Cardiff may only have become Wales' capital in 1955, but it took to the role like a fish to water. This city of reinvention and regeneration has a storied, fascinating past, and yet still manages to be firmly rooted in the present. With a centuries old castle to explore, the Millennium Centre playing host to everyone from opera singers to international pop stars, the Millennium Stadium bringing in rugby fans in their droves, and the revamped Cardiff Bay area issuing its siren call of shops, restaurants, bars and beautiful waterfront views, this place really can claim to have it all.
Millennium Stadium - now known officially as Principality Stadium - can be found right on the River Taff, just minutes from Cardiff Central station and practically within view of Cardiff Castle. This incredible central location has made it iconic not only within its own city, but to sports and particularly rugby fans the world over. But it's not just rugby players who can be found on the field here - the stadium has played host to a huge variety of rock bands and pop stars including the likes of Coldplay and Ed Sheeran.
Meanwhile, the Millennium Centre has just as enviable a position within the city, but this time down on the waterfront at Cardiff Bay. This is the place to come for performing arts and high culture, whether you're interested in a night at the opera, being swept away by a first class musical, transported to another world through ballet or seeing a reflection of our own world onstage in a play. Nights at the theatre don't get much better than this. Even if you're not too keen on matters theatrical, the Millennium Centre is worth the detour for its imposing architecture alone. Designed by Jonathan Adams and clad in local Welsh slate, the building is particularly eye catching at night when the two metre high inscription of poet Gwyneth Lewis is beautifully backlit. Guided tours are given on most days and are well worth the trip.
For a taste of history, you can't do better than starting with Cardiff Castle. A strange yet atmospheric mix of Roman, Norman and Victorian architecture, this castle is a great way of witnessing Wales' long history in miniature - although it is by no means representative of typical Welsh castles. Because it is such a jumble of periods and eras, guided tours are recommended, but you can just as easily wander the rooms and ramparts yourself, easily imagining the journey through time that got you there.
For TV lovers, the Doctor Who Experience gives you a-hands on, immersive walk through the beloved science fiction program's history, while the rest of Cardiff has been used extensively in filming the BBC's much acclaimed Sherlock adaptation. Other excellent attractions in the city include the National Museum of Cardiff, Bute Park and St Fagans National History Museum. Just outside of the city the whole country awaits, from the Black Mountains to the Brecon Beacons, the surfing of the Gower and the rolling rivers and valleys of Monmouthshire.