The UK’s smallest capital city might not have the all-star appeal of its rivals, but Cardiff’s blend of historic landmarks, vast green spaces and modern shopping malls, means there’s plenty to keep visitors busy. With time to spare, the Welsh capital makes the perfect base for exploring the small country but for those with only 3 days to fill, here’s a rundown of what not to miss in Cardiff.
Day 1: Get your bearings
Take a walking tour around the city, starting off with the city’s most striking landmark – Cardiff Castle. Explore the underground WWII tunnels and marvel at the exquisite Victorian apartments that make up the fairytale castle, once belonging to the Marquess of Bute, then wander through the neighboring 130 acre (56 hectare) Bute Park – the city’s largest and most impressive picnic spot – toward the iconic 12th century Llandaff Cathedral.
Day 2: Immerse yourself in Welsh culture
Cardiff is a hub of art, theatre and literature, and there’s plenty of homegrown talent to discover. Pay a visit to The National Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagan's, a fascinating recreation of Wales from the Celtic period through to today, then explore the country’s geological history at the National museum and Art Gallery, also home to a fantastic array of Welsh art. As the sun sets, take a stroll along the redeveloped Cardiff Bay Barrage, where you’ll find the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, another important exhibition space for local artists.
Day 3: Get out of the city
With so many attractions close by, there’s no reason to just stay in the city. Take a day trip to the Anglo-Norman Caerphilly Castle, one of Britain’s largest medieval fortresses; explore the Roman Ruins of Caerleon, home to the amphitheatre known as ‘King Arthur’s Round Table’; or take a coastal walk along the tallest sand dune in Europe at Ogmore by Sea.