Tiger Bay (Cardiff Bay)

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Although renamed Cardiff Bay, it will forever be known to the local population as Tiger Bay. The name came not from the belief that wild tigers once roamed the streets here, but from the simple fact that this was once a very dangerous place to be. The bay was once a major industrial docklands, once home to sailors from at least fifty different countries, making it the oldest multi ethnic community in the whole of Wales. These days the bay is the largest and most impressive waterfront development anywhere in Europe.

Photo by Howard Dickins
Photo by Howard Dickins

Waterside Notoriety

The community that developed in the bay area was a mixture of all of the different nationalities that had made the docklands their home. It was also a fusion of red light district meets gambling hotspot. It developed a character distinct from that of the rest of the country, but it also produced some incredible talent from that melting pot of humanity too such as Dame Shirley Bassey and rugby player Billy Boston.

The 1960’s saw much of the area razed to the ground with a new generation of immigrants making the bay area their home during the 70’s and 80’s. The bay area again went through further development in the 1990’s bringing the area up to what we recognise today. No longer regarded as a docklands, the area has been thoroughly transformed and you will discover a vast freshwater lake here now as a result of the building of the Cardiff Barrage. The creation of the barrage here was a major feat of engineering, one of the largest that has been undertaken anywhere in Europe. The construction was completed in 1999 and resulted in the creation of the vast lake and miles of waterfront aimed at further increasing the appeal of the bay to tourism.

In and Around the Bay

See the area from a different vantage point by taking a boat tour out from Mermaid Quay. Hop on-board a water taxi and head over to Penarth or into Cardiff city centre. You would be forgiven for thinking that all of the attractions are located in the city centre, however there are some attractions here in the bay that are more than worth a visit.

This is where you will find the Techniquest Science Discovery Centre which offers interactive displays and educational experiences for the whole family. Craft in the Bay allows you to get hands on and discover a hidden talent. At the Pierhead you will find the Welsh Assembly. There is also the Butetown Centre for History and Arts to explore as well as the Goleulong 2000 Lightship.

Discover art and culture at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre and play a visit to the amazing international arts centre at the Wales Millennium Centre. If that wasn’t enough over at the Atlantic Wharf Leisure Village there are plenty more activities and attractions for the while family to enjoy. Cardiff Bay, or Tiger Bay if you prefer, may not be as dangerous as it once was, but it is certainly just as exciting.

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