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Cardiff grew from being a small town to a major export hub during the Industrial Revolution - with canals, tramways and railways all converging on the docks area, bring iron and coal from The Valleys to be sent around the world. Coal exports reached their peak in 1913 and the world's first £1 million pound deal was signed here, in the Coal Exchange, now a hotel.

A multi national community developed around the docks, known as Tiger Bay, famed as the home of Shirley Bassey. The area became run down but has been redeveloped with the help of the Cardiff Bay Barrage, creating a 200-hectare freshwater lake which is great for boat trips and sailing. Find out much more about the history of Cardiff Bay here.

Nowadays Cardiff Bay is an area with lots of history, attractions, eating experiences and much more - a great place for your visitors to explore.

Bay Attractions

Wales Millenium Centre

The Senedd (Welsh Parliament) and The Pierhead Building


Mermaid Quay - a vibrant waterfront shopping, eating and entertainment hub.

Red Dragon Centre - blowing, cinema and lots of refreshment options.

Arts at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, Craft in the Bay and Bay Arts Gallery.

The Bay is great for tours - by bus (the Cardiff Sightseeing Open Top Buses include Cardiff Bay), by foot (Cardiff Bay Walking Tours bring the history, buildings and artworks to life) and by boat (there are several boat companies - take a look).

The International Sports Village is on the edge of the Bay and includes Cardiff Ice Arena (home to the Cardiff Devils) and Cardiff International Pool and Gym

The Bay is also great for sailing and watersports - including Cardiff International White Water Centre and Water Sports in the Bay which operates from Cardiff Sailing Centre and Cardiff Rowing Centre.  

Nearby Attractions (within approximately 5 miles)

The city centre is just one mile from Cardiff Bay; here you will find attractions including Cardiff Castle, National Museum Cardiff and Museum of Cardiff, as well as tours around Principality Stadium and BBC Wales Studios. There's also a great retail experience including the Market and Victorian shopping arcades which are filled with independent retailers. 

Penarth - town and seaside walk (including Pier)

St Fagans National Museum of History

Castell Coch

Barry Island - including Gavin and Stacey Tour

Llandaff Cathedral 

Events Cardiff Bay hosts many events - at venues such as the  Wales Millennium Centre or the Pierhead, but also alongside the waterfront at Mermaid Quay, and the event site, Alexandra Head. Check the Visit Cardiff website for details.

Cardiff Bay has a variety of hotels - including Ibis and Travelodge - check the  Visit Cardiff page for details.

Two of the best hotels in Southern Wales are in Cardiff Bay - Voco St David's Cardiff overs the Bay whilst The Coal Exchange Hotel is a recent refurbishment of one of the most imposing buildings from the time when Cardiff was at the heart of the industrial revolution.

Cafes and Restaurants

Cardiff Bay is filled with a wide variety of coffeeshops, lunch stops, bars and restaurants - check the Visit Cardiff website for ideas


Cardiff Bay is part of the Wales Coast Path and also the start/finish of the Taff Trail (that runs to Brecon). 

There is a great 6.2 mile circular walk/cycle route around the Bay which includes Penarth. Around the Bay there are many scupltures and historic buildings - a good guide will bring these stories to life - try Cardiff Bay Tours to book a guide. 

Length of Stay Cardiff Bay can easily fill a full day, or else you can include a 2 hour tour of the area in your itinerary.
Coach Parking Coach Drop Off and Parking: Coaches can drop near the Millennium Centre and there are various places to park coaches during your visit - download the Coach Map from Visit Cardiff.
Toilets There are public toilets located around the Bay - check the Coach Map from Visit Cardiff for details.
Tourist Information and contact for more information Plan your visit at Visit Cardiff.
Other Information