Looking for some things to do in Cardiff? I have been to Cardiff a number of times. Let me help you in choosing the best Cardiff attractions and guide you on what to do in this Welsh city.
Wales is known for its beautiful countryside landscapes, rugged beaches and charming coastal towns. So without a doubt, it’s a famous destination for British holidaymakers for a short weekend break.
Cardiff is the capital of Wales, one of the four kingdoms in the UK. The city has been known for its rich history and academic excellence. Before we share the list of what to do in Cardiff, let’s begin first on how to get here and its history.
Read More: Best UK Travel Itinerary for 2 Weeks
- History of Cardiff
- Here are our suggested Cardiff attractions and activities
- How to Get to Cardiff from London?
History of Cardiff
The rich history of Cardiff dates back to over 2000 years old. Its rich culture has different influences from Romans, Vikings to Normans. After the gruesome occupations of Normans, the city of Cardiff was once ruled again by a native Welshman Owain Glyndwr, who was the last Prince of Wales before it was transferred due to the legislative union of England and Wales in the 16th century.
As the hundreds of years unfold, Cardiff became one of the main ports in Britain. In the early 1900s, Cardiff became the largest coal port in the world. In 1955, Cardiff has become the official capital of Wales and thrived even more to what it is now.
Here are our suggested Cardiff attractions and activities
1. Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle is a massive stone fortress that dates back to 50AD and it is truly a remarkable place. Visiting this castle is definitely one of the best things to do in Cardiff if you’re a history geek. Rebuilt in the 1800s, it is now a fairytale castle perched at the heart of the city.
Cardiff castle’s history began since the Roman times then was passed on to the Normans. It was then passed on to various families who took over the lordship of Cardiff.
Your visit to Cardiff cannot complete without visiting this castle. You can buy tickets to get into the impressive Castle Apartments, exhibits, Battlement Walk, bomb shelters used in World War II, and a Norman keep. For the House Tour, you may have to pay extra to access the amazing rooftop garden, along with other private rooms. Join this guided tour around Cardiff Castle to fully enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the castle.
2. Enjoy various Cardiff museums
The Welsh capital is well known for various museums. Apart from endless options for shopping, with lots of activities and things to do in Cardiff it also houses a range of interesting museums that will pique your interests.
St. Fagan National Museum – It is an open-air museum, which greets the visitors across 40 different doorways. One of the unique tourist attractions in the UK, St. Fagan National Museum is a range of buildings (including chapel, homes, a school, and a farm) in different historical styles. Here, you can get through the past from one door to another and get inspirations from the traditional crafts of Wales. Entry is free here.
National Museum of Cardiff – Visiting the National Museum of Cardiff is one of the best activities in Cardiff, especially when weather is not so friendly. Located next to Cathays Park, the National Museum exhibits a large collection of natural history, contemporary charm, and the exciting Evolution of Wales Galleries. Also, look for the dinosaur skeletons that once lived in Wales around 2 million years ago and the woolly mammoth.
Techniquest – If you have a curious mind, Techniquest is the hands-on science museum for you. You may not see the sign like ‘Please don’t touch the exhibit’. Have a super exciting day out to learn things, which do not have to be boring. It is definitely one of the best places to see in Cardiff.
3. Cardiff Bay
Visit the largest waterfront development in Europe where you can get the breathtaking views of iconic landmarks like the Norwegian Church and Pierhead, along with Wetlands Nature Reserve and the old docks. You can take the guided boat tours that are available regularly from Penarth Barrage and Mermaid Quay and it lasts up to 45 minutes.
Visit the Craft in the Bay after cruising, which is a well-known exhibition of work by the craft makers in Wales. You can also visit the regular workshops over there. Enjoy the beauty of Cardiff bay by joining this guided tour.
4. Visit the Millennium Centre
The Millenium Centre is a venue, which hosts comedians, huge bands, and theatre shows which has a capacity of 2500 guests. This venue is made completely of metal, wood, glass, and slate sourced in the country in 2004.
You can expect to see contemporary dance, opera, and the big rock, pop, and international musicians in any week. You can also get discounts at the restaurant, café, and bar, exclusive seats, and money off tickets if you are a member. Explore various tourist attractions by joining this tour with a local guide or the Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus.
5. Visit Castell Coch
Castell Coch is a Gothic Revival castle dates back 19th century built in South Wales. It is one of the most beautiful castles across Cardiff. It was built in the Victorian Era but it has the feel of Middle Age, which seems it has come from a fairy tale.
It is a bit outside the limits of the city and it will definitely be seen if you visit here by car. Thanks to the High Victorian interiors and the external facades of Castell Coch, a historian, David McLees, has described it as one of the legendary Victorian victories of architectural composition. Based on the studies by George Clark, an antiquarian on the 19th century, the exterior is quite authentic and Burges adapted its three stone towers to present beautiful silhouette, which is closer to the European castles in the mainland.
6. Enjoy Cardiff nightlife
For party lovers and nightlife enthusiasts, there are so many bars and pubs in Cardiff, which are the open whole night. It is one of the great activities in Cardiff!
Whether you are looking for a sophisticated evening while enjoying Champagne or party hard by night, you can definitely find something for everyone. Small bars and pubs have taken their place with their own styles and personalities. They have stunning artwork, beautiful décor, and the whole range of fresh cocktails and delicious drinks.
7. Chapter Art Centre
Chapter Art Centre is one of the most dynamic and largest art centres in Europe with theatres, cinemas, studios, exhibition spaces, café, more than 60 cultural workspaces, and award-winning bars.
The chapter is globally renowned for innovation, excellence, and collaboration. You can also catch the ever-changing programme of films, performance, and exhibitions from across the world. The art centre is open 7 days a week and entry is free.
8. Roath Park
Roath Park stands beautifully in an ideal location at the heart of the bustling capital city. The park still holds the classic atmosphere of Victorian Park where both visitors and local residents can have a great time at leisure in several pursuits. Roath Park has plenty of horticultural and historic interests, with diverse environs in the park. Roath Park is land donated to the city by the Marquess of Bute in 1887.
Initially, the work was based on creating a lake from the marshland area. A lighthouse was built in the lake having the scale model of a ship ‘Terra Nova’ as a Captain Scott memorial who sailed from Cardiff to the Antarctic in the year 1910. Today, the atmosphere of the park still holds the Victorian charm and it is renowned as a Conservation Area to protect these qualities. The park is known to have different types of habitats, which appeal to a huge range of wildlife. It serves as a vital habitat for breeding and wintering birds like herons, cormorants, and mallards.
How to Get to Cardiff from London?
Cardiff is located around 150 miles west of London. It is very easy to get here thanks to the easy access rail and road networks. You can easily get there in 2 hours by train.
Thousands of international football and rugby fans visit its Principality Stadium (previously the Millennium Stadium) and Wales Millennium Centre (which is now the No.1 attraction for Wales). It has become one of the top 10 destinations in the UK for foreign tourists. This UK city has achieved something of entertainment and style renaissance over the years.
You can take direct trains from Paddington Station to Cardiff Central Station in London on the Swansea line from Great Western Railway. During the busiest times, trains are available every half hour and it takes up to 2 hours. You can save more money on ticket prices if you are flexible for your travel time and book in advance.
Buses also run from London to Cardiff Wales, which takes up to 3 hours and 30 minutes. Advance fares for coaches start from £10 per person for one way, even if you travel on off-peak period and book your tickets several months in advance. Regular bus services are available by National Express from Victoria Coach Station, London to Cardiff Bus Station. Last minute tickets can cost up to double for this trip. You can also take a direct bus to Cardiff University and Cardiff Airport.
Around 151 miles west of London via M48 and M4 motorways, driving to Cardiff takes up to 3 hours in ideal circumstances, but M4 remains crowded near London.
If you are looking for a travel itinerary read more of Best UK Travel Itinerary for 2 Weeks
If you want more inspirations about the United Kingdom.
I hope that these places to visit in Cardiff will help you to plan your weekend breaks whether with your family & kids, a romantic one or with friends.