| | | |

24 Memorable Things to Do in Cardiff, Wales [2024 Edition]

affiliate disclosure policy

Looking for the best things to see and do in Cardiff Wales?

Cardiff is a gorgeous coastal city located on the southeast coast of Wales, UK. Famous for having more castles than any other city in the world (the most prominent being Cardiff Castle), ‘Caerdydd’ as the city is known in Welsh, is also the capital and largest city in Wales.

Its status as a land of splendid historic sites and castles has made the city a prized destination for travelers who appreciate locales with rich histories and cultural significance.

I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve dropped by Cardiff for vacation, short breaks, and work. Since I live just across the border in England, Cardiff is a 90-minute drive away, and I find myself coming back to the Welsh capital time and again, due to its rich appeal, and best of all – it’s home to some of the best restaurants in the UK!

Planning your trip? Use my favorite resources!

🏨 Accommodation: I recommend Booking.com
✈️ Flights: for the cheapest flights, I use Skyscanner
🚗 Rental Car: I recommend Discover Cars
🛡️ Travel Insurance: for the best deals I rely on SafetyWing

Cardiff Essentials Checklist:

✅ An excellent pair of walking shoes (there’s lots of walking and hiking)
✅ A decent raincoat (it rains ALOT here)
✅ A hoodie or warm sweater (for cool, windy evenings especially in winter)
✅ A good quality compact camera (for taking great pics)

Cardiff Tourist Attractions Map

Check out the map below of all the best Cardiff city center attractions and highlights:


Beyond its castles, Cardiff also displays its rich history in so many other parts of the city. From the city’s century-old arcades to Cardiff Bay—the nexus of Wales’ thriving coal and export industries during the Industrial Revolution, lively Cardiff starts to tell you its own riveting story the moment you step foot on its soil.

In this post, I’ll be covering the most memorable places to visit in Cardiff, Wales, based on my own experiences, including cultural landmarks, hidden gems, and exciting outdoor activities.

👉 Quick Look:

Strapped for time? Despite adoring everything listed, these destinations rank highest on my personal favorites in Cardiff:

📍1: Cardiff Castle

The hottest attraction in the heart of Cardiff, wander the sprawling grounds of this ancient castle and admire its stunning interior features.

📍2: National Museum Cardiff

The impressive museum houses a diverse collection of art, archaeology, and natural history exhibits, perfect for those exploring Wales’ cultural heritage.

📍3: Cardiff Bay

The picturesque waterfront area boasts landmarks such as the Wales Millennium Centre and the Senedd, home of the Welsh National Assembly, plus the charming Norwegian Church.

There are five categories of places to visit I want to highlight in this article:

➡️ Things to do in Cardiff city center
➡️ Things to do in Cardiff Bay
➡️ Other things to do in Cardiff
➡️ Things to do in Cardiff on a rainy day
➡️ Things to do in Cardiff for free

Now we’ll take a peek at every one of these things to do in Cardiff, and see why they appeal to different visitor types:

24 Best Things to Do in Cardiff, Wales

A collection of the most unique and relaxing things to do in Cardiff for young adults and couples, where to eat, the best things to do in Cardiff with family, and more.

1. Cardiff Castle

One of the most visited tourist attractions in all of Wales, this prehistoric monolith has stood for almost 2000 years at the heart of Cardiff city. Cardiff Castle is regarded as the most famous, most attractive, and one of the best preserved of all the castles that still stand both in Cardiff and in Wales as a whole.


Data from the local tourism board shows over 1 million people visited Cardiff Castle in 2022, and in 2021 it was the most visited paid attraction in Wales, with nearly 373,000 visits, making it the most visited attraction in Wales.

The castle was built for the 3rd Marquis of Bute who at the time, was the richest man on the planet. The castle’s opulent, Arab Room Ceiling reflects his sheer extravagance, as you can see in the photo below.

arab room ceiling inside cardiff castle
photo credit: unsplash

Undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Cardiff for adults, children and families, some consider the castle a romantic destination because of its picturesque exterior and magnificent gothic-style interiors. For me, this is the pinnacle of the city and I’m always taking snaps every time I visit Cardiff – the castle looks magnificent in summer just as it does in winter.

Each room in Cardiff Castle has a unique style and uses displays to tell fascinating stories about the people that lived and worked there once upon a time.


To ensure that you get to enjoy all the best parts of this remarkable historic site, it’s best to book an organized tour beforehand. I recommend the Private guided walking tour of Cardiff which includes Cardiff Castle.

How to get there: The nearest train station to the castle is Cardiff Central Station, just a 10-min walk or an even quicker taxi ride from the castle.
Admission: Adults – £14.50; Children (ages 5-16) – £10; under 5s go free. Prices also differ for seniors, disabled persons, students, and families.
Opening times: Mar – Oct:- 10am-6pm (Mon – Fri); 9am-6pm (Sat – Sun). Nov – Feb:- 10am-5pm (Mon – Fri); 9am-5pm (Sat – Sun).
Note: The Castle is closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

👉 Traveling up from London? This London to Cardiff guide has you covered on all the transport options available, from quicket route to cheapest option.

2. Explore Bute Park

A botanical paradise consisting of 130 acres of landscaped gardens right in the heart of Cardiff city, Bute Park is the place to be once the weather is great. The park was landscaped by Capability Brown himself, the greatest English landscape architect of all time.

bute park lawns in cardiff city

Bute Park never fails to offer the perfect peaceful getaway on my trips, especially when I’m looking for a break from the other naturally lively parts of Cardiff.

Strolling through Bute Park, I often stumble across a hidden wonder at every turn. You’ll encounter the park’s 21 mystifying sculptures as well as the famous Animal Wall (you cannot say you’ve been to Cardiff without a picture standing in front of this wall!).

The park is located near Cardiff Castle and you can also take a ferry from it to Cardiff Bay.

How to get there: Bute Park is accessible by car, bus, train, bicycle, and boat. The nearest train station to the park is Cardiff Central Station.
Admission: Free.
Opening times: 7:30am to 30 minutes before sunset.

3. Principality Stadium (The Millennium Centre)

For the art connoisseurs and the culture enthusiasts, a visit to the Principality Stadium (formerly the Millennium Centre) is an absolute must. A performance arts facility with a diverse array of genres, your visit to the Millennium Centre is sure to whet your appetite for the arts whether you grab a show or not.

view of the millennium stadium in cardiff, from the left

The center is home to the BBC National Orchestra, The National Dance Company of Wales, and the Hijinx Theatre.

The performances themselves have it all to offer— classical music and opera, ballet, modern dance, literary events, musical shows, and more. Other activities to anticipate at the Millennium Centre include educational events, lectures, and workshops, as well as a hearty dining and shopping experience.

I used to deliver dance workshops at the Millennium Centre back in the summer of 2019 for the locals as part of Cardiff Deaf Society’s deaf role models campaign, and I returned to continue on the project in 2022.

How to get there: Located on the waterfront of Cardiff Bay, the Millennium Centre is accessible by car, train, bus, bicycle, or boat.
Admission: Free (Only guided tours and some performances have prices).
Opening times: 10am-6pm.

🧥 Fan of Doctor Who?  Take a 2.5 hour walking tour of the city and discover all the locations in the hit TV series, learn how the city was utilized for intergalactic purposes, and how it was transformed to become 1970s New York, ancient Pompeii, London, Paris, and more!

4. Visit the National Museum Cardiff

Another destination that caters to lovers of art, the National Museum Cardiff is both a museum and art gallery. It is housed in the Edwardian-style Civic Centre building and located next to Cardiff City Hall.

front view of the national museum in cardiff

The place boasts exquisite collections of artefacts that depict the rich history of the country of Wales; for example, a shimmery display of treasures and weaponry from the Bronze Age.

The museum section focuses majorly on zoology, botany, and geology. On the other end, the gallery features both permanent and temporary art exhibitions that are always a delight to behold. Some notable pieces are by Impressionists including Monet and Picasso, and sculptures by Rodin.

How to get there: National Museum Cardiff is accessible by car, bus, or train. The nearest train station is Cathays Station, approx. 5-min walk from the museum.
Admission: Free.
Opening times: 10am-5pm (Tue-Sun), closed on Mondays.

5. Stroll down Centenary Walk

If you’re in the city to explore, strolling the Centenary Walk is one of the nicest free things to do in Cardiff city center. The Cardiff Centenary Walk stretches 2 miles (3.6km) through the city center, highlighted by up to 41 attractions, landmarks, and historic sites!

plaque on centenary walk

The Centenary Walk was established as part of Cardiff’s centennial celebrations to mark a century of city status in 2005. The best part of the Centenary Walk is that it enables you to amply tour the city without the help of a guide. Every stop on the route is denoted by waymarkers on the pavement and each one directs you to the next waymarker.

How to get there: The Centenary Walk is located in the city centre. It is accessible on foot.

6. Shop at Cardiff Market

Cardiff Market is a landmark shopping area every tourist should visit. The Cardiff Central Market is a Victorian-style indoor market in the Castle Quarter of Cardiff city center.

view overlooking the stalls in cardiff market

In the 1890s, the impressive market was designed and opened initially as a farmers’ market and go-to marketplace for fresh local produce.

Today, a unique shopping experience awaits anyone who visits Cardiff Market. If traveling and shopping go hand in hand for you, a market like this one with a wealth of both food and non-food items in countless varieties is an excellent place for you to go to town when in Cardiff, Wales.

How to get there: Cardiff Market is located in the city centre with entrances on St Mary Street, Church Street, and Trinity Street.
Opening times: 8am-5pm (Mon-Sat); Closed on Sundays.

🚶 Discover Cardiff Central Market better on a walking guided tour

Explore the other side of Cardiff on The Cardiff Dark Side Tour. You will learn LOTS OF interesting facts about the city and its most popular landmarks such as Central Market, Cardiff Castle and others. Don’t miss such a unique opportunity!

7. Tour the Arcades in Cardiff

Cardiff has the highest number of Victorian, Edwardian, and contemporary indoor shopping arcades in the UK. This is where the city gets its nickname, “City of Arcades”.

front view of the high street arcade in cardiff

One of my fave spots in the city, I always pop into the arcade for a coffee when given the chance. Some of the most visited arcades in Cardiff include:

  • Castle Quarter Arcade: A small Victorian-style arcade which connects High Street to Castle Street. 
  • High Street Arcade: Popular for its range of fashion stores (from designer clothes to vintage pieces), sophisticated cafés, and restaurants such as Barker Tea House, the New York Deli and Corner Coffee.
  • Royal Arcade: Cardiff’s oldest indoor shopping arcade, and my favorite. You’ll find a variety of 5-star coffee shops, cafés, and delicatessens, including Uncommon Ground Coffee, Fresh the Baguette Bar and Wally’s Delicatessen.
  • Morgan Arcade: Arguably the best preserved of all the arcades in Cardiff. Some popular stores include Route One, Dr Martens, Fred Perry, and the world’s oldest record shop, Spillers Records.

👉 Fancy a sightseeing tour of the city? You can explore all the highlights of Cardiff on this 24-hour Hop-on Hop-off bus tour:

8. See a Rugby Match

One of the biggest days celebrated in Cardiff is International Rugby Day, when the city triples in energy and excitement, donning a carnival-like atmosphere. When it comes to sporting experiences, very few in the world can compare.

view of the principality stadium from the sidewalk

Most rugby fans across the globe agree that Cardiff’s Principality Stadium is the best rugby stadium in the world. Formerly known as Millennium Stadium, it’s the first stadium in the UK with a fully-retractable roof, boasts a UEFA 5-Star rating, and has hosted two Rugby World Cups including the Final in 1999.

You may choose to buy a ticket to see a match in person, or you can still enjoy the special match day atmosphere by gathering with other fans to watch the game on big screens in pubs, bars and outdoor public spaces. You can also book a tour of the stadium outside of match season.

How to get there: The Principality Stadium is accessible by train, car, bus, and matchday coach. The nearest train stations to the stadium are Cardiff Central Station (5 mins away) and Cardiff Queen Street Station (15 mins away) if you’re coming from the South Wales Valleys.

9. St. Fagan’s Castle & Museum

St Fagan’s Museum is an open-air museum that brings Welsh history to life with realistically costumed characters exhibiting the traditional skills and crafts that were used to shape the country of Wales as it is known today.

view of St Fagans Castle and lawns with people wandering the grounds

The museum also offers visitors a chance to physically explore what life looked like for the Welsh people in various eras of the past.

Both original and accurately reconstructed buildings, as well as machinery and mill demonstrations are used to create these depictions, providing an experience that is akin to time travel.

Several special events and festivals take place at St Fagan’s Museum during spring, summer, and at Christmas 

How to get there: St Fagan’s Museum is accessible by car, bicycle, bus, and train.
Admission: Free.
Opening times: 10am-5pm.

10. Drink and dine at Cardiff’s best cafes and restaurants

Foodies will find Cardiff Market’s fresh local produce and diverse international cuisines perfect for grabbing a delicious bite.

One of the things that really impressed me about Cardiff is the number of top-notch and diverse restaurants, including Happy Gathering – my absolute favorite restaurant here, and one of the best Dim Sum restaurants in the UK.

Check out the interactive map below of the 10 best cafes (in blue) and 10 best eateries (in maroon) in Cardiff.

11. Enjoy the Cardiff Nightlife

During daytime hours, Cardiff is already a lively destination. And when night falls on the city, an even more vibrant side is unleashed.

The nightlife scene is something you certainly want to experience – easily one of the best things to do in the city centre at night, and among the most popular for students, whether it’s all-out clubbing or are simply in search of some serene relaxation with a great dinner, even better drinks, and a wonderful ambience.

Recommended spots: Clwb Ifor Bach, Revolution, Metros, Salt (Cardiff Bay), Revolución de Cuba, The Peppermint Bar.

👉 Visiting Cardiff from London? You can book a day trip to Cardiff from London that includes the hop-on-hop-off sightseeing tour and return travel from London.

Things to Do in Cardiff Bay

A visit to Cardiff would be incomplete without checking out the exciting things Cardiff Bay has to offer. Here you’ll find some of the more thrilling activities and things to do in Cardiff today:

12. Explore Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay (formerly known as Tiger Bay), after years of derelict, was one of the largest port revitalization projects in all of Europe and is now one of the most popular waterside and leisure centers in the UK.

aerial view of Cardiff Bay

If you get the chance, I recommend you take a stroll around the stunning waterfront location at the heart of Cardiff Bay known as Mermaid Quay, also one of the best free things to do in the city. If you’re looking to dine out or have drinks in Cardiff city but can’t settle on a spot, head over to Mermaid Quay.

With over 30 restaurants, cafés, and bars, plus cuisines from all over the world, you’ll certainly be able to find the food and/or drink you’re craving. Or you could try them all! Who says your feast has to start and stop at just one restaurant?

bright blue mermaid quay building

You can also visit Cardiff’s first and finest comedy club, a hair and beauty salon, and several gorgeous boutiques at the Mermaid Quay.

How to get there: Mermaid Quay is accessible by car, boat, bus, and train.
Admission: Free.
Opening times: 8am-8pm.

Read my guide on the best Cardiff helicopter sightseeing tours for the most incredible views over the city and bay.

13. Take a Cardiff Boat Tou

Another great way to tour the city is by taking a Cardiff Boat Tour. One of the more popular Cardiff boat tours is aboard the Princess Katharine, a heated 90-seat waterbus that travels from Cardiff Bay to Bute Park and back.

a red and white tourist boat on the bay

When it comes to what to do in Cardiff for a day, be sure to include a cruise in comfort while witnessing the sights of Cardiff, with commentary on the history of each location.

Where to go: Cardiff Bay or Bute Park.
Admission: One Way: Adults – £6; Children (ages 3-16) – £3; Families (2 adults, up to 3 children) – £15. Free for children under 3 years. Round Trip:- Adults – £12; Children (ages 3-16) – £6; Families (2 adults, up to 3 children) – £30; infants below Free for children under 3 years.
Departure times: From Cardiff Bay:- 10am, 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm. From Bute Park:- 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 4.30pm.

14. Norwegian Church Arts Centre

Ever heard how sailors in the past were known to have at least one girlfriend in every port? Well, in the case of Norwegian sailors, they had a church in every port. The Norwegian Church Arts Centre was formerly the Norwegian Sailors Church, a place where Norwegian soldiers that worked on coal ships in Wales during the Industrial Revolution could come to worship and feel at home.

view of the norwegian church in cardiff

The Arts Centre is now a renowned landmark and cherished establishment, especially for the Nordic community in South Wales. Situated on Cardiff Bay’s waterfront, the centre features an art gallery that showcases local exhibitions and a stylish café and bar with a terrace that overlooks the tranquil, diamond waters of the Bay.

👉 Fun fact: The famous children’s author, Roald Dahl, was baptized at the Norwegian Sailors Church in 1916. Want more facts? Here’s 52 Fascinating Wales Facts

How to get there: The Norwegian Church Arts Centre is accessible by car, bus, and train.
Admission: Free
Opening times: 10am-6pm (Wed-Sun); Closed on Mon-Tue.

15. Go White Water Rafting in Cardiff

Cardiff Bay offers a range of activities of the exhilarating variety and when it comes to Cardiff attractions, white water rafting tops the list. One of the more thrilling things to do in Cardiff for adults and young people, it’s a great way to bond with your loved ones and make new friends.

a dinghy full of rafters during white water rafting activity

As far as I know the only known spot for this activity in Cardiff is at the Cardiff International White Water (CIWW) facility. The activity is suitable for both beginners and seasoned white water aficionados as every raft ride is accompanied by an expert coach.

Note: This activity is suitable for ages 12 years and older.
How to get there: This location is accessible by car, bus, and train. The nearest train station to the facility is Cogan Station (15 minutes away).
Admission: £60 per person
Opening times: 9am-4pm.

16. Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve

The secluded beauty spot known as the Wetlands Reserve is just a short walk from Mermaid Quay and I found it to be one of the hidden gems well worth exploring.

The main highlight here is the viewing platform overlooking the waters, plus the fact this is a biodiversity hot spot providing ample opportunity to learn all about nature in Cardiff Bay.

It’s the perfect place to get away from the bustle of the city traffic and is one of the top activities with kids as they can let have a good run about and learn cool new stuff from the numerous nature signs.

How to get there: The Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve is just 9 mins drive from the city center. You can get the number 8 bus which runs every 20 mins from the city center.

17. Cardiff Bay Barrage

The Cardiff Bay Barrage is a harbor barrier for pedestrians and cyclists to travel from Cardiff Bay to Penarth.

aerial view of cardiff bay barrage

A rather unique structure offering superb views, this is an excellent photo spot, you can witness incredible views of the city, the mountain backdrop and the water. It’s a popular walking spot with the locals and is recommended for any Cardiff itinerary.

18. Techniquest in Cardiff

Situated near Mermaid Quay is Techniquest – a hands-on science and discovery centre that features an interactive museum, it’s perfect for families and things to do with children in Cardiff. You can also learn about Welsh culture and their world-class innovations and inventions too!

front view of Techniquest building in cardiff

How to get there: This location is accessible by car, bus, and train. Bus C1 or 99 from the city center takes just 12 mins.
Admission: £10.90 (adults), £9.05 (children) Under 3yrs free.
Opening times: Thu-Fri 2-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm (closed on Mon-Tue)

19. Cardiff Aqua Park

If you wondering what to do in Cardiff for young adults and kids, look no further than the Cardiff Aqua Park – a floating water park packed with inflatable structures offering lots of adrenaline-pumped action and plenty of laughs! It’s popular with stag and hen dos and so would make the perfect group or family activity.

aerial view of cardiff aqua park

How to get there: 9 mins drive from Cardiff center. Bus 8 from the city center takes 37 mins.
Admission: £20 per person (online), £25 per person (at the ticket office)
Opening times: 10am-7pm

Other things to do near Cardiff

Slightly further out the city you’ll discover some of the most insane hidden gems in South Wales (all of Wales in fact). These are well worth visiting and highly recommended adding to your Cardiff itinerary if you have an extra day or two.

20. Penarth Beach

Although not a sand beach, Penarth beach is quite large with Penarth Pier one of its best features. Open all year round, there’s plenty of cafes, restaurants and stalls along the beach. It’s easily one of the best things to do near Cardiff offering an opportunity to breathe some fresh sea air as well as seeing Cardiff from a different angle.

view of the pier at penarth beach

Penarth beach is one of the closest beaches to Cardiff, just 11 mins drive from the city center, you can also get bus no. 92, 92B, 93 or 94, or take the train from the city center.

👉 For more beaches and coast-trekking in the Vale of Glamorgan, be sure to read: 15 Top Beaches Near Cardiff

21. Barry Island Gavin and Stacey Tour

Fans of the hit TV show Gavin and Stacey can go on a tour of the various show locations like Nessa’s Slots and Stacey’s home, on Barry Island, just 20 mins drive from Cardiff.

22. Castell Coch

One of the most picturesque castles in the country, this 19th Century gothic style castle nestled in the woods has sheer fairytale vibes about it, and is well worth the 15 min drive from Cardiff. 

front view of castell coch

Construction of the castle was funded by the 3rd Marquis of Bute, whom was reportedly the richest man in the world during the Victorian era. You can visit the castle and explore its grounds.

If you’re rushed for time though (or saving money), you can do what I did pass by on the drive to/from Cardiff, and appreciate its magnificence from the outside by walking through the woods.

23. Caerphilly Castle

Interesting fact: Caerphilly Castle is the largest castle in Wales and second largest in the UK, only Windsor Castle is bigger!

view of caerphilly castle and surrounding moat and greenery

Another reason to visit Caerphilly Castle? It’s seriously impressive in terms of architecture and surroundings, one of the most picturesque castles in Wales. Plus its only 15 mins drive from the city center and can easily be reached by train or bus. 

🚶🏽‍♂️Enjoy Caerphilly Castle with The Wandering Bard Tour of South Wales

Discover South Wales in the company of a historian, and native Welsh speaker, who is passionate about the country. Learn more about welsh culture while visiting neolithic sites, Roman ruins, Norman castles, and the atmospheric valleys.

👉 Traveling from London? Combine Caerphilly Castle with Cardiff on this day trip from London

24. Hike up Caerphilly Mountain

From Caerphilly Castle its well worth taking the hike to the top of Caerphilly Mountain – and don’t worry, it’s not a big mountain, it’s actually a hill as you can see in the photo, which makes easily doable for most people.

view of the grassy peak at caerphilly mountain

Combining this hike with Caerphilly Castle makes it well worth the trip, and it’s the perfect opportunity to witness some incredible views of the Welsh countryside, the sea and the city, without having to travel too far out from Cardiff.

Beautiful Overlooks in Cardiff

Take in stunning views of the city and beyond from these prime Cardiff overlooks:

Cardiff Castle – See panoramic views of the city center from the castle walls and keep.
Bute Park – Find elevated views of the park, River Taff, and Cardiff Castle.
Roath Park – Sweeping views across the park’s lake and botanical gardens.
Cardiff Bay Barrage – Walk along the barrage for picturesque vistas of the bay.
Penarth Pier – Snap photos looking back at the Cardiff skyline across the sea.
Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve – Spot birds from the viewing platforms with the bay as a backdrop.
Llandaff Cathedral – Gaze out over the city from the cathedral grounds.
Cadwaladr’s Ice Cream Parlour – Grab an ice cream with a castle view from the cafe terrace.
Noah’s Ark Zoo – Panoramic views of the zoo and countryside from the hilltop setting.
Cardiff City Hall – Take in views of the civic center and Cardiff Castle from its steps.

They would be the key scenic outlooks and vantage points I would highlight for beautiful panoramic views in the Cardiff area.

What to Do in Cardiff When It’s Raining

Looking for the best things to do in Cardiff while it’s raining? These suggestions are all great rainy day activities:

☑️ National Museum Cardiff – With its vast collection of art, natural history, geology and archaeology, you can spend hours exploring its many galleries and exhibits.

☑️ St Fagans National Museum of History – Much of this open-air museum is indoors, so you can still see traditional Welsh buildings and learn about the country’s history.

☑️ Cardiff Castle – Take a guided tour of the ornate interiors, the decorated ceilings and luxurious rooms will amaze you!

☑️ Llandaff Cathedral – Admire the stained glass windows and medieval architecture in this cathedral dating back to the 12th century.

☑️ Chapter Arts Centre – Catch an independent film, see a photography exhibit, or browse the in-house café and bar.

☑️ Shopping Arcades – The Victorian-era arcades are great for browsing boutiques and cafés without getting wet, try the High Street and Castle Arcades.

☑️ Dr Who Experience – Step into the world of this sci-fi TV series with props, costumes and interactive exhibits.

☑️ Bowl at Cardiff International Pool – Try tenpin bowling or check out the water slides and rides at this indoor leisure pool complex.

☑️ Watch live music – Cardiff has great indie music venues like Clwb Ifor Bach and The Globe that have acts even on rainy nights.

Things to Do in Cardiff for Free

Wondering what to do in Cardiff for free? These wallet-friendly gems won’t cost you a single dollar – bonus!

👉 Visit Cardiff Castle grounds – The castle grounds surrounding this famous landmark are open to explore for free.

👉 Stroll through Bute Park – 130 acres of gardens, arbors, and tree-lined paths running along the River Taff.

👉 Explore Cardiff Bay Barrage – Walk along the barrage for scenic views of the bay, or spot birds and seals.

👉 See public art in the city – Look for the famous statue of Aneurin Bevan in Queen Street and other artworks.

👉 Enter the Pierhead building – This iconic Cardiff Bay building often has free exhibitions.

👉 Roath Park Lake – A 50-acre lake surrounded by lush gardens and trees in one of Cardiff’s largest parks.

👉 Watch buskers on the streets – You’re likely to encounter talented street performers, especially on Queen Street.

👉 See the Animal Wall at Cardiff Castle – Spot the carved animals on this whimsical 14th-century wall.

👉 Visit the National Museum Cardiff – Entry is free except for some special exhibitions.

👉 Join a free walking tour – There are regular complimentary walking tours of the city center.

👉 Relax in parks – Have a picnic or play sports in one of Cardiff’s many green public parks.

More Free things to do around Cardiff

Check out the list below for even more places to visit in Cardiff for free:

  • The Millennium Centre
  • Centenary Walk
  • The Arcades
  • Cardiff Market
  • St. Fagan’s Museum
  • Mermaid Quay
  • Norwegian Church Arts Centre
  • Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve
  • Penarth Beach and Pier
  • Caerphilly Castle
  • Taff Trail hike

General Information about Cardiff

  • Area: 140.3km squared
  • Weather: 4C (winter), 23C (summer)
  • Population: 362,400 (1st in Wales)
  • City status: 1905
  • International Airport: Cardiff Airport (CWL)
  • Famous Residents: Shirley Bassey, Roald Dahl, Griff Rhys Jones, Iwan Rheon

Download your FREE 20-page Travel Planner Guide

And get access to all my best budget travel tips, checklists, additional freebies, and more.

Printable Travel Planner Guide

Cardiff things to see and do FAQs:

Now that we’ve covered the top things to do in Cardiff, below are the most commonly asked questions about the city:

Is Cardiff worth visiting?

Cardiff is definitely worth visiting. A compact city easy to explore on foot, it is a vibrant and charming city with a beautiful castle, the River Taff, and the picturesque Bute Park. It also serves as a great base to explore other attractions in Wales, such as the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia National Park.

What is Cardiff popular for?

Cardiff is famous for being the city with more castles than anywhere else in the world, the most famous of these is the 2,000 year old Cardiff Castle, located in the heart of the city.

Why is Cardiff a good place to visit?

Cardiff is nicknamed the “City of Arcades” due to its network of Victorian and Edwardian era arcades which have given Cardiff a reputation as one of the UK’s best shopping destinations. Here you’ll find dozens of independent shops and boutiques, cosy cafes and top-notch restaurants.

How many days are enough for Cardiff? 

Given the city’s compact size, many of the iconic landmarks re close together and there’s plenty to see and do. I recommend 2 days here, which gives you enough time to explore the main sights of Wales’ cool capital and get a feel of what the city has to offer.

Is Cardiff worth a day trip from London?

Being just 2 hours away from London by train, Cardiff is definitely worth visiting as a day trip or an overnight stay. The Welsh capital is a slower-paced city yet is steeped in rich history, is by the sea, and is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes. Just be sure to get an early start to make the most of what this city has to offer!

Is Cardiff cheaper than London?

Like with everywhere else outside of the UK capital, the cost of living is much lower in Cardiff, in fact, the Welsh capital is 41% cheaper than London. There are regular free festivals, events, and things to do throughout the year.

🏨 Where to Stay in Cardiff?

Below are the best options on where to stay in Cardiff, based my own experiences at these recommended places:

📍$ Budget option: ML Lodge Cardiff (double room, family-friendly) – Pleasant 6.0
📍$$$ Luxury option: Parador 44 (Junior Suite) – Exceptional 9.5

Cardiff tourist information

How to get there

The nearest airport to Cardiff is Cardiff Airport (CWL) 9 miles away. Bristol International (BRS) is the other nearest airport, 21 miles away. Click here for airport transfers to Cardiff.

Getting around Cardiff

Cardiff is a very compact and modernised city with mostly flat surfaces making it very walkable and bike-friendly, with superb public transport options. 

Walking: Cardiff is quite a small city with attractions close to each other. Alternatively, I recommend the hop-on hop-off bus to explore all the city’s top sights.

Cycling: Cardiff recently had OVO bikes installed across the city and there are plenty of bike racks and traffic-free cycle paths.

Bus: Buses are easy to use and run regularly from numerous stops. An adult trip costs £2 (cards are accepted). Use Cardiff Bus to plan your route.

Train: The main station is Cardiff Central right in the heart of the city and has great transport links to the rest of the UK. You can get a train from London to Cardiff in just 2 hours!

Car: Cardiff’s roads are very easy and convenient to navigate. You can hire a rental car here.

Best time to visit Cardiff

Early June to late September is the best time to visit, with July-August the warmest months. Rain falls throughout the year, with the wettest month being November, and the driest month being April.

Thank you for reading: My Recommended Things to Do in Cardiff, Wales

As you’ll have seen, Cardiff is a city that is well worth a visit, considering that I manage to take time to visit this city whenever I can, on top of traveling abroad.

When planning a trip to Cardiff, I would recommend an itinerary of at least 3 days. This will give you enough time to explore the main sights and get a good feel of the city.

Bon voyage!

Further Reading: UK

You may also like:

21 Unforgettable Day Trips from London
23 Best Paddleboarding Spots in the UK

If you enjoyed this post, share it on Pinterest so your followers can enjoy it too!