Cardiff has gone Roald Dahl crazy in 2016!

This year Cardiff will be celebrating the centenary of one of our most famous son’s birth, Roald Dahl.
Born in Cardiff in 1916, Roald Dahl is one of our most celebrated sons and greatest authors of our time.  Being of Norwegian descent, his parents were drawn to Cardiff by the shipping trade. Baptised in the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay, he spent his early years living in Llandaff, where he attended Cathedral School.

The Great Wall Chinese restaurant in Llandaff, formerly Mrs Pratchett’s sweet shop, bears a blue plaque detailing its links to Dahl. This was the site where young Dahl and his friends played a mischievous trick on Mrs Pratchett, placing a dead mouse in a gobstopper jar. Finding the mouse, Mrs Pratchett dropped the jar smashing it to smithereens and closed the shop for a day. This is said to have inspired tales in his book’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘The Twits’ and also appears in his autobiographical work ‘Boy’.

Must-see events for Roald Dahl fans in Cardiff this summer

  1. ‘City of the Unexpected‘ 17th & 18th of September 2016

city of the unexpected

Hosted by The National Theatre Wales and The Wales Millennium Centre, this city wide extravaganza promises to be the biggest theatrical event Cardiff has ever seen. Directed by Nigel Jameson, one of the world’s leading theatre and large scale event directors, a cast of thousands of actors, singers, dancers and ordinary members of the public will be involved in performances on both the city’s streets and in its best-known buildings. With a weekend inspired by Dahl’s incredible imagination you can expect to see everyday places utterly transformed and meet your favourite Roald Dahl characters.

2. Quentin Blake: Inside Stories, National Museum Cardiff, 16th July – 20 November.

roald dahl

Celebrating the work of one of the world’s most important and best-loved illustrators. This exhibition shows how Blake’s illustrations have evolved from rough sketches and story boards to his distinctive finished artwork. This exhibition will consist of both illustrations from Roald Dahl’s books including ‘The Twits’ and ‘Danny the Champion of the World’ and also illustrations to books by John Yeoman, Russell Hoban and Michael Rosen.

3. ‘The Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl, Wales Millennium Centre, 12th August – 14 January.


Embark on this magical and interactive journey through ‘The Wondercrump World’ of Roald Dahl, learning about our favourite author’s life and inspirations. You’ll experience magical forests and installations that will spark your imagination and transport you to the bizarre and fantastical world of his books.

This exhibition is not suitable for younger children and is recommended for ages 7-12.

Interesting facts about Roald Dahl

  • Dahl joined the Air Force in 1939 and trained as a fighter pilot. He took part in a number of missions in World War 2, but his military career ended after he sustained injuries from a crash-landing in the North African Desert.
  • In 1942, Dahl was recruited to join a spy network called the British Security Coordination. Their mission was to carry out covert activities in order to persuade the United States to join the war against Germany.
  • In 1960, Roald Dahl’s son Theo was hit by a car and developed hydrocephalus. After this incident Dahl and hydraulic engineer Stanley Wade and neurosurgeon Kenneth Till developed a new mechanism which helped thousands of children who experienced bleeding in the brain as Theo had. The three inventors agreed never to accept any profits from their invention.
  • It is estimated that over 200 million copies of Roald Dahl’s books have been sold worldwide.
  • In 2002 Cardiff Bay’s Oval Basin plaza was re-named ‘Roald Dahl Plass’ . ‘Plass’ is the Norwegian for ‘place’ or ‘square’, referring to Dahl’s roots.

What is Cardiff to you?