Cardiff audio tour: Cardiff's Civic Centre

About the Tour

This tour is your chance to explore what is widely regarded as one of the finest collections of public buildings in the whole of Britain, strikingly presented with domes, towers, columns, and statues, and elegantly laid out amidst peaceful ornamental gardens and tree lined avenues.

This tour is an escape from the hustle and bustle of Cardiff City Centre to the peace and tranquility of this parkland oasis, and a journey back in time to hear and see the story of a momentous period in Cardiff’s history. The parkland, its statues, and its buildings send powerful messages of a new city eager to stamp its place in the world, while rediscovering Welsh national identity and pride for the first time in generations.

Tour Producer

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James Cowan

Mine is a tale of two cities: my one-time home city of Cardiff, Capital of Wales, and my new home, Copenhagen, Capital of Denmark.

I grew up with Cardiff on my doorstep and lived there most of my adult life. Discovering its incredible but still largely unknown history became an ever growing passion. This led me to develop walking tours telling people the history, legends and ghost stories of Cardiff and Wales – tales of Kings, Princes, and a one-time tiny town on the Taff that overnight become the world’s biggest coal port, from which emerged the grand domes, towers and columns of its beautiful civic centre….and all the time, in its woodlands and castles lurk ancient legends and tales of ghosts!

I am delighted that, thanks to Voicemap, I have been able to convert some of these tours into self guided audio tours.

Since 2019 I have had a new home, Copenhagen, and I have fallen in love with this city. Discovering its history, its character, and its characters past and present, has been an all-consuming pleasure, always full of surprises. I am delighted to offer my first Copenhagen tour, which has been a labour of love to research and develop.

Whether you are in Cardiff or Copenhagen, I hope I can help you see these cities in a new and different light, and eager for more!

Major Landmarks

  • Cardiff City Hall

  • National Museum Cardiff

  • Welsh National War Memorial

  • Welsh National Temple of Peace and Health

Directions to Starting Point

The tour takes place just on the edge of Cardiff City Centre and begins at the corner of King Edward VII Avenue and Gorsedd Gardens Road. The postcode for this location is CF10 3ND. You need to be standing at the top of the steps emerging from the subway which goes under the dual carriageway Boulevard de Nantes (the A4161).

The start point for the tour is a few minutes walk from Cardiff Castle, which itself is right in the centre of Cardiff. You can use this location as a means to get to the tour route in a few minutes. If you are facing the main entrance gate of Cardiff Castle, turn right and walk to the front corner of the castle. At that corner you will see a pedestrian crossing leading to the end of the long pedestrianised shopping street called Queen Street. Cross here but immediately turn left and walk so that the side of Cardiff Castle is on your left and on the other side of the road. This is Kingsway. Walk up Kingsway for approximately 100 metres until you pass the Hilton Hotel on your right. Once past the Hilton Hotel you will see in front of you a pedestrian crossing over Greyfriars Road, and in the distance ahead of you the tall clock tower of City Hall where the tour will start. Cross here and continue ahead until you reach the subway. Go through the subway and up the steps the other side so that you are standing right in front of City Hall with its tall clock tower. You are now ready to start the tour.

If you are coming by car there is roadside pay and display car parking along the roads and avenues of Cathays Park, as well as nearby on North Road (the A470).

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Tips

Places to stop along the way

The foyer of the National Museum has a shop, cafe and toilets.

Best time of day

I usually find that mornings are a very pleasant quiet time to do the tour, especially at weekends or in hot weather. However, the place tends to be quiet throughout the day. The route is also pleasant and peaceful to do in the evening while it is still daylight.

Precautions

The roads on the route tend to be quiet but please take care for traffic when crossing roads. Cathays Park is generally a safe location but normal precautions are recommended, such as not to leave valuables unattended. It is not recommended that you do the tour at night, not just for personal safety reasons, but because you cannot appreciate all of the buildings and features as they are not all floodlit.

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