It's the most wonderful time of the year.
The eyes of Wales will this weekend be focused on Dublin as the Six
Nations rugby tournament kicks off.
Wales will be looking to repeat their heroics of the World Cup last
autumn when they got so close to making it too the final. Along the
way they beat Ireland in the quarter final and so the Irish will be
out for revenge this time out.
Even though the game is in Dublin, there'll still be a tremendous
atmosphere up and down Wales as the country comes to a stop to
watch the game.
Then next weekend the action moves to Cardiff as Wales take on
Scotland at the Millennium Stadium.
And it doesn't matter whether or not you have a ticket to the game
or even like (or understand) rugby there is nowhere in the world
better to be than Cardiff on the day of a big match. With the
Millennium Stadium situated right in
the centre of the city the streets become full with fans of both
teams enjoying the special ambience and taking in the carnival
Wales' fixtures in this year's championship are below:
Sunday 5 February - Ireland v Wales, Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Sunday 12 February - Wales v Scotland, Millennium Stadium,
Saturday 25 February - England v Wales, Twickenham,
Saturday 10 March - Wales v Italy, Millennium Stadium,
Saturday 17 March - Wales v France, Millennium Stadium,
According to a recent tweet, Visit Britain said there are
12 great reasons to visit Wales. Great news of course, but
I'm sure there are many more.
Here are 12 of my own suggestions but please feel free to add some
of your own below.
Reasons to visit Wales
1. Spectacular Scenery
2. Rugged coastline ( a new 850 mile round Wales coastal path will
be opening soon, allowing you to enjoy every inch of it)
3. Friendly people
4. Caerphilly Castle - one of the biggest in Europe
5. St Fagans National History Musueum - a fantastic open air
6. The highest mountain in England and Wales (and a train to take
you to the top of it)
7. Visit the locations used to film Doctor Who (which as it
happens was the subject of a different Visit Britain blog)
8. Three World Heritage Sites
9. Three National Parks
10. Penderyn Distillery, making fantastic Welsh whisky
11. Great surfing beaches including Rest Bay, Porthcawl
12. The magnificent Millennium Stadium, home to our equally
magnificent rugby team
The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, where on several
occasions each year the eyes of the nation turn to follow the
fortunes of the national rugby team.
But the stadium is much more than just another sporting
arena. Just a couple of weeks have passed since Wales played
the Barbarians in the end of season rugby game. The stadium
quickly underwent a make over to turn it into a massive concert
arena for last week's sell out concerts by pop band Take
That. And remarkably, just 10 days later the ever versatile
stadium has been transformed into a speedway track for the latest
round the world championship FIM Speedway Grand Prix series.
And all this before the rugby pitch is re-laid ready for the Wales
v England rugby match on 13 August.
For more information on the Millennium Stadium and its events
visit the website
Cardiff is a city well used to staging major sporting
events - Rugby World Cup, FA Cup Final, World Rally Championship
and of course the Ryder Cup just up the road in Newport last
year. And this weekend is another big one for our capital
city as it hosts rugby's Heineken European Cup final for a record
This year's final will Leinster battle it out with Northampton to
be crowned the best team in Europe. Expect a terrific contest
full of skill and passion as both teams vie for the game's ultimate
While the action on the pitch will be brutal, out on the streets
there will be a carnival atmosphere as fans mingle in the city
centre's bars and restaurants and at the first ever European
Champions' Village which will be held in the Cardiff Arms Park
(next to the Millennium Stadium) on match-day.
The village will have something for everyone; fans can test their
rugby skills in the games area, sample the best of Welsh local
produce in the food area, have their photo taken with the Heineken
Cup trophy or enjoy a beer at the Heineken bar. The Village is open
pre-match from midday to 4pm and again post match from 7pm. The
entrance is on Westgate street.
You can also catch a glimpse of the trophy as it arrives in the
city by helicopter at Cardiff Bay's Roald Dahl Plass before being
paraded on an open top bus through the city's streets to the
Millennium Stadium in time for the game.
If you're coming to Cardiff for the match don't forget to download
the official Cardiff app for your iPhone
to help find your around the city and to locate the best
restaurants, bars, hotels and attractions.
Just a quick follow up to last week's blog
about Base Jumping at the
Millennium Stadium. I've just found another
video that this time gives you a bird's eye view (quite literally)
of this alternative way of entering one of the world's best
Hold on tight!
Just found this video of three base jumpers entering the
Millennium Stadium in Cardiff before last year's Wales v South
Africa rugby match. What a way to make an entrance although
couldn't they just buy a ticket like everyone else.
If you fancy taking in the action for yourself over the next couple
of months, there are a number of mouth watering games coming up
(although we can't promise you the base jumpers).
21 May 11 Heineken Cup Final
04 Jun 11 Wales v Barbarians
13 Aug 11 Wales v England
20 Aug 11 Wales v Argentina