The UK’s top must-see destination this summer is….?

It’s not Cornwall or the Cotswolds, it’s Cardiff. National Geographic has ranked the Welsh wonder in its top ten “must-see” global destinations list for summer 2011.

The magazine’s short list includes some of the most beautiful regions in the world, and Cardiff made it on to the top ten because it’s a “modern sports-entertainment destination” which combines a rich industrial heritage with the largest waterfront development in Europe, according to the editorial team.

National Geographic also points out that the Welsh city’s familiar landmark, Cardiff Castle, is “iconic”, adding that the city is a haven for sports lovers, offering white water rafting, power boating and windsurfing.

It’s great news for the Welsh capital, which features its modern waterfront and photos of white water rafting on its official tourist websitewww.visitcardiff.com

Cardiff took the sixth spot, and is in very eclectic company It was just behind Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park (no. 5), and beat the Azores, Portugal’s nine volcanic islands (no. 8). The magazine recognises Cardiff’s transformation from a “city of castles and coal” into a popular destination for shoppers and sports fans alike.

The number one spot went to Muskoka Cottage Country in Ontario, Canada which National Geographic say is an “unplugged place” to escape from the demands of modern life while still within reach of modern cities such as Toronto.

Hywel Thomas, of Cardiff & Co, who promote the city, said: “It is quite an accolade and the feature reflects the city’s remarkable journey from a bustling coal port to a pulsating, attractive city.”

Councillor Chris Holley, leader of Swansea City and County Council, added that the choice of Cardiff would most likely “amuse” those living in other parts of Wales, saying: “It seems to be the joker in the pack here.”

National Geographic 10 Best Trips of Summer 2011:

1. Muskoka Cottage Country, Ontario, Canada

2. Patagonia, Argentina

3. San Juan Islands, Washington, USA

4. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

5. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, USA

6. Cardiff, Wales

7. Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden

8. Azores, Portugal

9. Roatan, Honduras

10. Istria, Croatia

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