Dr Who spin-off Torchwood has done a great deal to put Cardiff, the capital of Wales, on the map and to highlight it as a modern high-tech city.
Just two hours from London by train, Cardiff is a compact city where contemporary architecture and history mix in less than 15 minutes walk of each other. Within a single mile are three of Cardiff’s biggest attractions – the Millennium Stadium, the National Museum and Cardiff Castle.
The Millennium Stadium, an icon of modern Wales, has hosted six FA Cup Finals, two Rugby World Cups, witnessed two Grand Slam winners for Wales in the RBS Six Nations and has also played host to music artists such as Madonna and Robbie Williams.
Less than a mile away in Cardiff’s civic centre, the National Museum houses Wales’s natural history, archaeology, geology and art collections. With 500 years of paintings, sculptures and Impressionist works, the art collection is recognised as one of Europe’s finest. The National Museum also takes you on a journey of evolution from the Big Bang to the dinosaurs and woolly mammoths that roamed Wales to the present day.
If it’s history you’re after, Cardiff Castle offers 2,000 years of it, right in the heart of the city. This medieval castle was refashioned in the early 19th century in Victorian Gothic Revival style. Take a guided tour of Victorian gothic apartments designed by William Burges or enjoy panoramic views of the city by climbing to the top of the 12th Century Norman Keep, the centre tower. The castle also offers traditional Welsh Banquets for individual groups in the 15th century medieval hall.
The sci-fi spin-off, featuring John Barrowman as Captain Jack and Eve Myles as Gwen, deals with extraterrestrial threats here on earth. Dr Who occasionally pops in for a visit.
The iconic Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay is the distinctive ‘cover’ for Torchwood’s home base of operations. Opened in 2004 and designed as a cultural landmark and centre for the performing arts, the centre hosts theatre, West End musicals, ballet, dance troops, stand up comedy and more, as well as offering tours.
Torchwood fans can also visit the Dr Who Exhibition at the Red Dragon Shopping Centre in Cardiff Bay, opposite the Millennium Centre.
As John Barrowman (Torchwood’s Captain Jack) says: “Cardiff is buzzing every single day and it’s beautiful.”
Cardiff is easily reached by road, rail and air. Located on the M4 corridor, it is easily accessible by car. There are also regular rail services from London to Cardiff, as well as the rest of the UK. Cardiff is so compact that most people prefer to see it on foot but there is public transport around the city.