31 Fun and Interesting Cardiff Facts - Exchange Hotel Cardiff
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31 Fun and Interesting Cardiff Facts

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Once the richest city in the world, Cardiff has a rich and intriguing history. There are so many fun and interesting Cardiff facts that not many people are aware of!

Cardiff Facts

Delving deep into the archives, we unearthed a list of captivating events, little known pieces of history and unexpected world firsts for Cardiff. So, let us take you on a journey around the city with our list of fun and interesting facts about Cardiff!

1. Cardiff was the First Fairtrade Capital of the World

The announcement was made that Cardiff won the race to be named the first Fairtrade capital of the world on St David’s Day in 2004.

2. Cardiff has More Hours of Sunlight than Milan

Cardiff Bay
(Source: Shutterstock)

In a city that is famous for its rainy reputation, it may shock you to learn that Cardiff has more hours of sunlight than Milan in Italy!

3. Cardiff is a City of Castles

There are three castles still standing in Cardiff; Cardiff Castle that was built in the 12th century, St Fagan’s Castle, built in the 16th century and Castell Coch Castle built in the 11th century and rebuilt in the late 17th century.

Cardiff Castle
(Source: Shutterstock)

A further twelve are within a one hour drive from the Exchange Hotel, then another fourteen can be found in the Glamorgan area.

4. Cardiff Facts: Author Roald Dahl was a Prankster

Roald Dahl, born and raised in Cardiff, once put a dead mouse into a jar of sweets at his local sweet shop after the owner was cruel to him!

5. Cardiff is Home to a 19th-century Record Store

Did you know? Cardiff has the oldest record store in the world.

Spillers Records
(Source: WikiCommons)

Spiller’s has been open since 1894 and used to sell wax cylinders for the phonograph – the new invention of the time.

6. Cardiff is Europe’s Smallest Capital

Despite at one time being the world’s richest city, Cardiff is still Europe’s smallest capital.

7. The First Million-Pound Deal was Struck in Cardiff

This happened in 1907 at Cardiff’s Coal Exchange. 

Coal Exchange Cardiff in the 1920s
The Coal Exchange in the 1920’s (Source: WikiCommons)

8. The Captain Morgan was Born in Cardiff

Yes, you read that right – Cardiff,  not the Caribbean! In a picturesque suburb of east Cardiff named Llanrumney, Captain Henry Morgan was born in 1635.

9. Cardiff Facts: Clwb Ifor Bach is Named After a 12th-century Villain

Welsh Lord Ifor Bach was famous for kidnapping members of the aristocracy.

It is said that he scaled the walls of the castle and took the Earl of Gloucester, his wife, the Countess Hawise and their young son Robert captive in 1158.

10. There was a Terrapin Invasion in Cardiff!

In the nineties, the popular kids’ TV show Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles inspired lots of Cardiff children to ask their parents for terrapins. Purchased as babies, terrapins were no bigger than a jar lid but soon grew to the size of your average dining plate!

(Source: Shutterstock)

Parents proceeded to dispose of the nuisance pets into Roath Lake and did so in such a number that the area quickly became overrun with tiny turtle-like creatures.

11. Cardiff Facts: The Birthplace of the World’s Most Terrifying Alien Race

Cardiff has seen recent fame after episodes of Dr Who were filmed in and around the city. In 1963, a race of robotic aliens terrified Dr Who fans in The Daleks.

Dalek - Dr Who filmed in Cardiff
(Source: WikiCommons)

This alien race was thought up by sci-fi writer Terry Nation who, according to those who knew him, created the Daleks on the back door steps of his childhood home in Llandaff.

12. The First Hansom Cab was Used in Cardiff

Hansom Cab
(Source: WikiCommons)

As one of the UK’s most bustling city’s of the age Cardiff streets were heaving with traffic which the arrival of the Hansom cab alleviated. The first was used in the city in 1859.

13. Cardiff has Unknown Subterranean Tunnels

Cardiff Castle tunnels
Second World War air raid tunnels in Cardiff Castle (Source: WikiCommons)

There are a series of underground tunnels in Cardiff, the purpose of which nobody is sure! Some were used as short cuts for dock workers, other tunnels have been found between hotels and Cardiff Castle.

14. Cardiff Facts: There is a Unique Origin to Tiger Bay’s Name

Tiger Bay is said to have gotten its name from an 1870 song by Harry Moreton sung about Butetown.

Tiger Bay was the nickname of any rough and ready port town given by sailors and merchants however it is believed to have stuck in Cardiff because of the song.

15. The Wild West Came to Cardiff

Buffalo Bill and his Wild West show came to Cardiff in 1891, 1903 and 1904 during three of his eight European tours.

16. Cardiff Facts: Waterskiing Competitions Were Held on Roath Lake

Roath Park
(Source: Shutterstock)

Now home to the leisurely pedal boat and rowboat rides – as well as a scenic city centre park – the lake on Roath Park once hosted water skiing competitions!

Phineas Taylor Barnum & Charles Sherwood Stratton
Phineas Taylor Barnum & Charles Sherwood Stratton, circa 1850 (Source: WikiCommons)

17. Cardiff Facts: We Once Played Host to the Smallest Man in the World

General Tom Thumb paid a visit to Cardiff in 1857 gracing the city with his stage performance. Charles Stratton was 102 cm at his tallest and toured the world with his act even performing for Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales.

18. Cardiff is also known as the City of Arcades

This great city has the largest number of Victorian, Edwardian and modern-day indoor shopping arcades in Britain!

19. Cardiff Facts: The Millennium Stadium is the Second Largest in the World

(Source: Shutterstock)

The stadium’s sliding retractable roof is also one of the largest in the world. More fun facts about this well-known Cardiff landmark are that pest control is taken care of by a professionally trained falcon – and the Stadium’s toilet has won the Loo of the year award twice!

20. Cardiff City Hall Cost £12,000 to Build

Cardiff facts
(Source: Shutterstock)

Opened in October 1906, Cardiff City Hall cost £129,708 to build – that’s a whopping £10,191,092 in today’s money.

21. Cardiff Once Operated an Electric Tramway

Cardiff facts
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Between 1902 and 1950, Cardiff Corporation Tramways operated an electric tramway service across the capital. Formerly opened on 1 May 1902, at its peak the network ran 142 cars across 19.51 miles. The system closed on 20 January 1950.

22. Cardiff is the UKs 11th Largest City

Cardiff is the capital of Wales and the UKs 11th largest city. Simple as that.

23. Only 10% of Cardiffians Speak Welsh

Only 10% of the population in Cardiff speaks Welsh. Measures have been put in place to preserve the language – which the UN, as recently as 2009, considered endangered.

24. Cardiff is the Green Space Capital of the UK

(Source: Shutterstock)

Cardiff has more green spaces per person than any other UK core city – more than Manchester, London, Liverpool and, most importantly, Swansea. This is one of our better Cardiff facts.

25. Cardiff was Recognised as the Capital of Wales in 1955

King Edward VII granted Cardiff city status on 28 October 1905. Cardiff was then recognised as the capital of Wales on 20 December 1955 by the Home Secretary Gwilym Lloyd George. Caernarfon had also vied for the title.

26. Cardiff Once had a Mole-catcher

Cardiff facts
(Source: Shutterstock)

In 1897, Cardiff had on its employment books a town mole-catcher, responsible for, you guessed it, catching moles – of course.

27. Cardiff Facts: European City of Sport

Cardiff has won the title of European City of Sport not once, but twice. First in 2009, and again in 2014.

28. The First Ever British News Film was Filmed in Cardiff

The first ever British news film was shot in Cardiff in 1896 when the Prince & Princess of Wales opened an extension to the Central Library. This was also the first ever motion picture of the prince.

29. Cardiff is one of the Flattest Cities in Britain

(Source: Shutterstock)

Yep, that’s right. Cardiff is one of the flattest cities in Britain. This won’t help dispel those flat earth theories anytime soon.

30. An Epsom Derby Winner was Bred in Cardiff

The 1874 Epson Derby winner, George Frederick, was bred at Ely Farm in Cardiff.

31. Cardiff is Full of Famous Faces

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Singers Shirley Bassey and Charlotte Church, as well as comedian Griff Rhys-Jones, writer Roald Dahl and footballer Ryan Giggs, were all born in Cardiff.

Visit Cardiff, Stay at the Exchange

These fun and interesting Cardiff facts give an insight into what kind of city Cardiff was and still is; a place full of culture and history. Today, there is so much to see and do in and around the city for all the family, groups of friends and couples. Much like Cardiff, our hotel has a rich heritage weaved into every crevice of the building. Once the famous Coal Exchange, this beautiful hotel and events venue is perfect for a place to stop over when you visit this wonderful city.

the exchange hotel

Explore the wonderful city of Cardiff yourselves and see what interesting facts about Cardiff you can unearth on your visit!

Make your reservation to stay at The Exchange Hotel today. You can also call now on 02920 107050 or email info@signatureliving.co.uk to book or check out all our amazing accommodation offers here.