Wales’s hardworking capital city has never courted tourist affection. Founded on the wealth of the British coal industry, until the new millennium Cardiff’s reputation as a gritty landscape of belching smokestacks, blighted housing estates, and urban angst held sway. Then in 1990s, a huge renovation project headlining preeminent architects, including Richard Rogers of Pompidou Center fame (or infamy depending on your perspective) transformed the city. Iconic structures, including the ultramodern Senedd—the seat of the Welsh National Assembly—and Wales’ Millennium Center—home to the Welsh National Opera—have given the city a thirst for culture like never before.
At the turn of the 19th century, Cardiff’s port area was one of the busiest in the world. Now, purged of its port town squalor and seediness, the area known as Mermaid Quay has been reinvented as a thriving, upscale, waterside district brimming with chain restaurants, retail stores, and lively bars.
Cardiff lays claim to the largest concentration of castles of any world city. In the heart of the city, the sombre Cardiff Castle provides an imposing reminder of the city’s Roman and Norman legacies. Built in the 1870s, the whimsical Castell Coch (also known as the Red Castle), replete with turrets, a portcullis, and a drawbridge, is plucked straight from a child’s imagination.
With four major universities, it’s no surprise that the city’s music scene is as varied as it is accomplished. The diminutive Gwdihw music venue is the city’s most ardent proponents of the punk rock genre for which the city is known. But Rugby has, and likely always will be, Wales’ national obsession. The Millennium Stadium, built in 1999, functions as a modern day Coliseum with impassioned and often bloody stand offs between the UK’s top Rugby teams.
Airports located within a 35-mile radius of Cardiff:
- Cardiff Airport (CWL, located within the city)
- St. Athan Airport (DGX, located within the city)
- Bristol Airport (BRS)
- Bristol Filton Airport (FZO)
- Swansea Airport (SWS)
Popular aircraft charters* in the Cardiff area include:
- Citation Excel (super light)
- Learjet 45 XR (super light)
- Citation CJ3 (light)
- Learjet 31ER 400A (light)
- Learjet 60 XR (midsize)
- Citation III (midsize)
- Gulfstream G200 (super midsize)
- Citation Sovereign (super midsize)
*This is just a sample. Zephyr provides access to aircraft at every end of the spectrum, from luxurious VIP airliners, to ultra long range business jet, helicopters, and economical turboprops.