Located in Cardiff Bay, the Wales Millennium Centre has been at the centre of Cardiff’s creative life ever since it opened in 2004. With a wide range of performances, events and exhibitions, the centre has quickly established a reputation as one of the world’s iconic arts and cultural destinations. Not only is the centre a well-known local landmark and regular in TV shows Torchwood and Doctor Who, but its dramatic exterior is made of local materials which have played a big part in the country’s history, including 1,350 tonnes of Welsh slate. The building’s striking bilingual inscription written by poet Gwyneth Lewis translates as “In these stones horizons sing and create truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration”. If you step inside the centre, you’ll find a bustling atmosphere with everything from blockbuster West End musicals to opera and ballet, as well as music, contemporary dance, stand up comedy, art exhibitions and workshops. There’s something for everyone! Ready to start planning your visit to the Wales Millennium Centre? Take a look at our guide to Cardiff’s landmark arts venue. You’ll find a Premier Inn just around the corner waiting to give you a warm welcome and get your visit off to a great start.
Opening with a weekend packed with eclectic events showcasing Welsh talents, including Shirley Bassey, Charlotte Church, Bryn Terfel and the Only Men Aloud! choir, the Wales Millennium Centre set out it’s commitment to inspiring creativity in Cardiff. Home to a number of arts organisations, including the Welsh National Opera, National Dance Company Wales and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, as well as welcoming lots of touring acts, the Centre has a calendar packed to the brim with all kinds of acts. Boasting everything from popular musicals, like Miss Saigon, Grease and Hairspray, to the latest in contemporary performing arts, like Slava’s Snowshow, you’ll find something to keep you entertained at the centre.
Once a buzzing hub of industry, Cardiff’s docklands have been reborn as one of the city’s most popular tourist attraction. With an entertainment complex, craft workshops, museums, an art gallery and a comedy club, as well as the Welsh Assembly Government’s debating chamber, you’ll find plenty to do in Cardiff Bay. Head south east of the centre and you’ll arrive at Techniquest. Containing more than 120 excellent exhibits, a spectacular Science Theatre and Planetarium, this museum is well worth a visit. Try some mind-boggling experiments, see if you’ve got what it takes to be an astronaut or take a trip into the stars; this is a museum that lets you get hands on with plenty of fun for all the family.
The Wales Millennium Centre’s three venues all host a variety of events, keeping the crowds coming back time and time again. Read about the facilities you’ll find in the centre and other important information, so you can start planning your trip.
The centre’s box office opening hours vary depending on whether it’s show night or not. If there’s a performance that day, the ticket and information desk is open Monday to Sunday, 10am until 30 minutes after the show starts. If there is no show that day the desk is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm. If you want to book tickets or ask any questions over the phone, you can contact the desk on 029 2063 6464. The phone line is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm if there’s no performance that night. If there is a show, the lines close at 7pm Monday to Saturday, or 4 hours before the performance on Sundays.
As you would expect from a venue that’s home to the national orchestra and opera, dance, theatre and literature companies, the centre is made up of more that one performance space. Spread across three levels, you’ll find one large theatre, the Donald Gordon Theatre, and two smaller halls, the BBC Hoddinott Hall and Weston Studio Theatre, as well as shops, bars, restaurants, toilets and a cloakroom. If your event is in the main Donald Gordon Theatre, you’ll have a choice of 1,897 seats. From the lower, mid or raised stalls to the circle or upper circle, as well as a number of boxes.
Providing a warm Welsh welcome and equal access to all visitors, the Wales Millennium Centre is committed to ensuring that everyone can enjoy all the events and activities that they have to offer. This includes disabled parking which can be booked in advance, and scheduled assisted performances. These include audio-described performances and touch tours for visually impaired people, as well as captioned and British Sign Language performances for deaf or partially hearing visitors. If you’re a Hynt cardholder, you are also entitled to a ticket free of charge for a personal assistant or carer. Contact the box office in advance of your arrival to plan your visit.
Located in busy Cardiff Bay, you’ll have no trouble getting to Wales Millennium Centre.
If you’re driving to the Wales Millennium Centre, the Q-Park Cardiff Bay is located right next to the centre. Open 24 hours a day and with over 1,000 spaces, if you’re attending an event at the centre you can pre-pay for parking at a reduced rate of £3.60 through the box office on 029 2063 6464.
If you’re in the centre of town, take the Cardiff Bay car shuttle (route 6) from Cardiff Central Station. The bus runs every 10 minutes and the journey takes just 8 minutes to arrive outside Wales Millennium Centre. Remember, this bus service only takes exact change. A return costs £3.60 for an adult and £2.40 for a child.
If you’re getting the train to the centre, the nearest station is Cardiff Bay.
Exit the station and turn onto Lloyd George Avenue and you’ll be at the centre after a short five-minute walk. If you arrive at Cardiff Central Station, you can hop on the shuttle bus to the bay.
Want to catch a glimpse behind the scenes in one of the world’s most iconic arts and cultural destinations? The Wales Millennium Centre group tours gives you the chance to see the workings of this landmark building, stand on one of the biggest stages in Britain and drop into the dressing rooms where all the stars have got ready over the years. This costs £5 per person for a group of 10 or more, or £4.50 per person for a group of 25 or more. If you book the tour alongside a show it’s even cheaper at £4 per person.
With an array of choices within the venue and in the surrounding bay area, you’ll find plenty of options for dinner or drinks at the Wales Millennium Centre.
Whether it's a pre-show dinner or stopping off for afternoon tea, the Wales Millennium Centre has a wide range of exciting choices. Head to ffresh Bar & Restaurant for the best in Welsh cuisine using produce from award-winning suppliers. For coffee and cake, take a trip to one of the centre’s three cafés, ONE is a contemporary coffee and wine bar, while Caffi and Crema are traditional cafés.
Located in the bustling Cardiff Bay area, there are lots of restaurants and cafés to choose from nearby. If you’re looking for a great view over the waterfront, head to Bayside Brasserie. They offer a choice of indoor and outdoor seating, which provides the perfect spot to watch the sun set over the bay while you tuck in to some delicious dishes.
If you want to enjoy some drinks before the show or during the interval, you can choose from three bars. On level 2 you’ll find Penderyn Awen, a large modern contemporary bar. Head to level 4 for Horizons bar which has windows forming the wonderful lettering on the façade of the building. Located on level 5, Stones features a dramatic curved high ceiling.
So, wherever you’re sitting, you’ll find a bar nearby.
Don’t want your evening to end after your event has finished? Sitting on the edge of the waterfront at Cardiff Bay, The Dock is a great spot to while away the hours, drinking a glass of wine or some large sharing cocktails and taking in the picture postcard view.