Cathays Park

Cathays Park

Cathays Park [] is a civic centre area in central Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, consisting of a number of early 20th century buildings and a central park area, Alexandra Gardens. It includes Edwardian buildings such as the Temple of Peace, City Hall, the National Museum and Gallery of Wales and several buildings belonging to the Cardiff University campus. It also includes Cardiff Crown Court, the administrative headquarters of the Welsh Assembly Government, and the more modern Cardiff Central Police Station. The area falls within the Cathays electoral ward.

The present day character of the area owes much to successive holders of the title the Marquess of Bute, and especially the 3rd Marquess, an extremely successful and wealthy businessman. They acquired much of the lands in Cathays through investment and by inheritance through a marriage to Charlotte Windsor in 1766. In 1898, the local council bought 59 acres of land from the 3rd Marquess of Bute in order to erect a new town hall. As part of the sale, the 3rd Marquis of Bute placed strict conditions on how the land was to be developed. The area was to be used for civic, cultural and educational purposes, and the avenues were to be preserved.


In addition to the large lawn in front of the City Hall, Cathays Park includes three formal gardens. All of the spaces are within conservation areas and many of the surrounding buildings are listed. The open spaces are very important to the image of the city. Several important buildings overlook these well kept spaces. Each of the three gardens has its own very different character and each retains its original layout. Given their location, large numbers of people visit and pass through and they are popular venues for lunchtime breaks.

Alexandra Gardens

Named after Alexandra of Denmark, the Queen consort of Edward VII, Alexandra Gardens is located at the heart of the civic centre. It consists of 2.5 hectares of beautifully-maintained flower beds and grass, with the Welsh National War Memorial standing at its centre. In addition, there are memorials to Raoul Wallenberg, to those who fought in the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War, and to the servicemen of Cardiff who served in the Falklands War.

Gorsedd Gardens

Situated in front of the National Museum, this garden has as its centrepiece a stone circle constructed in 1899, when the National Eisteddfod of Wales was held in Cardiff. The garden's name refers to the Gorsedd of Welsh Bards, the ceremonial order that governs the Eisteddfod. The landscaped garden has statues of subjects including David Lloyd George and Lord Ninian Crichton-Stuart. Overlooking Gorsedd Gardens, though not strictly part of the Cathays Park complex, is Park House (or McConnochie House), an influential work by the Neo-Gothic architect William Burges.

Friary Gardens

Constructed in honour of the 3rd Marquess of Bute, it contains topiary, a statue standing upon a stone pedestal blazoned with a coat of arms, and clipped hedges around the perimeter.

List of Buildings

* Aberdare Hall.
* Biosciences and Tower Building (Cardiff University)
* Bute Building
* Cardiff Central Police Station
* Cardiff Crown Court
* Cardiff Law School
* Cardiff University
* City Hall
* Crown Building of the Welsh Assembly Government (Grade 2 listed building)
* Glamorgan Building (former Glamorgan County Council building)
* National Museum and Gallery of Wales
* Redwood Building (Welsh School of Pharmacy)
* Temple of Peace
* University of Wales, Registry
* Welsh National War Memorial.

List of Statues

* John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute
* John Cory
* Lord Ninian Crichton-Stuart
* David Lloyd George
* Godfrey Charles Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar
* Gwilym Williams
* South African War Memorial (also known as the Boer War Memorial)

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