A guided tour of the Millennium Centre is great for sports fans but also a very interesting way to learn a bit about Cardiff and its history.
The Stadium on Match Day.
Located in the heart of the city and opened in 2000, the building has now become iconic, hosting everything from sporting events to music concerts. This tour allows you to look behind the scenes at parts of the stadium usually restricted to the public and there is a lot more than initially meets the eye.
The tour started in the Millennium Stadium Gift Shop, just off Westgate Street and we were given lanyards, which we got to keep at the end – a lovely memento of the day. The tour runs most days but is subject to change dependant on the events that are happening in the stadium. The tours are very reasonably priced at £10.50 for adults or £8 for students.
We were greeted by our tour guide who led us into a room where we watched a film about that development of the stadium and the important moments of its history.
We then made the short walk to the stadium itself. We were led in through a back door; the player’s entrance and she talked us through the memorabilia on the walls. When we got taken to the player’s dressing room and we were thoroughly impressed. The player’s dressing rooms have just been redesigned and it was left just how the players would have it before a match, jersey’s on the wall, massage table set up and exercise gear ready to go.
The Welsh Player’s Dressing Room adorned with kit and the Welsh Rugby Union’s icon in traditional Cardiff red.
From the dressing room we headed towards the press office, which is dedicated to Ray Gravell, the world famous player, commentator and fundraiser. It was so interesting to hear about his life and contribution to the sport and you also got to sit behind the press desk.
We then walked through the player’s tunnel, when you walk down it, you can almost hear the cheers that greet the players as they walk onto the pitch. From the pitch, you can really appreciate the magnitude of the stadium, it is the biggest stadium in Europe as it is able to seat up to 74,500 fans.
On the tour, you learn about the intricate details of how the pitch is kept in perfect condition with a palletised system and the only fully retractable roof in the UK.
You then travel to the top tiers where you can sit where the Queen has sat when she came to see a game, view the private boxes where the rich and famous enjoy events in the lap of luxury and even lift a trophy.
It was such a fun day and great way to experience the historic stadium from a different perspective.
By Elouise Hobbs