Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Cardiff
Surrounded by leafy Bute Park, Cardiff Castle (Castell Caerdydd) boasts a history spanning two millennia. The hodgepodge castle is a jumble of different architectural styles, from the Norman-era keep to the faux-Gothic apartments. It is the former home of the prominent Bute family, who helped transform Cardiff into an influential industrial port.
In Cardiff’s civic center, at the National Museum and Art Gallery, travelers can wander through 15 galleries dedicated to European art dating back 500 years while also learning about Welsh history and culture. Opened in 1927, the National Museum and Art Gallery is home to several Monet, Daumier, and Van Gogh masterpieces, as well as many notable Welsh artworks and historical artefacts.
Sprawling along the Irish Sea coast and centered on Mount Snowdon, Wales’ highest mountain, Snowdonia National Park is a rugged wonderland of rugged hills, medieval castles, and glistening lakelands. With ample opportunities for hiking and outdoor activities, it’s one of the most visited attractions in Wales.
With a mixture of English and French architectural styles, Cardiff City Hall is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city. Set in landscaped grounds, it’s open to the public and often used for wedding receptions and civic events.
Built in the 13th century, Caerphilly Castle (Castell Caerffili) is a lasting reminder of medieval times in modern-day Wales. Located on the edge of Brecon Beacons National Park, overlooking the town of Caerphilly, it draws history buffs and curious visitors from the world over who come to step back in time to understand life in the Middle Ages.
Designed by Rod Sheard for the 1999 Rugby World Cup Final, the former-Millennium, now-Principality Stadium in Cardiff is one of the UK’s premium sporting arenas and live music venues. From its picturesque waterside position in the heart of Cardiff’s city center, the Millennium Stadium—which has also hosted the Rolling Stones—is now home to both the Welsh National Rugby and Football teams.
For the quintessential British seaside experience, head to Barry Island(Ynys y Barri) in South Wales. Here you’ll find a sandy beach, traditional fairground rides, arcade games, and cafés serving paper-wrapped fish and chips. There’s plenty for both kids and adults at Barry Island, a popular destination for British vacationers for decades.
Originally built as a place of worship, the Norwegian Church Arts Centre is now a local art gallery and café, which regularly hosts live music sets from its advantageous spot on the water at Cardiff Bay. Travelers can also enjoy panoramic views of the Bay from the outdoor terrace of this strikingly white Arts Centre, a building quite unlike any other in Cardiff.
Science is made fun and accessible at Techniquest in Cardiff, one of the UK’s best science and discovery centers. Get hands-on with interactive puzzles, more than one hundred exhibits, a science theater, and Planetarium that will captivate children and adults alike, in the scenic surrounds of Cardiff’s recently-redeveloped Cardiff Bay area.
The charming Bute Park was once part of Cardiff Castle’s estate but it’s now a public park for all to enjoy. With riverside walking paths and an arboretum, it’s the place to head to enjoy a breath of fresh air when in Cardiff.
More Things to Do in Cardiff
Tintern Abbey—immortalized in the title of a Wordsworth poem—was the first building of its kind in Wales, originally founded in the 12th century by Cistercian monks, before being rebuilt in a gothic style a century later. Nowadays, it’s a Grade I-listed and impressively-preserved (albeit roofless) medieval attraction on the banks of the River Wye, within easy day trip distance of Cardiff.
Llandaff is a centuries-old town that lies within the city limits of Cardiff. It’s famous for its cathedral—one of the UK’s oldest Christian sites—under which early Roman burial sites have been discovered. It is said that ghosts and spirits, such as the White Lady, haunt Llandaff and roam the local woods. Beware!
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