Being Welsh, I’ve come to realise I have a pretty big soft spot for our capital city, Cardiff. Even to this day, I love heading back to the city for a little gander around the Castle, St. Fagan’s or even a cheeky visit to Chip Shop Alley (I’ll explain further in this post 🤣). After visiting the city around fifty times (give or take a few 😉), I’ve never come to be bored with all the things to do in Cardiff.
That’s why I wanted to show you some of my very favourites to see.
Now, it doesn’t matter if it’s your first, fifth or fiftieth time to visit Cardiff, I’m almost certain there are a few local haunts you’ve yet to see. With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my very favourite things to do in Cardiff on your next visit.
Take a look at some of the most amazing things to do in Cardiff during your visit, below. 🏴
1.) Visit Cardiff Castle
Built on foundations that date from the year 50AD, exploring the Castle is one of the best things to do in Cardiff if you’re a proper history geek like me! Reconstructed in the 1800’s, the castle is now an immaculate, almost fantasy castle that’s perched right in the centre of the city.
Apparently, the castle was built for the 3rd Marquis of Bute who, at that time, was reputedly the world’s richest man with some extravagant taste. I mean, you can definitely see this extravagance once you take a gander inside (especially with the Castle’s Arab Room Ceiling).
Once you’re there, make sure you buy tickets for the Castle Apartments that are fashioned around Victorian Gothic Fantasy. They’re incredible.
For a great place to stay in Cardiff Bay, check into St David’s Hotel – they have an epic spa overlooking the bay, too!
2.) Explore Cardiff’s National Museum
The National Museum is one of the best things to do in Cardiff… especially if the weather takes a turn for the worst!
Perched right next to Cathays Park, The National Museum houses a huge collection of contemporary art, natural history and the most amazing Evolution of Wales Galleries.
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the woolly mammoth and the dinosaur skeletons that once roamed Wales (albeit, two million years ago).
If you’re looking for some tasty grub, pop into The Clink Restaurant, their Welsh lamb is so tasty!
3.) See the Millennium Centre
The Millennium Centre is possibly one of the newest landmarks in the city to see.
Best yet, there’s so much to do inside, especially if you want to explore the creative side of the city.
Just make sure to check the listings for some of the curated collections or shows that are going on whilst you’re there.
4.) Find Castell Coch
Castell Coch is most definitely one of the prettiest castles around Cardiff (well, in my opinion at least). Now, as castles go, this one is only a few hundred years old but don’t let that put you off.
Built within the Victorian Era but it’s got a Middle-Age castle feel that looks like it has fallen out of a fairytale.
Now, remember I mentioned about the 3rd Marquis of Bute? well, it was himself again that funded the completion of Castell Coch (as with Cardiff Castle). He really did have a thing for castles, didn’t he?
The castle is a little outside the city limits and will easily be seen if you’re arriving into Cardiff by car.
5.) Walk the Taff Trail
Starting off at Roald Dahl Plass (in Cardiff Bay), the Taff Trail is a 50+ mile (80 Km) trail that leads all the way from the city right into the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Now, be warned, you obviously can’t do this trail in one day but you can definitely make a dent on a few miles stroll from the city itself. If you’re feeling really eager, make sure to plan your stops wisely, as you won’t be able to complete this trail in just one day. Break it up over a 5-7 day period and enjoy the (rather long) ramble!
Oh, and if you do make the whole route, make sure to see Pen y Fan (It’s an incredible vista). Hopefully, this free PDF that details the route and some places to see might help, too.
6.) Explore St Fagan’s
Perched on the fringes of Cardiff, St Fagan’s is a truly beautiful, open air, museum that houses some of the most important buildings from across Wales.
Whilst you’re here, make sure to explore the 40 buildings that resemble an Iron Age Village, a row of ironworkers’ houses and traditional crafts and activities set in 60 acres of beautiful gardens.
Whilst you are here you should not forget to try the bara brith, with lashings of salted butter.
7.) Cheer on at a rugby match
Perched right in the city centre, the Principality Stadium is one of the best things to do in Cardiff if you’re a sports fanatic! holding around 70,000 people, the stadium is huge and full of atmosphere.
The thing I love most about Rugby matches (especially in Wales) is that they’re always so family-friendly, well-spirited and totally fun! Now, obviously, there’s always a little bit of rivalry, but where would sports be without this.
If you get the post-game munchies, pop over to Chip Shop Alley (aka, Caroline Street). As its nickname suggests, it’s filled with chip shops! I tell you, it’s a sight to behold after midnight on a Saturday night!
8.) Try Your Hand At White Water Rafting
There are lots of action-packed sports venues in Wales, especially in the sports village within the Bay. Now, if you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, then I’m almost certain you’ll find white water rafting one of the best things to do in Cardiff.
You’ll get around 2 hours on the waves and it’ll cost around £40-£55 depending on the day (see here). Yes, you will be wet! Yes, your arms will turn to jelly (after all the paddling) but I’m almost certain you’ll love it.
If you’re looking to stay in an apartment in Cardiff. Check into the A Space In The City that is within walking distance of the train station.
9.) Stroll Cardiff’s Centenary Walk
Cardiff’s Centenary Walk is a great way to explore and stroll around the city, all whilst spotting some of the more unusual facts about the city.
The route takes you to some of the historic landmarks and some secrets known only to some locals, like the Dock Feeder and the Animal Wall (shhh, don’t tell them we know 🤣).
The walk is just 2.3 miles or 3.6km long and the route is easy to follow along numbered markers on the pavement. Best of all, you can join the route at any point and learn as little or as much as you wish to (So don’t worry if you’re feeling lazy). You can download the free PDF of the trail, here.
For a tasty restaurant in the city, pop over to the Nant Restaurant that has some amazing fresh fish… plus, their risotto is epic!
10.) See the Senedd
Perched in Cardiff Bay, the Senedd is the powerhouse of Wales (and the seat of the Welsh Assembly).
Now, if you want to take a tour inside, make sure to arrive here on a Tuesday or Wednesday. You can head on an individual tour between 1-3 pm on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays and also on weekends.
All tours are free of charge and can be arranged here.