Cardiff City Stadium
Address: Leckwith Road,
Capacity: 33,280 (All-Seater)
Simply put, an International standard football stadium.
Built between 2007 and 2009, it has been home to Cardiff City Football Club since opening. The stadium was built on the site of the former Cardiff Athletics Stadium and replaced Cardiff City’s former home Ninian Park where the Bluebirds had been since 1910.
Public approval on the new stadium was first gained in January 2002, and by August 2003 Cardiff councillors had approved of stadium plans alongside development to the surrounding area.
The initial plan was to begin the development in 2005 but Cardiff City’s poor financial status saw this construction process delayed. Further extensions were granted by the sale of players, the arrival of former Leeds United chairman Peter Ridsdale and the securing of Asda as the new development’s lead retailer.
Construction work finally began in September 2007 and was eventually completed in May 2009, officially opening with a friendly game between Cardiff City and Celtic that ended 0-0 on 22nd July 2009.
Cardiff City’s first competitive game here was a 4-0 win over Scunthorpe United on 8th August 2009.
Rugby union team the Cardiff Blues played their matches at the Cardiff City Stadium between 2009 and 2012 before making the move back to their previous home Arms Park.
The Cardiff City Stadium is also in regular use for matches that involve the Wales National Team. The majority of the Dragons’ fixtures are played here, though some matches have been played at other venues in Wales including the Millennium Stadium elsewhere in Cardiff, the Liberty Stadium in Wales and the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham.
Location and Getting There
The Cardiff City Stadium is located in the Leckwith area of the Welsh Capital, around one mile west of Cardiff City Centre. The stadium forms part of a complex that includes the Cardiff International Sports Stadium less than 0.5 miles away to the west and the Capital Retail Park directly to the southwest. The River Ely is roughly 0.4 miles away to the southwest of the stadium and the River Taff is over towards Cardiff City Centre, with both the Millennium Stadiums and Arms Park based next to its eastern bank.
Getting to the Cardiff City Stadium by car is certainly possible, though many fans will strongly recommend taking a route that avoids driving through the centre of Cardiff.
Leave Junction 33 of the M4, follow the A4232 towards Cardiff/Barry and then take the exit for the B4267, which is additionally marked with a sign for the ‘Athletics Stadium’ and Cardiff City Stadium’. You will approach the stadium from the west, and parking from there is up to you.
There are a number of paid parking spaces around the stadium’s immediate vicinity, though it is important to note that the parking spaces within the Capital Retail Park are limited to 90 minutes and will not be long enough for a matchday.
I have found success with finding free parking in the residential estates northeast of the stadium, and the walk from there can take around 20 minutes. Ensure that you are legally allowed to park on a particular street though and do not block the drives of any residents.
The closest train station to the Cardiff City Stadium is Ninian Park, served by Transport for Wales. It is just a five minute walk north of the ground and based on a line that leads from Cardiff Central Station.
Alternatively, Grangetown Station is based to the southeast of the stadium. It is another station served by Transport for Wales from Cardiff Central with the line continuing on to Barry Island. The walk from Grangetown to the Cardiff City Stadium takes around 15 minutes along a simple route.
It is certainly possible and practical as well to simply arrive at Cardiff Central, which is served by Transport for Wales, Great Western Rail and CrossCountry, and simply walk to the Cardiff City Stadium for there. Cardiff Central is based near the City Centre and the Millennium Stadium with the walk to the Cardiff City Stadium taking around 25 minutes.
Taxi services from there are also available.
Outside the Stadium
If you are coming from Ninian Park station then you will approach the ground through the gates off Sloper Road, first arriving at the stadium’s East Stand which is better known as the Ninian Stand.
It’s the largest of the four at the Cardiff City Stadium, with an exterior that includes a giant panelled building that protrudes outwards. These panels are darker in colour at the bottom and lighter in colour towards the top, additionally making use of red trim and glass windows with a cantilever roof.
This extended area of the Ninian Stand was not in place when the Cardiff City Stadium was originally built and has open space underneath for people to freely walk through, and it’s around here that the stand’s turnstiles leading inside can be found (Gates 6-11).
One end of the Ninian Stand’s exterior, next to the stadium’s southeast corner, is fenced off on a matchday. This is because the corner here holds the away turnstiles (Gate 12), and the fencing is designed to act as a segregation method.
Continuing round from here brings you to the South Stand, which is otherwise known as the Family Stand or the Grange Stand after the area of Cardiff out beyond it.
Additionally including the stadium’s southwest corner, the exterior here consists of a grey brickwork base with blue corrugated iron slightly above. Large silver, white, light blue and dark blue panels form the exterior’s upper parts, with more corrugated iron and a cantilever roof right at the top.
Turnstiles leading inside (Gates 13-15) can be found in the centre of the Family Stand’s brickwork base and also in the stadium’s southwest corner, whilst out beyond the stand is one of the stadium’s smaller car parks.
The West Stand of the Cardiff City Stadium is better known as the Grandstand.
Its exterior is dominated by a silver and dark grey panelled building that protrudes outwards, additionally three glass façades in the centre. The ends of the Grandstand, next to the stadium’s southwest and northwest corners, follow a similar exterior design to the Family Stand.
The entrance to the Main Reception is based in the very centre of the stand’s exterior, with the Cardiff City Superstore based left of here, towards the northwest corner.
Turnstiles leading inside the Grandstand can be found in the dead centre (Gate 1) and at either end of the panelled building (Gate 16 is near to the stadium’s southwest corner), whilst Cardiff City’s Main Ticket Office is based near to Gate 2 at the opposite end. Gate 3 is in the northwest corner itself.
A large amount of car parking spaces are located out beyond the Grandstand’s exterior, and directly outside the northwest corner is a statue of Fred Keenor.
Born in Cardiff on 31st July 1894, Keenor was a defender who played for the Bluebirds over 500 times between 1913 and 1931. He is best known for being the captain of the Cardiff City team which won the FA Cup in 1927, beating Arsenal 1-0 in the final.
Capped 32 times by Wales, Keenor passed away on 19th October 1972 at the age of 78, and the statue of him holding the FA Cup has been in place at the Cardiff City Stadium since November 2012.
He is considered to be one of the greatest players ever produced by Wales.
The North Stand of the Cardiff City Stadium is known as the Canton Stand after the area of Cardiff out beyond it.
The exterior here follows a similar design to the Family Stand opposite, consisting of a grey brickwork base with blue corrugated iron slightly above. Large silver, white, light blue and dark blue panels form the exterior’s upper parts, with more corrugated iron and a cantilever roof right at the top. A row of large advertising boards and pictures of Cardiff City players additionally swing round from the Canton Stand’s exterior to the northwest corner of the stadium.
Turnstiles for the Canton Stand (Gate 4) are found in the very centre of the northern exterior, near to a hub for Matchday Ticket Sales and Collections, and the is also a set of turnstiles in the stadium’s northeast corner (Gate 5).
Inside the Stadium
The Ninian Stand is split into three tier across two sections.
The bottom tier is the largest of the three, consisting of mostly blue seating with the letters CARDIFF spelt out in white across the blocks. Two diagonal lines are additionally made out of white seating below the letters R and I, and the very back row of the bottom tier is a darker side of blue than the rest. Down at the front at either end of the tier are flat platforms for disabled supporters to use.
The middle tier, the clear of the smallest of the three, is separated from the bottom tier by a small wall at its front. The tier consists of entirely red seating with a small row of executive boxes up at the back, and these central blocks are corporate seating.
The top tier hangs partly over the middle tier beneath. Seats in here are mostly coloured red, though three eye-like shapes are made out of white seating across the blocks.
Your view from any of the Ninian Stand’s three tiers is perfectly clear because of the cantilever roof up at the top.
The middle and top tiers, which are higher up than the adjacent northeast and southeast corners, are fully protected from the sides by large windshields. The bottom tier is fully protected as well because of the stadium’s enclosed shape.
The interior of the Family Stand and the stadium’s southeast corner is single-tiered.
The vast majority of the seats are coloured blue, but there is a winding line of white seating running across the blocks, and the very back row of the stand is coloured a darker shade of blue than the rest. Down at the front at either end of the Family Stand are flat platforms for disabled supporters to use.
Your view from anywhere inside the Family Stand and the southeast corner is perfectly clear because of the cantilever roof above, and all the rows are well protected from the sided and behind because of the stadium’s enclosed shape.
The Grandstand includes most of the stadium’s southwest and northwest corners. Each of these corners has a tower at the back for corporate, disabled and media that includes a flat platform down in front of it.
The Grandstand itself is split into three tiers, with the bottom tier being the largest and the middle tier being the smallest. The bottom tier consists of entirely blue seating, with the stadium’s dugouts and tunnel located down at the front and the changing rooms inside. The seating blocks immediately behind these blocks are for corporate use. Down at the front of either end of the lower tier is a flat platform for disabled supporters to use.
The middle tier is separated from the bottom tier by a small wall down at the its front. The blue seating here is entirely for corporate use and consists of only a few rows with executive boxes up at the back behind them.
The top tier is based above this row of executive boxes, consisting of entirely blue seating that is again only for corporate use. There is a further row of executive boxes up at the back of the top tier, and atop here is where you can find the area holding the matchday camera.
Your view from anywhere inside the Grandstand is perfectly clear because of the cantilever roof above, and every row is well protected from the sides and behind because of the stadium’s enclosed shape.
The interior of the Canton Stand and northeast corner is almost exactly the same as the Family Stand opposite.
The vast majority of the seats are coloured blue, but there is a winding line of white seating running across the blocks, and the very back row of the stand is coloured a darker shade of blue than the rest. Down at the front at either end of the Canton Stand are flat platforms for disabled supporters to use.
Your view from anywhere inside the Canton Stand and the northeast corner is perfectly clear because of the cantilever roof above, and all the rows are well protected from the sided and behind because of the stadium’s enclosed shape.
Away fans are housed in the stadium’s southeast corner between the Ninian Stand and the Family Stand.
Entering via the southeast turnstiles (Gate 12), they are given a single tier of mostly blue seating that also includes a flat platform down the front for disabled supporters to use. Rows of stewards and large sheets are used to segregate the away fans from any home supporters nearby.
The view from within this section is perfectly clear because of the cantilever roof above and the section is well protected by the stadium’s enclosed shape.
The area between Gate 12 and the start of the Ninian Stand is usually fenced off to help with the segregation of home and away supporters on a matchday. This prevents you from walking around the whole of the stadium’s immediate vicinity before kick-off and you will need to head round the western and southern sides of the Cardiff City Stadium in order to reach the away turnstiles.
Alternatively, you can get to these turnstiles by turning onto Clos Parc Morgannwg from off Sloper Road.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include*:
-Canton Rugby Football Club (Lawrenny Avenue, CF11 8BR) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)
-The Lansdowne (71 Beda Road, CF5 1LX) (Home and Away Supporters)
-The Owain Glyndwr (10 St John Street, CF10 1GL) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near to the Millennium Stadium)
-The Pontcanna Inn (36 Cathedral Road, CF11 9LL) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)
*Most pubs within close range of the Cardiff City Stadium are for home supporters only.
The Cardiff City Stadium is a fine venue for the modern game. Part of a large sport and retail complex, it has good accessibility by car and even better accessibility for those coming by rail.
Possessing a practical layout both inside and out, it’s not surprise that this is a football ground deemed good enough to regularly host International football.
An excellent enclosed stadium.