Shipping, steel and coal put the city of Cardiff on the map. In more recent times, rugby, regeneration and concerts sums the modern city to a tee. In the last two decades, Mermaid Quay has become a public realm, dominated by tree lined piazzas, Senedd and the Millennium Centre. It is now a good place for the Welsh Assembly offices, relaxation and fine dining as well as merriment. All a far cry from its industrial past.
Another facet of its post-industrial setting is the revamp of Cardiff Arms Park into the revolutionary Millennium Stadium. A venue truly befitting the capital of Wales, and a fantastic conference venue - especially for fans of William Webb-Ellis' ovoid game. The Motorpoint Arena has a number of function suites as well as playing host to live events. Close by is St. David's Hall, again with a wealth of high quality live acts and conference facilities. It also has lunchtime concerts and is home to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Devotees of spherical ball games are placated for with conference facilities available at the SWALEC Stadium or Cardiff City Stadium. Whether you wish to see the Bluebirds or Glamorgan County Cricket Club in style, the choice is yours.
For retail therapy, you'll be in for a treat. Highlights include the Capitol and St. David's shopping centres. Close to the St. David's Shopping Centre is Cardiff Central Market, a Victorian covered market hall with character. Within minutes from the main shopping centre is the peace and tranquility of Cathays Park and Cardiff Castle.
Cardiff Castle stands on a Roman fort, reportedly established in the end of the 50s AD. The castle's keep was rebuilt after the Norman Conquest and passed through the hands of many families. One was the Bute family, who turned Cardiff into the world's greatest coal exporting port. Now owned by the people of Cardiff, it became a popular tourist attraction. It is also a unique conference venue, far from the bustle whilst being in a central location.
It is also an ideal base for exploring South Wales. Barry Island, which many people would associate with the BBC comedy series 'Gavin and Stacey' is a short drive or train ride away, as is Newport, Penarth and the Rhondda Valley. If you're planning to travel a little further, Swansea or Bristol is less than an hour away by rail.
The capital of Wales is well connected with most parts of England and Wales. From London, via the M4 and rail services to Paddington. From the North, hourly trains to Manchester Piccadilly. Cardiff Rhoose airport has a number of domestic and European flights and is served by direct trains from Cardiff Central.
Work, rest or play, there's a lot going for Cardiff. If you've considered the capital of Wales as your first call for a conference venue, at least twice, you may well agree.