Cardiff Blog

Culture in Cardiff

Cardiff blog journal

Culture in Cardiff

Cardiff is a hotbed of culture, but many residents and visitors barely get beyond the New Theatre and the Wales Millennium Centre. I do love a big budget production, with a glamorous cast and glitzy costumes, but as a student, it can only be an occasional treat. Plus, although everyone needs some escapism now and then, Cardiff has so much more to offer in terms of theatre that can open your mind to new ideas and experiences. I’m sadly soon to leave Cardiff, but before I do I want to share some of my favourite sources of culture in the city.

We are extremely lucky here in Cardiff to have such a vibrant cultural community. If you’re interested in the arts, you really will never be bored here. My favourite things about the city though are the cultural centres at the heart of the community, like Sherman Cymru and Chapter Arts Centre, which have become second homes for me. In the last few months since reopening, the Sherman has welcomed an incredibly diverse array of productions from French street dance to nineteenth century drama, as well as supporting local talent with unique in-house productions. Along with more conventional plays, they have brought in genre-busting, experimental, and challenging works like the Shock ‘N’ Awe Company’s production Muscle, which brought the stories of ordinary man from across Wales to life through nothing but some very talented performers, or Grid Iron’s Barflies, based on Charles Bukowski’s work, which was performed in a pub and featured simulated sex inches from the audience’s faces. This dedication to thought-provoking theatre is taken even further by Chapter, which offers an equally varied array of works. Theatre at Chapter not only often blends several genres or media together, but also never shies away from tough questions. Recent performances have asked questions about gender, equality, politics, morality and more. On 1 and 2 June 2012, for example, Fragments of Ash will ask what turns a loving mother into a serial bomber. If you’re looking for work that makes you think, look no further. Theatre is just a small part of what Chapter offers, as well as art, literature, dance, meeting spaces, and a cinema showing blockbusters, indie, classics and world cinema. Well worth a trip into Canton. What I love most about Sherman Cymru and Chapter though is that both centres share a commitment to bringing arts into the heart of the community, creating spaces not just to watch performances, but to come together, discuss and get involved.

Beyond the cultural centres, another great source of art and entertainment that is often overlooked is the contribution of local students. Of course, we are very lucky to have the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama here and I can’t praise their Richard Burton Company (made up of drama students) enough. As clichéd as it may sound, going to their performances feels like watching the stars of the future. But as a Cardiff University student, I have to highlight just how much our 30,000 students, including many international students, have to offer. We have twenty-four performing arts societies and eighteen cultural societies, who between them ensure you’re never short of something to see. It’s a real shame that people outside of the university know so little about what’s going on here. One of my favourite societies is Act One, the drama society. I’ve only ever known of drama societies putting on a few shows a year, but Act One work tirelessly to ensure we are never short of plays, putting on one almost every week throughout second semester. Their productions range from Shakespeare and musicals to original works by the students. Obviously, as they are amateurs, you can’t expect everything to be perfect, but I’ve been very impressed by the high standard of their productions, especially in terms of new writing. And for only a few pounds a time, it’s great value for money! 

As well as the many music and dance societies, some of the university’s cultural societies hold annual showcases celebrating their traditions. These have been some of the highlights of my year; as well as being great fun, they offer a fascinating insight into different cultures. These events are the highlight of the year for these societies, so incredible amounts of effort are put in to preparing them. Sadly these events never get enough promotion, but you can keep up-to-date with what’s going on through the Students’ Union calendar:

Obviously, it’s impossible to fit all of the great cultural events, groups and activities Cardiff has to offer into one post. What I’ve learnt from my time here is the more you look, the more you’ll find.


Guest post by Katie Brown, you can see much more from Katie on some of the many publications that she writes for as well as her private blog at

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 16:58

10 twitter pics of the week

10 twitter pics of the week in Cardiff

In no particular order here are 10 great sights of Cardiff seen on twitter over the last week gathered purely at random or just because we thought they looked good...



“Stumbled upon this actual #Time #machine while in #Cardiff”

Cardiff Time Machine



“Another lovely rain-free morning. Been lucky this week! #cardiff #bay #weather #hotel”

Cariff Hotel



“Roath park #lighthouse #cardiff”

Roath Park Lighthouse



“I do like living here. #cardiff”

Barrage view



“Dead mammoth #cardiff #museum #skeleton”

Cardiff museum Mammoth




City Hall Cardiff Tulips



“#cardiff #wales #buildings #photooftheday #pictures”

St Davids 2 shopping centre Cardiff



“Brief let-up in the rain for the official unveiling of Cardiff's Olympic Rings”

cardiff olympic rings



“Weeping angel? No, jut bird poop. #doctorwho #wales #cardiff #travel”

Weeping angel in Cardiff



"Stonking sky over #Cardiff Bay earlier. Lovely.#Photography"

Glorious Cardiff Sunshine

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 23:43

Olympic Flame in Cardiff

Olympic Flame in Cardiff

Olympic Torch relay route map in Cardiff - London 2012 Olympics

Cardiff is set to hold an Olympic Torch evening celebration event on Friday 25 May.

Amazingly 8,000 people will carry the Olympic Flame during the Torch Relay. Their personal stories will have the power to inspire millions of people watching around the world.

The Olympic Flame will travel to within 10 miles of 95% of the UK’s population.

You can see the street by street level map on the official London 2012 website where its show Cardiff’s street level route.

Day 6 of the Olympic Flame Torch Relay will see with the Torch event in Cardiff coming in from Newport, leaving at 15:46 and heading into Cardiff. Day 7 sees the Olympic Torch sees events starting at 06:29 on Saturday 26 May in Cardiff Bay and heading through the streets of Cardiff, Through Grangetown and up to Penarth Rd. It is then due to start at Dinas Powys at 07:00 and 07:16 in Barry. The Olympic Torch will then take a route through several Welsh villages and up to day 8 where it will be in Swansea.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 06:28

Cardiff, Llanymynech and Prestatyn battle it out to be crowned Welsh Curry House of the year 2012.

welsh curry house of the year 2012

Cardiff, Llanymynech and Prestatyn battle it out to be crowned Welsh Curry House of the year 2012.

The Festivals Company is proud to announce that the three Indian restaurants through to the final of the 2012 Welsh Curry House of the year are:

  • The Suhail, 12 Bastion Road, Prestatyn. LL19 7ES (NORTH WALES WINNER)
  • Bengal Spices, Ashfield House, Llanymynech. SY22 6ER (MID WALES WINNER)
  • Purple Poppadom, 185 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff. CF11 9AJ (SOUTH WALES WINNER)

The three exceptional restaurants impressed the regional judges who have been visiting the top 30 restaurants in Wales over the past five weeks.

The Purple Poppadom was described by the regional judges as “A very high quality dining experience, fine dining that one would ordinarily expect in a world capital. A pleasure and the best Indian Restaurant I’ve eaten in Europe.”

Bengal Spice was described as “small and cozy with some nice touches including complementary bottles of Welsh water on each table. The menu included all the usual dishes but the tastiness of each dish was exceptional and quite a surprise.”

The Suhail impressed the regional judges “The internal décor of this converted school and chapel was stunning, a lot of thought and attention gone into it. The waiters were friendly and made useful recommendations. It is no surprise they’ve been trading for 20 years.”

“We have 280 Indian Restaurants in Wales and to make the final three is a huge achievement. We received more votes this year than ever before (12,893 to be exact) which confirms that the people of Wales are passionate about Indian cuisine and have a huge affection for their local Indian Restaurant,” said Berwyn Rowlands form the Festivals Company.

“It was important for the regional finalist to embrace their role as ambassadors for fine Indian dining but also to demonstrate their desire to use locally sourced Welsh produce. Welsh Lamb Curry has played a significant role in the competition to date and we hope that many of the restaurants will continue to offer the dish to their customers,” he added.

The names of the national judges who have been tasked with choosing the National Winner have also been announced. They are:

  • Graham Titchener from Meat Promotion Wales
  • Niaz Taj is the Jury Chair and Manager of the Spice Route.
  • Shuel Mahal, winner of the competition in 2009 and 2011 from the Sheesh Mahal in Llanelli.
  • Bonny Young from London returns as a judge having travelled extensively in India.
  • Sirajul Islam returns as a judge having spent 40 years in the Indian Restaurant sector.


“This is my first year judging the awards and I have been impressed with the standard set by the restaurants; it was a really tough process deciding on our final three. We are excited to be hosting the Awards Gala Dinner at The Red Dragon Centre right next to the Spice Route and I can’t wait to share the enjoyment and experience of eating food made out of the best locally sourced produce. It’s going to be a fantastic evening and we owe it to the 280 Indian Restaurants in Wales to celebrate the nation’s skills & talents,” said Niaz Taj, Jury Chair and the Manager of the Spice Route at The Red Dragon Centre.

The national winner will be announced by the First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones AM during the Awards Gala Dinner at the Red Dragon Centre in Cardiff Bay on Monday 23 April 2012. Tickets are available for the event priced at £45 inc VAT. BUY TICKETS HERE.  The evening will also be a fundraiser for Help for Heroes.

welsh curry house of the year 2012 sponsors

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 06:25

The nation rises up to go the extra Mile for Sport Relief 2012

The nation rises up to go the extra Mile for Sport Relief 2012

More than one million Milers take part in the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile

More than one million men, women and children have taken part in the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile this weekend, with a record number of people taking to the streets today (Sunday 25th March) at hundreds of Mile events across the length and breadth of the country.

In Cardiff, 3,971 people donned running gear or fancy dress to do 1, 3 or 6 miles in glorious sunshine. Cardiff Miler Ceri Landers, 62, from Cardiff said: “What an amazing event – I’ve had so much fun today but more importantly I feel like I’ve made a real difference to Sport Relief by lining up on the start line and getting sponsored - I’ve even seen a few famous faces too. Not bad for a Sunday morning.”
Famous faces joined Cardiff Milers to celebrate the UK’s biggest year of sport including Danielle Lineker, Rhydian Roberts and Rhys from Goldie Looking Chain, among others. Rhydian Roberts was first past the finish line in an impressive five minutes 40 seconds.

Celebrity Miler, Danielle Lineker, said: “I am so proud to be supporting Sport Relief and doing the Cardiff Mile this year. Sport Relief is a great day out for all the family and even better, all the money raised goes to a fantastic cause. We need everyone to go to to do their bit and donate now!”

Joining the charge from Cardiff, Milers in cities from Brighton to Belfast completed 1, 3, or 6 miles at 16 other flagship cities around the UK, weaving their way past some of the UK’s most iconic landmarks. This year, for the first time ever, the London Mile took place along the Mall with Milers enjoying fantastic views of Buckingham Palace. Hundreds of local Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile events also took place across the country, with communities coming together to raise cash and change lives.

From families having fun in the sun to super sprinters up against the clock, there was something for everyone on the big day which was filled with energy, entertainment and excitement.

Other notable Milers who have also taken part this year include Prince Harry who ran a Sport Relief Mile in Rio de Janeiro and Prime Minister David Cameron who ran a Mile at Prestwood leisure centre in Buckinghamshire today.

Fresh from his ‘Week of Hell’ challenge, John Bishop joined thousands of people in Manchester to do 1 mile to complete his extraordinary efforts for Sport Relief.

The winner of the First Nation Home challenge was Team England, captained by Josh Lewsey, who won with a total of 36 points.[i]

The One Show 1000 also finished their relay at the London Mile. The event started 10 days ago and has seen members of the public from all over the UK join forces to run in a 1,000 mile relay from the Isle of Mull to the Mall in London.

The Sport Relief 2012 total currently stands at £52,070,587 with more still coming in from Milers getting sponsored and the public raising money in all sorts of inventive and challenging ways.

Sport Relief would like to say a huge thank you to each and every person who has donated money or given their time to go the extra mile.

Money raised from Sport Relief will be spent by Comic Relief to help some of the most vulnerable people in the UK and across the world’s poorest countries.

[i] Celebrity teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales went head-to-head in the First Nation Home challenge. Over seven days, the teams covered a gruelling distance of more than 1,000 miles around the four nations. On Sunday 25th March the teams will be joined by members of the public for the final 6-mile leg of the challenge, in a bid to be crowned the ‘First Nation Home’.

Cardiff mile pictures 2012

Cardiff mile pictures 2012

Cardiff mile pictures 2012

Cardiff mile pictures 2012

Cardiff mile pictures 2012

Cardiff mile pictures 2012

Cardiff mile pictures 2012

Cardiff mile pictures 2012

Last Updated on Sunday, 25 March 2012 23:03