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.
Table of Contents
- 29 Best Things to Do in Cardiff
- Cardiff Castle
- Wales Millennium Centre
- Roath Park
- National Museum Cardiff
- International Sports Village
- The Senedd and The Pierhead
- Bute Park and Arboretum
- St Fagans National Museum of History
- The Principality Stadium
- Norwegian Church Arts Centre
- Cathays Park
- Boat Tour
- Cardiff City Stadium
- Chance and Counters
- Castell Coch
- Walking and Cycling Trails
- Cardiff Story Museum
- Mermaid Quay
- BBC Cymru
- New Theatre
- Cardiff Central Market
- Afternoon Tea
- Clwb Ifor Bach
- Llandaff Cathedral
- The Coal Exchange
- Walking Tours
- FAQs About What to Do in Cardiff
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29 Best Things to Do in Cardiff
Explore over two thousand years of history at the iconic landmark in the heart of the city.
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.
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.
Life is but a dream as you row your boat gently in Roath Park on a sunny day!
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.
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’!
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.
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.
📍 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Explore Cardiff’s Civic Centre, home to lush parks and notable buildings.
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.
Step aboard one of the many boats in Cardiff to experience this coastal city from a new angle.
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.
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.
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.
This fairytale castle stands in an ancient woodland, a short distance from central Cardiff.
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!
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.
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.
Feast on food and feast your eyes on gorgeous views at Cardiff’s vibrant waterfront.
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!
Discover behind the scenes of one of the country’s national broadcasters.
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.
Enjoy a show in a traditional-style theatre that has entertained audiences since 1906.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Savour the delightful British tradition of afternoon tea – with a Welsh twist!
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.
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.
Visit this stunning cathedral which has graced the city for over 1,500 years.
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.
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’.
Discover more about Cardiff on a range of walking tours around the city including a Doctor Who 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?
Is Cardiff worth visiting?
What is Cardiff UK best known for?
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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