Cardiff: Cobblestones, Castles & Queers
Listed as one of our top-10 up-and-coming destinations for 2008 and recently reviewed as “hot and happening” by Frommers, the Welsh capital of Cardiff is not only artsy, hip, and full of the vigor of a fresh-on-the-map destination, but also has a flavor of old: history, tradition, and even some cobblestones and heavily trod market streets. Two hours outside of London, Cardiff has been the capital of Wales for only 54 years, but a city for 2000.
Continuing its tradition of marrying new ideas with ancient ones, Cardiff Pride will take place on September 6, 2008 in Bute Park adjacent to Cardiff Castle. Later in the year, October will see the hosting of the Iris Prize Festival, which has largest award in the world for a gay & lesbian short film (a whopping $50,000).
Year-round, the young-at-heart capital also boasts Chapter, one of the largest public art centers in Europe with exhibition spaces, theaters, cinemas, cafés, and cultural workspaces. The National Gallery has one of the best Impressionist collections outside of Paris.
Perhaps one of the most exciting parts about Cardiff is the density of this newly-urbane place. Most of the attractions, including all that was mentioned above plus lively bars and clubs (the gay nightlife is concentrated on Charles Street while and the restaurants and live music venues around Greyfriars Road) are all within one square mile of the city center. Thus, some brisk walking or a cheap taxi ride will get you across town in minutes in the newly-discovered, vibrant capital of one of the world’s oldest kingdoms: Wales.