Utilita Arena Cardiff

From comedy heroes to conference headliners, chart toppers to championship dart stars, superstar kids’ entertainers to stellar stand ups, you’ll find a whole host of talent taking centre stage at the Utilita Arena Cardiff. Formerly the Cardiff International Arena (CIA), the arena is an indoor exhibition centre and events arena located in the heart of the city. Since it was first opened in 1993 by national treasure, Shirley Bassey, this versatile venue has hosted a huge number of different stars and shows over the years. This includes everyone and everything from Mariah Carey to George Michael, Placebo to Paw Patrol Live, as well as plenty of political and trade conferences. Welcoming up to 7,500 on a sold-out night, the Arena has gone from success to success and celebrated its 3000th event in 2015 with a show headlined by local star, Katherine Jenkins.

Want to discover more about the Arena and start planning your visit? Check out our guide to Cardiff’s biggest and brightest arena and everything you’ll find inside. If you don’t want to miss a moment of the on stage action, you’ll find a Cardiff Premier Inn nearby that will make sure your time at the Utilita Arena gets off to a great start.

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Utilita Arena Cardiff

Utilita Arena Cardiff

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Utilita Arena Cardiff

Utilita Arena Cardiff

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Essential Information

Ever since local legend Dame Shirley Bassey took the stage on the opening night, the Utilita Arena Cardiff has been hosting stellar performances from the likes of Sir Tom Jones, Elton John, Iron Maiden, The Killers, Westlife, Oasis, Kings of Leon and Lady Gaga – the list could go on and on!

But it’s not all about pop sensations and rock legends. Some of the biggest names in comedy, including Lee Evans and Peter Kay, have also taken to the stage and the Arena has hosted plenty of world class sporting events, such as Boxing and Premier League Darts.

Important information
The Arena’s box office is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm and 10am to 6pm on a Saturday. On a show day the opening hours are extended to 9pm. The arena’s doors usually open an hour before the performance starts. There are thorough checks as visitors enter events and, in some instances, there may be enhanced security. Be sure to arrive in plenty of time, so you don’t miss any of the performance.

Whether you want to talk through what time you should arrive for your event or make sure you’re picking the best seats in the house, the box office will help you out.


The Utilita Arena Cardiff offers 4,500 square metres of space, which can be adapted to any events – from an exhibition hall full of crowds to an arena packed with screaming fans. At full capacity, the venue can reach 7,500 in a standing layout and 5,000 for a fully seated event, plus there are over 30 additional areas, including a conference suite and executive boardrooms.

Whatever event you’re attending, you’ll find all the facilities you need at the Arena. This includes toilets near each area of the arena, merchandise stands in the foyer, a cloakroom (£2 per single item or £5 for a filled bag) and a free buggy park for those with kids.

Conference facilities
Hosting over 5,000 delegates in its versatile 5,000 square metre space, the Utilita Arena Cardiff is a building designed with plenty of different types of events in mind. The venue has previously hosted WOMEX (the World Music Expo) and Cardiff World Half Marathon & Sports Expo, to name just a couple of its successful events. The main arena’s flexible layouts offer the perfect setting for conference delegates to mingle or award winners to dine, and you’ll find a further 31 spaces, ranging from meeting and boardrooms to conference suites in other areas of the building. So, whether it’s an intimate event or a big convention, the Arena can tailor its spaces and facilities to fit your event.


The Utilita Arena Cardiff aims to provide the best possible experience for all of its visitors, and has a dedicated Live Access Team that will look after anyone who requires special assistance when they arrive at the arena. From wheel chair access to an infrared hearing system for those with hearing aids, the Arena has full disabled access. Unfortunately, the arena does not have any onsite parking, but you’ll find plenty of nearby car parks with allocated disabled parking. You can let the venue know about any special requirements with their accessibility needs form.

Top Tip
At specific events there will sometimes be extra security measures in place, but you’ll be warned of this in advance. If this is the case when you visit, the Utilita Arena Cardiff requests that you leave all large bags and anything unnecessary at your hotel or in your car and arrive a little earlier than you had planned. The arena’s staff are observant, well trained and experienced in these situations, so be patient and you’ll be in your seat, ready for the show in no time.

Eating and drinking
You’re not allowed to take any food or drink into the Utilita Arena Cardiff but, don’t worry, you’ll find a plenty of places inside the arena ready to serve you. And with lots of great cafés, restaurants and bars nearby, the fun doesn’t have to end when the curtain comes down.

If you arrive early to beat the crowds, you’ll find plenty of places inside the arena where you can grab a bite and enjoy the buzz before the show. The food on offer in the main arena is often changing, but regulars include hot dogs and paninis and ice cream. Don’t want to leave your seat and miss any of the action?

Look out for the #arenahawks, who walk around the main floor selling sweets, popcorn and soft drinks. Want to eat before your event? There are lots of choices nearby. Take a short stroll to Madeira for traditional Portuguese cuisine or head to The Grazing Shed for burgers made with the finest ingredients.

Keeping 7,500 people hydrated is a big task, but the Utilita Arena Cardiff makes sure all its bars are easy to get to and offer a wide range of choices, including alcohol and soft drinks, teas, coffees and hot chocolates. If you spot a large queue, speak to a nearby steward who’ll direct you to the quietest bar.

Don’t want your evening to end after the show finishes? There are lots of places nearby where you can party ‘til the early hours. Looking for a traditional pub where they pour a great pint? Head out of the Arena and straight to the Traders Tavern. Want to continue the entertainment? Porter’s is a lively bar offering music, comedy and cabaret.

Near the Utilita Arena Cardiff
Located right in the heart of the city, there’s lots to see and do near the Utilita Arena Cardiff. If you stroll across the road from the arena you’ll find yourself in St David's Dewi Sant, Cardiff’s biggest and best shopping spot. With over 100 stores, plenty of restaurants and cafés, as well as a cinema – this is your go-to destination for retail therapy. Head north and you’ll arrive at Cathays Park, the city’s civic centre. Wander down the tree lined avenues, sit amongst the greenery in Alexandra Gardens and take in the grand Edwardian architecture, including the Temple of PeaceCity Hall, the National Museum and Gallery of Wales.

Getting to the Utilita Arena Cardiff
Utilita Arena Cardiff can be found smack-bang in the centre of Cardiff and is easy to get to by car or public transport.

By car
Although the Utilita Arena Cardiff doesn’t have any on site parking, its city centre location means there are plenty of multi-storey car parks nearby. Head to Rapports NCP Open Air Car Park or St David’s for 24 hours parking within walking distance of the arena.

By bus
Located next to Cardiff Central train station, the city’s bus station is right in the heart of the action.With 34 bus stands, most routes stop at the station, which is only a few minutes’ walk away.

By train
The arena is under a 10-minute walk from both of Cardiff’s main stations. If you’re on the Main South Wales to London railway line, hop off at Cardiff Central station. If you’re coming from the Valleys choose Cardiff Queen Street station.

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