cardiff claims to have the largest concentration of castles of any city in the world. As well as Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch, the remains of Twmpath Castle, the Llandaff Bishop's Palace and Saint Fagans Castle are still in existence, whilst the site of Treoda (or Whitchurch Castle) has now been built over.
Other major tourist attractions are the Cardiff Bay regeneration sites which include the recently opened Wales Millennium Centre and the Senedd, and many other cultural and sites of interest including the Cardiff Bay Barrage and the famous Coal Exchange. The New Theatre was founded in 1906 and completely refurbished in the 1980s. Until the opening of the Wales Millennium Centre in 2004, it was the premier venue in Wales for touring theatre and dance companies. Other venues which are popular for concerts and sporting events include Motorpoint Arena, St David's Hall and the Millennium Stadium. Cardiff Story, a museum documenting the city's history, has been open to the public since Spring 2011.
Cardiff has over 1,000 listed buildings, ranging from the more prominent buildings such as the castles, to smaller buildings, houses and structures.
Cardiff has walks of special interest for tourists and ramblers alike, such as the Centenary Walk, which runs for 2.3 miles (3.7 km) within Cardiff city centre. This route passes through many of Cardiff's landmarks and historic buildings.
- Origins: Archaeological evidence from sites in and around Cardiff—the St Lythans burial chamber, near Wenvoe (about four miles (6.4 km) west, south west of Cardiff city centre), the Tinkinswood burial chamber, near St Nicholas (about six miles (10 km) west of Cardiff city centre), the Cae'rarfau Chambered Tomb, Creigiau (about six miles (10 km) north west of Cardiff city centre) and the Gwern y Cleppa Long Barrow, near Coedkernew, Newport (about eight and a quarter miles (13.5 km) north east of Cardiff city centre)shows that people had settled in the area by at least around 6,000 years before present (BP), during the early Neolithic; about 1,500 years before either Stonehenge or the Great Pyramid of Giza was completed. A group of five Bronze Age tumuli is at the summit of The Garth (Welsh: Mynydd y Garth), within the county's northern boundary. Four Iron Age hill fort and enclosure sites have been identified within Cardiff's present-day county boundaries, including Caerau Hillfort, an enclosed area of 5.1 hectares (51,000 m2).
Until the Roman conquest of Britain, Cardiff was part of the territory of the Silures (Celtic British tribe that flourished in the Iron Age) whose territory included the areas that would become known as Breconshire, Monmouthshire and Glamorgan. The 3.2-hectare (8-acre) fort established by the Romans near the mouth of the River Taff in 75 AD, in what would become the north western boundary of the centre of Cardiff, was built over an extensive settlement that had been established by the Silures in the 50s AD. The fort was one of a series of military outposts associated with Isca Augusta (Caerleon) that acted as border defences. The fort may have been abandoned in the early 2nd century as the area had been subdued. However, by this time a civilian settlement, or vicus, was established. It was likely made up of traders who made a living from the fort, ex-soldiers and their families. A Roman villa has been discovered at Ely. Contemporary with the Saxon Shore Forts of the 3rd and 4th centuries, a stone fortress was established at Cardiff. Similar to the shore forts, the fortress was built to protect Britannia from raiders. Coins from the reign of Gratian indicate that Cardiff was inhabited until at least the 4th century; the fort was abandoned towards the end of the 4th century, as the last Roman legions left the province of Britannia with Magnus Maximus.
Little is known about the fort and civilian settlement in the period between the Roman departure from Britain and the Norman Conquest. The settlement probably shrank in size and may even have been abandoned. In the absence of Roman rule, Wales was divided into small kingdoms; early on, Meurig ap Tewdrig emerged as the local king in Glywysing (which later became Glamorgan). The area passed through his family until the advent of the Normans in the 11th century.
- Norman occupation to the Middle Ages: In 1081 William I, King of England, began work on the castle keep within the walls of the old Roman fort. Cardiff Castle has been at the heart of the city ever since. The castle was substantially altered and extended during the Victorian period by John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, and the architect William Burges. Original Roman work can, however, still be distinguished in the wall facings.
A small town grew up in the shadow of the castle, made up primarily of settlers from England. Cardiff had a population of between 1,500 and 2,000 in the Middle Ages, a relatively normal size for a Welsh town in this period. By the end of the 13th century, Cardiff was the only town in Wales with a population exceeding 2,000, but it was relatively small compared with most notable towns in the Kingdom of England.
In the early 12th century a wooden palisade was erected around the city to protect it. Cardiff was a busy port in the Middle Ages, and was declared a Staple port in 1327.
Henry II travelled through Cardiff on his journey to Ireland and had a premonition against the holding of Sunday markets at St Piran's Chapel, which stood in the middle of the road between the castle entrance and Westgate.
In 1404 Owain Glyndŵr burned Cardiff and took Cardiff Castle. As the town was still very small, most of the buildings were made of wood and the town was destroyed. However, the town was soon rebuilt and began to flourish once again.
- County town of Glamorganshire: In 1536, the Act of Union between England and Wales led to the creation of the shire of Glamorgan, and Cardiff was made the county town. It also became part of Kibbor hundred. Around this same time the Herbert family became the most powerful family in the area. In 1538, Henry VIII closed the Dominican and Franciscan friaries in Cardiff, the remains of which were used as building materials. A writer around this period described Cardiff: "The River Taff runs under the walls of his honours castle and from the north part of the town to the south part where there is a fair quay and a safe harbour for shipping."
Cardiff had become a Free Borough in 1542. In 1573, it was made a head port for collection of customs duties, and in 1581, Elizabeth I granted Cardiff its first royal charter. Pembrokeshire historian George Owen described Cardiff in 1602 as "the fayrest towne in Wales yett not the welthiest.", and the town gained a second Royal Charter in 1608.
A disastrous flood of the Bristol Channel on 30 January 1607 (now believed to be a tsunami) led to a change in the course of the River Taff and the ruining of St Mary's Parish Church, which was replaced by its chapel of ease, St John the Baptist.
During the Second English Civil War, St Fagans just to the west of the town, played host to the Battle of St Fagans. The battle, between a Royalist rebellion and a New Model Army detachment, was a decisive victory for the Parliamentarians and allowed Oliver Cromwell to conquer Wales. It is the last major battle to occur in Wales, with about 200 (mostly Royalist) soldiers killed.
In the ensuing century Cardiff was at peace. In 1766, John Stuart, 1st Marquess of Bute married into the Herbert family and was later created Baron Cardiff, and in 1778 he began renovations on Cardiff Castle. In the 1790s a racecourse, printing press, bank and coffee house all opened, and Cardiff gained a stagecoach service to London. Despite these improvements, Cardiff's position in the Welsh urban hierarchy had declined over the 18th century. Iolo Morgannwg called it "an obscure and inconsiderable place", and the 1801 census found the population to be only 1,870, making Cardiff only the 25th largest town in Wales, well behind Merthyr and Swansea.
- Building of the docks: In 1793, John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute was born. He would spend his life building the Cardiff docks and would later be called "the creator of modern Cardiff". A twice-weekly boat service between Cardiff and Bristol was established in 1815, and in 1821, the Cardiff Gas Works was established.
After the Napoleonic Wars Cardiff entered a period of social and industrial unrest, starting with the trial and hanging of Dic Penderyn in 1831.
The town grew rapidly from the 1830s onwards, when the Marquess of Bute built a dock, which eventually linked to the Taff Vale Railway. Cardiff became the main port for exports of coal from the Cynon, Rhondda, and Rhymney valleys, and grew at a rate of nearly 80% per decade between 1840 and 1870. Much of the growth was due to migration from within and outside Wales: in 1841, a quarter of Cardiff's population were English-born and more than 10% had been born in Ireland. By the 1881 census, Cardiff had overtaken both Merthyr and Swansea to become the largest town in Wales. Cardiff's new status as the premier town in South Wales was confirmed when it was chosen as the site of the University College South Wales and Monmouthshire in 1893.
A permanent military presence was established in the town with the completion of Maindy Barracks in 1877.
Cardiff faced a challenge in the 1880s when David Davies of Llandinam and the Barry Railway Company promoted the development of rival docks at Barry. Barry docks had the advantage of being accessible in all tides, and David Davies claimed that his venture would cause "grass to grow in the streets of Cardiff". From 1901 coal exports from Barry surpassed those from Cardiff, but the administration of the coal trade remained centred on Cardiff, in particular its Coal Exchange, where the price of coal on the British market was determined and the first million-pound deal was struck in 1907. The city also strengthened its industrial base with the decision of the owners of the Dowlais Ironworks in Merthyr (who would later form part of Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds) to build a new steelworks close to the docks at East Moors, which Lord Bute opened on 4 February 1891.
- City and capital city status: King Edward VII granted Cardiff city status on 28 October 1905, and the city acquired a Roman Catholic Cathedral in 1916. In subsequent years an increasing number of national institutions were located in the city, including the National Museum of Wales, Welsh National War Memorial, and the University of Wales Registry Building however, it was denied the National Library of Wales, partly because the library's founder, Sir John Williams, considered Cardiff to have "a non-Welsh population".
After a brief post-war boom, Cardiff docks entered a prolonged decline in the interwar period. By 1936, their trade was less than half its value in 1913, reflecting the slump in demand for Welsh coal. Bomb damage during the Cardiff Blitz in World War II included the devastation of Llandaff Cathedral, and in the immediate postwar years the city's link with the Bute family came to an end.
The city was proclaimed capital city of Wales on 20 December 1955, by a written reply by the Home Secretary Gwilym Lloyd George. Caernarfon had also vied for this title. Cardiff therefore celebrated two important anniversaries in 2005. The Encyclopedia of Wales notes that the decision to recognise the city as the capital of Wales "had more to do with the fact that it contained marginal Conservative constituencies than any reasoned view of what functions a Welsh capital should have". Although the city hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1958, Cardiff only became a centre of national administration with the establishment of the Welsh Office in 1964, which later prompted the creation of various other public bodies such as the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Development Agency, most of which were based in Cardiff.
The East Moors Steelworks closed in 1978 and Cardiff lost population during the 1980s, consistent with a wider pattern of counter urbanisation in Britain. However, it recovered and was one of the few cities (outside London) where population grew during the 1990s. During this period the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation was promoting the redevelopment of south Cardiff; an evaluation of the regeneration of Cardiff Bay published in 2004 concluded that the project had "reinforced the competitive position of Cardiff" and "contributed to a massive improvement in the quality of the built environment", although it had failed "to attract the major inward investors originally anticipated".
In the 1997 devolution referendum, Cardiff voters rejected the establishment of the National Assembly for Wales by 55.4% to 44.2% on a 47% turnout, which Denis Balsom partly ascribed to a general preference in Cardiff and some other parts of Wales for a 'British' rather than exclusively 'Welsh' identity. The relative lack of support for the Assembly locally, and difficulties between the Welsh Office and Cardiff Council in acquiring the original preferred venue, Cardiff City Hall, encouraged other local authorities to bid to house the Assembly. However, the Assembly eventually located at Tŷ Hywel in Cardiff Bay in 1999; in 2005, a new debating chamber on an adjacent site, designed by Richard Rogers, was opened.
The city was county town of Glamorgan until the council reorganisation in 1974 paired Cardiff and the now Vale of Glamorgan together as the new county of South Glamorgan. Further local government restructuring in 1996 resulted in Cardiff city's district council becoming a unitary authority, the City and County of Cardiff, with the addition of Creigiau and Pentyrch.
The centre of Cardiff is relatively flat and is bounded by hills on the outskirts to the east, north and west. Its geographic features were influential in its development as the world's largest coal port, most notably its proximity and easy access to the coal fields of the south Wales valleys. The highest point in the authority is Garth Hill 307 metres (1,007 feet) above sea level.
Cardiff is built on reclaimed marshland on a bed of Triassic stones; this reclaimed marshland stretches from Chepstow to the Ely Estuary, which is the natural boundary of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Triassic landscapes of this part of the world are usually shallow and low-lying which accounts and explains the flatness of the centre of Cardiff. The classic Triassic marl, sand and conglomerate rocks are used predominantly throughout Cardiff as building materials. Many of these Triassic rocks have a purple complexion, especially the coastal marl found near Penarth. One of the Triassic rocks used in Cardiff is "Radyr Stone", a freestone which as it name suggests is quarried in the Radyr district. Cardiff has also imported some materials for buildings: Devonian sandstones (the Old Red Sandstone) from the Brecon Beacons has been used. Most famously, the buildings of Cathays Park, the civic centre in the centre of the city, are built of Portland stone which was imported from Dorset. A widely used building stone in Cardiff is the yellow-grey Liassic limestone rock of the Vale of Glamorgan, including the very rare "Sutton Stone", a conglomerate of lias limestone and carboniferous limestone.
Cardiff is bordered to the west by the rural district of the Vale of Glamorgann also known as The Garden of Cardiff to the east by the city of Newport, to the north by the South Wales Valleys and to the south by the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel. The River Taff winds through the centre of the city and together with the River Ely flows into the freshwater lake of Cardiff Bay. A third river, the Rhymney flows through the east of the city entering directly into the Severn Estuary.
Cardiff is situated near the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, stretching westward from Penarth and Barry (commuter towns of Cardiff) with striped yellow-blue Jurassic limestone cliffs. The Glamorgan coast is the only part of the Celtic Sea that has exposed Jurassic (blue lias) geology. This stretch of coast, which has reefs, sandbanks and serrated cliffs, was a ship graveyard; ships sailing up to Cardiff during the industrial era often never made it as far as Cardiff as many were wrecked around this hostile coastline during west/south-westerly gales. Consequently, smuggling, deliberate shipwrecking and attacks on ships were common.
As the capital city of Wales, Cardiff is the main engine of growth in the Welsh economy. Though the population of Cardiff is about 10% of the Welsh population, the economy of Cardiff makes up nearly 20% of Welsh GDP and 40% of the city’s workforce are daily in-commuters from the surrounding south Wales area.
Industry has played a major part in Cardiff's development for many centuries. The main catalyst for its transformation from a small town into a big city was the demand for coal required in making iron and later steel, brought to the sea by packhorse from Merthyr Tydfil. This was first achieved by the construction of a 25-mile (40 km) long canal from Merthyr (510 feet above sea-level) to the Taff Estuary at Cardiff. Eventually the Taff Vale Railway replaced the canal barges and massive marshalling yards sprang up as new docks were developed in Cardiff all prompted by the soaring worldwide demand for coal from the South Wales valleys.
At its peak, Cardiff's port area, known as Tiger Bay, became the busiest port in the world and (for some time) the world's most important coal port. In the years leading up to the First World War, more than 10 million tonnes of coal was exported annually from Cardiff Docks. In 1907, Cardiff's Coal Exchange was the first host to a business deal for a million pounds Sterling. After a period of decline, Cardiff's port has started to grow again over 3 million tonnes of cargo passed through the docks in 2007.
Today, Cardiff is the principal finance and business services centre in Wales, and as such there is a strong representation of finance and business services in the local economy. This sector, combined with the Public Administration, Education and Health sectors, have accounted for around 75% of Cardiff's economic growth since 1991. The city was recently placed seventh overall in the top 50 European cities in the fDI 2008 Cities of the Future list published by the fDi magazine, and also ranked seventh in terms of attracting foreign investment. Notable companies such as Legal & General, Admiral Insurance, HBOS, Zurich, ING Direct, The AA, Principality Building Society, 118118, British Gas, Brains, SWALEC Energy and BT, all operate large national or regional headquarters and contact centres in the city, some of them based in Cardiff's office towers such as Capital Tower and Brunel House. Other major employers include NHS Wales and the National Assembly for Wales. On 1 March 2004, Cardiff was granted Fairtrade City status.
Cardiff is one of the most popular tourist destination cities in the United Kingdom, receiving 18.3 million visitors in 2010 and generating £852 million for the city's economy. One result of this is that one in five employees in Cardiff are based in the distribution, hotels and restaurants sector, highlighting the growing retail and tourism industries in the city. There are a large number of hotels of varying sizes and standards in the city, providing almost 9,000 available bed spaces.
Cardiff is home to the Welsh media and a large media sector with BBC Wales, S4C and ITV Wales all having studios in the city. In particular, there is a large independent TV production industry sector of over 600 companies, employing around 6000 employees and with a turnover estimated at £350 m. Just to the north west of the city, in Rhondda Cynon Taff, the first completely new film studios in the UK for 30 years are being built, named Valleywood. The studios are set to be the biggest in the UK. The BBC has announced it is to build new studios in Cardiff Bay to film dramas such as Casualty and Doctor Who, with the BBC intending to double media output from the city by 2016.
Cardiff has several regeneration projects such the St David's 2 Centre and surrounding areas of the city centre, and the £1.4 billion International Sports Village in Cardiff Bay which played a part in the London 2012 Olympics. It features the only Olympic-standard swimming pool in Wales, the Cardiff International Pool, which opened on 12 January 2008.
According to the Welsh Rugby Union, the Millennium Stadium has contributed £1 billion to the Welsh economy in the ten years since it opened (1999), with around 85% of that amount staying in the Cardiff area.
The majority of Cardiff's shopping portfolio is in the city centre around Queen Street and St. Mary Street, with large suburban retail parks located in Cardiff Bay, Culverhouse Cross, Leckwith, Newport Road and Pontprennau, together with markets in the city centre and Splott. A major £675 million regeneration programme for Cardiff's St. David's Centre was completed in 2009, which has provided a total of 1,400,000 square feet (130,000 m2) of shopping space, making it one of the largest shopping centres in the United Kingdom. The centre was named the international shopping centre of the year in 2010 by Retail Leisure International (RLI).
The Castle Quarter is a commercial area in the north of the city centre which includes some of Cardiff's Victorian and Edwardian arcades: Castle Arcade, High Street Arcade and Duke Street Arcade, and principal shopping streets: St Mary Street, High Street, Castle Street and Duke Street. Development of the area began in February 2010 and is expected to be completed by July 2011. Cardiff Council says that work to create the Castle Quarter as a pedestrian friendly environment for High Street and St Mary Street is designed to enhance the city centre.
Cardiff is sixth best city in the United Kingdom for shopping, according to a poll in November 2009, surpassing other cities such as Bristol, Leeds, Edinburgh and Newcastle upon Tyne.