Cardiff RFC / Blues - Cardiff Arms Park
The South Stand, with the Millenium Stadium towering behind.
The Cardiff Blues are one of four sides set up by the Welsh Rugby Union to compete in professional rugby competitions in Europe. The side currently compete in the RaboDirect Pro12, Anglo-Welsh Cup and Heineken Cup, and despite their name represent not only the capital city of Wales but a large region of central and southern Wales as well, including the Vale of Glamorgan and Breconshire.
They maintain affiliations
with a number of clubs in the region including Cardiff RFC and
Pontypridd RFC. The Blues groundshare with the former at Cardiff Arms
Park, returning to their original home following several seasons at the
Cardiff City Stadium, home of the city's soccer side.
Ground Information Back to Top ^
The Arms Park is one of the most famous old grounds in Welsh
rugby, situated right in the heart of Cardiff. The name is derived from
the hotel which originally stood on the site in the 17th Century.
Cricket was the first sport to be played on the grounds, before Cardiff
RFC and the Welsh national team made it their home in the late 1800s.
The first international fixture at the ground was in 1884, when Ireland
were defeated in front of 5,000 spectators.
Throughout the 20th Century a mixture of stands were created, demolished and redeveloped to accommodate the ever-increasing crowds, with floodlights introduced in 1966. In the 1970s, a new national stadium was built on the site of the original Arms Park, and a new ground (the current holder of the Cardiff Arms Park name) was built just to the South. However, the new national ground soon wasn't big enough to cope with the demand for Welsh rugby, and it was demolished and re-built as the Millenium Stadium in 1999, which now towers over the South Stand.
Today the Arms Park is a great traditional rugby union stadium, and wherever you choose you'll get a good view of the match. The South Stand is tucked neatly onto the sideline featuring a standing terrace to the front and seating to the rear, and backs right onto to the Millenium Stadium. The North Stand opposite is similar, but with a smaller seating capacity. Behind the posts to the East is a two tiered stand, with small blocks of family seating in the lower tier and executive boxes in the top. At the other end, the West stand is home to more hospitality boxes but offers no space for the general supporter.
the 2013-14 season, an artificial pitch was installed at the Arms Park
at a cost of just under half a million pounds. This is the second
artificial pitch in place at a top flight European club, following on
to Top ^
As the stadium is right in the middle of Cardiff City, it's not difficult to find - simply follow the signs from the M4 motorway for the Millenium Stadium - the Arms Park is next door. However, there is no parking available at the ground so you will need to find alternatives in the city centre - there is an NCP car park opposite the stadium for starters.
is served by two rail stations, both of which are within a short walk
of the stadium. Cardiff Central is the major station of the two, and
operates services to destinations including Manchester (210 mins),
London Paddington (130 mins), Birmingham (120 mins), Reading, (90
mins), Llanelli (70 mins), Bath (65 mins), Cardiff Airport (60 mins),
Gloucester (60 mins), Swindon (60 mins), Swansea (55 mins), Bristol (35
mins), Bridgend (20 mins) and Newport (15 mins).
The other station is Queen Street, which serves destinations within Wales, including those to the Vale of Glamorgan and the South Wales Valleys.
Cardiff (Rhoose) International Airport is located around 13 miles South-East of Cardiff. Scheduled flights operate to destinations including Dublin, Newcastle, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paris and Amsterdam.
A shuttle bus operates from the terminal to the airport train station, where an hourly service (two-hourly on Sundays) takes you to Cardiff Central station in thirty minutes. Alternatively, the X91 bus takes 35 minutes between the airport and City Centre, with services every two hours.
Alternatively, Bristol Airport is a just over the English border and offers a wider choice of connections, including year-round flights to Knock, Newcastle, Nice, Rome (Fuimicino) and Toulouse.
The West Stand
Drinking Back to Top ^
There is a large public bar in the South Stand that opens around 90 minutes before kick-off and often has live music to boot. There are two further bars inside the South Stand and two in the North stand.
The clubhouse at the Arms Park is located in the corner between the South and East stands, but is members-only.
Before/After the Game
You are spoiled for choice with options for drinks before and after a game in Cardiff, with the majority of bars, pubs and clubs within walking distance and the city renowned for hosting a good night out.
Where are the best places for a pre or post-match pint in Cardiff? Let us know here.
Eating Back to Top ^
Sleeping Back to Top ^As a capital city, Cardiff has a pretty extensive range of accommodation on offer for visitors. You can stay anywhere in the City Centre and be within walking distance of the stadium, pubs, clubs, restaurants and attractions. There are branches of the Best Western, Radisson, Marriott, Park Inn, Hilton, Ibis, Novotel, Thistle, Mercure, Premier Inn and Travelodge chains in the City Centre, amongst other independent hotels and guest houses.
If you are staying for more than a night, another option to check out is the redeveloped Cardiff Bay area, home to plenty of restaurants and bars and easily accessible from the City Centre. In this neck of the woods try the Express by Holiday Inn, Future Inn, or if you are looking for a bit of luxury the St Davids Hotel & Spa.
Make a Trip of It Back to Top ^In Town
- It's only next door, so take a guided tour of the Millenium Stadium and see behind the scenes, including access to the dressing rooms, tunnel, VIP suites and press facilities. Tours last approximately 1 hour and begin at the Cardiff Arms cafe (between Gates 3&4).
- Cardiff Castle is right opposite the stadium, dating back over 2000 years.
- Wales' most popular heritage attraction is just outside the City Centre - St Fagan's National History Museum. This open-air museum features buildings and galleries from throughout Welsh history, and is free to enter. Take the 32A, 320 or 322 buses from Cardiff Central Bus station - the journey takes about 20 minutes.
- The redeveloped Cardiff Bay area is a good place to spend an afternoon, with great views, bars and restaurants on Mermaid Quay.
Off the Beaten Path
- The Brecon Beacons National Park is a short drive or bus journey from Cardiff, and offers some of the finest scenery and outdoor activities in the UK.
- Fan's Forum
- There are disabled seating areas within the stadium (carers
enter for free) and a limited number of car park passes. E-mail
[email protected] for further information.
- Can you provide some information for this section? Let us know here.
- The Arms Park became the first stadium in the Pro12 to
install a plastic pitch, at a cost of around £400,000.
- The club hope that the new surface will enable a more
expansive style of rugby and improve the experience for spectators also.
- Saracens were the first British side to use a plastic pitch.
- In the league the Blues have had mixed results, finishing
as high as second in successive seasons in 2006-07 and 2007-08, and as
low as ninth in the 2004-05 season.
- They lifted the Anglo-Welsh Cup with a 50-12 thumping of
Gloucester in 2009, and have also reached the semi-finals of this
competition on two further occasions.
- Arguably their proudest moment came in 2010, when the Blues
lifted the European Challenge Cup, defeating Toulon 28-21 in the final
- The side also reached the Semi-Finals of the European Cup in 2009 before falling to an agonising defeat on penalty kicks by Leicester Tigers.
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