Whether you feel like filling your day with sports, arts, shopping or just a walk on the waterfront, Cardiff Bay is the place that offers the entertainment or leisure experience that you need.
Known in the past as the largest coal exporting port in the world, by the 1980s Cardiff Bay was an empty land filled with abandoned buildings but it has changed its image and profile with the introduction of the Cardiff Barrage completed in 1999. This barrage impounded the River Taff and the River Ely to create a regeneration area dominated by the newly formed freshwater lake at the south of Cardiff city's center.
Completed with the attractions it offers today, Cardiff Bay draws nearly two million visitors to its waterfront every year. Among the main attractions available now you will find The Welsh Assembly at the Pierhead, the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, the Wales Millennium Centre or the Goleulong 2000 Lightship, while the Techni Quest Science Discovery Centre and the Atlantic Wharf Leisure Village provide entertainment for the whole family.
Cardiff Bay plans for future attractions include a Welsh National Canoe and Rafting Centre complete with a 50m pool and a leisure water complex, an ice rink as part of St David's II, a Morrisons superstore and a Toys-R-Us store that will be the largest in Europe.
A visit to Cardiff Bay may also bring you to a local, national or international festival like the Welsh Food Festival or the MAS Carnival. With all this and much more to offer, Cardiff Bay must be among your favourite destinations when you're looking for a fun time out.
The largest coal exporting port in the world has certainly changed its image with the construction of Cardiff Barrage, creating a freshwater lake measuring approximately 500 acres and resulted in 8 miles of waterfront. The barrage was used to impound two nearby rivers, the River Taff and the River Ely and it resulted in the now regenerated area that continues to develop as a leisure destination and a favourite among tourists from all corners of the world.
The Cardiff Bay Development Corporation, created in 1987, was the key player in the development of the area and by the year 2000 it had achieved most of its goals. The empty land and torn down buildings had turned into an unrecognizable area with a freshwater lake and habitats for several freshwater species at the mouth of the River Taff. This also resulted in an economic growth of the area with new apartments built, new jobs available, private lands becoming open to the public and much more.
The main attraction of Cardiff Bay is probably the waterfront, a perfect destination for a romantic walk, and it draws over two million visitors every year. When you visit the Cardiff Bay waterfront you will encounter its other attractions like the visitors centre known among the locals as "the tube", the Cat-cruisers, Techni Quest, the land train or the Norwegian Church Arts Centre. Another popular place to visit is the spectacular Wales Millennium Centre for the performing arts that can offer you a day filled with art, be it ballet, opera or a musical. This is just one of the many cultural attractions in Cardiff.
If you prefer, you can just go shopping in the many shops the centre houses within its walls, or you can simply enjoy a refined dinner in one of the restaurants overlooking the beautiful Cardiff Bay. There are walking tours of the waterfront available and if you need to take a break you can choose from the wide range of bars and restaurants of Mermaid Quay. Cardiff Bay is also home to the MAS Carnival and several festivals of local, national or international importance like the Welsh Food Festival.
One of the developments planned for the near future is the International Sports Village in Cardiff Bay, located on the Ferry Road peninsula and intended to be used as an Olympic training venue if completed by 2012. Other projects under construction at this time include an ice rink temporarily framed in timber, a leisure water complex and a 50m pool as part of the Welsh National Canoe and Rafting Centre. The leisure water complex will be completed, like the International Sports Village of Cardiff Bay, around the year 2012. The growing development of the area also includes the building of new stores like the largest Toys-R-Us store in Europe meant to replace the one demolished in the city centre and a Morrisons superstore that will most likely reduce the dominance of local grocery market giants Asda and Tesco. Some of the historic buildings will be spared by the development plans like the Norwegian Church and the Pierhead building but the rest of the historic area of the quay side will be fashioned with leisure facilities like cinemas, restaurants, shops, offices and even housing. The plans also include a new home for the National Assembly for Wales that will be designed by Richard Rogers.
Whether you are looking for a fun filled day, a romantic time out or you want to spend your time enjoying a quality artistic performance you can find it all in Cardiff Bay. The various shops and superstores offer you a wide variety of quality shopping at very low prices that can make your day a lot of fun. The Wales Millennium Centre for the performing arts is always ready to offer a quality show whether it is ballet, opera, dance or a musical. If you would prefer a more romantic pastime you can enjoy a refined candle light dinner for two with a view of the beautiful Cardiff Bay or simply take a walk along the Cardiff Bay waterfront. Either way, you can't go wrong if you spend your day in Cardiff Bay.