The Principality Stadium: Wales

Westgate Street, Cardiff, CF10 1NS, Wales
By Clint Budd (From Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Wales as a country has always had something of an on-off relationship with football. For many a proud Welshman the country’s sport will always be rugby, yet when the national football team goes up against England or qualifies for a major tournament, there is a palpable sense of expectation that sweeps across the country. This on-off affair is also reflected in the Wales Football Association’s use of The Millennium Stadium, currently called The Principality Stadium for sonship reasons.

The Millennium Stadium was principally built as a new ground for the Welsh Rugby Union and replaced The National Stadium, better known as Cardiff Arms Park. It opened in 1999 in order to be used for Wales’ hosting of the 1999 Rugby World Cup. The Welsh FA, who had been sharing their home games between the grounds of Cardiff City, Swansea City and Wrexham until 1989, moved with the RFU to the new ground, signing an agreement that would see their games played there until 2010. Nowadays the majority of Welsh Football’s games are played at The Cardiff City Stadium, with only significant matches, such as against England, played out at The Millennium Stadium.

Stats

The Principality Stadium Stats
Year Opened1999
Capacity74,500
Average Attendance38,854
Record Attendance74,645 (Wales v Ireland (2009))
Pitch Size120 x 79 (9480)
Former NameMillennium Stadium
OwnerWelsh Rugby Union
SponsorPrincipality
Clubs HostedWelsh Rugby Union, Wales National Football
First FixtureWales v South Africa (26/06/1999)
Wales Stats
Year Founded1876
NicknameThe Dragons (Welsh: Y Dreigiau)
RivalsEngland, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland
Previous StadiumsCardiff Arms Park, Cardiff City Stadium, Liberty Stadium, Racecourse Ground
KitRed & White (Home) / Black and Green (Away)
Training GroundDragon Park
Team OwnerFootball Association of Wales
Record GoalscorerIan Rush (28)
Record AppearancesNeville Southall (92)

The Principality Stadium Photos

The Principality Stadium Seating Plan & Where to Sit

By Robert Clarke (Millennium StadiumUploaded by BaldBoris) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As we’ve already mentioned, The Millennium Stadium, for we will use that name alternatively with The Principality Stadium, is a venue with three different levels to its seating. It is built in the more modern ‘Bowl Style’, as opposed to the ‘English Style’ of having four separate and distinct stands. The ground is still broken into four sections as far as fans are concerned, however, so here’s a little bit of information on each:

  • The North Stand - This is the only part of the stadium that has two tiers instead of three. This was because the owners of Cardiff Rugby Club, that is situated on the other side of the stand, refused to move and the architects felt that didn’t give them enough room to build a third tier, instead opting for one small tier and one large tier.
  • The East Stand - Running along one side of the pitch is this stand that features three tiers, with a row of executive boxes in-between the second and third tiers.
  • The South Stand - Behind one of the goals and opposite The North Stand - as you’d expect if you know anything about compass points - is this stand that features three steep tiers with a row of executive boxes between tier two and tier three.
  • The West Stand - The final stand of the stadium is also considered by many to be the main stand, featuring as it does the dressing rooms, the players’ tunnel and the dugouts.

Wales Ticket Prices

Ticket Prices for matches at The Principality Stadium vary significantly. For starters it isn’t just national rugby or football that you can watch there, with singers like Beyoncé and events like the British FIM Speedway Grand Prix also being hosted at Wales’ biggest stadium. It’s reasonably fair to say that tickets for the Welsh Regional Rugby competition, which were set at £10 for adults and £5 for juniors, were significantly less expensive than tickets for the Champions League Final were when the stadium hosted the final match of the competition in 2017.

The Principality Stadium has three levels to it and the amount of money you’ll pay for your ticket for big matches held there will vary depending on the level you want to sit on, your age and whether you are entitled to any discount such as those afforded to the military or to students. It’s very much worth checking out the cost of tickets for each individual event held at the ground.

How To Get Wales Tickets

There is a website operated by the Welsh Rugby Union (who also own and operate the venue) where you can find out what events are taking place at the ground and buy tickets directly from there. In some instances the clubs involved in the tie will be responsible for the allocation of tickets, however, so don’t assume that the website is the best or only place to go.

Where to Buy

Getting To The Principality Stadium

Swap Start/End

Cardiff is the capital of Wales, so there are plenty of transport options available to you. The ground itself is reasonably centrally located, too, so as long as you can get yourself to Cardiff then you’re well on your way.

Train - Cardiff Central Railway Station is the nearest one to the ground and it is served by trains from West Wales, The South Coast, The Midlands and London. If you’re coming from elsewhere in the Cardiff or South Wales region then Cardiff Queen Street Station will be the one for you. That’s about a fifteen minute walk from the ground.

Bus - The stadium is just a nice two minute walk from Cardiff Central Bus Station, so the likelihood is you’ll be getting a bus or coach from where you live to there, rather than a bus from there to the stadium. Check out your local services to see what bus or coach you should be looking for.

Car - Cardiff is located on the M4 corridor, so it’s easily reachable by car from the West Midlands and London. The long and short of it is that you should get onto the M4 from wherever you’re coming from, follow the signs to Cardiff and then the signs towards The Principality Stadium.

By Air - Cardiff Airport is the closest to the ground at just thirty minutes drive away, but Bristol Airport is only three-quarters of an hour away if you want another option. From Cardiff Airport you can get either an express bus service, the T9, to the city centre or a short shuttle bus to Rhoose Train Station, from where you can jump a connecting service to Cardiff Central Station.

Taxi - A taxi from Cardiff Central to The Millennium Stadium will take around seven minutes, traffic depending, and cost just under £10.

Parking Near The Principality Stadium

There is no dedicated parking for supporters at the stadium itself on match days, but there are numerous car parks in Cardiff city centre that you can use. You might find some on-street parking, but there will be parking restrictions in place as you’d expect in any capital city.

Useful Resources

The Principality Stadium Hotels

Cardiff is a cracking place to stay with a host of excellent hotel options. Here are some of our favourites:

ibis budget Cardiff Centre - £55+

Tyndall Street, Cardiff
Just over half a mile from The Principality Stadium is this budget member of the ibis hotel chain. There are 157 rooms, breakfast available and self-parking as well as the almost ubiquitous free Wi-Fi. More details.

Sandringham Hotel Cardiff - £70+

21 St Mary Street, Cardiff, CF10 1PL
About as close to the stadium as it’s possible to get without sleeping on the pitch is this charming hotel with two restaurants, two meeting rooms and free Wi-Fi. More details.

The Royal Hotel Cardiff - "120+

88 St Mary Street, Cardiff, CF10 1DW
Just a stone’s throw away from the ground is this delightful hotel with free Wi-Fi, a restaurant, a bar, meeting rooms and sixty guest bedrooms. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near The Principality Stadium

Much like London, its English counterpart, Cardiff promises a myriad of wonderful and exciting places to go for a drink or two. From huge, well-known chain pubs through to characterful inns off the beaten track, whatever your fancy there’s a strong chance you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for in the Welsh capital.

Owain Glyndwr

10 St. John’s Street, Cardiff, CF10 1GL (0292 022 1980)
Just 200 meters from The Millennium Stadium is this pub that is spread across two floors and has an excellent atmosphere. They have numerous TVs showing live sport, a function room and a great menu that serves up until 10pm.

The Big Blue Sports Bar

18-19 Trinity Street, Cardiff, CF (0784 281 0535)
Claiming to be the best sports bar in Cardiff, The Big Blue Sports Bar does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s usually a favourite of Cardiff City fans but welcomes all-comers when there’s an event on at The Principality Stadium. Expect sport, sport and more sport.

Henry’s Cafe Bar

Park Chambers, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3DN (0292 022 4672)
Slightly more upmarket than our other recommendations, but no less worthy of consideration for that. Henry’s is a family friendly cocktail bar that serves quality food and welcomes well-behaved fans of any team into its pleasant surroundings.

Facilities

The Millennium Stadium is still quite young in the grand scheme of national stadiums, despite it coming to completion in 1999. As such the facilities are exactly as you’d expect at a major national stadium. There’s actually a little bit more personality here than you’d get from the concrete jungle that is Wembley Stadium, too. The concourses are adorned with plenty of places to buy food and drink as well as official programmes.

Hospitality

By Lesbardd (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The hospitality options at The Principality Stadium are exactly as varied and interesting as you’d expect from a national team’s stadium. Obviously, the available options change from event to event, but here is a taster of what you can expect depending on what sort of event you choose and what sort of package you are looking for:

  • The Platinum Suite - If you fancy your own private balcony to watch the game with your group then this could be for you. A minimum of 12 guests can enjoy VIP early access through your own dedicated entrance, a champagne reception and three course meal, post match cheese board and some great seats in front of your suite to enjoy the action.
  • The Clubhouse - Perhaps the ultimate experience for any fan of the game, The Clubhouse is an exclusive long term package for up to 200 private and corporate guests alike. Benefits include stories and Q & A’s with sporting legends, middle tier tickets for the game, relaxed style bar service and dining and official merchandise.

Private Hire

The Principality Stadium refers to itself as ‘the most memorable conference venue in Cardiff’, and it’s difficult to disagree with that assessment. This is somewhere you’ll seriously want to consider using regardless of the event you’re hoping to host, with student balls, exhibitions, business conferences and even weddings all being hosted here in the past.

Stadium Tours & Museum

Whether matches are about to be played or not, you can do some sort of tour of The Principality Stadium pretty much any time of year. If there is no preparation for a match or an event on then you will enjoy the full tour which takes in places such as the dressing rooms, the players’ tunnel and the President’s Box - a location normally reserved for royalty.

Even if the stadium is being prepared for an event of some sort, though, you shouldn’t have to miss out. That’s why Mini Tours are available at such times as when preparations are underway, offering you a whistle-stop tour of the ground.

Tours are available between 10am and 5pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 4pm on Sundays. You need to check Mini Tour availability on match or event days and the ground is shut on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. The cost of a tour is £12.50 for an adult, £10 for concessions, £9 for a child and £38 for a family of two adults and two children.

About Wales

TownDown [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Controlled by the Football Association of Wales and representing the country of Wales in international football, the Welsh national team have long played second fiddle to the country’s more successful rugby team. They have qualified for two major tournaments since their foundation in 1876. The first was the 1958 World Cup when they reached the Quarter-Finals, whilst the second was the 2016 European Championships held in France.

Wales have enjoyed a mixed bag of results against their home nation rivals. The country’s first ever international football match came in 1876 when they lost 4-0 to Scotland in Glasgow. They welcomed the Scots to The Racecourse Ground in Wrexham the following year, losing 2-0. Their first competitive match against England didn’t go too well, either, with the 1879 match resulting in a 2-1 loss at The Kennington Oval in London. Their first match against Ireland went a little better, with the Welsh winning 7-1 at The Racecourse Ground. The team took part in the British Home Championship between 1883 and 1984, winning it twelve times.

The Principality Stadium History

By Clint Budd (From Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Though rugby fans will also consider The Millennium Stadium to be predominantly their patch, football fans will probably remember it most fondly as the location of the FA Cup final from 2001 until 2006, whilst Wembley was being rebuilt. Liverpool fans in particular have a soft spot for the ground, having beaten Arsenal in the 2001 FA Cup Final before bookending the stadium’s use for the final when they beat West Ham in 2006 in a game widely considered to be the best in the competition’s history.

The Millennium Stadium has a capacity of 74,500 and features a retractable roof, making it the largest football stadium with this functionality in the world. The stadium’s bars feature what are known as ‘joy machines’; these are beverage dispensers that can pour up to twelve pints in less than twenty seconds! The ground also has its own hawk, known as ‘Dad’, who drives away seagulls and pigeons in order to stop them from taking residence in the rafters.

Future Developments

By Mooganic profile at Flickr website (Flickr original image) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Though the stadium itself may undergo slight improvements and adjustments before each new major event that is held there, in terms of major developments it is more likely that the area around the ground will undergo huge cosmetic renovations in the coming years. There are plans to completely overhaul the surrounding region, with hotels, offices and a new walkway all planned for the future.

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