Cardiff – Antarctic Memorial and Lightship

Cardiff BayOf course, there is more to see and do in Cardiff than The Doctor Who Experience.  We spent three days in the capital of Wales and really enjoyed it.  Really, more time would have permitted further exploration of the city and its environs (not to mention the rest of Wales).  My paternal grandfather’s side of the family carries my Welsh ancestry (I believe it was his grandfather who emigrated to the U.S. from Wales) so I heard a fair amount about Wales over the years.  Generally, I don’t think a lot of people in the U.S. are that familiar with Wales or all that there is to see and do on vacation there, which is a shame!

After Doctor Who, our family basically wandered over to Cardiff Bay.  The weather was quite lovely that day, generally sunny and mild for early spring.  The red-hued Pierhead building looks over the waterfront and makes for a nice navigational landmark while ambling about.  The striking white Scott Antarctic Memorial was unveiled in 2003 and honors the expedition led by Captain Robert F. Scott to….Tanzania [just seeing if you were paying attention there!] it was to Antarctica of course, having departed from Cardiff Bay on their adventure.  The party reached the South Pole in January 1912.  Unfortunately, Captain Scott’s team was just a tad shy of being the first to reach the South Pole, beaten by Ronald Amundsen’s team just a month prior.  Even more unfortunately, Scott and his entire team died on the return voyage.

Antarctic Memorial

Antarctic Memorial

Have you ever heard of a “lightvessel” or “lightship”?  Well, the term was foreign to me until we found the Lightship 2000 in Cardiff.  So if you are as uninformed of maritime terms as I was, a lightship is pretty simple – it’s a ship with a “mini lighthouse” mounted on it.  These vessels are permanently anchored in spots where an actual lighthouse isn’t practical or possible.  Lightship 2000 is a decommissioned lightship restored as an ecumenical project by the Christian churches of Cardiff.  Worship services, religious meetings and other events are held here – the ship’s forward hold has been made into a small chapel.  A cafe is open during the day.  There is no charge to enter and visitors are free to explore the ship which has some signage explaining the ship’s former life.  As there is still a lot of upkeep required, donations are appreciated and we were happy to oblige.  About 30 minutes should be sufficient to see the ship if you’re not stopping to buy something from the cafe. 

Lightship 2000

Lightship 2000

Lightship 2000

Lightship 2000


Lightship InteriorInside the Lightship

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