Cardigan (in Welsh: Aberteifi - mouth of the Teifi) is a historic market town with a castle at a strategic point on the river Teifi. Cardigan has a vibrant contemporary arts scene with galleries and markets, a lively shopping centre with independent shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants, a host of colourful events, and a spectacular coast nearby to explore.
Cardigan castle occupies a strategic position on the northern bank of the River Teifi. Fought over and captured many times over by Welsh Princes, Norman knights and English kings, Cardigan castle was first built in stone in the 12th century by the Lord Rhys, ruler of the Deheubarth region. In celebration of the castle's completion, The Lord Rhys hosted the first Eisteddfod at the castle, a festival tradition which can be found thriving locally and around the world.
Cardigan Castle reopend in 2015 after undergoing extensive restoration and now has an exhibition covering the castle's 900 years of history, gardens to explore, a children's adventure play area, giftshop, restaurant and accommodation, and a host of events and activities, including harp and Welsh lessons!
Cardigan - a historic market town and port
Henry VIII granted Cardigan its charter in 1543 and by the 18th century Cardigan was the most important seaport in southern Wales. It had a thriving herring and shipbuilding industry and its merchant fleet carried fish, slate, bricks, bark for tanning, corn and ale. The Guildhall and its Market were opened in 1860.
Cardigan was also a major embarkation point for migrants to the New World.
One of town’s 'must see' events is Barley Saturday, held in Cardigan on the last Saturday of April every year, celebrating traditional rural life with a parade of the area's finest horses and agricultural vehicles. Also look out for when the Cardigan 'Cardigan' is on display - a giant knitted cardigan depicting the town's history in wool.
Cardigan's busy arts scene
Culturally vibrant, Cardigan has a busy arts scene. Theatr Mwldan arts centre includes a cinema, gallery and café and presents a wide range of professional entertainment and arts events throughout the year. Nearby is the Small World Theatre, housed in a modern eco-building, where performances, puppet theatre, dances and events focused on sustainability are held. The Cardigan Guildhall hosts regular dances, live music and concerts. The Corn Exchange galley features a different artist or craft group each week from March to September. Cardigan Guildhall Market has a number of art and craft stalls and there are several galleries selling paintings, sculpture, textiles and jewellery in and around Cardigan town.
Shopping, food and drink in Cardigan
Cardigan's indoor market is in the historic Guildhall building in the centre of town. The market hall, which is on two levels, was originally the town meat and dairy marketplace. Today, the market is a busy shopping area with over 50 stalls run by independent local traders. The Guildhall Market is open Monday to Saturday.
Cardigan's independent shops take pride in sourcing quality goods, interesting local crafts, inspired art and the freshest local food - bread, meat, fruit and vegetables as well as locally brewed beer and homemade cakes and sweets. Find clothes, shoes, books and traditional hardware too.
Cardigan has a good choice of places to eat, from traditional cafe to pizza or barbecue, and an opportunity to dine like a prince at Cardigan Castle restaurant overlooking the river.
Every August, the Cardigan River and Food Festival celebrates the quality and diversity of local independent food producers from award winning cheese makers to butchers and bakers - over 70 food stalls with cookery demonstrations and entertainment for all.
Stay in or near Cardigan
Cardigan and the surrounding area has a great choice of places to stay. If you're looking for a hotel, B&B, self-catering cottage or caravan accommodation in and around Cardigan, take a look at our accommodation pages.
The Tourist Information Centre is located at Theatr Mwldan and friendly knowledgeable staff can help with enquires about Cardigan, Ceredigion and neighbouring areas.