The Welsh capital, where the series begins on July 8, is home to a relatively new Test cricket venue. Sophia Gardens, or SWALEC Stadium as it is officially known, has hosted only two Tests – the first an Ashes match in 2009, which was drawn.
The coal trade of the 19th century transformed Cardiff into a significant European capital and, even with the demise of the mines, it’s still the 10th largest city in the UK. But there’s more to Cardiff than the remnants of an industrial past. Described by National Geographic as “a gem”, the city came sixth on the magazine’s 2011 list of alternative summer destinations.
Renowned for its attention to detail, Lincoln House Hotel, a privately run B&B, is a restored Victorian townhouse of quiet luxury close to the stadium and within walking distance of many restaurants and bars.
￼lincolnhotel.co.uk | 118-120 Cathedral Road
Jolyons Boutique Hotel and Jolyon’s at No. 10 are charming stays owned by the same business. One is a revamped seamen’s lodge with six rooms overlooking the harbour, the other a refurbished Victorian townhouse with 21 stylish rooms in the heart of the city’s entertainment district. Both are four-star rated and judged among the best hotels in the UK at less than £100 ($196) a night.
jolyons.co.uk | 5 Bute Crescent and 10 Cathedral Road
The Clink Charity is a unique concept in which 30 Cardiff Prison inmates prepare, cook and serve a menu of surprisingly excellent fare that travel website TripAdvisor rates the best in the city. As an added benefit, the venture has helped slash prisoners’ reoffending rates.
￼theclinkcharity.org | Her Majesty’s Prison Cardiff, Knox Road
Known for its “nouvelle Indian cuisine”, Purple Poppadom is an award-winning fusion of the flavours of India with the traditions of hearty, seasonal Welsh fare
purplepoppadom.com | 185a Cowbridge Road East
The Cricketers pub is close to the stadium with plush lounge areas, locally made ales and, if the sun is shining, a charming beer garden.
￼cricketerscardiff.co.uk | 66 Cathedral Road
Gwdihŵ Café Bar, roughly pronounced “goody hoo”, is a lively cocktail bar and late-night music venue. It fittingly touts itself as “a cosy but very kooky living room”.
6 Guildford Crescent
Cardiff boasts the largest concentration of castles of any city in the world, the best of which is Cardiff Castle. This imposing and complex structure dates back to 50AD when the site was a Roman fort. It then spent time as a Norman keep and finally a gargoyle-fringed monument to John Stuart, the Marquess of Bute, who made the city the biggest coal and steel exporter in the world.
cardiffcastle.com | Castle Street
￼Though there’s much to see and do on Cardiff Bay – including whitewater rafting, galleries and museums – the Doctor Who Experience is a drawcard for fans of all ages.
￼doctorwho.tv | Discovery Quay, Cardiff Bay