Today I went to the National Museum Wales in Cardiff. I’d not been before and I had a few hours to kill before a film. The website said there was a Pop Art display, and after seeing Roy Lichtenstein’s work in Tate Modern, I was keen to see what they had.
Inside I saw a Picasso, a Cezanne, a Hockney and a Peter Blake. Also on display were works by other artists I wasn’t so familiar with but still worth seeing. I explored the rest of the museum and found to my delight, a room full of Monet paintings, a Manet, a cast of Rodin’s The Kiss and elsewhere lots of Gainsborough’s.
I was amazed, I never knew that Cardiff had such a great collection of art.
As I left, sat on the steps of the very grand building were three young lads, one of whom remarked ‘Why do people come to Cardiff, it’s shit. You know Chinese people fly 24,000 miles to come to this dump, why?’ As I walked over the road, part of me wanted to go back and explain that they were sat on the very steps of one reason why people visit Cardiff, but I was on my way somewhere else, there were three of them, I’m small and rubbish at fighting if it came to that!
So as I walked away, I considered his point and came up with this list:
- The very Museum whose steps they were sat on, a great collection of art and natural history.
- The buildings and architecture in Cathays Park. Having never been that close, I’d not seen the massive dragon on top of one of them.
- Bute Park, not too far there, an amazing green space in the city.
- Cardiff Castle, more history, more architecture, more green spaces.
- The shopping area, lots of big names all gathered in a relatively small and compact area.
- The Millennium Stadium, take a tour, watch a game, watch a concert
- Big name cinema with Vue and Cineworld, or not too far away a bit of art-house at The Chapter, while you’re there see a play or even more art.
- Music and theatre venues of which there are many.
- The Bay; food, entertainment or just relax and take in the sights.
- The Millennium Centre: See a play or music or like I did, the Britain’s Got Talent auditions.
- Not too far out the city is St Fagans and the Museum of Welsh Life, free to get in and so much history about Wales, and guess what, even more green spaces.
- Llandaff Cathedral and the surrounding area, a peaceful haven away from the city.
- Doctor Who & Torchwood locations; I’ve looked for them and no doubt so have others. I think there are even guided tours available.
- A starting point to visit other places. I’m sure people come to Cardiff as it’s the capital and then travel to other places, Swansea, The Gower, Mumbles, Haverfordwest, into the Beacons where I live, up the coast and up North.
Not an exhaustive list but one from memory and not resorting to Google. I’m sure a quick search will reveal a huge list of things that bring people to Cardiff.
Those three lads will never read this but I hope that they one day realise what they have in front of them.