The Little Red Umbrella Goes to Doctor Who Locations in Cardiff

Cardiff isn't just the capital of Wales, it's also the capital of Doctor Who. The science-fiction show is filmed at the BBC studios near Cardiff Bay and in locations all over the city. Even many of the scenes that claim to be set in London are actually shot here. A walk around town might bring you to Rose Tyler's apartment block, the church where Donna Noble (almost) got married, or the police station from "Blink".

In our first post, we headed to The Doctor Who Experience: a big  museum on Cardiff Bay that houses props, costumes and even sets from the show. In this post, we'll wander the city itself tracking down some familiar locations that have appeared on the show.

Just around the bend of the bay from The Doctor Who Experience are Roald Dahl Plass and The Millennium Centre, familiar sights for Whovians — especially the ones who watch the spin-off series, Torchwood. The interior of the Millennium Centre was also used as the lobby of the hospital in New New York and the Two Stream centre in "The Girl Who Waited":

Next door, the Welsh parliament building — the Senedd — was used for "The Lazarus Experiment":

While on the other side of the square, you'll find the spot where the entrance to Torchwood once stood. Now, it's home to a shrine dedicated to the memory of the show and notes pleading for the series to return to television: 

Just a few steps away, you find yourself in the retro 1960s American dinner where the Eleventh Doctor met Amy, Rory and River:

And there, you can still stumble across the facade of the TARDIS when you go to the washroom:

Cardiff Bay is also home to the office building where Donna Noble worked in "The Runaway Bride", tucked between the Senedd and The Doctor Who Experience:

While on the other side of the Bay, you'll find Amy and Rory's house:

A few kilometers away, north of the city centre, is the house where Clara Oswald lives. There's even a little TARDIS in the window:

And across the street is the spot where the Spoonhead stood as the plane flew towards Clara and the Doctor in "The Bells of St. John":

Not far from Clara's house is Cathays Cemetery — one of the biggest Victorian cemeteries anywhere in the UK:

Which was also used as a location in "The Bells of St. John", where the Victorian version of Clara is buried:

A couple of kilometers west, you'll find Llandaff. Originally, Llandaff was a village that sprung up around the ancient Llandaff Cathedral. Since then, it's been swallowed up by the city. The Cathedral Green was one of the main locations in "The Eleventh Hour" — Matt Smith's first full episode as the Eleventh Doctor: 

And the war memorial on the Cathedral Green head already appeared during the Tenth Doctor's run — at the end of "The Family Blood"

The Cathedral Green is just up the hill from Llandaff Cathedral itself, which has a history stretching all the way back to the 1100s:

...and was also used as the location of the church Van Gogh painted in "Vincent and the Doctor":

The National Museum, Wales was also featured in that episode, pretending to be the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. And it was also used as the museum where the Pandorica was kept on display in "The Big Bang":

As as well being the museum where the cat burglar Lady Christina de Souza descends from the ceiling to steal the Cup of Athelstan in the David Tennant special, "Planet of the Dead":

The pedestrian promenades of Cardiff city centre are also frequently used to play the part of London shopping districts:

Including the department store where Rose Tyler worked:

And you can still see mannequins where the Autons attacked in the very first episode of the reboot:

That spot is just around the corner from the church where Donna Noble (almost) got married. It also pops up in the background when the Tenth Doctor and Kylie Minogue travel from the spaceship Titanic to the surface of the Earth in "Voyage of the Damned":

On the way back toward Cardiff Bay, you can spot Rose Tyler's apartment block from Lloyd-George Avenue. The same buildings were used as the place where Clara's family held their Christmas dinner in Matt Smith's final episode:

A few blocks south of that, you can track down the police station from "Blink":

And across the street, the church where Sally Sparrow saw a pair of Weeping Angels from the window of the police station:

And the statues used in the "don't blink!" montage from that same episode are all over the city:



Read more our posts about Doctor Who here, including the Torontonian roots of the show, the punk band Peter Capaldi played in with Craig Ferguson and our thoughts on the Christmas special. 

Learn more about Cardiff's history and the role Doctor Who has played in the city's revitalization here.

Posted by Adam Bunch, the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at


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