Exterior view of the Castell Coch with red windows and bridge leading to the entrance, things to do in Cardiff

29 Best Things to Do in Cardiff in 2023 (By a Local)

There are lots of things to do in Cardiff. You can fit plenty into one trip as Cardiff is a relatively small city with lots of choices. However, you will have to narrow down your options some because there are so many great things to do in Cardiff.

As a Cardiff local, I’m going to share with you the must-see attractions like Cardiff Castle and some lesser-known hidden gems and cool ideas. I’ll even tell you where to find the oldest record shop in the world in one of Cardiff’s arcades.

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29 Best Things to Do in Cardiff

Cardiff Castle

Explore over two thousand years of history at the iconic landmark in the heart of the city.

The author Ruthie Walters, "holding" the Norman Keep, Cardiff Castle in the background
Me at Cardiff Castle

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +44 (0)29 2087 8100 | Website | Hours: Around 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: £14.50 adults, £10 children 5-16

Cardiff Castle is a top Cardiff attraction and a must-see for visitors of any age. The castle has had lots of different uses throughout its long history. You’ll love exploring the exquisitely decorated rooms and seeing the city from the Norman Keep!

Don’t miss the famous Animal Wall which runs alongside Cardiff Castle by Bute Park!

👉 Read Next: Best Things to Do in Wales

Wales Millennium Centre

Get a boost of creativity in the spectacular national arts centre in Cardiff Bay.

Exterior view of the Wales Millennium Centre
The Millennium Centre

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 029 2063 6464 | Website | Hours: 9 am – closing times vary 

The Millennium Centre is spectacular inside and out! This iconic, curved bronze building in Cardiff Bay houses Wales’ national arts centre. To watch an incredible range of performing arts in the beautiful auditorium, book online or go to the Box Office. There is also a cafe on site and regular exhibitions and events. 

The Millennium Centre is one of the best things to do in Cardiff for people who love the arts.

Roath Park

Life is but a dream as you row your boat gently in Roath Park on a sunny day!

View of the Scott Memorial Lighthouse surrounded by blooming flowers
Scott Memorial Lighthouse

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 029 2063 6464 | Website | Hours: 7.30 am – dusk

Roath Park has been a popular leisure destination in Cardiff since the Victorian era. There’s a large lake you can walk around or row on, a lakeside cafe, landscaped gardens, and a playpark! 

Roath Park is around 25 minutes from the city centre by bus. It is suitable for all, including families, and is one of the best things to do in Cardiff on a sunny day.  

National Museum Cardiff

Discover art and history from Wales and across the world in this monumental building.

A big and small mammoth sculptures displayed in the National Museum Cardiff
The beloved mammoths!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 0300 111 2 333 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily, Closed Mondays | Entrance: Free, Donations

The National Museum Cardiff is an attraction in Cathays Park with something for everyone. You can learn about when dinosaurs roamed Wales, see Impressionist paintings, and much more. 

The National Museum is one of the best things to do in Cardiff on a rainy day and with kids – it’ll keep you entertained for hours! The museum is free to enter and there’s a cafe and gift shop on site. 


These beautiful structures are a must-see for anyone visiting ‘The City of Arcades’!

View of the shops and glass ceiling inside the Morgan Arcade
Morgan Arcade
View of the restaurants at the Duke Street Arcade
Duke Street Arcade

Cardiff has seven beautiful Victorian and Edwardian Arcades, hence the nickname ‘The City of Arcades’! The arcades in Cardiff are Castle Arcade, High Street Arcade, Royal Arcade, Morgan Arcade, Duke Street Arcade, Dominions Arcade, and Wyndham Arcade.

Each arcade has a special character and style, making them a unique place to shop, eat, and drink. They house over 100 independent shops, bars, and eateries, alongside big brands. Morgan Arcade even has Spillers Records, the oldest record shop in the world! 

International Sports Village

Get sporty in Olympic-standard sporting facilities used for training for the 2012 London games in this modern waterside area.

View of the rafters on a inflatable at the National White Water Centre in Cardiff
Catch the waves at the International White Water Centre! (photo: Ceri Breeze / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: Vary | Entrance: Varies

The International Sports Village is an area by Cardiff Bay Barrage that boasts several sporting venues used for training for the 2012 London games. You’ll find the Cardiff International White Water Centre, Cardiff Ice Arena, and Cardiff International Pool.

Going white water rafting at the International Sports Village is one of the coolest things to do in Cardiff. I recommend booking in advance. 

The Senedd and The Pierhead

These two iconic buildings in the heart of Cardiff Bay form part of the Welsh Parliament’s estate. 

View of the people around The Senedd and The Pierhead in Cardiff
The Pierhead (left), Senedd (right)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 0300 200 6565 | Hours: 9 am – 4.30 pm Monday – Friday, 10.30 am – 4.30 pm Saturdays, Closed Sundays | Entrance: Free 

The Pierhead and the Senedd are two incredible destinations that are part of the Senedd estate, the Welsh Parliament. The Pierhead is the oldest building in Cardiff’s waterfront whilst the Senedd is a modern building home to Welsh politics. You’ll enjoy a visit if you’re interested in architecture, history, or politics.

You can do a self-guided tour, visit an exhibition, or head to the cafe and shop in the Senedd.

Bute Park and Arboretum

Take a break from the hustle and bustle and unwind in the green heart of the city.

View of the blooming flowers and greenery around the Bute Park and Arboretum
Bute Park

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 7.30 am – 5.45 pm daily | Entrance: Free 

Bute Park covers 130 acres of landscaped gardens by Cardiff Castle and the Taff River. It is a beautiful space full of nature (and over 3,000 trees!) with lots of things to do. You can admire sculptures, follow one of the park’s trails, head to a play area, or visit one of four cute cafes.

St Fagans National Museum of History

Step into Wales’ past in this open-air museum set in acres of parkland. 

Red exterior view of the Kennixton Farmhouse at St Fagans National History Museum
Kennixton Farmhouse (photo: Philip Bird LRPS CPAGB / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 0300 111 2 333 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: Free, Donations 

St Fagans National Museum of History is my favourite museum in Cardiff! Set in acres of parkland, you can explore over 40 original historic buildings from around Wales, a working farm, and St Fagans castle. There is something for everyone and you could easily spend a whole day here. 

It’s possible to see some of the museums in a few hours. Be aware that St Fagans is around 30 minutes by bus from the centre when planning your day.

The Principality Stadium

Immerse yourself in Welsh rugby culture in this super central state-of-the-art stadium.

The author Ruthie Walters, watching a game with the crowd at The Principality Stadium
Ruthie watching a rugby match

📍 Google Maps | Website

Wales loves its rugby! The Principality Stadium is where a lot of Wales’ international rugby action happens, as well as gigs and events. The Principality Stadium, formerly known as the Millennium Stadium, has a seating capacity of 74,500 and a fully retractable roof. 

You’re bound to see the stadium from outside, but you can also go on stadium tours, and attend matches or events to get a closer look at the action.

Norwegian Church Arts Centre

This Nordic landmark in Cardiff Bay hosts exhibitions, art galleries, and a Norsk Cafe. 

White exterior view of the Norwegian Church
The Norwegian Church

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (+44) 02920 492261 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 4.30 pm daily

The eye-catching Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay is a remnant of Cardiff’s industrial history. It was built as a meeting point for Norwegian seafarers who traveled to Cardiff’s dock. Roald Dahl, the famous children’s author, was among the Norwegian Church’s congregation.

Norwegian Church now hosts a charming cafe, art exhibition space, and performing arts shows, and provides information about the church’s history.

Cathays Park

Explore Cardiff’s Civic Centre, home to lush parks and notable buildings. 

View of the magnificent exterior of Cardiff City Hall and Cathays Park
Cardiff City Hall

📍 Google Maps

Cathays Park is the city’s Civic Centre and is an area in central Cardiff. Cathays Park is full of gems, including the majestic City Hall, the National Museum, university buildings, and parks. It has many tree-lined avenues with Edwardian buildings. I love sitting in Alexandra Gardens, a peaceful place with flowerbeds, statues, and memorials. 

Boat Tour

Step aboard one of the many boats in Cardiff to experience this coastal city from a new angle.

View of the city skyline from the boat on Cardiff Bay
Cruising into Cardiff Bay

👉 Book a Cardiff Bay Boat Tour

Cardiff is a coastal city with the River Taff running through it. These waterways were vital for Cardiff’s industrial growth. You can explore Cardiff Bay on a leisurely boat tour, go on an adrenaline-filled speedboat ride, or even go out to sea to visit the nearby island ‘Flat Holm’!

There are several providers which you can find online or at Cardiff Bay Marina. Book this one-hour boat tour of Cardiff Bay if you want a calm ride with lots of scenic views and historical commentary.

Cardiff City Stadium

Don a Welsh bucket hat and head to the home of Welsh football to cheer on the Bluebirds.

View of the fans watching a game at the Cardiff City Stadium
C’mon Wales! Fans cheering in Cardiff City Stadium (photo: Sameoldsmith / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: Vary 

Cardiff City Stadium is home to Cardiff City Football Club (The Bluebirds) and the Wales national football team. It is a modern, state-of-the-art stadium built in 2009 in the Leckwith area with a capacity of 33,280. Admire the stadium from outside, visit the on-site club store, or head to a match!

Chance and Counters

Play one of over 650 board games in this welcoming board games cafe.

The author Ruthie Walters and friend, playing a board game
My friends and I getting competitive

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 02921320220 | Website | Hours: Vary 

Chance and Counters is a board games cafe tucked away on High Street near Cardiff Castle. There are over 650 games, tasty food and drinks, and friendly staff. You can sit and play games for just £2 per hour per person. 

Although this is not one of the most famous things to do in Cardiff, Chance and Counters would be a great unique addition to any holiday itinerary.

Castell Coch

This fairytale castle stands in an ancient woodland, a short distance from central Cardiff. 

Exterior view of the Castell Coch with red windows and bridge leading to the entrance, things to do in Cardiff
Castell Coch translates as ‘red castle’

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 03000 252239 | Website | Hours: 9.30 am – 5 pm daily, Opening times vary | Entrance: £8.70 adults, £6.10 children aged 5-17

Castell Coch is over 700 years old and looks like something from a fairytale. Adults and children will love the magical castle and surrounding nature. You can cycle or walk from Cardiff’s city centre, following the Taff Trail, or travel by bus. You’ll need at least a few hours to travel and make the most of the castle and grounds. 

Walking and Cycling Trails

Explore Cardiff’s beautiful outdoors on foot or wheels…or with an interactive QR code guide!

Walking and cycling signage at the Cardiff Bay Trail
Cardiff Bay Trail is a 10km circular route

Outdoor Cardiff Trails 

There are many trails around Cardiff and its surroundings which you can follow on foot or on wheels. My favourite is the Cardiff Bay Trail, which loops over the Cardiff Bay barrage and by Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve.

For families, I recommend the ‘Talking City Trail’. On this innovative walking trail, you use QR codes to connect with a virtual tour guide called Ceri.

Cardiff Story Museum

Step into Cardiff’s past at this interactive museum housed in the Old Library. 

View of the tiled corridor of Cardiff Story Museum
The Tiled Corridor

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 029 2034 6214 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 4 pm daily, Closed Mondays | Entrance: Free, Donations 

The Cardiff Story Museum, also known as the Museum of Cardiff, is one of the best things in Cardiff to explore the history of the city. The Cardiff Story Museum is a hands-on museum with things to listen to, watch, touch, and read. 

I love the display of Cardiff’s diverse communities and music! Don’t miss the original Tiled Corridor which is a remnant of the building’s past.

Mermaid Quay

Feast on food and feast your eyes on gorgeous views at Cardiff’s vibrant waterfront.

Exterior view of the Mermaid Quay in Cardiff
Waterfront coffee, anyone?

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 02920 480 077 | Website | Hours: Vary 

Mermaid Quay is a waterfront destination with over 30 restaurants, bars and cafes. Mermaid Quay is super close to many popular Cardiff Bay attractions. You can enjoy a range of cuisines here, visit shops, the Glee comedy club, and the boutique Everyman cinema. I can’t recommend the ice cream parlour ‘Cadwaladers’ highly enough!  

BBC Cymru

Discover behind the scenes of one of the country’s national broadcasters.

View of the signage outside the BBC Cymru Wales
BBC Cymru

📍 Google Maps | Website | Entrance: £13, adults, £10 under 26 

BBC Cymru is a division of the BBC, the world’s leading public service broadcaster. On the tour, you’ll see behind-the-scenes of BBC’s newest studios, including a visit to one of the broadcaster’s largest newsrooms.

Touring the BBC Cymru is a unique and interesting thing to do for anyone interested in media, technology, or journalism.

New Theatre

Enjoy a show in a traditional-style theatre that has entertained audiences since 1906.

Exterior view of the New Theatre in Cardiff
Outside the New Theatre

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 0343 310 0041 | Website | Hours: Vary 

The New Theatre is Cardiff’s oldest surviving theatre and is a top destination for a range of shows, from ballet to comedy. I have fond memories of watching Christmas pantomimes, theatre shows, and musicals here! 

You can buy tickets online or at the Box Office. The theatre is around the corner from Cathays Park and is wheelchair accessible.

Cardiff Central Market

Shop ‘til you drop in this charming Victorian indoor market hall in the city centre.

View of the stalls lined inside the Cardiff Market hall
Cardiff Market hall

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 8 am – 5 pm daily, Closed Mondays 

Cardiff Market houses dozens of stalls, some of which have been trading here for over 50 years! You’ll find traders selling fresh produce, reasonably priced meals, and a wide selection of goods from fabric to records.

Don’t miss the upstairs of Cardiff Central Market! You can grab a table on the balcony and enjoy delicious food like pizza from Ffwrnes, the iconic street food at Tukka Tuk Canteen, and much more.


Take in the views of Cardiff’s waterfront as you bounce on an inflatable obstacle course.

View of the inflatable playground of AquaPark in Cardiff
Are you up for the challenge?

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: Vary | Entrance: ∼£25 per person

AquaPark is an adventurous way to enjoy Cardiff Bay. You have to smile as you jump, slide, climb, and swim around this course! AquaPark is the largest attraction of its kind in Wales and is suitable for strong swimmers aged 8 or over. It’s open during the summer months and booking in advance is advisable. 


Learn whilst having fun in this interactive, family-friendly science discovery centre. 

The iconic landmark outside the Techniquest in Cardiff
Techniquest (photo: Tony Baggett / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 029 20475475 | Website | Hours: Varies throughout the week | Entrance: £13 adults, £11 children aged 3-15 

Techniquest is one of the best things to do in Cardiff for families, with its hands-on exhibitions, a science theatre, and a planetarium. Techniquest is a science museum that’s sure to keep everyone from toddlers to teenagers entertained. Try out your skill on the theremin or the giant piano, see what it’s like inside a hurricane, and much more.

Look out for special events, especially during school holidays. Techniquest is by Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay and can be booked in advance online.

Afternoon Tea

Savour the delightful British tradition of afternoon tea – with a Welsh twist!

Closeup view of the tea and pastries at the Pettigrew Tea Rooms in Bute Park
Pettigrew Tea Rooms in Bute Park

Going for an afternoon tea is one of the most relaxing and quintessentially British things to do in Cardiff. It is a great choice for couples or groups of friends or family. 

Several cafes and restaurants across Cardiff offer afternoon teas. One of my favourites is Pettigrew Tea Rooms in Bute Park. Check out menus and availability by contacting eateries in advance. 

Clwb Ifor Bach

Head to a gig and soak up some nightlife in Wales’ leading grassroots music venue.

View of the crowd watching a gig at Clwb Ifor Bach
A gig at Clwb Ifor Bach

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 029 20 23 21 99 | Website | Hours: Vary 

Clwb Ifor Bach is an independent live music venue, nightclub, and promoter on the famous Womanby Street. Originally set up as a Welsh language social club, Clwb Ifor Bach continues to be an important venue for Welsh speakers. You can enjoy a range of music here, from international bands to homegrown talent.

Llandaff Cathedral

Visit this stunning cathedral which has graced the city for over 1,500 years. 

View of the tower of Llandaff Cathedral behind the trees
Llandaff Cathedral

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 8 am – 5.30 pm Monday – Saturday, 8 am – 4 pm Sundays | Entrance: Free, donations 

The site of Llandaff Cathedral has been important for Christians since at least the 6th Century. The Cathedral majestically stands in a peaceful area of Llandaff. It is beautiful inside and out and welcomes visitors and worshipers. Guided tours of Llandaff Cathedral are available for those wishing to learn more about the building’s history. 

The Coal Exchange

See where the first ever million-pound deal was agreed upon in an incredible wood-paneled hall.

View inside the trading hall of The Coal Exchange in Cardiff
The trading hall

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +44 (0) 2921 991 904 | Website  

The Coal Exchange is a spectacular building near Cardiff Bay, once at the centre of Welsh coal trading. The building is now a boutique hotel which hosts events. 

The Coal Exchange is not a tourist destination as such, but if you ask nicely at the hotel reception they usually let you look at the historic trading hall. You can also visit the onsite restaurant and bar ‘Culleys’. 

Walking Tours

Discover more about Cardiff on a range of walking tours around the city including a Doctor Who tour. 

View of the waterfront Doctor Who Experience exhibition hall in Cardiff
Time travel machine from the popular Doctor Who TV series in Cardiff (photo: Steve Lovegrove / Shutterstock)

Website |👉 Book the Doctor Who Walking Tour or a Private Walking Tour

Guided walking tours are a great way to discover Cardiff. Tours range from a private walking tour to a specialized tour about the hit British TV show ‘Doctor Who’. Tours are led by knowledgeable guides who are historians, travelers, and lovers of Wales. Book online to secure your spot on a walking tour!

FAQs About What to Do in Cardiff

What are the best things to do in Cardiff? 

The best things to do in Cardiff are visit Cardiff Castle, go to the National Museum, and explore Cardiff Bay. Cardiff Castle is an iconic landmark in the centre of the city full of history. The National Museum houses history and art from Wales and the world. Cardiff Bay has many attractions and sea views.

What are the best things to do in Cardiff with kids? 

The best things to do in Cardiff with kids are visit Cardiff Castle, go to Techniquest, and visit St Fagans National Museum of History. These attractions are great for kids of all ages and adults!

Is Cardiff worth visiting?

Cardiff is definitely worth visiting. The city has beautiful parks, amazing eateries, and a friendly atmosphere. There are lots of things to do in Cardiff, such as visiting iconic landmarks like Cardiff Castle and the Millennium Centre

What is Cardiff UK best known for?

Cardiff is best known for castles like Cardiff Castle, sports stadiums like Cardiff City Stadium, nightlife, and nearby nature. Cardiff has a well-known waterfront with eateries, attractions, and sea views. It is a notoriously friendly city that is easy to travel around.

Is 2 days enough for Cardiff?

Two days is enough to see some of the city centre and one or two destinations further afield. There are lots of things to do in Cardiff like visiting Cardiff Castle, having afternoon tea, and going to a match at Cardiff City Stadium, so you’ll need at least three days to have enough time to fully explore the city and its surroundings.


There are lots of things to do in Cardiff! To make the most of your trip to the Welsh capital, check out my article on the best day trips from Cardiff. You won’t get bored staying in this city! 

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