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10 things you need to know about Riverside

Riverside is an inner-city area and community of Cardiff, located next to the River Taff. It is one of the most ethnically diverse areas in Cardiff and home to the popular Farmers Market. Here are 10 things you need to know about Riverside:


According to the Cardiff 2011 Census, the population of Riverside is 13,771. Riverside has a sizable ethnic minority population, particularly communities with people of Bangladeshi, Sikh and Chinese heritage. People from Bangladesh are the largest ethnic minority in Riverside, forming 6,4% of the total population.

Population Density:

Riverside is one of the most densely populated areas in Cardiff as it covers 259 hectares (0.6 % of the Cardiff total), with a population density of 53.3 people per hectare, compared with a Cardiff average of 24.7 people. Cowbridge Road East is the economic center of Riverside. It is the principal road which passes through the busy district of Canton and connects Cowbridge Road West in the western districts to central Cardiff. It is home to numerous shops, pubs and restaurants.


What is known today as Riverside, until the 1800s used to be a collection of cottages near a farm called Plas Turton (Turton’s Mansion).This old farm house was constructed in late 16th Century, and was located on the west side of the River Taff.


During WWII many houses in Riverside were damaged or destroyed during the worst air raid of the war. The whole of Blackstone Street was completely destroyed. Pontcanna on the other hand, escaped the raid with very little damage.

In the 1970s, the damaged houses were eventually replaced. New properties were built in Neville Street, De Burgh Street, Clare Street and Despenser Street.  It’s worth noting that all these roads took their names from the medieval lords of Glamorgan.


Labour holds all three seats in the Riverside council with Iona Gordon (19%), Caro Wild (17%) and Kanaya Singh (16%) taking over from Jaswant Singh and Mohammed-Sarul Islam of Plaid Cymru. Iona Gordon retained her seat from the 2012 council elections.


St David’s Hospital serves the people of Riverside since 2002. It replaces an earlier hospital on the same site that was originally the Cardiff Union Workhouse. Many of Cardiff’s residents (including Ryan Giggs) were born there in the first hospital, until it shut down in 1990.

The Farmers Market:

The Riverside Farmers Market is the most popular attraction in the area and one of the most popular in the whole city. Every Sunday farmers, producers and small-business owners set up their stands at the edge of river Taff (opposite Principality Stadium) and serve delicious food, plants and crafts to the people of Cardiff. Riverside Market was launched in 1998 as a Christmas market by a group of local food enthusiasts in a small park. The Market has grown to become one of the best known farmers’ markets in the U.K.


The Ianto Jones Shrine was set up in 2009 as a tribute to… a deceased Doctor Who character. Actually not even a Doctor Who character. Ianto Jones was a supporting character from Torchwood, a spinoff which is set in Cardiff. Ianto, played by Gareth David-Lloyd, was dramatically killed off in the finale of episode four of the third series, 2009’s miniseries Children of Earth. The shrine appeared shortly afterwards on the exterior setting of the tourist office location. The shrine is still going strong, eight years after Ianto’s on-screen death.

Sophia Gardens:

The beautiful Sophia Gardens is located in Riverside. The park is named after Lady Sophia Rawdon-Hastings. Lady Sophia wanted to provide open space for recreation in the rapidly expanding town in the late 19th century. The plans for the gardens were laid out in 1854 by the architect Alexander Roos. They were opened to the public by Lady Sophia in 1858, to compensate for the closure of Cardiff Castle grounds. The park was acquired by Cardiff City Council, then the Cardiff Corporation, from the 5th Marquess of Bute in 1947.


The Sports Wales National Center is a multi-purpose facility which houses the Federation of Disability Sport Wales. The National Sports Center for Wales, as it was known then, was opened on the 30th October 1971 by Her Royal Highness the Princess Anne on the 12th June 1972.The center was renamed the Welsh Institute of Sport in 1994 and became the Sport Wales National Center in April 2010.

It includes two basketball courts, a fitness studio, judo, gymnastics, squash and boxing centers, two shooting ranges, artificial turf football field, and outdoor multi-use grass pitches. It is open 7 days per week.