You haven't experienced anything until you've been to Cardiff on a match day.
In recent years Cardiff has cemented itself as a leading city to watch international major sporting events, attracting global audiences the world over and in 2014 was crowned European Capital for Sport. So, whether you’re a spectator enjoying a pint of locally brewed Brains or competing at a national level, here is our round up of some the best events to ever grace Welsh turf.
RugbyAny true rugby fan will have already rolled into Cardiff to enjoy the many rugby tournaments which grace the city, including the Six Nations, the Heineken Cup and most recently the Rugby World Cup 2015 – which saw 564,524 fans flood through the city’s gates. Cardiff also boasted the busiest Fanzone attendance with 158,969 people watching the action live on the big screen.
And you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t take a selfie with the spectacular ball in the wall!
While rugby courses through the veins of many a Welsh man, Welsh football is enjoying something of a renaissance. The national side has qualified for the UEFA European Championships 2016 and Cardiff boy Gareth Bale is the most expensive player in the world! To top it all off, Cardiff are due to host the biggest football tournament ever next year, the Champions League Final.
Perhaps our luck with the round ball is changing, Hail Bale, Hail Bale!
The stadium has also donned its petrol hat and has hosted the British FIM Speedway Grand Prix for 15 consecutive years. The event which attracts visitors the from all over the world involves 16 riders on 500cc bikes travelling up to 70 mph around a track but these are not normal motorbikes – they have no brakes, a clutch, one gear and they accelerate faster from 0 -60 mph than a Formula 1 car.
WatersportsCardiff has hosted the Extreme Sailing Series™ an impressive four times. The adrenaline fuelled event welcomes eight of the world’s top sailing teams going head-to-head within touching distance of the shore. Keeping cool near the water’s edge you can also catch the P1 Welsh Grand Prix of the Sea. Expect a P1 fleet of powerboats and over 30 jet ski riders serving up a feast of fast, furious and free to watch race action in which success is all down to driver ability.
Coming Soon in 2018
Cardiff will host a stopover in the 13th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. It’s been a decade since the world’s premier round-the-world sailing race has been to the UK and marks the very first time it has ever come to Wales!
Visitors and residents alike refused to let the Welsh weather dampen their spirits during the 2010 Ryder Cup where Europe scooped victory. It was the first time the event had been hosted in Wales and took place at the Celtic Manor Resort. Following the tournament the Celtic Manor continues to attract golfers from across the globe.
The SSE Swalec attracts cricket fans from around the world. The state of the art cricket stadium has hosted a series of international test matches as well as the Ashes test in 2009 and the Ashes series opener in 2015. Centrally located you’ll be bowled over by how near it is to Cardiff’s shops, bars and restaurants.
Returning in 2016, Velothon is the biggest-ever cycling event in Wales. The 140km event attracted 12,000 participants in 2015, making it the second biggest sportive in the UK and in the world’s top 10 biggest cycling events. The event sees a professional race take place as well as a mass participation event. If you’re up for the challenge there are still places available. Sore bottom alert!
Why not catch a Cardiff Devils game in their brand new home, Ice Arena Wales, in the Cardiff International Sports Village. Winning their first game in the new arena last March and finishing second in the British Elite Ice Hockey League, the highest level of ice hockey competition in the United Kingdom, next season is set to be gripping.
The puck will be hitting the ice again in autumn for the 2016-17 season. More information and tickets.
In March 2016, Cardiff hosted one of the most prestigious global running events, the IAAF/Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships. World class athletes descended on the city in preparation for the Commonwealth Games as did thousands of amateurs. The passing of this event is no reason to hang up your running shoes though, grab your trainers and take part in one of the many events from the weekly 5k park run in Bute Park, the Cardiff 10k in September or the Cardiff University Cardiff half marathon in October. There’s something for everyone!