Capacity: 73,434 (72,500 for Football)
Address: Westgate Street, Cardiff CF10 1NS
Telephone: 0844 249 1999
Fax: 029 2082 2474
Stadium Tours: 029 2082 2228
Pitch Type: Grass
Year Ground Opened: 1999
Undersoil Heating: Yes
From the outside the Principality Stadium looks somewhat smaller than its 73,000 capacity, but inside it is a different story as the views are breadth taking. Built on the site of the old Cardiff Arms Park, the Millennium Stadium as it was then called was completed in October 1999, at a cost of £130 million. The stadium features a fully retractable roof which takes about 20 minutes to close and is the only one of its kind in Britain. The stadium is completely enclosed with curved corners and is mostly three tiered with an additional row of 125 executive boxes. Add to this two huge screens, suspended beneath the roof at each end of the stadium, and you have a sight to behold. Unfortunately one end, the North Stand, is only two tiered as it backs onto the neighbouring Cardiff Rugby Club. Efforts were made to persuade the rugby club to move, but to no avail. Hence the stadium is built directly onto the rear of one of the rugby club stands and as there was insufficient space, a third tier could not be built. From outside the stadium you can still see at this end, part of the original Cardiff Arms Park structure Another unusual feature of this stadium is that the grass pitch is grown outside of the stadium and is brought in when needed, allowing the stadium to be used for other events. Periodically a falcon is flown around the stadium to keep Cardiff's pigeon population at bay. Outside the West side of the stadium is a statue of Sir Tasker Watkins, who was awarded the Victoria Cross in World War 2 and was also President of the Welsh RFU when the stadium was built.
The Principality Stadium with its roof closed, is the largest enclosed stadium in Europe and the second largest in the World. You may be interested to know that the largest in the World is the 80,000 capacity AT&T Park, the home of the Dallas Cowboys in the United States.
In January 2016 the stadium was renamed the Principality Stadium in a ten year corporate sponsorship deal with the Principality Building Society.
The Principality Stadium is mostly used for Rugby Union matches, as it is the home of the Welsh RFU, as well playing hosts to other sports such as Speedway. It also is a venue for a number of concerts and occasionally hosts Wales football team matches. The facilities are very good and there is plenty of leg room and height between rows, ensuring a good view of the action. Although the Principality Stadium is huge, one pleasant surprise is that you don't feel that you are that far away from the playing surface. One slight complaint is that at the back of the lower tier, you feel a little cut off from the rest of the stadium as the second tier overhangs the first. You still get a good view of the playing surface, but you can't see the whole stadium. To compensate for this TV screens are suspended beneath the roof above you so that you can see what is happening on the huge stadium screens. Also the incline of the top tier (level six) is quite steep, needing some effort to climb to the top. On the plus side the acoustics and P.A.. as you would expect are first class and a great atmosphere can be generated within the stadium. Add to this friendly stewards, relaxed police and a generally welcoming local population, then you have all the ingredients for a great day out.
If you are lucky enough to see a game with the roof of the stadium closed, then prepare yourself for quite a spectacle. The stadium looks totally different with the roof in place and the atmosphere is boosted within it. You wouldn't want to see every game under cover, as it seems somewhat artificial, but as a one off it is a fantastic experience.
The good news is that the Principality Stadium is located right in the centre of Cardiff. There are loads of bars and eating establishments to choose from. In fact there are over 70 bars and pubs within a quarter mile radius of the stadium, that can in total accommodate around 60,000 supporters! However as many fans arrive early on matchdays, don't be surprised to see queues forming outside the most popular and nearest pubs before they are due to open.
The South End of the stadium, has the larger bars centered around it in St Marys Street, where the usual names of Wetherspoons, Walkabout & O'Neils can be found. My pick of the bars in this area were the Wetherspoons outlet, the Prince Of Wales (a former theatre, where you can even drink your pint in the royal box!). Next to the South Stand, is a tall building called the Millennium Plaza, which inside has a large Bierkeller, which opens before matches. Gareth Baglow recommends 'The Cottage' on St Marys Street, which serves a good pint of the locally produced Brains beer.
At the North End, Danny Boy recommends the 'Owain Glyndwr' by the market and the 'Angel Bar' beneath the hotel of the same name. Running alongside the East side of the Stadium is Westgate, which is home to a number of pubs including a few craft beer outlets such as BrewDog, ZeroDegrees and the Urban Tap House. There is also another Wetherspoons outlet called the 'Gatekeeper' whist next the NCP multi-storey car park is the City Arms. This pub which is lsited in the CAMRA Good Beer normally has around ten real ales on offer and has a large screen showing televised sports.Whilst Mark Tyler recommends 'The Cayo Arms on Cathedral Road. It is only five minutes walk from the stadium, has a 'beer garden' in front of it, so if the weather's good you can have a pre-match pint while sharing some banter with the opposing fans and soaking up the atmosphere as fans stream past on their way to the match. Directions - walking away from the city centre, cross the river Taff on the bridge just North of the stadium and take the first right. You are now in Cathedral Road and The Cayo is the first pub you reach, a couple of hundred metres up on the right'.
Just off St Marys Street is Caroline Street, nicknamed locally as 'chip alley'. The street is home to a number of kebab shops and chippies.
Alcohol is also served from one of 23 bars within the stadium, although please note that you are not allowed to take alcohol back to your seat. The bars are open until 15 minutes before kick off. I found it reasonably easy to get served before the game started, although for some reason the bars are closed at half time.
The Principality Stadium is well signposted from the M4 and surrounding routes. On the day of the event, there are electronic signs advising of any traffic problems/suggested alternative routes. Unless you are going to be at the stadium several hours before kick off, then due to traffic restrictions put in force on matchdays, you will not be able to drive near to, let alone park by the stadium. You will therefore have to use the Park & Ride service which is signposted from Junction 33 of the M4. The Park & Ride scheme is not free; it costs £10 to park, and there are normally large queues waiting after the game to go back to the car parks on the shuttle buses. I would advise that you allow plenty of time for your journey as traffic congestion along the M4 and going into Cardiff can be quite bad. Alternatively I would advise either stopping in Cardiff the night before, or drive part of the way and then get a train into Cardiff There is also the option of renting a private driveway near the Principality Stadium via YourParkingSpace.co.uk.
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Cardiff Central Railway Station is only a few minutes walk from the stadium, directly behind the South Stand. As you come out of the station, the stadium is across the road in front of you. Fans may also consider driving to Newport station and getting the train for the fifteen minute ride into Cardiff Central. The cost of a 'off peak' adult return from Newport to Cardiff is £5.20 and the trains run regularly before and after the game.
There is a long stay car park at Newport Railway Station itself, which has around 200 spaces and costs £8 for the day. Just up from the Railway Station car park entrance on the left hand side, on Faulkner Road, is a council operated 'pay and display' car park that costs £3.60 for a day, but is free on Sundays. If both these car parks are full, then there are plenty of other car parks dotted around Newport town centre, which are in walking distance of the station.
Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money! Find train times, prices and book tickets with Trainline. Visit the website below to see how much you can save on the price of your tickets:
Excluding Executive Areas, there are are normally four categories of tickets available for football games:
The most expensive tickets are for the middle tier of the stadium and on the photo below they are the red band of seats across the middle of it.
The second band of tickets are for the very front rows of the upper top tier, just above the row of executive boxes.
The third band of seats are in the mid price category and are located around the middle of the bottom & top tiers of seating.
The cheapest seats are located in three areas, where although the views are acceptable they are not as good as the other areas. The three areas are: 1) The very front rows of seats in the lower tier (if you look at the photo below they are the red seats, right down by the pitch). 2) Rows of seats at the back of the lower tier (in the photo it is the area at the back of the bottom tier, that is in shadow). Although the view is okay from this area, you feel a little cut off from the rest of the stadium, as you are sitting under the second tier. 3) Seats right at the back of the top tier, where you are furthest away from the pitch. Again the view of the playing action is fine (unless you have sight problems as you are far away from the pitch), but some of the rest of the stadium is obscured by the tubular steelwork and large video screen hanging down from the roof.
Cardiff International Airport is located just under 12 miles away (to the West of Cardiff City Centre). There is an hourly train service from Rhoose station to Cardiff Central, the journey time for which is around 30 minutes. A shuttle bus (which costs £1 each way) runs from the airport to the station. Alternatively there is the T9 bus service which runs every 20 minutes during the day from the airport to Cardiff City Centre. The journey time is around 35 minutes and costs around £7 return.
The stadium offer daily tours, which last around one hour. The cost of the tours is:
Concessions (Over 60's and Students): £10
Children 5-16 years: £9
Children Under 5's: Free
You can book the tours by calling: 02920 822432 or booking online via the Principality Stadium Tours website.
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Special thanks to Owen Pavey for providing the Principality Stadium layout plan diagram.