When I worked as a Civil Engineer I got the chance to be based in a few different locations with some of these including Ireland, Malaysia and India. However, one of the best places I can remember being based was Cardiff in Wales. It is a relatively small European capital city but has a vibrant atmosphere and is a great place to spend time. I was based there for around 10 months and during this time tried to get out and about at the weekends to see some of the sights the city had to offer.
In the few years before I arrived in Cardiff at the start of the 2000’s, the Cardiff Bay area had undergone a lot of redevelopment and I had been told it was a good place to visit. So one sunny Saturday morning I grabbed my Cardiff map had a look at the easiest way to get there and off I headed. Whenever I am in a new city I always try to walk around as much as possible, rather than taking transport as it generally helps me find my way around better. As a passenger on a bus or taxi I tend to sit and look at the scenery without taking that much notice of where I am going, so when I can I try to walk.
With this it mind, and the fact it was a nice sunny day, off I walked from the center of Cardiff out to the bay area. It took around about an hour as far as I can remember and I had been told that one of the best places to start a visit was the Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre, so this was the location I headed for first. The visitor center is located in an attractive area right next to the water and the first thing that I noticed was the fantastic views out over the bay. These are well worth seeing and whether in or around the center you can get some fantastic photos.
The inspiration for the visitor center itself was supposedly a futuristic telescope and the building is a long oval shape with a huge window at the end which looks out over the bay. It is a fairly innovative design and gives the center a great look. Locals have nicknamed the building “The Tube” because that is what it basically looks like and it is certainly a unique looking structure.
Apart from the building itself and the great views out over the bay, the reason to make the visitor center the first stop on a visit to the bay is the displays it houses. At the time I visited this included a model of the bay along with exhibitions of Cardiff itself. A lot of information was also shown about the bay area itself, the development works that have been done and the planned works for the future. It was all fairly interesting information and gives a fairly good perspective of the bay area. There are also videos to watch of Cardiff and the bay area and again they provide some interesting information and are worth having a look at.
I spent a couple of hours at the visitor center just enjoying the many exhibitions on offer and taking the time to enjoy the beautiful views out over Cardiff Bay. Although it was a Saturday morning, the center was not that busy and it was easy just to take my time and wander around the various displays and learn a little about Cardiff and the bay. The center is free to enter, so it will cost you nothing more than time to enjoy the attractions it has to offer. If you are ever in Cardiff it is certainly worth visiting and is a location in the city that I would definitely recommend taking in.