What are you looking for?

is cardiff bay worth a visit


Why is cardiff bay worth visiting.

Cardiff Bay is the coastal corner of Wales’ capital and only a short bus or train ride from the city centre; you can even walk between the two. Formerly a thriving tidal dockland, famous for exporting Welsh coal to the world, the area is now a vibrant waterfront surrounding the shore of a stunning freshwater lake. Today, Cardiff Bay is known as a popular destination for visitors and locals alike, synonymous with entertainment, relaxation and enjoyment.


There are so many amazing things to do on a day out in Cardiff Bay, it really is a great destination for visitors of all ages. Places to visit include some of the city’s most famous landmarks, you can learn all about science at Techniquest or take a trip out to historic Flat Holm island. Kick back and watch the latest blockbusters, see a show at Wales Millennium Centre or go ten pin bowling.

Attractions & Activities

is cardiff bay worth a visit


is cardiff bay worth a visit


Flat Holm Island


Wetland Reserve


is cardiff bay worth a visit


is cardiff bay worth a visit


is cardiff bay worth a visit




is cardiff bay worth a visit


Cardiff Cruises


The Open Boat


Barrage Skate Plaza

Barrage Skate Plaza

Shopping & entertainment.

is cardiff bay worth a visit


is cardiff bay worth a visit


Everyman Cinema


is cardiff bay worth a visit


is cardiff bay worth a visit


Cardiff Bay Retail Park


is cardiff bay worth a visit


is cardiff bay worth a visit

Sailing in Cardiff Bay with Olympic Gold Medallist, Hannah Mills.


We all enjoy a little wining and dining from time to time and Cardiff Bay has some of the best places to eat and drink in the city. With its beautiful waterfront backdrop, Mermaid Quay boasts a variety of restaurants and bars to suit many different tastes and occasions. Nearby, The Red Dragon Centre also offers a fine choice of food outlets and a pub alongside its quality indoor entertainment. When something more casual is called for, you’ll find no shortage of cafes or coffee houses and there’s even a Portuguese bakery!

Bars & Restaurants...

is cardiff bay worth a visit


is cardiff bay worth a visit


Red dragon centre.

is cardiff bay worth a visit


The Dock


Where to stay.

If you’re wondering where to stay in the Cardiff Bay area, there are some really great hotels to choose from. Luxury lovers will be tempted by the voco St. David’s, a five star spa hotel with stunning views across the water. Time will fly at The Coal Exchange Hotel, a Grade II Listed Building that has been transformed on a truly grand scale. Both the Holiday Inn Express and Future Inn offer more affordable options that are perfectly placed to make the most of your stay. If you’re looking to explore both the Bay and city centre, then why not book in at either the Ibis or the Novotel and get the best of both worlds.


is cardiff bay worth a visit


The Exchange Hotel


is cardiff bay worth a visit


is cardiff bay worth a visit


is cardiff bay worth a visit


is cardiff bay worth a visit


International sports village.

Bordering Cardiff Bay's freshwater lake, the Sports Village boasts two Olympic standard sporting facilities, Cardiff International White Water and Cardiff International Pool; as well as the Viola Arena, both a public skating rink and home of the Cardiff Devils.


Walk: Cardiff Bay is a half an hour walk from Cardiff city centre.

Bike: A short cycle from Cardiff city centre.

Train: This area is served by Cardiff Bay railway station.

Bus: Catch Baycar 6 in the City Centre and alight at Wales Millennium Centre, at the heart of Cardiff Bay and next to Mermaid Quay.

Car: Easily accessible by car using the M4 and A4232, there are many car parks in Cardiff Bay.

Map It Out: Whether you’re looking to be entertained or educated, seeking nature or nourishment, visualise your visit to Cardiff Bay.


Perfect for a relaxing stroll or bike ride, the Barrage embankment is situated in a stunning maritime setting and offers spectacular views over Cardiff Bay and the Severn Estuary.


An increasingly popular activity that has been taking the UK by storm, Cardiff has built up as a reputation as a home for this water sport, which is a combination of surfing and canoeing or kayaking.


Sign up to the Visit Cardiff e-newsletter today to receive exciting Cardiff news, events, special offers, things to do and more from the Visit Cardiff team.

Cardiff Bay

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

John Stonier

Also popular with travellers

is cardiff bay worth a visit

CARDIFF BAY: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Helia Phoenix

She is the Visit Wales Media Manager and founder of award-winning blog, We Are Cardiff. In her spare time, she can be found at gigs, or enjoying the great outdoors with her dog, Ellie. 

  • City / Town

© Hawlfraint y Goron / Crown Copyright

Cardiff Bay

Top things to see and do in Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay offers heaps to do – eateries, boat trips and cultural attractions. Enough to keep you occupied all day… and into the night. Cardiff-based writer and local resident Helia Phoenix shares her favourites.

Tour the seat of Welsh democracy

Wales has its own devolved legislature and executive, which means we have a parliament and government of our own. Senedd Cymru / Welsh Parliament makes laws and scrutinises the Welsh Government to make sure they're doing an effective job of providing services and safeguarding the interests of the people of Wales. If you're a political nut, or just interested in learning more about how Wales is run, you can visit the Senedd and take a tour of the sustainable building, designed by renowned architect Richard Rogers.

The debating chamber (or Siambr) and the exterior of the Senedd building, Cardiff Bay, South Wales

Catch a show at the Wales Millennium Centre

The Wales Millennium Centre is the national arts centre for Wales, where you can find the best shows that are touring nationally; it has hosted Les Mis, Wicked, Footloose and Cats, amongst others. It’s also home to Welsh companies like the National Dance Company of Wales, Hijinx Theatre and the BBC National Orchestra. Make sure to stop in for a free show on the Glanfa Stage.

The Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay, South Wales

Step out around the Cardiff Bay Barrage

It’s an easy, breezy stroll around the Bay across the sea barrage to Penarth Marina . There’s a flat tarmac pathway so it’s ideal for pushchairs or bikes. Just before the Barrage there’s a great kids’ playground featuring pretend shipwrecks buried in sand. The Barrage has several locks, offering lots to keep curious kids happy. Taxi boats run at least hourly back to Mermaid Quay from just across the locks next to Penarth Marina.

The Barrage walkway at Cardiff Bay, South Wales

Go twitching in the Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve

When the Bay was flooded as part of the regeneration of former docklands, Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve was created on the site of a former salt marsh. It features reedy marshland and floating timber structures offering sheltered breeding areas for birds. Stroll along the gravel walkway which starts at the car park next to the voco® St David’s Cardiff , through to the west end of the reserve. Here you’ll find a long boardwalk with a viewing area, which is a great spot for bird watching. Best of all, it’s free.

Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve, South Wales

Step back in time in the Pierhead

The Pierhead is a Grade I (one) listed building, originally built as offices for the Bute Docks Company (later renamed the Cardiff Railway Company). In 1922, the Great Western Railway (GWR) took over and the Pierhead became its head office. Following the decline in the coal industry the Pierhead became disused - it was eventually revived as part of the National Assembly for Wales’ estate in 2010. Today it is an event and conference venue, which hosts art exhibitions and has historical displays for visitors to enjoy.

The Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay, South Wales

On a boat, on a boat...

If you want to explore Cardiff’s coastline, there’s no better way than by boat. Cardiff Bay is where all the boat trips head out from. There’s everything from water taxis that take leisurely journeys into town to exhilarating rib rides, that will take you out into the River Severn for a higher speed tour. One of our favourite boat rides around the Bay is run by Ben (aka 'Captain Gorgeous') - look for signs for The Open Boat .

Boats docked along Cardiff Bay waterside, South Wales

Seek a thrill

If you have science enthusiasts of any age in tow, visit Techniquest . It's a science centre with over 100 interactive exhibits relating to space, the environment, chemistry, biomedical science and world issues. Science has never been so appealing!

For even bigger thrills, visit the Olympic standard white water rafting facility at Cardiff International White Water . The on-demand surges of controlled water are perfect for trying white water rafting, kayaking, the indoor wave, hot-dogging and paddle-boarding. There's also a high ropes course over the waters.

Techniquest and Cardiff International White Water, Cardiff Bay, South Wales

© Betina Skovbro

The Norwegian Church and cafe

Although we don’t seem to make much of it, Cardiff played a huge role in the Industrial Revolution. Coal from the South Wales valleys was shipped to the world from the port of Cardiff. This made Cardiff a rich city, attracting sailors and seamen from across the world, a legacy that perseveres in the diversity of Cardiff’s docklands communities today. The Norwegian Church was built to serve the Norwegian sailors who docked in the city. Today the restored church - with its attractive white clapboard cladding and pointy spire - features an interesting gallery and friendly café with a patio offering views across the Bay. Interesting fact - this is the church that Roald Dahl was christened in .

The Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay, South Wales

Explore the past

The Coal Exchange building in Mount Stuart Square represents a significant part of Cardiff’s industrial history. Towards the end of the 1800s Cardiff was the biggest coal port in the world with up to 10,000 coal owners, ship owners and their agents using the Coal Exchange every day; doing business, and making their fortunes. Rumour has it the first £1m cheque was written here. After the decline of the coal industry, the building has been used as everything from a gig venue to the proposed home of the Welsh Assembly in the 1970s (the vote did not pass, and so the building remained empty). It's recently been converted to a hotel with many of the building’s original features still on show - pop in for coffee or a cocktail and have a nose around.

Cardiff Bay, South Wales

Further information

These are just some of the highlights of Cardiff Bay. Plan your own adventures down the Bay - there's a wide variety of things to do and see.

Search for more things to do and activities around the Bay, or check out Visit Cardiff's Cardiff Bay info .

Cardiff Bay from above, South Wales

Related stories

Sea fishing with the family out of cardiff bay.

Dave Lewis heads out to Cardiff Bay and the Bristol Channel for a family fishing trip.

Huw Stephens in the big little city

Find out how a Radio 1 DJ spends a perfect day in Cardiff.

  • Personalities

Taff Trail heritage and greenery

Explore this route, taking in industrial heritage, pretty, green open spaces, castles and canals.

Five days in South Wales

A family trip around South Wales unearths some of the major tourist attractions.

  • Trains and railways
  • Shopping centres and malls

Before you start...

This site uses animations - they can be turned off.

Terms and Conditions

By using this site, you confirm you agree to our Terms and Conditions . 

We'd Like to Hear From You

By  answering a few questions , we'll give you the chance to win £500. By doing so you will also help us improve this website and help with your holiday planning and travel needs.

Good for you. Good for us. Teamwork!

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Stay in Cardiff Bay

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Events in Cardiff Bay

Welcome to cardiff bay, visit cardiff bay, more than just a good day out.

Cardiff Bay is a diverse waterfront built around a 200 hectare freshwater lake known as ‘the Bay’. Find a great mix of Cardiff attractions, entertainment and events, coupled with vibrant bars and shops that create a truly unique atmosphere worthy of any capital city!

Things to do

There are lots of things to do in Cardiff, making it one of the most interesting places to visit in Wales. From the restored symbols of Cardiff’s glorious yesterdays, rich in history and culture, to the exciting vision of the future captured in the Waterfront’s fantastic style and architecture… there really is something for everyone at Cardiff Bay.

Cardiff Bay Events

Cardiff Bay boasts an array of events for everyone to enjoy. Visit the iconic Wales Millennium Centre and take in a world class show, or enjoy our annual Cardiff events such as the Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival, Cardiff Harbour Festival and the Wales Rally GB.

Barbeque Steakhouse & Bar

is cardiff bay worth a visit

©  Visit Cardiff Bay 2024 |  Privacy Policy | Website by Accent Creative, Swansea.

  • Work with me
  • Privacy policy

Where Goes Rose?

  • Years in review
  • United Kingdom
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • North Macedonia
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • South Africa
  • Africa Overlanding
  • Central America
  • New Zealand
  • Solo Travel
  • Budget travel
  • Travel tips
  • Travel itineraries
  • Hidden gems
  • Bucket list
  • Travel resources
  • Digital nomadism
  • Blogging tips
  • Start a travel blog

The Perfect Cardiff Day Trip Itinerary

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Table of Contents

This post may contain affiliate links to things like tours, hotels, Amazon associates and products. These help me earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

Although I recently spent a little longer than one day in Cardiff (a whole week in fact), I decided to put together this day trip to Cardiff itinerary because I know many people come for a quick trip. As the capital of Wales , there’s plenty to do see and do in Cardiff. You could easily spend a whole weekend or longer but a day trip is a fantastic introduction. From castles to museums, boat trips and delectable local and international cuisine, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into during a day trip to Cardiff from London (or elsewhere).

Read next: where to go on the ultimate Wales road trip

CARDIFF ESSENTIALS Copy of Lonely Planet Wales Activities and tours: GetYourGuide Getting to Cardiff: flight ( Skyscanner ) bus ( busbud ) / train ( Trainline ) / car hire ( Rentalcars.com ) Getting around: foot / bus / Uber

Why to spend a day in Cardiff

Cardiff is a fun, cultural city with plenty of attractions. If you’re looking for day trips from London, it’s a great option. Also, you’re technically visiting a new country and you’ll get to sample Welsh cuisine including tasty Welsh cakes! Not only is Cardiff just 2 hours on the train from London, but it’s also easy to reach from other UK cities like Bristol, Bath and Oxford.

How to get to Cardiff

Day trip to Cardiff from London by train: Journies between the English and Welsh capitals take 1 hour 50 minutes and start from £39. Book your journey on Trainline . Day trip to Cardiff from London by bus: Buses are far cheaper starting at £6.90 but take 3 hours 45 minutes, a bit long for a day trip! If you have the time, book your journey on Busbud . From other UK cities, browse trains and buses here.

Looking for UK day trips ? Check out my 1-day itineraries for Oxford , Bath , Margate , Brighton , the Cotswolds and Liverpool .

How to get around during a one day trip in Cardiff

It’s easy to explore Cardiff in one day by simply walking around. However, to go to Cardiff Bay, you may wish to catch a local bus . These are regular and easy to navigate. Most tickets cost £2-2.50 so it may be worth getting a £4 day rider which offers you unlimited journies for the day. Parking in Cardiff: if you’re driving to Cardiff, you can park at St David’s (£10 for up to 9 hours) or, if you don’t mind a walk into town, North Road Car Park (£8.80 for a full day). See all Cardiff car parks here. For a fun way to get around Cardiff, ride the 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour . This includes a day’s transportation, headphones, commentary and discounted entry into Cardiff Castle and Principality Stadium.

statue cardiff

What can you do in a day in Cardiff?

This Cardiff day trip itinerary aims to cover the best of the city’s culture and heritage with some brilliant coffee and food thrown in along the way. One day in Cardiff overview:

  • Cardiff Castle
  • Cardiff Arcades
  • Lunch at Cardiff Market
  • Cardiff National Museum
  • Boat trip around Cardiff Bay
  • Norweigan Church Arts Centre

Wales Millennium Centre

  • Shopping / dinner at Mermaid Quay

1 day Cardiff itinerary

Here’s what to do during one day in Cardiff and how to plan your itinerary…

First stop – coffee & pastel de nata at Nata & Co

Coffee cardiff.itinerary 1 day

My first Cardiff sightseeing stop was Cardiff Castle. Out of character for me, I arrived early (shock) to discover it wasn’t opening for another 20 minutes. * Rose starts scanning for nearby coffee* It didn’t take long. Just across the road from the castle is Nata & Co , an authentic Portuguese bakery with branches in Cardiff and Bath. This is a great place to refuel after your journey and begin your day in Cardiff. Grab an original coffee and nata for just £3.50 or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try the lemon nata or peanut butter nata. Address: 3 Castle St, Cardiff CF10 1BS.

Morning – Cardiff Castle

red dragon cardiff castle

I doubt there’s a Cardiff itinerary in existence that doesn’t start with, or at least feature, Cardiff Castle . Exploring 2,000 years of Welsh history in the heart of the city is a must for a London to Cardiff day trip. If you’re travelling on a budget , you can wander the castle grounds for free and snap a few photos. However, I felt it was worth it to buy a ticket and go inside. Your Castle ticket includes: Castle interior : walk through selected rooms, the most impressive being this one pictured below. The elaborate ceiling looked exotic, perhaps Middle Eastern, and was the last thing I expected to see in a Welsh castle!

castle ceiling

Underground tunnels: used as wartime bunkers, these tunnels are kitted out with wartime memorabilia and realistic air raid sirens to set the scene. Walking through them was interesting yet eerie and I was relieved to pop back up in the sunny castle grounds. If you’re interested in history, it may be worth paying an extra £4 for a guided castle tour that visits otherwise off-limit rooms. These depart hourly from 10am-5pm. Cardiff Castle ticket prices: £14.50 for adults, £10 for children, £12 for seniors/students, £39 for families. Address: Castle St, Cardiff CF10 3RB.

Tip – if you’re spending one day in Cardiff and want to save time, you can catch an Aquabus from Bute Park (beside the Castle) all the way to Cardiff Bay, a location we’ll touch on later.

Late morning – Cardiff Arcades

Arcade selfie cardiff itinerary

Cardiff isn’t known as the City of Arcades for no reason. This maze of covered shopping streets begins just across the road from Cardiff Castle (ideal on a rainy day when you can rush straight into Castle Arcade). If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss Barker Gelato Ice Cream Parlour in Castle Arcade or Mayhem & Magic for Harry Potter-themed Bertie Botts beans! Other Cardiff arcades include Duke Street Arcade, High Street Arcade, Morgan Arcade and Royal Arcade. I love the independent feel the arcades bring to Cardiff. Otherwise, the city centre is largely dominated by your usual high street chains. I didn’t find much else to love about the centre so I’m glad I found these charming arcades housing independent cafes and shops selling clothes, jewellery, trinkets and homeware.

Lunch – Cardiff Central Market

Book store cardiff market

Housed inside the same Victorian-style covered buildings asf the Arcades, Cardiff Central Market is packed with lovely independent stands for example the second-hand bookstand pictured above. But the highlight of Cardiff Central Market has to be the food! Not only is there a huge range of world cuisine on offer, but it comes in affordable, generous portions. A few highlights include:

  • Thai & Asian Delish cafe – I had an enormous portion of rich, creamy Panang curry for just £5.50. After my many foodie trips to Thailand , I can vouch for the dishes on the menu being authentic. It’s a takeaway stand so grab your curry and eat on a bench in the square outside.
  • Mediterranean Foods – despite having devoured enough Panang curry for a family of four, I couldn’t resist getting a takeaway box of olives, feta-stuffed peppers, dolma, hummus and sundried tomatoes from the friendly owner of this stall. There was a £5 limit on card so I HAD to have a baklava for the road, too 😉
  • Crockers Brunch Bar – fry ups from £3.50 and breakfast burritos? I’ll head here next time.
  • Spirit Infusions – I spotted this place serving gin, rum and vodka slushies. Interested!
  • Bake Stones – with the motto ‘happiness is a warm Welsh cafe’, this is THE place to buy homemade Welsh cakes.
  • Shan’s – this stand serving roast pork with stuffing always has a queue around the corner.
  • Sage Deli – grab your sourdough sandwiches and salads here. The Cubano sandwich looked incredible.
  • Ffwrnes Pizza – this famous pizza cafe is where I planned to eat before I got sidetracked by Thai and Mediterranean food. When I tried to return another day, I discovered it’s sadly closed from Sunday to Tuesday! If you have just 1 day in Cardiff, you may want to plan it tactically from Wednesday-Saturday.

Cardiff Central Market address: St Mary St, Cardiff CF10 1AU. Opening times: 8.30am-5.30pm, closed Sundays.

Early afternoon – National Museum Cardiff

National Museum

A trip to the National Museum is one of the best things to do during a day in Cardiff. Not only will you brush up on Welsh history and culture, but you’ll also browse colourful, interactive exhibits including art from around the world. Exhibits range from natural history beginning in Wales’ pre-Ice Age era to traditional and modern Welsh art. Temporary exhibitions change regularly: I caught one on the life of Welsh actor Richard Burton. Check the website’s ‘What’s on’ page before your visit. Entry price: free! Address: Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP. Opening times: 10am-5pm, Tues-Sun; closed Mon.

Mid-afternoon – Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay

After your culture dose at Cardiff Castle and the National Museum, end your Cardiff 1 day itinerary at the Bay. There’s plenty to do for tourists: jump on a boat trip around the harbour, drink and dine at the many waterfront restaurants or find the Doctor Who fan sites.

Wales Millennium Centre

Places to see at Cardiff Bay include…

This impressive building is worth a stop even if you do nothing more than admire it from the outside. However, there’s plenty to do and see inside as it’s used as a visual and performing arts centre. From festivals to events and digital experiences, check the Wales Millennium Centre website to see what coincides with your Cardiff day trip.

For a fun afternoon activity, jump aboard a boat in Cardiff Bay and take a spin around the harbour. The Aquabus tours locations of interest including Mermaid Quay, the Wetlands nature reserve and the Barrage. It will also take you back and forth between Cardiff Castle grounds (Bute Park) and Cardiff Bay. Bay Island Voyages will take you all the way to Flat Holm Island for a 3-hour tour. Another option is disembarking the Aquabus at the Barrage for Penarth which is a lovely town with lots of cafes, thrift shops, a pier and beach. While it’s a great place to visit, time may be too tight during a one day Cardiff itinerary.

Wales Millennium Centre boat trip what to do cardiff day trip

Norwegian Church Arts Centre

What do Norway, a church and the arts have to do with Cardiff, you might be wondering? The truth is not much, but it’s still one of Cardiff’s coolest attractions. This Lutheran church was constructed in 1868 by the Norwegian Seamen’s Mission to create community for the Scandinavian sailors based in Cardiff. When the coal industry diminished, the Church fell into disrepair but, luckily, the locals banded together to save it. Eventually, it found new purpose as an art gallery. A fun Wales fact is that author Roald Dahl was baptised in this church (as he was born to Norweigan parents) and was at the forefront of the campaign to save the church. Don’t miss The Dahl Gallery inside containing items from his childhood. Address: Harbour Dr, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF10 4PA Entry fee: free!

Doctor Who / Torthwood filming locations

TV fans will find plenty of Doctor Who filming locations around Cardiff including a few by Cardiff Bay. Beside the Wales Millennium Centre, Roald Dahl Plass is a paved square with a series of standing beacons used as the Torchwood headquarters. A few metres away beside the water is a memorial to character, Ianto Jones. It’s well maintained by Torchwood fans so swing by to pay your respects.

Restaurants around Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay is more about chain restaurants than independents but if you fancy grabbing a bite to eat before ending your Cardiff day trip, there’s plenty of choice. Cardiff Bay restaurant options include Pizza Express and Zizzis for standard Italian food, and Yakitori1 and Wagamama for Asian food. I always love the food at Bill’s , especially the halloumi and avocado burger!

mermaid quay

FAQs for spending 1 day in Cardiff

Is cardiff worth a day trip from london.

I’d say so, yes. No, it doesn’t have the same volume of museums, parks or cool areas as London but let’s face it, where does? A day trip to Cardiff from London is a great way to see somewhere new and learn about Wales.

Is Cardiff a safe city?

Cardiff regularly seems to get voted one of the safest cities in the UK AND one of the least safe cities in the UK. What can we take from this? That, like almost everywhere in the world, Cardiff has good and bad neighbourhoods as well as isolated incidents that can and do happen elsewhere. The areas you visit in Cardiff as a tourist such as the city centre and Cardiff Bay are safe, friendly and well-lit. You don’t need to have any concerns about safety when visiting Cardiff as a day trip.

How can I spend 2 days in Cardiff?

Staying overnight for a second day in Cardiff is a great idea. During a L ondon to Cardiff day trip, you’ll be on a tight schedule so, rather than whiz around Cardiff Bay on a quick boat trip, you could get off at the Barrage and spend half a day exploring Penarth. You could also take a leisurely walk in the Wetlands nature reserve. Other options include a day trip to Barry Island and trips to Caerphilly Castle and Castle Coch. Then, there are the lesser-known Cardiff neighbourhoods like boujee Pontcanna and up-and-coming Canton. There are some fantastic brunch cafes here like Hard Lines Cafe & Roastery . Even a full day relaxing in Bute Park would be time well spent. To summarise, you could easily spend a week in Cardiff. I would know because I did!

hard lines brunch

Is Cardiff an expensive city?

If you’re taking a Cardiff day trip from London, you won’t think so! In my opinion, Cardiff is the cheapest UK capital, considerably cheaper than London or Edinburgh (why do you think I had to write this guide to the free things to do in Edinburgh ?). Saying that, it’s still the UK so it’s not a total bargain. After a couple of meals, a bus ticket, boat ride and Cardiff Castle entry, I quickly spent £50 during a day in Cardiff. But it was worth it!

Thanks for reading my Cardiff itinerary for 1 day!

For more travel content, follow me on Instagram , Facebook , Twitter and YouTube .

Read my other Wales blogs:

  • The ultimate Wales road trip
  • What to do in Conwy, Wales
  • Llandudno activities for a day at the seaside
  • Things to see and do in colourful Portmeirion village, Wales
  • Complete guide to visiting Holy Island, Wales
  • Things to do on Anglesey Island, Wales

Liked this Cardiff day trip itinerary? Pin it for later!

cardiff day trip

WALES QUICK LINKS Guidebooks – LP always get my seal of approval. Use the latest copy of Lonely Planet Wales / L onely Planet Great Britain . Flights (international and domestic): I use Skyscanner to find the best-value flights, using the ‘search by month’ tool to find the cheapest dates. You can also use the ‘to anywhere’ feature if you’re flexible on where you’re going. Car hire – use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals and campers in the UK (and all around the world). For trains , use Transport for Wales . The search feature allows you to compare prices, and they have a ‘capacity checker’ for safe travel in 2021. For buses , I use Busbud . It’s the only site that compares UK coaches and buses. Find London to Manchester journeys for £1!  For hotels and self-catering apartments, I use Booking.com . You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.com . To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters , a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets. Browse UK tours and activities on GetYourGuide . For food tours pairing travellers with passionate local chefs and foodies, check out EatWith .  Need travel insurance ? I use True Traveller (for Europe residents) since it’s affordable but covers everything you’d need including various activities, valuables and pre-existing conditions. Unlike some companies, they insure you if you’re already travelling / don’t yet have your flight home booked. Get a quote . For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing . Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and budget tips from my 10+ years on the road!

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Rose is a solo traveller from the UK who has been on the road since 2015. She wants to show other women that solo travel isn't scary and doesn't have to be expensive! Rose has lived in Mexico, Canada and all over Asia, seeking out food, bubble tea and street art wherever she goes!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You can see how this popup was set up in our step-by-step guide: https://wppopupmaker.com/guides/auto-opening-announcement-popups/

The word veganderlust with a leave and a location marker

Veganderlust contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these Amazon links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you.  For more info, see the Disclosure Policy .

Is Cardiff Worth Visiting? Pros and Cons of Wales’ Capital

Located in the South Wales, Cardiff is a city that has undergone major transformation in recent years. What used to be an industrial town is now a bustling metropolis, attracting tourists from all over the world.

But is Cardiff worth visiting? In this post I’ll share both my personal experience of visiting Cardiff as well as the results of my thorough research.

Now, let’s start with the best things to do in Cardiff that make the city worth visiting, before we take a look at the reasons why it might not be the best city after all.

Table of Contents

Reasons to Visit Cardiff

Historic castle in the city centre.

One of the main attractions in Cardiff is its historic castle with the castle walls, situated right in the heart of the city. It’s a great place to explore and learn about the rich history of Wales. Simply walk through the gates and explore the castle grounds for free.

While most other attractions in Cardiff are free , you have to pay an entrance fee to visit the Cardiff Castle. But this entrance fee is more than worth it, you don’t just get to see the beautiful castle rooms but you also get to climb the steps of the Norman Keep for a spectacular view.

Unique framed view of Cardiff Castle showcasing its historical architecture, inviting exploration and affirming that Cardiff is worth visiting.

Amazing Urban Woodland

If you’re a nature lover, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of green spaces in Cardiff. Bute Park is a beautiful urban woodland that’s the perfect place for a walk or a picnic. It’s also home to numerous events and festivals throughout the year.

When I was wandering through the park and squirrels and ducks crossed the path right in front of me, I didn’t feel like in a capital city at all but rather like in a peaceful countryside.

Peaceful Bute Park in Cardiff, featuring ancient stone formations set against lush greenery, one of the best free things to do in Cardiff Wales

Picturesque Shopping Arcades

Cardiff has some of the most stunning shopping arcades in Europe, each with its own unique charm and history. It’s actually sometimes referred to as the city of arcades , because of it’s beautiful Victorian and Edwardian arcades.

The oldest arcade, the Royal Arcade , was built in 1858. It’s home to independent shops and boutiques offering a variety of goods, from handmade jewelry to vintage clothing.

Even if you’re not into shopping, the arcades are still worth visiting simply for their beautiful architecture.

Charming Victorian arcade in Cardiff, adorned with pink cherry blossoms, offering a picturesque stroll, a delightful free activity in Cardiff, Wales.

Lively Bay Area

If you’re a fan of the sea, make sure to check out Cardiff Bay. It’s a lively area with plenty of bars and restaurants, as well as attractions like the Wales Millennium Centre and the beautiful Pierhead Building with a Ferris wheel next to it.

Another attraction in Cardiff Bay is the Senedd , the Welsh National Assembly building. You can go inside for free, after going through a security check, and have a look around the parliamentary rooms.

For those who enjoy a scenic stroll, the Cardiff Bay Trail Walk is a must-do, offering picturesque views along the waterfront.

You can also enjoy a boat ride or water sports at Cardiff Bay. The best spot is Cardiff International White Water , offering rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding, and more.

Vibrant Cardiff Mermaid Quay waterfront with the iconic Wales Millennium Centre, featuring inscriptions, on a day trip from Bristol to Cardiff.

Taste of Welsh Culture

Visiting Cardiff means getting a taste of Welsh culture. From the language (each sign is in two languages – English and Welsh) to the cuisine and traditions, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn and immerse yourself in Welsh heritage.

The National Museum Cardiff is a great place to start, with exhibitions showcasing Welsh art, Welsh history, and natural history. The St. Fagans National Museum of History is also a must-visit, as it offers a glimpse into Welsh culture and heritage through its open-air museum.

A directional signpost in Cardiff, Wales, showing the way to key attractions such as the Shopping Centre, Civic Centre, Cardiff Castle, and Central Market, with bilingual signage in English and Welsh, under a cloudy sky.

Top for Dr Who Fans

I have to admit, I’m more of a Harry Potter fan girl myself, I’ve been to almost all Harry Potter locations in the United Kingdom . But if you’re a fan of the sci-fi series Doctor Who, Cardiff is the place to be.

Many of the iconic scenes from Doctor Who were filmed in and around Cardiff, making it a popular spot for fans to visit. The best way to see all the best spots is with a Dr Who guided walking tour.

Curved wooden architecture inside the Senedd, reflecting Cardiff's modernity.

Great for Sport Enthusiasts

Cardiff is also a great destination for sports enthusiasts. It’s home to the iconic Principality Stadium, which hosts major rugby and football events, as well as concerts.

The iconic Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, stands majestically under an overcast sky, its modern architecture highlighted by the striking white masts supporting the stadium's roof. A prominent destination for visitors exploring Cardiff's sporting venues.

Vibrant Nightlife

If you’re looking for a good time, Cardiff’s nightlife won’t disappoint. There’s a variety of bars, pubs, and clubs catering to different tastes.

The city also hosts several festivals and concerts throughout the year, making it a vibrant and lively place to be.

Reasons Not to Visit Cardiff

Attractions not in easy walking distance.

While Cardiff has a lot to offer, some of the main attractions are not in easy walking distance from each other.

The attractions inside the city centre are within walking distance but just the bay area is about half an hour walk from the Cardiff city centre. Not to mention the popular St. Fagans National Museum of History which is outside the city, it would take 2 hours to walk there.

So, if you’re short on time or not keen on taking public transportation, Cardiff might not be the most convenient option.

Expansive view of Cardiff Castle with the cityscape in the background, illustrating the blend of history and modernity that makes Cardiff worth visiting.

Comparison With Other Welsh Towns

While Cardiff has plenty to offer, compared to other Welsh towns and the countryside it might not stand out as much.

For example, I was impressed by Cardiff Castle, the only Welsh castle I’ve visited. Yet, it doesn’t even appear in the official Wales website’s top 10 list of castles to visit in Wales .

Bute Park inside Cardiff is beautiful because it feels like nature but you could also simply visit proper nature in Wales, like the Snowdonia National Park, and get a more authentic experience.

The picturesque Norwegian Church Arts Centre in Cardiff, one of the best free attractions in Cardiff.

Is Cardiff a Safe City?

Cardiff is generally a safe city, but like any other city, it has its fair share of crime. The crime statistics say that there’s a 41% higher crime rate in Cardiff than there is in the rest of Wales, and a 31% higher crime rate than the average of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

So, while Cardiff is relatively safe compared to other major cities in the UK, it’s still important to be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions.

Unpredictable Weather

As with any place in the UK, the weather in Cardiff can be quite unpredictable. If you’re planning outdoor activities or events, it might be wise to have a backup plan in case of rain or extreme weather conditions.

Tina in a bright orange jacket is seen from behind, looking up at the Norman Keep of Cardiff Castle, which looms majestically against a cloudy sky, with a Welsh flag flying atop, inviting exploration and discovery.

Is Cardiff Worth Visiting on a Day Trip from London?

While Cardiff is worth visiting overall, whether or not it makes sense for a day trip from London depends on your interests and time constraints.

If you’re interested in exploring Welsh culture and history, and seeing iconic spots from Doctor Who, then Cardiff would be a great choice for a day trip.

However, if you’re mainly looking to see popular tourist attractions or famous landmarks, there are better day trip destinations from London, like Oxford or Cambridge.

Is Cardiff Worth Visiting on a Day Trip from Bristol?

Cardiff, the capital of Wales, is a great option for a day trip from Bristol . It’s only about an hour away by train, making it easily accessible.

But I must admit, Cardiff wouldn’t be my first choice for a day trip. Bath is the best option from Bristol because it’s nearby and features stunning Georgian architecture, the iconic Roman Baths, and a cozy vibe.

However, I was lucky enough to stay a month in Bristol house sitting, so I had the opportunity to do multiple day trips. And I really enjoyed my day trip from Bristol to Cardiff . My favorite parts were the medieval castle and the bay area.

Hand holding a package of Fabulous Welshcakes, a local delicacy, purchased on a day trip to Cardiff from Bristol, with a blurred arcade in the background.

Final Thoughts: Is Cardiff Worth Visiting?

If the Welsh capital, Cardiff, is worth visiting depends on your interest and on how much time you have. While the city wouldn’t be my first choice of a day trip from London or Bristol, it’s definitely worth exploring if you have time.

Among the many pros of visiting Cardiff, I would say the historic castle, the taste of Welsh culture, and the serene beauty of the Bay are some of its unique selling points.

However, keep in mind that some attractions might not be easily reachable on foot and compared to other Welsh towns and nature spots, Cardiff might not stand out as much.

Overall, it’s up to your preferences. I hope this post has helped you decide if the capital city of Wales is on your list of best places to visit in the UK .

  • 17 Fun and Unusual Things to Do in Bristol
  • The 11 Best All-Vegan Restaurants in Bristol
  • 7 Absolute Best Day Trips from Bristol

Amazing Day Trip to Bath from Bristol

  • Top 10 Best Cities to Visit in the UK: Don’t Miss Out!
  • Best Day Trip to Cardiff from Bristol by Train
  • 10 Best Free Things to Do in Cardiff, Wales
  • Is Cardiff Worth Visiting? Pros and Cons of Wales’ Capital
  • Best Day Trip from Bristol to Stonehenge With Extra Stops
  • Is Stonehenge Worth Seeing? Why I Don’t Think It Is
  • 10 Best Things to Do in Bath England

9 Absolute Best Things to Do in Weston Super Mare

Pin it for later:.

Promotional image for Veganderlust.com asking 'Is it worth visiting?' with a stunning view of the historical Cardiff Castle in Wales, showcasing its medieval architecture and green surroundings on a clear day.

Tina Riegelnegg is the founder of Veganderlust. She started this blog in 2022 to share her experiences in order to help other travellers have the best experience and find the best vegan food while travelling. So far Tina has been to 31 countries on 5 continents.

Similar Posts

4 Day Itinerary for London: What to See & Do

4 Day Itinerary for London: What to See & Do

London is one of the best cities to visit in Europe. It has modern skyscrapers, lush green parks, historic landmarks, and a…

9 Absolute Best Things to Do in Weston Super Mare

Weston Super Mare is a seaside town located on the coast of Somerset, England. Known for its sandy beaches, lively atmosphere and…

Amazing Day Trip to Bath from Bristol

Bath is a charming city located in the southwest of England. It’s famous for its stunning Georgian architecture, natural hot springs, and…

Amazing Day Trip to Bath from London by Train

Amazing Day Trip to Bath from London by Train

Bath is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United Kingdom, known for its stunning Georgian architecture, ancient baths, and…

13 Magical Harry Potter Things to Do in London

13 Magical Harry Potter Things to Do in London

London is the best place to be for all Harry Potter fans, like me! There are just so many amazing Harry Potter…

3 Absolute Best Spa Hotels in Liverpool City Centre

3 Absolute Best Spa Hotels in Liverpool City Centre

What better way to relax after exploring the city than staying in one of the best spa hotels Liverpool has to offer?…

  • Meet the Team
  • Work with Us
  • Czech Republic
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • Scandinavia
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Budget Travel
  • Work & Travel
  • The Broke Backpacker Manifesto
  • Travel Resources
  • How to Travel on $10/day

Home » Europe » United Kingdom » Wales » Cardiff

10 BEST Places to Visit in Cardiff (2024)

The capital of Wales is an exciting place for a tourist as there’s no end of things to do. You might even be surprised to know that this area has the highest concentration of castles in the United Kingdom. Yes, even more than Scotland! So, it’s not surprising to know that Cardiff is absolutely dripping in history. It’s not only history though, there is also great shopping, a number of cool cultural sites (that aren’t castles), and plenty of places to chill out and relax.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the best places to visit in Cardiff. Hopefully, you’ll find the list helpful as you plan your trip to the Welsh capital. Perhaps you’ll even feel like a local! First though, let’s check out the best places to stay in Cardiff.

Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in Cardiff:

These are the best places to visit in cardiff, faq on the best places to visit in cardiff.

City Centre, Cardiff

City Centre

Cardiff City Centre is a reasonably sized area just south of Cardiff University and Cooper’s Field. There are some small and narrow lanes to meander through, as well as wide-spaced avenues with all sorts of shopping and street performers to be found.

  • Visit the Museum of Cardiff, interactive and fun!
  • Head to Clwb Ifor Bach, the three-story nightclub, for after-hours amusement!
  • Catch a show at the (not so) New Theatre, from Victorian times.

These are just a few of the best places to visit in Cardiff, but they’re our absolute favorites. If you have a tight time schedule and want to see as much as possible of Cardiff, get we’d recommend getting a hop-on-hop-off bus ticket , so you can get to see all of the important sights within a short amount of time.

However, if you have the time to explore by yourself, this is where we’d start…

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Unlock Our GREATEST Travel Secrets!

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best travel tips delivered right to your inbox.

#1 – Cardiff Castle – One of Cardiff’s coolest historical sites!

Cardiff Castle

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you . Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more .

  • One of the most popular attractions in the whole of Wales
  • Don’t miss the opulent Arab room
  • See the history of those who lived and worked here in the state apartments

Why it’s awesome: Let’s kick off with not only one of the most popular attractions in Cardiff but the whole of Wales! In a city that has the highest concentration of castles anywhere in the UK, this one is the undisputed daddy of them all. It’s built on top of a Roman fortification which dates back 2,000 years, but the oldest sections of the best-preserved castle in town don’t go back quite that far. However, they’re still pretty impressive as they do go back to the 10th century! It’s also awesome because it’s located in Atlantic Wharf, one of our favourite places to stay in Cardiff .

What to do there: As this is one of the most popular places to visit in the country, it may be worth getting tickets to skip the line so that you don’t spend half your day waiting in a queue! Once you get in, take in the fascinating displays in the State Apartments. Not only will they give you more info on the castle itself, but those who used to live and work here. Another highlight is the Arab Room! Inspired by the Moorish architecture of Spain and North Africa, this was added in the 1880s and is one of the glitziest rooms in the castle! On your way out, see the Victorian menagerie of the animal wall. If you get all this in, you’ve done justice to one of the most recognisable landmarks in Cardiff!

#2 – Wales Millennium Centre – A great place to visit in Cardiff at night

Wales Millennium Centre

  • A Cardiff must-see if you’re interested in arts and culture
  • One of the top-performing arts centres in the world
  • Check out the events calendar and treat yourself to a performance

Why it’s awesome: Cardiff has a legendary nightlife, but it’s not all about pubs, bars, and clubs. The Wales Millennium Centre is one of the top-performing arts centres in the world and should be on every culture vulture’s Cardiff Itinerary. It’s more than just a performing arts centre though. It’s set across five acres of grounds which make for a lovely place to walk around during the day too. If you’re visiting Cardiff, you really can’t miss this place off your list of things to do!

What to do there: First of all, we’d recommend taking in a performance here. No matter what you’re into, there’ll probably be something for you! Opera, ballet, contemporary dance, and literary events are all on the menu. If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to that, or you’re only in Cardiff for the day, it’s still worth a visit. As well as taking a walk in the expansive grounds, check out the activities on offer. There are guided tours, which will show you more of the incredible building and its architecture. If that’s not for you, sign up for one of the workshops or educational talks that happen regularly!

#3 – National Museum Cardiff – A fascinating educational place to visit in Cardiff

National Museum Cardiff

  • Step back in time… all the way back to when dinosaurs roamed the Earth!
  • Learn all about the history of Wales
  • Check out the art gallery to see some original masterpieces

Why it’s awesome: If you have any interest in the history of Wales, then the National Museum is a Cardiff must see! You’ll find it right in the city centre, inside the beautifully constructed Civic Centre building. The National Museum has a huge variety of things to see across both permanent and temporary exhibitions. In the past, it has hosted Tim Peake’s spacecraft, artwork by the famous Grayson Perry, and in October 2019 it will be the temporary home of Dippy the Diplodocus – a huge dinosaur skeleton!

What to do there: Learn as much as you can about the city (and country’s) history. Explore Cardiff’s past all the way to pre-historic times! There’s lots here relating to archaeology over the years, and you’ll even be able to visit a display on Bronze age weaponry. Don’t worry though, no-one will be able to get their hands on it! The art gallery in this museum is another Cardiff must-see. The collection is pretty spectacular, and includes sculptures from Rodin, as well as paintings from the great impressionists such as Picasso and Monet! It’s a journey through more than 500 years of exquisite art!

#4 – Cardiff Bay – An awesome place to visit in Cardiff for half a day

Cardiff Bay

  • One of the most successful redevelopment projects in the whole of Europe
  • Plenty of things to do – especially if you’re travelling with kids
  • Spot wildlife in a wetlands preserve

Why it’s awesome: Cardiff Bay covers over 2,700 acres, and the former dockyard is one of the most successful redevelopment projects on the continent. It’s where you’ll find the Wales Millennium Centre, but there’s a whole lot more to the area than that! Numerous parks are in this area, with lots of walking paths and trails going through it. There’s even a wetlands centre too where you’ll be able to spot local wildlife. Cardiff Bay is probably the best spot in town if you’re travelling with kids though – as there’s a lot to see with them!

What to do there: There are a couple of Cardiff must-sees in this area if you’re with the family. Readers of all ages love the works of Roald Dahl, and the Norwegian writer spent much of his upbringing in Cardiff. Why not head to Roald Dahl’s Plass (that’s square in English) or to the historic Norwegian Church? For those who are more science-minded, Techniquest is a good place to stop off. It’s chock full of interactive exhibits that will keep the kids entertained for hours! When you’ve tired yourself out exploring the bay, take your pick from the best places to eat in Cardiff – many of them are in the Bay!

#5 – Castell Coch

Castell Coch

  • A fairytale Castle, also known as the Red Castle.
  • Spot the carvings of fairytale creatures
  • An opulent masterpiece from the High Victorian Area

Why it’s awesome: No, we haven’t spelt the name wrong in the title! It’s Welsh! Castell Coch is much newer than Cardiff Castle, in fact it only dates back 200 years. Castell Coch is an example of what happens when a very rich man and an extremely talented architect collaborate. You’ll spot the conical towers rising up above the Fforest Fawr, but that won’t be preparation for the sheer amazingness of the interior! Castell Coch is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Cardiff, and you’ll definitely not regret a visit here!

What to do there: Often voted by the Welsh public as the most popular building in the country, it might become your favourite spot too. Although the castle itself was only constructed in the 19th century, it’s possible for you to trace the original 13th century castle that it was built on top of as you explore. Also, look out for carvings of fairy tale creatures and religious iconography that adorn the chambers. It’s one of the best Cardiff vacation ideas as it’ll show you a traditional Welsh settlement too. The castle is in a little town called Tongwynlais.

#6 – Bute Park – A beautiful outdoor place to visit in Cardiff

Bute Park

  • Follow the Bute Park Sculpture Trail
  • Ideal to combine a visit here with Cardiff Castle
  • One of the best places in Cardiff to relax and disconnect

Why it’s awesome: If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city without actually leaving it… then this might just be the perfect place for you! One of the biggest and best-loved green spaces in Cardiff, Bute Park wasn’t always there for the public to enjoy. In fact, it used to belong to Cardiff Castle and wasn’t open to the public until the Marquess of Bute gifted it to the city in 1948. Nowadays, it’s a favourite spot of locals and tourists alike to spend a few hours relaxing in the sunshine.

What to do there: Bute Park is a great place to relax and disconnect from busy city life. However, if that sounds a little too slow-paced for you, there’s an alternative. Throughout the 130 acres of the park, you’ll find the Bute Park Sculpture Trail. Unusual beetles, frogs, and benches are placed throughout the park, making for a fun treasure hunt. If you need a hand finding them, there’s an interactive map on the park’s website! Alternatively, you could also let a guide take you around the park . However, if you’d just like to sit with a picnic or a book, who could blame you? It’s lovely here, and a must for your Cardiff itinerary!

mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and  ditch the plastic .

#7 – Cardiff International White Water – Easily one of the most fun places to check out in Cardiff

Cardiff International White Water

  • Man-made white-water rafting courses originally for the 2012 Olympics
  • Kayak, Canoe, and raft here
  • Take lessons at the Paddle School if you’re a complete beginner!

Why it’s awesome: Yet another cool attraction in Cardiff Bay? Surely not! Originally built for the 2012 Olympics, Cardiff International White Water is one of the coolest attractions in Cardiff, and a great alternative activity if you’ve maxed out on castles, museums, and galleries! It’s open to any level, so if you’re a serious river rafter looking for a thrill, or just a beginner hoping to take your first paddles in a kayak, everyone is welcome. Who’d have thought you could travel to Cardiff and do activities that are usually right out in national parks?!

What to do there: If you’re looking for a huge variety of things to do in the same spot, this is the place for you. The 250 meter course can be adjusted to meet your needs. So, if you want to go on a relaxing family rafting trip with your nearest and dearest, that can be arranged. Likewise, if you want to go bombing down an aggressive Canadian river, that can be set up too! If you don’t want to get in a boat, there are a load of other water sports activities here. Check out paddle boarding, canyoning, and even surfing!

#8 – The Taff Trail – A nice quiet place to see in Cardiff

The Taff Trail

  • A great way to explore Cardiff by bicycle
  • A 55 mile walking and cycling trail all the way north to Brecon!
  • Follow along the pretty banks of the River Taff

Why it’s awesome: The River Taff runs from the centre of Wales all the way to Cardiff. There are some really noteworthy points on its banks and taking the Taff Trail is the perfect way to see them. The trail starts (or ends, depending on which way you do it) at Cardiff Bay. It’ll take you through Fforest Fawr too, where you can take some time away from the trail to explore the forest. It’s also where you’ll find one of the other best places to visit in Cardiff from our list: Castell Coch!

What to do there: Whether you want to walk, cycle or even horse ride on the Taff Trail, all those options are a possibility. Thanks to the increasing amount of bike rental services in Cardiff, that’s one of the most popular ways to tackle the trail. It’s good whether you’re looking for a relaxed Sunday afternoon cycle ride, or you really want to push yourself! If the second one sounds like you, try cycling the 27ish miles to Merthyr Tydfil in under 3 hours. Although, why would you want to do it so quickly when there’s so much to stop for?!

#9 – The Principality Stadium

The Principality Stadium

  • Hosts some of the biggest sporting events in Wales
  • A great music venue
  • Also known as the Millennium Stadium

Why it’s awesome: The Welsh really love their sports, especially when it comes to rugby. So, get yourself immersed in Welsh culture with a visit to the Principality Stadium, one of the most raucous landmarks in Cardiff… especially on a match day! The stadium was built for the new Millennium. It’s quite modern, and you can tell that from the state-of-the-art facilities and architecture. Did you know that when the New Wembley was under construction in London, this was where English FA Cup finals took place?

What to do there: Nothing is quite like experiencing the atmosphere of the Principality Stadium when you’re visiting Cardiff. If you can’t make it for rugby, at least try to take in a football match! Or perhaps even try and see one of your favourite artists – it hosts music gigs too! If all of those don’t match your budget, or more likely it sells out quick, you can always take a tour of the stadium. They’re well organised and you’ll even get to see the national rugby team’s changing rooms! A Cardiff must-do! Speaking of budget, Cardiff has some great hostels to stay in , if you need to make the most of your money elsewhere (like at the stadium).

Looking for a place to stay near Principality Stadium? Check out these awesome bed and breakfasts in Cardiff, a few of which are right in the center of all the action!

#10 – The City of Arcades – A great place in Cardiff if you love to shop

The City of Arcades

  • Beautiful Victorian arcades all over the city centre
  • A shopper’s paradise
  • Some of the best places to eat in Cardiff hidden away in these

Why it’s awesome: If you search for the City of Arcades in Google Maps, you won’t find anything. But we had to find a way to do justice to the incredible Victorian arcades that you’ll find when you travel to Cardiff. Forget about modern shopping centres, and instead pay a visit to either Morgan Arcade, Castle Arcade, or Royal Arcade to pick up your Cardiff souvenirs!

What to do there: Shop till you drop! Cardiff’s arcades are full to the brim of cool independent shops. If you’re a music lover, don’t miss going to Spillers off your Cardiff itinerary. It’s the oldest record shop in the world, which you’ll find in the Morgan Arcade. After all that shopping, check out the delis in Royal Arcade, which are some of the best places to eat in Cardiff. Or just chill out and people watch with a coffee. The arcades are one of the best places in Cardiff for shopping, eating, and relaxing!

Get insured for your trip to Cardiff!

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

is cardiff bay worth a visit

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Find out what people want to know about the best places to visit in Cardiff

What is the most visited place in Cardiff?

Cardiff Castle is the most visited attraction in Cardiff.

Is Cardiff worth visiting?

If you’re planning a trip to Wales, then stopping off in Cardiff for one or two days is worth it. But you don’t need more time than this.

What is Cardiff famous for?

Cardiff is most famous for being a large producer and exporter of coal.

Is Cardiff an expensive place to visit?

Cardiff is a much more affordable city than London, but compared to other major cities in Europe, it is still quite expensive.

Final Thoughts

So, that concludes our list of the best places to stay in Cardiff. We hope that you’ve found our extensive list useful and informative and you have a better idea of how to plan your trip! You’ll also have a good idea of where to stay in Cardiff, thanks to our quick list of the best places to stay.

In addition to the castles, hopefully, you’ll see it’s a cool place to enjoy museums, galleries, parks, and perhaps even take in some nightlife after dark. You certainly won’t be bored here with all the places to put on your Cardiff itinerary. It really is a great place for a city break!

Hopefully, you’ll not only have a better idea of the best places to visit in Cardiff but how to see the city like a local. You might even get to practice some Welsh! We hope you have an incredible trip.

Heading to Swansea after your time in Cardiff? Check out the hostels in Swansea for some great budget accommodation in the second city of Wales.

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Sophie Steinebach

Places to Visit in Cardiff Pinterest Image

Share or save this post

photo of a person holding a smartphone with Holafly logo

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

  • Family life
  • Family Travel

Search on Cardiff Mummy Says

12 family-friendly attractions to visit in cardiff bay.

Cardiff Mummy Says

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a guide to attractions in Cardiff city centre that were perfect for visiting with children. This time, I’m turning my attention to Cardiff Bay, which is a great place for a family day out. As well as all the places listed below, Mermaid Quay is a lovely place for walking around on a sunny day, with loads of family-friendly restaurants if you fancy a spot to eat, and an ice cream parlour.

Have I missed anywhere? Do let me know in the comments section below, by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy or on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page .

FREE Cardiff Bay Barrage

Cardiff Bay Barrage playground collage

Stretching from Cardiff Bay to Penarth, and at just over 1km in length, this is a great place for families to explore, either on foot or by bikes, scooters or skates, and is buggy-friendly too. A number of educational trails and information points provide an insight into the history f the Bay, such as an account of Captain Scott’s journey to the Antarctic. Mid-way across the barrage is a large children’s pirate-themed play area, with wooden boats to climb, although it’s on sand, so can get quite messy for younger children. There’s also a skate park, toilet facilities, and an ice cream stall.


Stuart Street, Cardiff Bay

Techniquest 5

This hands-on science centre has over 100 exhibitions over two floors, making science fun and accessible to children of all ages. It’s buggy-friendly, with a lift between floors, a café serving hot drinks, sandwiches and hot snacks, plus a gift shop with plenty of souvenirs at pocket money prices. The shows in the Planetarium (£1.50 extra per person) and science theatre at weekends and school holidays really bring science to life.

The toddler days, which usually take place on the first Friday of the month, are definitely worth checking out if you have pre-schoolers. You can read our review here .

Adults cost £7.50, child (4-16), £6, under 4s free. A Family (2+up to 3) is £25. Visit after 2pm on Sundays throughout 2016 and pay just £3 for entry. Shows in the Planetarium cost £1.50 extra per person. Techniquest is not open on Mondays during term-time

Doctor Who Experience

Heol Porth Teigr, Porth Teigr, Cardiff Bay

Doctor Who Experience Cardiff Bay

Be part of your own interactive adventure with the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi), as you journey through time and space, journeying to the heart of the Tardis, and grappling with a threat which could destroy the universe. From there, head to The Exhibition Hall, which houses the world’s largest collection of Doctor who props sets and costumes, including a complete collection of the Doctor’s iconic costumes from 1963 to the present day, three full TARDIS sets, plus a host of costumes from evil monsters to loyal companions. Specially-created sets will allow you to discover first-hand what happens behind the scenes of the iconic television series.

It’s cheaper to book in advance online – prices start at adults £14 (£16 on the door), children 5-16 £9.75 (£11.75), family £41 (£49), or more to include a merchandise pack ticket. Under 5s are free.

World Of Boats

World Of Boats Cardiff Bay

As its name suggests, this is a celebration of all things boat-related. Visitors can see over 40 rare boats from around the world, find out more from video touch-screen, hands-on exhibit, plus observe on-going restoration projects. There’s also a café overlooking the Bay.

Adults £4.99, one child under 16 free with each paying adult, additional children £3. Open daily from 10.30am, although check in advance for seasonal variations and in case they’re moving the big boats around.

SOME EVENTS FREE Wales Millennium Centre

Bute Place, Cardiff Bay

Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff bay

Showstopping family-friendly musicals coming to the Welsh theatre venue in 2016 include Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. However, there’s plenty else on offer at Wales Millennium Centre. It’s worth checking out the free Family Saturdays arts and crafts sessions every weekend from 11am-4pm (also often held daily during the school holidays) plus the monthly toddler days during term-time. The foyer also holds a number of free performances throughout the year, as well as being home to a play space for children – this used to be an interactive area introducing children to different aspects of live performance, but is now a free Minecraft playing zone.

Cardiff International Pool

Olympian Drive, Cardiff Bay

Cardiff International Pool

A selection of twisting slides, inflatables, a lazy river and water fountains make this a fun water experience for families. There are swimming lessons every Saturday and Sunday morning, meaning the leisure pool doesn’t open until 11am at weekends. It’s also worth checking ahead on weekdays during term-time as the slides aren’t usually open.

Ice Arena Wales

International Ice Arena

As well as being home to the Cardiff Devils ice hockey team, the newly-opened Ice Arena Wales boasts two ice rinks, with plenty of opportunities for families to take to their skates. Youngsters can even hire one of the special penguins to assist their skating. Regular family sessions include pay and play sessions for the under 5s on Tuesday mornings at 10am (£6), Thursdays is a family disco session from 5.15pm-7.15pm, while Fridays 4pm-7pm is a junior disco session (both £7.50).

Sessions including skate hire cost £9.70 (peak) or £7.70 off peak, with a family of 3 priced at £24.70, a family of 4 £33 and a family of 5 £33.

FREE Ikea – Playland Creche

Ikea Cardiff Bay

Ferry Road, Grangetown, Cardiff

Children aged 3 to 9 can stay for 45-minutes of free play, supervised by fully-trained staff, while you shop or enjoy a cuppa in the café.

Hollywood Bowl

The Red Dragon Centre, Hemingway Road, Cardiff Bay

Hollywood Bowl Cardiff Bay

Strike! Ten pin bowling is such a fun family activity for a special occasion. All lanes at Hollywood bowl have the option of bumpers at the side so your children’s bowling balls don’t fall off the edge, plus special ramps to help little ones launch the balls.

Book online for the best prices – adults from £5.59, under 16s from £4.59 and families from £18.29. You can also upgrade to a VIP lane, themed around a Hollywood legend. Also look out for Family Fun Weekends through the year (next one is 23 rd -24 th April), which include glow bowling, face painting, balloons and treasure hunts.

You can read more about Cardiff Mummy Says’s role as blogger ambassador for The Red Dragon Centre here , and how we got on at a family bowling session here.

Odeon Cinema


An 18-screen cinema, including IMAX, with plenty of family-friendly film screenings. There’s also free parking outside subject to minimum spend and getting your ticket validated. The 10am weekend and half term Odeon Kids showings are great value at £2.50 per person. The films are usually a few months old rather than new releases.

Cardiff International White Water

Watkiss Way, Cardiff Bay

Cardiff International White Water Cardiff Bay

The white rafting water centre offers family sessions for children aged six and over, where the water level and speed of the rapids is lowered. All coaching and specialist equipment is provided. There’s also indoor surfing for those of 107cm and above, an air trail (132cm or 107cm if accompanied by an adult) and a climbing wall (107cm).

Two-hour family rafting sessions are available on Wednesday evenings, Sunday mornings and school holidays. It costs between £22.50 and £25 per person. Canoe and kayak courses available during school holidays from £10.

Boat tours around Cardiff Bay

There are several companies which will take you on a sight-seeing boat tour around the Bay. Check individual companies via the link above for height restrictions and individual booking details.

Cardiff Bay Collage 1 with text

What else would you recommend for families to do in Cardiff Bay? Do let me know in the comments section below, by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy or on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page .

For more ideas of family-friendly events in South Wales, see the Cardiff section of Cardiff Mummy Says , or follow Cardiff Mummy Says on Instagram .

All prices are correct at the time of publication, April 2016, but are subject to change so do check ahead.

Share this:, related posts, sign up now for a free family cycle event this sunday in cardiff bay with hsbc uk city ride cardiff, elf the musical at cardiff motorpoint arena – review, giving nature a home in cardiff – will you complete rspb cymru’s survey, win a family table at village hotel cardiff’s easter sunday fun with nutty noah show, hotel transylvania 3: a monster vacation – our review – plus summer events at the red dragon centre, 31 things to do in and around cardiff in half term may 2015, 1 comment to 12 family-friendly attractions to visit in cardiff bay, leave a reply cancel reply.

Cardiff Bay

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

John Stonier

Also popular with travellers

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Cardiff Bay - All You MUST Know Before You Go (2024)

The Places Where We Go

Exploring Cardiff: A 4-Day Itinerary of Must-See Attractions

Our four day cardiff itinerary.

The Places Where We Go contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you when you purchase using one of these Amazon links.  Read our disclaimer and privacy policy for more information.

We’ll dive into our four day Cardiff itinerary below. Our suggested itinerary is based off of activities we selected for our trip. This included exploring the heart of Cardiff, plus making some time for a few day trip excursions while staying in the city. First, let’s get acquainted with a few logistics for your visit.

Cardiff Map image

Table of Contents

No time to read now pin it for later, introducing cardiff wales, getting to cardiff, getting around cardiff, day one: explore the heart of cardiff, day two: two castles and the museum of cardiff, day three: day trip to raglan castle, day four: immerse yourself in welsh history, if you have more time, consider these places:, food recommendations, cardiff lodging, parkgate hotel, hotel indigo, royal hotel cardiff, find more lodging options in cardiff, frequently asked questions – faq, cardiff: before you go checklist, fuel your wanderlust with weekly travel updates – it’s 100% free.

Four day Cardiff itinerary

Cardiff, the capital city of Wales is a bustling hub for culture and nightlife. Located just two hours from London by train, it’s easy to get to and worth the visit. From Cardiff Castle to the Welsh National Stadium, you can find plenty of things to do, all within one square mile around Cardiff Central Station. Shopping centers, museums, theatres, and outdoor green spaces are just some of the attractions that Cardiff offers for a fun-filled weekend. With something for everyone, there’s never a dull moment in Cardiff!

Panorama of Cardiff Wales from Cardiff Castle - The Places Where We Go podcast

Getting to Cardiff is easy! Whether visiting for a short break from London or traveling further afield, getting there is simple.

Taking the train is probably the most convenient way, with around 60 direct trains daily from Paddington station that take about 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Alternatively, you can fly into Rhoose Cardiff International Airport and catch the shuttle bus, which costs just £1 per person. There are direct flights to Cardiff from many UK destinations like Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Belfast, as well as European cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, and Dublin.

Cardiff’s major attractions and sights are all conveniently located in the city center, making it easy to get around on foot. You can reach Cardiff Bay by either train or bus, while St Fagans and Castell Coch are also within easy reach if you’re willing to go further. The city has plenty of public transportation options to get around quickly. With everything being so close together, you can get to many places in about a ten-to-fifteen-minute walk.

Cardiff Castle Keep and Grounds from a visit by The Places Where We Go Podcast

  • Spend a half-day exploring Cardiff City Center for a unique urban experience. This will help you get your bearings in the heart of Cardiff. 
  • Begin your journey at Cardiff Market —the largest indoor market in Wales, selling fresh produce and artisan goods with plenty of dining options to choose from. Stop into Spillers Records , recognized as the oldest record shop in the world.

Inside of Cardiff Market

  • Then stroll down Queen Street , where you can find some great shopping or explore the quaint arcades filled with independent shops. Browse the unique shops within the Victorian Arcades.
  • For modern shopping, you can explore the St David’s Dewi San t shopping center.  
  • If you enjoy visiting church buildings, St. David’s Metropolitan Cathedral is a beautifully ornate church with beautiful ecclesiastical architecture, art, and stained glass windows. The City Parish of St. John the Baptist is another church right in the heart of the city with plenty of history.

St. John the Baptist Church, Cardiff

  • In the afternoon, visit the National Museum Cardiff or stroll Cardiff via the Centenary Walk which runs 2.3 miles within Cardiff’s city center.  This path passes through many of Cardiff’s landmarks and historic buildings.
  • Morning: Visit Cardiff Castle .  This is one of Wales’ leading heritage attractions and a site of international significance. Located in the heart of the capital, Cardiff Castle’s walls and fairytale towers conceal 2,000 years of history.  Arrive early and plan on visiting for at least 2 hours.
  • Late morning, head over to The Museum of Cardiff . The Museum of Cardiff showcases the history of the Welsh capital, from its humble beginnings as a small market town in the 1300s to becoming one of the largest ports in the world at the turn of the 20th century. Tour this beautiful historic building and explore how Cardiff has evolved into the cool, cosmopolitan capital we know today. Explore the vast collections at your leisure or attend special guided tours to learn more about this fascinating city. Admission is free.
  • Afternoon: A visit to Castle Coch , also known as the ‘fairy-tale’ castle, is a must for any visitor to South Wales. William Burges built this Victorian fantasy on the foundations of a medieval fortress, and its unique 19th-century architecture and design make it truly remarkable. It is conveniently located just outside Cardiff City Center and can be easily accessed by bus or train. A visit to Castle Coch promises visitors an experience of opulent decor, rich history, and a true ‘fairy-tale’ atmosphere.

Consider a Private Day Tour of South Wales, including Cardiff & Caerphilly Castle Rated 5 stars on Viator

After breakfast in Cardiff City Center, hop on a train to Newport. Then, travel by train from Cardiff Central to Newport, where you’ll catch a bus at the Newport Bus Station-Friars Walks (be careful to depart from the correct bus station). There, you can find a bus to travel to Raglan Castle .

Step back in time and explore the ruins of a once majestic castle. The castle is in ruins today and has been featured in the films “The Song Remains the Same,” featuring Led Zeppelin and “Time Bandits.” After a morning exploring the castle, have lunch in the town of Raglan at The Ship Inn before traveling back to Cardiff.  You might wait up to an hour for the bus ride back to the city.  If time permits, hop off the bus on the way back to Cardiff to explore the ancient Roman village of Caerloen . 

St. Fagans National History Museum : If you want to experience authentic Welsh history, culture, and nature, then St. Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff is the place for you! Located just five miles outside the city center, this open-air museum offers a unique glimpse into Wales’ past with over forty historic buildings to explore and discover. There are examples of traditional Welsh farming techniques and craftsmanship, as well as interactive exhibits that bring the past to life. The museum also features beautiful parkland, wildlife gardens, and woodland walks for visitors to explore. This is an absolute gem of a museum that significantly exceeded our expectations when we visited. Arrive early and plan to spend five to six hours here.

You can read our post from our memorable visit to the St. Fagan National Museum here .

And if you are looking for a place to stay near this museum, check out our post – Hotels Near St Fagans National History Museum – Your Guide to the Closest Accommodations.

St Fagans National Museum

  • Agincourt Wales Trail : Links eight historic sites that played a role in the famous battle. Consider this as an extension of a visit to Raglan Castle.
  • Cardiff Bay and Boat tour : Explore the architecture and have a dockside meal
  • Caerphilly Castle : Wales’ largest and Britain’s second-largest castle behind Windsor
  • Town exploration: If you have time for another day trip or partial day-trip excursion from Cardiff City Center, consider hopping on a train to arrive at Barry Island , Llantwit Major, or Penarth.

is cardiff bay worth a visit

  • Pieminister for savory pies
  • Barker Tea House : Breakfast, Brunch & Luncheon. Fabulously Indulgent Afternoon Tea.
  • Picnic in Bute Park with food acquired at Cardiff Market (weather cooperating)
  • Coffee: 200 Degrees Coffee Shop & Barista School

Cardiff offers a variety of lodging options to fit all needs and budgets, most of which are in the heart of the city and conveniently located near Cardiff Central Station. Whether you’re looking for an affordable stay or something more luxurious, Cardiff has a lodging option perfect for you!

If you plan on visiting Cardiff for a game or concert at Principality Stadium, be sure to book your accommodation well in advance. These events may cause rooms close to the city center to sell out quickly.

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Recommended Lodging in Cardiff

The Parkgate Hotel in Cardiff is the perfect mix of modern convenience and classic beauty. With its proximity to the Principality Stadium, it is the ideal place to stay for a sporting event or an evening on the town. Every room is uniquely decorated with touches of historic architecture, providing guests with a one-of-a-kind experience. Guests can also indulge in various dining experiences, from afternoon tea to dinner, each an elegant and savory experience. With its luxurious amenities and warm atmosphere, the Parkgate Hotel will surely make any visit to Cardiff one to remember.

Click to check rates and availability at Parkgate Hotel

Hotel Indigo Cardiff is situated at the top of Queen Street. The modern hotel includes stylishly decorated rooms with nods to Welsh culture and heritage, including themes like ‘Made in Wales,’ ‘Welsh Industry,’ and ‘Music.’ Guests can enjoy views of the Cardiff skyline from many rooms, free Wi-Fi, and invigorating rainfall showers. There is a fully equipped fitness suite onsite. When hunger calls, the rooftop Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill restaurant provides a classic British menu and private dining options.

Check rates and availability at Hotel Indigo Cardiff

The Royal Hotel Cardiff is the perfect destination for your stay in Wales’ capital. Located a mere 250 meters from Cardiff Central station, this 4-star hotel is renowned for its great value; it has made TripAdvisors past lists in the top 10 best value hotels in the UK. The Royal Hotel offers unbeatable convenience, located in the heart of Cardiff City Center, with easy access to cultural highlights such as St. David’s Hall and Wales Millennium Centre.

Check rates and availability at Royal Hotel Cardiff

We recommended spending at least two days in Cardiff to experience the city. Three or more days are preferable to take in the key highlights, including Cardiff Castle and the National Museum of Wales. While in the city, consider taking a day trip as there are various historical sites and castles easily accessible by train and bus from Cardiff.

Absolutely! Cardiff is a beautiful city with history, culture, entertainment, and outdoor activities. The Welsh capital has Victorian arcades, vibrant street markets, and a buzzing nightlife scene. History lovers will appreciate the old churches, while Cardiff Castle is a must-see attraction in the heart of the city center.

Explore Cardiff via a tour

Check out our post on the best tours in Cardiff to plan a guided adventure when you visit the Welsh capital.

The Best Tours in Cardiff

Sports fans should check for events at these places

  • Cardiff City Stadiu m : Home of Cardiff City football team and Wales football team
  • Principality Stadium : Behind-the-scenes tours also available at this site
  • Sophia Gardens : Home of Glamorgan County Cricket Club


Architecture Buffs should reference the Listed Buildings in Cardiff and choose among over 1,000 listed buildings in Cardiff to explore 

Read – Watch – Listen

Soak up the vibe of Cardiff with these selections before your trip

  • Authors: Roald Dahl, Ken Follett
  • Watch: Torchwood, Gavin and Stacey, Doctor Who, Sherlock
  • Listen: Shirley Bassey, Ivor Novello, Charlotte Church, Super Furry Animals

Cardiff in 50 Buildings

Your Personal Itinerary

  • Selected attractions: Check attraction websites for your selections for open days, times, prices, and ticket information. 
  • Lodging: We recommend lodging that is walkable to Cardiff Central Railway Station or otherwise within walking distance of the city center
  • Transportation: Especially if you rely on public transit, plan how you will get to and from places on your personalized itinerary.  
  • Google Maps: We recommend downloading an offline version of Google Maps to help you with navigation.  Note that the offline version of Google Maps provides driving routes versus walking routes. 

cardiff #cardiffitinerary

Wales Flag

Get inspiration for your wanderlust with our weekly curated travel news.

Subscribe to get our latest content by email. It’s 100% FREE!

' src=

Art Dobrucki is a travel writer and podcast host for The Places Where We Go. With his wife Julie, they bring their travel stories to curious travelers to inspire adventures. Art is also a composer and keyboardist with several albums to his credit. Check out more information on our About Us page.

  • Pingback: Cardiff Travel Podcast - The Places Where We Go
  • Pingback: Raglan Castle Podcast - The Places Where We Go
  • Pingback: St Fagans National History Museum - The Places Where We Go
  • Pingback: Cardiff Castle Podcast - The Places Where We Go
  • Pingback: Barry Island Podcast - The Places Where We Go
  • Pingback: Easy Creamy Oatmeal Recipe - The Places Where We Go
  • Pingback: Tracing Welsh Ancestry in Raglan - The Places Where We Go
  • Pingback: Wales' Capital City: The Best Tours to Experience Cardiff's Culture in 2024 - The Places Where We Go
  • Pingback: Leaving For Cardiff - Preflight Travel Tales - The Places Where We Go

Comments are closed.

Churchill War Rooms to Westminster Abbey: Visit Two London Landmarks in One Day

Fund your travel dreams with higher interest rates, discovering the most inspiring usa pilgrimage walks, upcoming places.

  • London, England
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Riga, Latvia
  • Gdansk, Poland
  • Copenhagen, Denmark

© 2024 The Places Where We Go

  • More Networks

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog

TOP 20 Things To Do In Cardiff, Cardiff Bay & Near Cardiff!

Categories U.K , Wales

Cardiff is a fantastic city in the UK! It’s a diverse and cosmopolitan city sandwiched between the mountains and the ocean and there are so many things to do in Cardiff and so many reasons to visit Cardiff!

Whether you’re on a city break in Cardiff with friends, family or solo, or you’re popping into Cardiff whilst on a bigger Wales road trip .

In this Cardiff travel blog, I’ve got you covered with the top Cardiff attractions, things to do in Cardiff Bay (an area of Cardiff I love!), and places to go near Cardiff as it’s good to see a bit more of Wales during your stay in the city too!

Things To Do In Cardiff

things to do in Cardiff

Find What You're Looking For Easily Here!

How To Get Around Cardiff?

Living in Cardiff really made me appreciate how walkable it is, how bike-friendly it is and how good the public transport is!

Walking: Cardiff City Centre is really easy to walk around as it isn’t that big and if you don’t fancy walking or have difficulties walking, I recommend this Cardiff hop on hop off bus to show you the best Cardiff tourist attractions.

Cycling: Cardiff has recently had OVO bikes installed and as I found out, they are a great way to see the city and there are plenty of cycle lanes in Cardiff.

I recommend hiring a bike to get from Cardiff City Centre to Cardiff Bay and for cycling around Cardiff Bay along the water so you can see much more in a shorter amount of time.

things to do in Cardiff, hiring an oyo bike to get around

Buses: Buses in Cardiff are really regular and easy to use. Go to Cardiff Bus and you’ll easily be able to plan your route. Each adult journey is £2.00 one way.

If you are staying in accommodation in Cardiff outside of the city centre, definitely look into the public bus to get you into the city and around it.

Trains: Cardiff Central Train Station is right in the middle of the city centre and has great transport links to all of the UK. For example, the train from London to Cardiff is just 2 hours making a day trip to Cardiff from London really easy!

There are many train stations around Cardiff and a few stations in the city but I find buses easier, cheaper and more regular to use than the trains inside the city.

Looking to take the train to Wales??

Search Transport For Wales to find the best price and ticket for your London to Cardiff train!

For more help on where to visit in Wales by train? Read my 10 best places to visit in Wales by train post!

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Driving: Cardiff is an easy city to drive around and navigate with plenty of parking. John Lewis Car Park is a popular and good place for parking in Cardiff and so is St James Car Park which is a bit cheaper I found.

Cardiff Day Tours

If you’re looking for a day tour from Cardiff, or a way to see Cardiff with a guide, like a hop on, hop off bus , check out these options !

For adventure activities in and around Cardiff like Gorge Walking, Coasteering, and Kayaking, all organised by a reputable company with a guide, check out Blue Ocean Activities and Adventure who are pros in Outdoor Activities in South Wales!

Cardiff Map

Here is a map with all of the below places to visit in Cardiff detailed to help you plan your trip!

Places to Visit in Cardiff

Here are the top places to visit in Cardiff:

1. Cardiff Castle

When it comes to Cardiff attractions, Cardiff Castle is number 1 in the things to do in Cardiff!

The Castle is Wales’ top heritage attraction , it has been incredibly preserved and is really interactive.

It’s great for adults to visit but it’s especially good when thinking about what to do in Cardiff with kids.

You can buy tickets to enter the castle and the castle museum making it a great for things to do in Cardiff when it rains, however, if you are short on time or want to save money, you can enter the castle grounds for free and still see a lot of the 2000 years of history Cardiff Castle has to offer!

Step inside the walls of Cardiff Castle with a comprehensive tour

things to do in Cardiff, Cardiff Castle

2. Shopping Arcades

Cardiff is known as  ‘ The City of Arcades ‘  because of all its beautiful Victorian & Edwardian arcades dating back to 1885 that now house over 100 independent cafes, bars and shops making them top places to visit in Cardiff.

Make sure you add these shopping arcades in Cardiff to your list of places to see in Cardiff as you walk through the city.

  • Castle Quarter Arcades
  • High Street Arcade
  • Royal Arcade
  • Morgan Arcade

things to do in Cardiff, Shopping Arcade from outside

3. Cardiff Market

For more history, to see some Welsh culture and to try the best Welsh Cakes in Cardiff , head to Cardiff Market which is in the middle of the city and just a few minute’s walk from the Castle.

Here you’ll find rows of independent shops and cafes selling local products. Cardiff Market is known as the beating heart of Cardiff making it one of the top places to go in Cardiff and things to do in Cardiff!

For the best Welsh Cakes , be sure to buy some from Cardiff Bakestones!

things to do in Cardiff, Cardiff Market inside

  • For more of my posts on and around Cardiff to get the most out of your stay see:
  • 16 Beaches Near Cardiff To Visit, All 1 Hour From Cardiff!
  • How To Spend One Day in Cardiff! A Lush Cardiff Itinerary!
  • 16 GREAT Day Trips From Cardiff In Wales & England!
  • How To Do A Cardiff Day Trip from London With Things To Do in Cardiff!

4. Cool Cafes

Whilst planning your activities in Cardiff and Cardiff sightseeing, be sure to plan in brunch, lunch, or a coffee and cake at one of the many cafes in Cardiff.

There are so many independent cool cafes in Cardiff city centre and I particularly like the ones located in the shopping arcades so you can really enjoy the architecture of the arcades.

Waterloo Tea in Wyndham Arcade is my favourite but I also like Uncommon Ground and Corner Coffee .

things to do in Cardiff, Waterloo cafe coffee and cake

5. National Museum Cardiff

The National Museum Cardiff is located next to Cardiff City Hall which is a hugely impressive grand building and worth visiting just to see it from the outside.

Entrance to the museum is free making this one of the free things to do in Cardiff.

Inside you’ll be able to visit one of Europe’s finest art collections and 500 years of paintings, drawings, sculptures, silver, and ceramics from Wales and across the world.

things to do in Cardiff, national museum cardiff

Discover the rich heritage of Wales at the Cardiff National Museum

6. Bute Park

Attached to Cardiff Castle and next to the National Museum Cardiff is Bute Park.

Bute Park is a huge park really popular with locals and students, especially on the weekend making it one of the places to visit in Cardiff to get a feel of local life.

It is made up of different areas with plenty of gardens, walking paths, cycle paths, playing fields, benches and cafes.

If you are visiting Cardiff for a few days, I really recommend going for a walk or bike ride in Bute Park to easily see a part of the city that the locals love.

things to do in Cardiff, Bute park

7. Cardiff Boat Trips

Something that not even the locals know is a popular activity in Cardiff is the boat tours that run from Bute Park into Cardiff Bay.

You can get on in either Cardiff Bay or Cardiff City Centre in Bute Park near the Castle and use the Cardiff boat cruise as a way to get between the two parts of the city, or you can stay on for the whole 1-hour journey getting off where you started and enjoying the commentary and what you’re passing by on the cruise.

Check out Cardiff Boat for their updated timetable and prices.

Sail the waters of Cardiff Bay on a scenic boat trip -Book Now

things to do in Cardiff, Cardiff boat trips

8. Cardiff Nightlife

Cardiff is known for its great nightlife and going on a night out in Cardiff is popular with stag and hen do’s. People come from all around the country to have a night out in Cardiff.

It’s also great for students to go out in thanks to its University.

Here are the best nightclubs in Cardiff and the best places to go out in Cardiff!

Things To Do in Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay is a great area of Cardiff City, here are the best things to do in Cardiff Bay:

9. Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay

What makes Cardiff a loved city for locals and for visitors is its location right on the water and Cardiff Bay is the place you can appreciate this from.

Cardiff Bay is actually quite big and a lot of it is just residential, so as a tourist to Cardiff, Mermaid Quay is the place you’ll want to go.

Mermaid Quay has lots of restaurants, cafes, bars and top Cardiff Bay attractions like the things to do in Cardiff Bay I’m going to go into next!

Things to do in Cardiff, things to do in Cardiff Bay, Mermaid Quay from water

10. Cardiff Bay 10km Trail

For the best way to see Cardiff Bay and get some fresh Welsh air , I recommend taking the 10km trail around Cardiff Bay.

You can pick the trail up at any point but starting and ending in Mermaid Quay is a good idea and you’ll see helpful signs along the way pointing you in the right direction.

If you have time you can walk the trail but doing the trail by bike is easier and quicker. You can easily hire one of the OVO bikes in Cardiff Bay and drop it off at any other stand when you have finished.

The Cardiff Bay trail will take you to most of the below places to see in Cardiff, so it’s a good way to see a lot of Cardiff and get some exercise along the way!

Things to do in Cardiff, things to do in Cardiff Bay, Cardiff Bay Trail

11. Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve

A short walk from Mermaid Quay is the Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve, it’s not a big area but there is a great viewing platform looking over the water and lots of chances to learn about nature in Cardiff Bay because this is a biodiversity hot spot!

Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve is one of the great places to go in Cardiff to get away from the city traffic and things to do in Cardiff with kids as they can run around and will learn something from the many nature signs.

Here’s my post on how to visit Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve .

Things to do in Cardiff, things to do in Cardiff Bay, Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve

12. Techniquest

Techniquest is a science and discovery centre located near Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay.

It’s a really interactive museum and great for children, especially on a rainy day in Cardiff! Not only will you learn more about science but you’ll also learn about Welsh culture in this Cardiff museum.

For things to do in Cardiff, especially for children, this is a great idea!

Things to do in Cardiff, things to do in Cardiff Bay, Techniquest

13. Cardiff Aqua Park

For one of the really fun things to do in Cardiff, look into Cardiff Aqua Park !

It’s an inflatable Aqua Park in Cardiff Bay open all summer offering fun, adrenaline and lots of laughs!

Cardiff is popular for stag and hen do’s so if you’re looking for activities in Cardiff, this would be a brilliant group activity to challenge everyone!

Things to do in Cardiff, things to do in Cardiff Bay, Cardiff Aqua Park

14. Norwegian Church Arts Centre

Whilst in Cardiff Bay and Mermaid Quay, I recommend walking down to the Norwegian Church. This is one of the unique Cardiff attractions and something you wouldn’t expect to see in the built-up Cardiff Bay Area.

The Norwegian Church and Arts Centre is a White church where many Norwegian sailors lowered their anchors on arrival at Cardiff port.

The church is now a thriving arts centre with a cafe and home to a gallery celebrating Cardiff’s most famous writer,  Roald Dahl  who was born in the area to Norwegian parents so it’s also a must-visit when in Cardiff Bay!

Things to do in Cardiff, things to do in Cardiff Bay, Norwegian Arts Church

15. Cardiff Bay Barrage

To see an incredible view of the water, city and mountains and see a cool bridge, take the Cardiff Bay Trail right around to Cardiff Bay Barrage and Harbour.

Cardiff Bay Barrage is a harbour barrier for pedestrians and bikes to cross from Cardiff Bay to Penarth.

It’s a really unique structure and one of the Cardiff places to visit I recommend for a good view of the city and a place that locals love to visit too!

Things to do in Cardiff, things to do in Cardiff Bay, Cardiff Bay Barrage

Things To Do Near Cardiff

Cardiff and the surrounding areas are not that big so there are many things to do near Cardiff which you can easily pair with visiting the city centre:

16. Penarth Beach

For beaches near Cardiff , Penarth Beach is the best one to visit because it’s the closest!

It’s easy to drive from Cardiff to Penarth, and get the bus or the train which is why it’s top of my list of places to visit near Cardiff.

Penarth Beach is a huge beach although it is not a sand beach. It has a pier and Penarth Pier is open all year round to walk along and has cafes, restaurants and stalls nearby for food and drink.

This really is one of the top things to do in Cardiff and things to do near Cardiff all year round to see another side of Cardiff and get some fresh sea air!

things to do in Cardiff, places to visit near Cardiff, Penarth Beach

17. Castle Coch

Castle Coch is a 15-minute drive from Cardiff city centre and well worth visiting if you are looking to visit great Castles in Wales because this is one of the top ones!

Castle Coch is a 19th Century castle built in a gothic style in the woods. It is open to visitors but if you are just passing by trying to save time or money it can also be appreciated from the outside only with a walk through the nearby woods.

For Cardiff tourist attractions, Castle Coch is the best one to visit as it is so unique looking.

things to do in Cardiff, places to visit near Cardiff, Castle Coch

18. Caerphilly Castle

Another really good castle in Cardiff is Caerphilly Castle. This is the biggest castle in Wales and the second biggest in Britain with only Windsor Castle bigger than it so it has to be on my list of things to do in Cardiff!

Visiting Caerphilly Castle from Cardiff city centre is easy by bus, train or by driving and it’s a good way to see more of Wales without going too far out of Cardiff city.

To make the visit to Caerphilly more worth it, be sure to head up to Caerphilly Mountain afterwards!

19. Caerphilly Mountain

Whilst you’re in Caerphilly which is just 15 minutes from Cardiff city centre, from the Castle you can head towards Caerphilly Mountain and walk to the top.

Caerphilly is not a big mountain so don’t worry, it’s more of a hill and if you have a car to drive you from the castle to the start of the Caerphilly Mountain walk then it’s even easier.

Related Post: How To Do Caerphilly Mountain Walk! Easy Walk Near Cardiff!

I really recommend adding this to your places to visit near Cardiff because you get to see amazing views of the Welsh countryside and the ocean and city in the distance, without going too far from Cardiff city centre at all.

things to do in Cardiff, places to visit near Cardiff, Caerphilly Mountain

20. Garth Mountain

Lastly, another walk and mountain but also, another mountain that isn’t that big because Garth Mountain is also more like a hill.

Related Post: How To Do Garth Mountain Walk! Easy & Hard Route!

This walk gives you another look at the beautiful countryside surrounding Cardiff.

It’s also in the same direction as Castle Coch so if you are looking to spend 1 day outside of Cardiff, or half a day, you could visit Castle Coch and then do the Garth Mountain Walk, but you’ll still be within 15-20 minutes from Cardiff city centre!

things to do in Cardiff, places to visit near Cardiff, Garth Mountain

I hope you have found these things to do in Cardiff, things to do in Cardiff Bay and places to visit near Cardiff helpful!

  • For more of my posts to help you plan your trip and see more of Wales see:
  • Wales Road Trip Itinerary & 56 Places To Stop On Your Wales Road Trip!
  • How To Spend 3 Days in Wales! Perfect 3 Day Wales Itinerary!
  • How To Spend 1 Week in Wales! BEST Wales Itinerary!
  • Complete South Wales Itinerary For A Lush 1 Week in South Wales!
  • How To Do The Brecon Beacons Waterfalls Walk to 4 Waterfalls!
  • 7 Cardiff Hidden Gems You Shouldn’t Miss!

If you liked this please share it! 🙂

  • Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)
  • Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. *

Wednesday 20th of July 2022

Thanks for sharing this article. I visited Cardiff and Penarth on a 3 day trip and wanted to really explore things so used your recommendations as a guide. Everything was spot on like you described it with the exception of easy driving within Cardiff City Centre as many roads were closed to vehicles as they are pedestrianising it heavily. I ended up entering into a bus/taxi lane by error so that will be a nice PCN present next week ha! Another suggestion would be to write about food to try in Wales like traditional Welsh dishes. But thanks for all the rest, was truly useful and appreciated :)


Hello! So glad you followed this guide, thank you for letting me know! Oh no, that's happened to me in Cardiff before! I had no idea until I got the letter!


20 Top Tourist Attractions & Places to Visit in Cardiff

Written by Bryan Dearsley and Anietra Hamper Updated Dec 28, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Author Anietra Hamper and photographer Ian Henderson spent time exploring the sights of Cardiff in the summer of 2022 while on assignment for PlanetWare.

The capital of Wales, the beautiful city of Cardiff is the perfect place to begin exploring this amazing country.

St. Fagens National Museum of History

An easy drive over the River Severn from the English city of Bristol , Cardiff (Caerdydd) is where you'll find some of the country's top tourist attractions and things to do. This city has long been of historic significance, as evidenced by splendid Cardiff Castle, widely regarded as one of the best-preserved of the dozens of castles in Wales.

From the castle, it's a short and extremely pleasant walk through the city's Victorian-era arcades down to Cardiff Bay, one of the largest port revitalization projects in all of Europe. Here, you can wander through the old warehouses and wharves, and even enjoy a spot of dining or shopping.

Cardiff also makes for a great jumping-off spot to explore other important attractions in Wales . One of the best (and closest) is the magnificent Brecon Beacons, while the spectacular Snowdonia National Park — although a little farther north — is well worth a visit.

For more great ideas on the best places to visit, read our list of the top attractions in Cardiff, Wales.

1. St. Fagans National Museum of History

2. take a tour of cardiff castle, 3. visit cardiff bay, 4. enjoy a game of rugby at principality stadium, 5. learn about welsh history at the national museum cardiff, 6. see a performance at the wales millennium centre, 7. get outdoors in roath park, 8. stroll through the city's victorian arcades, 9. the red castle: castell coch, 10. get hands-on at techniquest, 11. see ancient artifacts at llandaff cathedral, 12. walk the grounds at caerphilly castle, 13. hit the rapids at cardiff international white water, 14. tour cardiff city hall, 15. walk the trails at bute park & arboretum, 16. go underground in a welsh mining experience, 17. get social at mermaid quay, 18. climb aboard for a cardiff boat tour, 19. spend an evening at the new theatre, 20. the museum of cardiff, where to stay in cardiff for sightseeing, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to cardiff, map of attractions & things to do in cardiff, cardiff - climate chart.

St. Fagens National Museum of History

One of the most popular places to visit in Cardiff is also where you will be able to fully immerse yourself in Welsh culture, through the living history experiences at the St. Fagans National Museum of History . This open-air attraction offers insight into the traditional skills and crafts that helped shape the country as you interact with costumed interpreters who bring the exhibits to life.

Highlights include the opportunity to explore a variety of original and reproduction buildings, including quaint farmhouses and cottages, well-kept gardens, along with workshops and mills where you can enjoy demonstrations of old machinery.

Good times to visit, if you can, include spring, summer, and at Christmas, with each season marked by a number of special events and festivals.

Location: Cathays Park, Cardiff, Wales

Daffodil blooms in front of Cardiff Castle

Built atop a nearly 2,000-year-old Roman fortification, Cardiff Castle is one of the most visited tourist attractions in all of Wales. It's also one of the most romantic and best preserved of the country's many historic castles, with some of the oldest sections dating back as far as the 10th century.

One of the most notable features that make it such an attractive place to visit are the State Apartments. Each room is chock-full of fascinating displays and useful information relating to the people that once lived and worked here, as well as key events in the castle's history.

Other highlights include the picturesque chapel and the clock tower, along with the elegant Banqueting Hall , famous for its rich artworks and murals, as well as its impressive centerpiece, the room's large and elaborately decorated fireplace.

If you're pressed for time and want to be sure you're able to see the best parts of this magnificent historic site, consider joining an organized tour.

Address: Castle Street, Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff Bay at dusk

There is no doubt that part of your time in Cardiff will be spent at Cardiff Bay — this spectacular waterfront complex is the centerpiece of the city , with shopping, entertainment, food, and sporting events.

It can easily take the better part of a day to explore this 2,700-acre waterfront area, but it is well worth the expenditure of time and energy — not to mention that it will give you a good excuse to enjoy some of the local eateries when you take a rest.

Covering pretty much the entire former dockyards, the Cardiff Bay redevelopment, which is one of the largest in Europe, is home to plenty of fun things to do, particularly if you're traveling with kids.

Cardiff Bay

Take a ride on the Ferris wheel or plan a boat ride from one of the many dockside operators. While there is plenty of modern-day entertainment at Cardiff Bay, it is hard to miss the remnants of its historic importance as one of the largest docks in the world.

Those with kids who enjoy reading books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Big Friendly Giant should also pop in to the historic Norwegian Church, where the author of these classic tales, Roald Dahl, once worshipped (there's even a public square, Roald Dahl Plass, dedicated to the author's memory). Also notable here is the Senedd, which houses the country's government offices.

Walking path through the wetlands in Cardiff Bay

For those who enjoy walking, you won't be disappointed. You could spend hours walking the many parks and paths here, some of which lead through the Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve with plenty of wildlife-watching opportunities.

The former warehouses and wharves are now home to everything from luxury homes and hotels. In addition to its theaters, it's here you'll find the Wales Millennium Centre performance arts facility (see below for more on this top Cardiff attraction), numerous art studios and galleries, and excellent shopping.

Address: Queen Alexandra House, Cargo Road, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, Wales

Principality Stadium

If you're interested in sports, try to take in a rugby match at the nearby Principality Stadium at Cardiff Arms Park .

And if that's not possible — the Welsh take their rugby seriously, so matches often sell out (especially international matches) — at least opt for a tour of this state-of-the-art stadium.

Principality Stadium

Highlights of an informative organized tour include behind-the-scenes peeks into the national rugby team's change rooms and the tunnels that lead to the pitch, as well as the VIP and press facilities. When not hosting rugby games, the venue is often used for major music artists passing through Cardiff while on tour.

Address: Westgate Street, Cardiff, Wales

National Museum Cardiff

Those wanting to learn more about the rich history of Wales would do well to visit the National Museum Cardiff .

Housed in the city's architecturally pleasing Civic Center building, this large and fascinating museum features numerous displays depicting the country's history all the way back to the time of dinosaurs. Among its collections relating to archaeology, a standout are the many fascinating displays of Bronze Age weaponry.

Art lovers will want to visit the large art gallery. Notable among its extensive catalogue of important paintings are works by Impressionists including Monet and Picasso. There are also a number of important sculptures by Rodin, some of the later works in a collection that dates all the way back to the 1500s.

Address: Cathays Park, Cardiff, Wales

Wales Millennium Centre

Those interested in arts and culture would do well to try to grab a performance at the very modern Wales Millennium Centre .

A leader in performances as diverse as classical music and opera, ballet, and modern dance, as well as literary events and musical shows, this sprawling five-acre venue has been dubbed one of the top performing arts centers on the planet. If you are looking for things to do at night in Cardiff, this is the place.

Even if you can't make a show or performance, be sure to visit to explore the grounds — it is, after all, located in Cardiff Bay — as well as the other fun things to do here. Related activities include educational events, lectures, and workshops, as well as dining and shopping experiences. The facility also offers a series of informative guided tours and behind-the-scenes activities.

Address: Bute Place, Cardiff Bay, Wales

Roath Park

One of the most popular outdoor activities in Cardiff is to slip on walking shoes or runners and take a stroll through one of the city's many fine parks.

A favorite among residents and visitors alike, Roath Park was established back in 1894 as one of the city's first public parks and has maintained a unique Victorian feel to this day. Roath Park is designated as a Green Flag park for its excellence in connecting people to outdoor spaces and it is one of the top parks for this designation in the UK.

Roath Park is a big place, so plan to spend a few hours exploring its 130 acres of scenic green space.

Highlights include the pretty Nant Fawr stream, which was dammed during the park's construction to form a lovely 30-acre lake. Circumventing the lake itself is a journey of nearly one and a half miles, with many benches and potential picnic spots along the way.

While it's certainly fun watching families and outdoor enthusiasts out on the water, there are plenty of opportunities for visitors, too. Highlights include fishing and rowing (rowboats can be rented), with the park's iconic lighthouse making a great selfie backdrop.

There's also a surprising number of "wilderness" (of sorts) here, with a conservation area that serves as home to a variety of birds and water fowl, and a charming "Wild Garden" featuring pleasant paths and plenty of shade.

If gardens are your thing, check out the park's Botanic Garden , popular for its collection of shrubs, trees, and displays of flowers. There's even a fun adventure playground for the kids. Sporting activities available include tennis, basketball, and lawn bowls.

Address: Lake Rd West, Cardiff, Wales

Shopping arcade in Cardiff

A must-experience in central Cardiff are the well-preserved and still bustling Victorian shopping arcades. Cardiff is known as the "City of Arcades" because of the seven Victorian and Edwardian structures in the city center that feature hundreds of local shopping boutiques, restaurants, and cafés. You can plan an entire day just exploring these beautiful and historic shopping arcades.

Dissecting the city, these fascinating, old covered pedestrian thoroughfares were originally built to allow residents and visitors to enjoy shopping indoors without having to concern themselves with the weather or the poor conditions of roads and sidewalks.

Glass-roofed shopping arcade in Cardiff

A good place to begin is at the oldest, the Royal Arcade , built in 1858. Many of the original shopfronts exist unchanged to this day, though the wares sold may have evolved over the decades. Today, you can find limitless choices of Welsh crafts and woolen goods. Don't forget to enjoy a traditional Welsh cake from one of several bakeries that still make them from generations-old recipes.

Other favorite arcades include the High Street Arcade , built in 1886 and well-known as a place to shop for clothing, and the Castle Arcade , which connects the downtown area to the castle and is well worth visiting for its art galleries, boutiques, and eateries. The Cardiff Market is another landmark shopping area to visit and has been serving up fresh produce from local growers since the 1890s.

Castell Coch

Cardiff has several castles to explore, which is no surprise given that Wales has the highest concentration of castles in the UK.

Castell Coch , also known as the Red Castle, is, however, quite different altogether. Only 200 years old, this Cinderella-like castle, with its attractive turrets and towers, looks like it popped right out of a book of fairy-tales. This was indeed the intent of its creator, the third Marquess of Bute.

The attention to detail, both inside and out, is remarkable, and makes the visit well worthwhile. Attractive flourishes include carvings of creatures and religious icons — including some from (you guessed it) famous fairy-tales — as well as accompanying displays that allow guests to enjoy a virtual exploration of the building's unique history.

Address: Tongwynlais, Cardiff, Wales


If you are traveling with kids, then booking a few hours on the itinerary to play at Techniquest is worthwhile. This is also a great rainy-day option during your trip to Cardiff since it is an indoor venue.

Techniquest is the UK's longest established science center, and the first of its kind in the UK to have Governing Member status in the Association of Science and Technology Centres (ASTC).

Techniquest has hundreds of interactive exhibits with educational and hands-on learning that showcase science exploration. Some of the most popular experiences here are the live lab demonstrations and shows.

Be sure to catch a galactic showing at the state-of-the-art planetarium . Round out your visit with a stop in to the gift shop to pick up unique science souvenirs to take home and a bite to eat at the café overlooking Cardiff Bay.

Address: Stuart Street, Cardiff, CF10 5BW

Llandaff Cathedral

Perhaps the best-known of Cardiff's many pretty churches — and certainly one worth visiting — the attractive Llandaff Cathedral was built in the 1300s on the ruins of the original structure built some 200 years earlier.

It's a delight to tour, rewarding the adventurous traveler with a pleasant look at a landmark that has drawn worshippers from across the country since the times of Bishop Urban, the cathedral's founder.

Exterior highlights include the impressive 15th-century tower, while a tour of the interior — either self-guided or arranged through church staff — will expose you to such features as an exquisite and fully-restored 18th-century Italian temple, notable for its rare religious sculptures and artifacts.

Address: Cathedral Road, Cardiff, Wales

Caerphilly Castle

Another castle worth visiting while you are in Cardiff is the stunning Caerphilly Castle, which is an easy 15-minute drive north of the city.

Built in 1628 and the largest castle in the country ever since, it served as part of the network of castles built by the English to keep control over the much-coveted Welsh countryside. Given its size and the scale of its defenses and battlements, it's a lot of fun to explore, and can easily take the best part of a day to see it all.

Of its many notable features, none impress as much as the two huge drawbridges which, along with the deep moat they cross when down, present an imposing portrait of the castle's daunting purpose-to keep out the enemy. An exploration of the interior provides a close-up look at a variety of displays of old weaponry and armor-much of it actually used in war-as well as interesting displays relating to everyday life for those who ruled, and those they ruled over.

Address: Castle Street, Caerphilly, Wales

Cardiff International White Water

Fortunately for sports enthusiasts and adventure seekers, there are plenty more fun things to do in Cardiff beyond exploring its rich history. A favorite for those into water sports, Cardiff International White Water offers a wide variety of experiences and programs for professional and amateur adventurers alike.

Part of the larger sports village development in Cardiff Bay, which was constructed for the 2012 Olympics, this unique facility consists of a man-made white water environment whose 250-meter course can be adjusted to suit the experience, whether it's a gentle family rafting trip or a full-on hardcore canoe or kayak heart-stopper.

A good choice for families with younger kids is to start things off with lessons at the Paddle School before heading out for fun on some of the easier obstacles to tackle. Other extreme sports fun here includes surfing, canyoning, and bodyboarding.

Address: Watkiss Way, Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff City Hall

Another venue worth popping into if you're nearby — it's located in the city center, so is easy to find — is the old Cardiff City Hall .

A handsome old building that was constructed in 1906, Cardiff City Hall, though largely used for events and functions, is open for the public to visit. And it's around 30 minutes of your time that's well-spent (especially as it's free!).

Notable features you'll see during your visit consist of immaculately restored interiors that date back to Edwardian times, in particular the famous Marble Hall, a large space decorated with a series of impressive marble statues and columns.

Cardiff City Hall

Also worth noting is the Assembly Room, once used to hold ceremonies and where local dignitaries would mix with visiting royalty. The old council chambers, too, are worth a peek, as is the facility's art collection.

Bute Park

Bute Park is centrally located in Cardiff behind Cardiff Castle, and is not only a lovely green space for strolling, picnicking, and riding a bike but it's a great thoroughfare to cut through for getting from one section of the city to another.

This park is one of the largest urban parks in the country , and it has a beautiful mix of unique trees, flowers, walking paths, woodlands, sculptures, fitness stations, and play trails for children.

The landscape includes an arboretum that features notable species of trees known as champion trees that are either the widest or tallest of their species within the UK. There are many park benches and shade trees where you can just sit and enjoy the views, or you can walk the paths to find the special treasures that the park holds, like the ancient friary that remains on the property.

Start your visit to Bute Park at the visitor center or by reviewing the park layout signs at the various entrances to orient yourself to the landscape and walkways.

Address: 35 North Road, Cardiff, Wales

Rhondda Heritage Park

While Cardiff is a thriving modern city, its roots in mining are strong, and visitors have a great opportunity to get a hands-on experience of this important piece of Welsh heritage at the Rhondda Heritage Park . The park sits on the site of the former Lewis Merthyr Colliery and contains many of the original mining equipment including the chimney and shafts used when it was in operation in the late 1800s.

Take the Black Gold Underground Experience tour through the actual mines that were used. The tour guides are former miners who share historic details about the importance of mining in the Rhondda Valley and their personal stories about life working in the mines.

After the 90-minute tour, take time to walk through the exhibits in the main building where you can see artifacts and history about the region and the influence that mining had on the community beyond just its economy.

Stop by the Caffe Bracchi for a snack with Italian pastries and foods created from the influence of some of the first migrants to the region.

Address: Lewis Merthyr Colliery, Coed Cae Road, Trehafod, Wales

Mermaid Quay

The social scene in Cardiff happens at Mermaid Quay . This is a gathering spot with dozens of restaurants and cafes, serving fare from around the world in settings that range from chic and casual to upscale dining.

The layout of the area is just as exciting as what's there to enjoy from the food, shopping and entertainment to the spots to relax. The architecture at Mermaid Quay is a combination of decks and balconies to bridges, terraces and towers.

Spend an afternoon or evening exploring Mermaid Quay, which is a great place to go with no agenda attached. There is generally live entertainment happening with options that range from a comedy club and live music to cinema.

Its waterfront setting is peaceful and a nice place to watch the sunset. For an added treat, hop onto the waterbus service that will take you for a ride around Cardiff Bay.

Address: Cardiff Harbor, Cardiff, Wales

Dock with boat tours in Cardiff

A great way to add to your Cardiff experience is by seeing the city from the water. There are several types of boat tours to take whether it is a cruise around Cardiff Bay or a ride on a vintage vessel.

The Princess Katharine is a popular option in Cardiff, a one-hour round trip ride that you can split into two 25-minute one-way rides as you get out to explore at the stop in-between.

These boat trips are a fun way to get out onto the water while learning about the history of Cardiff and the region and seeing points of interest that you might otherwise miss while exploring on your own.

You can find several boat trip operators at the docks along Cardiff Bay with varied departures and trip options to fit your time and interests.

New Theatre in Cardiff

Despite its name, the New Theatre in Cardiff is they city's oldest existing performance theatre. This Edwardian masterpiece is a beautiful venue where you can spend an evening taking in a show. Performances range from musicals and comedy to live music and guest speakers. There is a nice walkable neighborhood around the theatre where you can enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before the show or a coffee afterwards.

The first performance at the New Theatre took the stage in 1906 and it has been a community treasure ever since. The theatre seats 1100 people and has the largest stage in Wales, making for a dynamic visual performance of the many shows that appear here throughout the year. Visit the New Theatre website before your visit to see what's showing .

Address: Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3LN

Museum of Cardiff (Cardiff Story Museum)

The excellent Museum of Cardiff (also known as the "Cardiff Story Museum") is another must-see for visitors wanting to learn more about this still-important city's long and rich history. Using informative displays and original artifacts dating from various periods, visitors are led through the centuries, from the city's humble beginnings as a market and agricultural center to its rise as one of the UK's most important (and largest) ports.

In addition to its permanent displays, many interesting temporary exhibits are featured each year, along with fun educational workshops and events. Admission to this attraction is also free.

Address: The Old Library, The Hayes, Cardiff, Wales

Thanks to its many fine attractions and coastal location, Cardiff makes for a wonderful vacation destination. To help ensure you get the best from your time there, we've pulled together the following list of our recommendations of excellent hotels in convenient locations near Cardiff's top attractions.

Luxury Hotels :

  • Located on the city's waterfront overlooking Cardiff Bay, voco St. David's Cardiff offers a luxurious stay with superb views through the tall floor-to-ceiling windows in each if its rooms. On-site amenities of note include a wonderful spa with whirlpool tubs and a heated pool.
  • Just a short walk away from Cardiff Castle is the elegant Park Plaza Hotel Cardiff , a popular luxury choice for its spacious rooms and suites, a world-class spa, and fine-dining restaurant (be sure to try the afternoon tea).
  • Also worth considering in this category is the Hilton Cardiff , close to the castle and the city's top shopping arcades and offering chic rooms, separate bathrooms with walk-in showers, a restaurant, and spa.

Mid-Range Hotels :

  • A great choice in the mid-range hotel category is the Premier Inn Cardiff City Centre Hotel . In addition to its great-value rates and comfy beds, the hotel is in a fantastic location just a short stroll from Cardiff Castle.
  • Other contenders in this category include the Clayton Hotel Cardiff , popular for its modern décor and amenities including a gym, and the Radisson Blu Hotel, Cardiff , a good choice for its handy proximity to the city's main train station and stylish amenities.

Budget Hotels :

  • A great option for those on a tighter budget is the Travelodge Cardiff Atlantic Wharf . In addition to its budget rates and excellent value, as well as comfortable rooms with contemporary décor, the hotel is just steps from the Wales Millennium Centre.
  • Also worth considering are Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff , popular for its proximity to the train station and stadium, and Future Inn Cardiff Hotel , a good option for its comfortable, clean rooms and location near the city's top shopping areas.

Hop on the Bus, Gus :

  • Thanks to its many great attractions and points of interest, Cardiff is a great place to spend a day or more exploring. One of the best ways to get the most out of your time here is to participate in a City Sightseeing Cardiff Hop-On Hop-Off Tour . With the freedom to get on or off these classic double decker busses whenever and wherever it suits you, you'll find yourself able to get the most out of your time as you explore such popular attractions as the city's famous castle and the Millennium Stadium. Included with your 24-hour ticket is an informative audio commentary to help ensure you get the most from your Cardiff experience.

Dr Who? Dr Who! :

  • Thanks to the location here of the BBC studio responsible for the production of the famed British TV series, Cardiff has become something of a pilgrimage destination for fans of Dr Who. A great option for those on a tight schedule who want to cram in as much Dr Who-related fun as they can is the excellent Dr Who TV Locations Tour . This three-hour bus tour takes in the film locations related to the hit series, providing informative commentary and tidbits along the way from experienced guides (who are also fans). Highlights include a stop at Llandaff, the series' fictional village of Leadworth, along with other notable landmarks, including the National Museum of Cardiff and the Millennium Stadium.

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com


Make a Day of It : Cardiff serves as the perfect jumping-off point for adventures in and around southern Wales. For those seeking fun day trip ideas , look no further than nearby Brecon Beacons National Park, which offers numerous great hiking and biking trails. The city of Swansea is also worth visiting. Popular for its historic market, its parks, and revitalized waterfront, this coastal town is an easy one-hour car or rail journey from Cardiff. Another hour farther west, and you'll find yourself on the beautiful Pembrokeshire coastline , a magnificent area that includes the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and beautiful seaside towns and villages including Tenby, Laugharne, and Carmarthen.


Hills and Valleys : Picture Wales in your mind, and you'll no doubt conjure up images of gorgeous valleys surrounded by rugged mountains. The many beautiful valleys of South Wales are in fact home to no end of fun things to see and do, from visiting historic mines (Rhondda Heritage Park) to beautiful waterfalls (Brecon Beacons National Park). And as it's such a small country, it's relatively easy to explore northern parts of Wales from Cardiff, too. Highlights include some of the country's most beautiful castles (Caernarfon and Conwy), picturesque seaside towns (Llandudno and Porthmadog), and, of course, the must-visit Snowdonia National Park .


England's Glory : Wales is also just a hop, skip, and a jump from some of the top attractions in England . Liverpool is the closest major English city, and is famous the world over as the birthplace of the Beatles, with many points of interest related to the band. Farther south, and you'll find yourself in beautiful Bath , a popular travel destination for its well-preserved Roman baths.

instagram logo

More on Wales

Wales Travel Guide

facebook pixel

  • United Kingdom
  • 10 Reasons Everyone Should Visit...

10 Reasons Everyone Should Visit Cardiff At Least Once

The picturesque Cardiff Bay is within walking distance of some of the citys best hotels

Wales’ capital Cardiff is a small but vibrant city with plenty to see and do. It has the River Taff running through it and a castle in its centre, surrounded by the beautiful Bute Park. With so many top hotels to stay at , including budget-friendly options , it’s safe to say there’s plenty of reasons everyone should visit – here are our top 10.

The hospitality.

The Welsh are well known for their hospitable nature, humour and charm. You can usually count on a warm welcome wherever you go, especially when Wales is playing a rugby match at the stadium. The pubs and bars will be full of locals cheering, singing, drinking and enjoying themselves, and you’re bound to have a good time with them, even if you’re there wearing the shirt of the other team.


The city is sport-centred like no other. There are the venues Cardiff Arms Park and the Millennium Stadium right in the middle of the town, with the latter being visible for miles around. Cardiff has played host to FA Cup finals, Rugby League Challenge Cup finals and many more games. Cardiff is also big on cricket, with Sophia Gardens cricket grounds (aka, The SSE SWALEC Cardiff) being the headquarters of the Glamorgan CCC. The club has more than 7,000 members and also runs the Welsh Cricket Academy. The cricket stadium underwent a multi-million-pound refurbishment to host the first ‘England’ v Australia Test Match of the 2009 Ashes series. For ice hockey fans, there’s Cardiff’s professional ice-hockey team, the Cardiff Devils, who now practice down at Cardiff Bay at the Ice Arena Wales.

The rugby ball in the wall of Cardiff Castle during the Rugby World Cup

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle has much to set it apart, from the breathtaking, kaleidoscope-effect Arab Room to the Animal Wall, which consists of a row of stone animal sculptures each perched on different parts of the outer wall. The castle used to have live peacocks roaming its grounds, and it was common to find a plume on the floor. Those days are gone now, but there are still references to the birds dotted around. Entry to the castle costs £10, and there’s also the option of doing a ghost tour at night, going from room to room by candlelight, hearing the gruesome goings-on of the past and the many ghost sightings is an unforgettable experience.

The animal wall, Cardiff Castle


Cardiff became what it is today partly thanks to the industry of its port, Tiger Bay, which has rich history. Now referred to as Cardiff Bay, the area offers beautiful views over the water, a host of leisure activities and cultural attractions. These attractions include Techniquest (a science museum full of interactive activities), the Norwegian Church (with links to Roald Dahl) and the Wetlands Reserve, an area of natural beauty. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from where you can sit outside when the weather’s good. It is also the location of the Wales Millennium Centre, a cultural hub, and the impressive Senedd building where the Welsh National Assembly is headquartered.

people cheering on a mountain

Become a Culture Tripper!

Sign up to our newsletter to save up to $1,656 on our unique trips..

See privacy policy .

The Senedd, Cardiff Bay

Bute Park is the stunning extended grounds of the castle right next to the city centre and much of it runs along side the River Taff. There are colourful and well-tended flower beds and a host of tree species to admire, making it a great place to go during autumn for the variety of leaf colours. It’s also where you can catch a water bus to Cardiff Bay or get a tea and cake at Pettigrew Tea Rooms or The Secret Garden .

A boat ride on Roath Park Lake

Roth Park Lake with its Victorian lighthouse, weeping willows and bird life is a huge highlight of the city. Species to be seen include mallard, cormorants and herons, and little islands on the lake provide areas for them to nest. The best thing you can do then is to hire a boat. Choose from Water Walkerz, Peddlerz, rowing boats and pedalos.


The nightlife

You may have heard rumours about Cardiff and the amount of hen dos and stag parties it attracts, as well as the binge drinking which goes on, and that may or may not be a good thing for you, but the city is a great place for a night out – whatever you’re into. Welsh pubs are notoriously lively, with live music, craft ales and friendly locals. And there are loads of clubs where you can dance to the music you like and generally have a whale of a time.

The National Museum of History is the number one go-to destination for Welsh culture, architecture, history and traditions. Rather than a staid, echoey building, this is an open-air museum spread over acres of parkland in the grounds of St Fagans Castle, an Elizabethan manor house. It’s often called St Fagans because of the village St Fagans where it is found. Along with the 40-plus historical or imitation buildings, there is a farm, a pottery where you can have a go yourself, beautiful gardens, events, old fashioned shops and more.


Llandaff Village and Cathedral

With its cathedral, Llandaff is technically a city but has a typically village feel with its village green, high street and attractive houses. As well as being the set for many a Doctor Who and Torchwood scene, other claims to fame include it being the birth place of Roald Dahl. Then there’s the cathedral itself, which is large and impressive with an active parish.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips , led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Places to Stay

Palé hall hotel: classic luxury in the beautiful surroundings of north wales.

is cardiff bay worth a visit

See & Do

The most fun things to do in llandudno, wales.

is cardiff bay worth a visit

The Best Hotels to Book Near Snowdon, Wales

is cardiff bay worth a visit

The Best Things to Do in Snowdonia, Wales

is cardiff bay worth a visit

The Best Beaches in North Wales

is cardiff bay worth a visit

The Best Hotels to Book Near Gwrych Castle, Wales

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Guides & Tips

Beautiful towns and villages in wales you might not have heard of.

is cardiff bay worth a visit

The Best Hotels to Book Near Bodnant Garden, Wales

is cardiff bay worth a visit

The Best Hotels to Book in and Around Portmeirion, Wales

is cardiff bay worth a visit

The World's Greenest Department Store and the Unexpected Place You Can Find It

is cardiff bay worth a visit

The Best Walks Around South Wales

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Hotels in Wales Where You Can Reconnect With Nature

Culture trip spring sale, save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips limited spots..

is cardiff bay worth a visit

  • Post ID: 1517366
  • Sponsored? No
  • View Payload

Cardiff Bay

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

John Stonier

Also popular with travellers

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Cardiff Bay - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

  • Travel Planning Guide

Should You Visit Cardiff?


  • Is Cardiff Worth Visiting?
  • Reasons to Visit Cardiff
  • In the Summer?
  • In the Autumn?
  • In the Winter?
  • In the Spring?

What is Cardiff most famous for?

  • What is Cardiff most known for?

What is the most famous sight in Cardiff?

  • How touristy is Cardiff?

How long should I spend in Cardiff?

Is cardiff worth visiting.

Yes, Cardiff is definitely worth visiting for numerous reasons. Its a city that everyone should see, and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay here.

Whether you're a traveling as a family or on a weekend getaway, this city has a lot to offer. Any local will tell you what makes it special is the amazing museums and fantastic nightlife.

Cardiff is the capital city of Wales. It has a long history with many local castles that you can explore. It's grown from a small town to the largest city in Wales and today it is a fun place to wander.


4 Reasons to Visit Cardiff

is cardiff bay worth a visit

2. Nightlife

The nightlife scene is all about fun and most of the activities are driven by the large and diverse student population.

3. Shopping

Shopping options include shopping malls and boutique lined streets. There is a nice mix of independent shops and major chains to choose between.

4. Authenticity

Cardiff has an authentic vibe where you can experience local culture, cuisine, and activities without the large tourist crowds of other popular destinations.

Is Cardiff worth visiting in the Summer?

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during summer with average temperatures around 17°C (63°F).

The peak season for travel is summer in Cardiff, so expect to see more tourists than usual. This destination is somewhat popular with travelers, and in the high season it's busier than usual.

This is a great time of year to wander through the museums, enjoy the city's energy, and enjoy an evening out.

Is Cardiff worth visiting in the Autumn?

Autumn is the shoulder season for travel in Cardiff. This destination is somewhat busy with tourists, but in the shoulder season you'll find less crowds and better deals.

Keep in mind that it can be fairly rainy during autumn, and temperatures hover around 11°C (52°F).

You'll find plenty to do during autumn, as you'll be able to admire the wonderful scenery, browse through museums, and discover the big city activities.

Is Cardiff worth visiting in the Winter?

This is the low season for travel in Cardiff. This destination is fairly touristy, but in the low season you can find fewer crowds and better deals.

The weather in Cardiff can be quite cold during winter, and averages around 3°C (38°F). But be prepared for much lower temperatures, too.

During this season it's fun to experience the famous sights and museums, the nightlife scene, and the big city activities.

Is Cardiff worth visiting in the Spring?

The weather in Cardiff can be quite cold during spring, and averages around 9°C (48°F). But be prepared for much lower temperatures, too.

Spring is the shoulder season for travel in Cardiff, which means slightly less visitors than in the peak season. This destination is somewhat busy with tourists, but in the shoulder season you'll find less crowds and better deals.

This is a great time of year to browse the shops, browse the museums, and admire the wonderful scenery. Also, you can check out the nightlife.

Things to Consider Before Visiting Cardiff

Food : Cardiff doesn't top the list for most foodies. Welsh cuisine is known for its stews and hearty vegetable dishes. The national dish is cawl, which is a stew made with lamb and vegetables. Other local favorites include Welsh rarebit, which is a type of cheese toast, and Glamorgan Sausage, which is actually made with vegetables.

Getting Around The area is not very walkable, and public transit is not great here, so it might be difficult to get around without arranging your own transportation.

The Cost Depending on your budget, schedule, and travel style, Cardiff might be an expensive destination for you. You can find out the travel costs for Cardiff here or see if Cardiff is expensive here .

Cardiff is most famous for having the most castles per square mile of any city in Europe. The city is very popular for its museums, nightlife, and shopping. It is often described as green, industrial, and up-and-coming.

The most popular sight in Cardiff is The Cardiff Castle . You can see prices and costs for this and other sights in Cardiff on our travel costs page .

Or, see tickets, activities, and tours for The Cardiff Castle and other attractions here .

How touristy is Cardiff? Is it a popular city to visit?

Cardiff is more popular with local tourists than with international visitors. Here are some of the most popular activities and tours. (Prices in US Dollars)

  • Small Group Walking Tour Cardiff Bay Viator $ 39
  • Small Group Walking Tour Cardiff Bay: $39
  • Complete Cardiff Doctor Who Walking Tour: $213
  • Cardiff’s Bay and Waterfront: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Guided Cycle Tours of Cardiff: $26
  • Cardiff All in One Walking Tour: $63
  • Private Walking Half-Day Walking Tour of Cardiff: $194
  • A Silent Disco Adventure in Cardiff: $22
  • Sightseeing Tour Cardiff Bay and Vale of Glamorgan Full-Day Driver Guided: $129

The ideal length of time for a trip to Cardiff is one to three days. Since Cardiff has activities such as nightlife, shopping, and museums, most people visit for up to three days.

If you have a specific amount of time for your trip, see our advice about how much time to spend here: Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Cardiff? and Should I spend 3, 4, or 5 days in Cardiff? .

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Coupons and discounts! Travel tips!

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.

  • Privacy / Terms of Use
  • Activities, Day Trips, Things To Do, and Excursions

Worth the Drive: Summer is unofficially here! 5 day trip ideas in and around Louisville

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Summer is here and with school out for the year, parents are likely in need of activities to keep their children entertained. Fortunately, there are plenty of fun and affordable options within a couple of hours of Louisville.

From scenic nature to shiny cars to thrilling roller coaster rides, there's something for everyone within a reasonable distance. Here are five places to keep in mind, perfect for a day trip from the Louisville area.

More spots Worth the Drive: 11 Kentucky restaurants outside Louisville worthy of a road trip

Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay

937 Phillips Lane, Louisville

Distance from downtown Louisville: Around 4 miles or 10 minutes.

Kentucky Kingdom is an amusement and water park in Louisville that doesn't require much of a drive for locals.

The amusement park features a variety of rides from family-friendly to thrilling rollercoasters. There are also water rides, wave pools and other features at the Hurricane Bay water park. Ticket prices vary by ticket type, day of the week and frequency of visits. General admission tickets for one day range from $29.99 to $49.99. Season passes are also available.

Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay are open to the public for the season.

Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay: When does Kentucky Kingdom open in 2024? How much do tickets cost? Rides? What to know

Mammoth Cave National Park

1 Mammoth Cave Parkway, Mammoth Cave

Distance from downtown Louisville: Around 90 miles, or an hour and a half.

Mammoth Cave National Park, located in south central Kentucky, spans more than 52,000 acres and is home to the world's longest cave system, according to the National Park Service. A variety of experiences are offered, including cave tours, horseback riding, canoeing and kayaking. There are also three camp sites located on the grounds, as well as a designated section for backpackers.

Several tours are available ranging in distance from 0.25 miles to 2.5 miles, taking anywhere up to three and a half hours. Two crawling tours are also available for visitors starting at age 10 and over, but special equipment is required.

You can view a full list of available tours here .

French Lick

Distance from downtown Louisville: Around 80 miles, or an hour and a half.

French Lick, located in Southern Indiana, is home to the French Lick West Baden Museum and the French Lick Scenic Railway.

The museum , established in 2007 as a pop-up before finding its current location in 2014, discusses the history of the circus, and the town's involvement in the renowned Hagenbeck-Wallace circus diorama, featured at the museum.

"Today, we continue to tell the incredible histories of our towns through impressive exhibits, interactive experiences, and first-person stories," according to the museum's website.

General admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, $6 for children 6-12 and free for 5 and under.

At the French Lick Scenic Railway , visitors can "experience harking back to a time when rail travel was the primary means of long distance travel," according to the organization's website. Operated by the Indiana Railway Museum, the Scenic Railway spans 25 miles from French Lick to Jasper.

Those who climb aboard for a ride will travel along the edges of Hoosier National Forest and through one of the state's longest railroad tunnels. Various family events and 21+ events are offered, and a Polar Express train ride is also offered during the holiday season beginning in November. Ticket prices vary throughout the year.

At the French Lick Resort , visitors will have easy access to the French Lick Casino and countless other activities like horseback riding, archery, pickleball, indoor and outdoor swimming and more.

National Corvette Museum: See how Kentucky attractions ranked in USA TODAY's 10Best Readers' Choice Award

National Corvette Museum

350 Corvette Drive, Bowling Green

Distance from downtown Louisville: Around 110 miles or close to two hours.

Ranked second on USA TODAY's 2024 10Best Readers' Choice Awards for best car attraction is Kentucky's National Corvette Museum.

According to the museum's mission, they hope "to educate worldwide audiences on the evolution of the Corvette — America’s Sports Car — through collection, preservation, and celebration of its legacy." The museum also had a sinkhole swallow eight cars around 10 years ago, the last of which was  pulled in March 2014 , as previously reported by  The Courier Journal.

Ticket prices fluctuate by dates, times and add-ons. Available add-ons include a guided tour and a Corvette racing simulator.

Natural Bridge State Park

2135 Natural Bridge Road, Slade

Distance from downtown Louisville: About 135 miles, or two hours and 15 minutes.

The Natural Bridge State Park is home to Kentucky's natural bridge, formed from natural sandstone over millions of years, spanning 78 feet and wavering 65 feet in the air. Located near the Red River Gorge Geological Area and the Daniel Boone National Forest, visitors can hike around 2.5 miles out and back to see the Natural Bridge or use the skylift.

Visitors can also participate in activities at the Natural Bridge State Resort Park like canoeing and kayaking, available from Memorial Day through Labor Day, fishing at Mill Creek Lake or playing a game of miniature golf. Also close by are the Red River Gorge Zipline Tours.

Cardiff Bay

is cardiff bay worth a visit

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

John Stonier

Also popular with travellers

is cardiff bay worth a visit

CARDIFF BAY: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)


  1. Cardiff Bay • Why is it worth a visit? • Visit Cardiff

    is cardiff bay worth a visit

  2. Top things to see and do in Cardiff Bay

    is cardiff bay worth a visit

  3. Top things to see and do in Cardiff Bay

    is cardiff bay worth a visit

  4. TOP 20 Things To Do In Cardiff, Cardiff Bay & Near Cardiff!

    is cardiff bay worth a visit

  5. Top things to see and do in Cardiff Bay

    is cardiff bay worth a visit

  6. Top things to see and do in Cardiff Bay

    is cardiff bay worth a visit


  1. Cardiff Bay • Why is it worth a visit? • Visit Cardiff

    WHY IS CARDIFF BAY WORTH VISITING? Cardiff Bay is the coastal corner of Wales' capital and only a short bus or train ride from the city centre; you can even walk between the two. Formerly a thriving tidal dockland, famous for exporting Welsh coal to the world, the area is now a vibrant waterfront surrounding the shore of a stunning freshwater ...

  2. CARDIFF BAY: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

    The far side is the Cardiff Bay trail and well worth a wander. Read more. Visited August 2023. ... have a tour of the principality stadium it's very reasonably priced nut must be booked in advance. also visit Cardiff Castle and grounds. there is a hop on hop off tourist bus stop directly outside the castle for an option. or visit the museum ...

  3. 16 BEST Things To Do At Cardiff Bay

    2. Take a boat tour around Cardiff Bay. Get a unique view of Cardiff Bay by joining a sightseeing boat trip. You can either hire a private boat (as I did with a few friends pictured above) or join the public boat with Cardiff Cruises. The public boat departs every hour, on the hour, between 11am and 3pm each day.

  4. Top things to see and do in Cardiff Bay

    For even bigger thrills, visit the Olympic standard white water rafting facility at Cardiff International White Water. The on-demand surges of controlled water are perfect for trying white water rafting, kayaking, the indoor wave, hot-dogging and paddle-boarding. There's also a high ropes course over the waters.

  5. Visit Cardiff Bay

    There are lots of things to do in Cardiff, making it one of the most interesting places to visit in Wales. From the restored symbols of Cardiff's glorious yesterdays, rich in history and culture, to the exciting vision of the future captured in the Waterfront's fantastic style and architecture… there really is something for everyone at Cardiff Bay.

  6. The Top Things To See And Do In Cardiff Bay Wales

    Formerly known as Tiger Bay, Cardiff Bay is often described as one of the most successful redevelopment projects in the UK. The Bay has transformed from the rough red-light district of previous decades into the flourishing and trendy part of Cardiff that it is today, full of sights to see and hotel options for every budget.From Flat Holm Island to the Roald Dahl Plass, here are the top places ...

  7. How To Spend One Day in Cardiff! A Lush Cardiff Itinerary!

    Whilst in Cardiff Bay on your 1 day in Cardiff, I recommend checking out some of the below places to visit in Cardiff: Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve. ... Is Cardiff worth visiting? Yes! Cardiff is a really great city which is full of history but it's also very modern. It's right on the water making it a lovely city to visit.

  8. The Perfect Cardiff Day Trip Itinerary

    Day trip to Cardiff from London by train: Journies between the English and Welsh capitals take 1 hour 50 minutes and start from £39. Book your journey on Trainline. Day trip to Cardiff from London by bus: Buses are far cheaper starting at £6.90 but take 3 hours 45 minutes, a bit long for a day trip!

  9. Is Cardiff Worth Visiting? Pros and Cons of Wales' Capital

    Cardiff is generally a safe city, but like any other city, it has its fair share of crime. The crime statistics say that there's a 41% higher crime rate in Cardiff than there is in the rest of Wales, and a 31% higher crime rate than the average of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. So, while Cardiff is relatively safe compared to other ...

  10. 10 BEST Places to Visit in Cardiff (2024)

    #4 - Cardiff Bay - An awesome place to visit in Cardiff for half a day. One of the most successful redevelopment projects in the whole of Europe; ... Is Cardiff worth visiting? If you're planning a trip to Wales, then stopping off in Cardiff for one or two days is worth it. But you don't need more time than this.

  11. Cardiff Bay

    The far side is the Cardiff Bay trail and well worth a wander. Read more. Visited August 2023. Traveled as a couple. Written August 20, 2023. G243UAemilyg. ... Came to Cardiff Bay for a visit and a walk around,have been here many times before and always used the toilets in the Millenium centre, as it was closed due to lockdown thought there is ...

  12. 12 family-friendly attractions to visit in Cardiff Bay

    FREE Ikea - Playland Creche. Ferry Road, Grangetown, Cardiff. Children aged 3 to 9 can stay for 45-minutes of free play, supervised by fully-trained staff, while you shop or enjoy a cuppa in the café. Hollywood Bowl. The Red Dragon Centre, Hemingway Road, Cardiff Bay.

  13. Cardiff Bay

    Book your tickets online for Cardiff Bay, Cardiff: See 6,215 reviews, articles, and 2,308 photos of Cardiff Bay, ranked No.14 on Tripadvisor among 213 attractions in Cardiff. ... Worth a visit. Great view and a must see for Torchwood fans. We went on a rainy day so I imagine there is much more buss in good weather. But the view of the bay is ...

  14. Exploring Cardiff: A 4-Day Itinerary of Must-See Attractions

    Consider this as an extension of a visit to Raglan Castle. Cardiff Bay and Boat tour: Explore the architecture and have a dockside meal; ... Is Cardiff worth visiting? Absolutely! Cardiff is a beautiful city with history, culture, entertainment, and outdoor activities. The Welsh capital has Victorian arcades, vibrant street markets, and a ...

  15. TOP 20 Things To Do In Cardiff, Cardiff Bay & Near Cardiff!

    5. National Museum Cardiff. The National Museum Cardiff is located next to Cardiff City Hall which is a hugely impressive grand building and worth visiting just to see it from the outside. Entrance to the museum is free making this one of the free things to do in Cardiff.

  16. 20 Top Tourist Attractions & Places to Visit in Cardiff

    Visit Cardiff Bay Cardiff Bay at dusk. There is no doubt that part of your time in Cardiff will be spent at Cardiff Bay — this spectacular waterfront complex is the centerpiece of the city, ... Another castle worth visiting while you are in Cardiff is the stunning Caerphilly Castle, which is an easy 15-minute drive north of the city. ...

  17. 24 BEST Things To Do in Cardiff [2024 Guide]

    Complete the Bay Trail - Walk or cycle the 10km loop around the bay. Visit Cardiff Bay Wetlands - A free-to-visit nature reserve where you can walk along the boardwalk and spot birds, ... Yes, Cardiff is worth visiting because there are so many different activities to do, from the historic castle in the centre of the city to the regenerated ...

  18. 10 Reasons Everyone Should Visit Cardiff At Least Once

    10 Reasons Everyone Should Visit Cardiff At Least Once. Wales' capital Cardiff is a small but vibrant city with plenty to see and do. It has the River Taff running through it and a castle in its centre, surrounded by the beautiful Bute Park. With so many top hotels to stay at, including budget-friendly options, it's safe to say there's ...


    Definitely worth a visit along the wharf at night. Well lit up and picturesque with many modern bars and restaurants as well as some older buildings. ... The far side is the Cardiff Bay trail and well worth a wander. Read more. Visited August 2023. Travelled as a couple. Written August 20, 2023. G243UAemilyg. South Wales, United Kingdom 140 ...

  20. Is Cardiff Worth Visiting? 4 Reasons You Should Visit

    Yes, Cardiff is definitely worth visiting for numerous reasons. Its a city that everyone should see, and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. Whether you're a traveling as a family or on a weekend getaway, this city has a lot to offer. Any local will tell you what makes it special is the amazing museums and fantastic nightlife.

  21. The Essential Things to Do in Cardiff (By a Local)

    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 ...

  22. Travelling to Wales. What is Cardiff like as a city? Worth ...

    Cardiff Bay (nice place to walk around, plenty of bars and restaurents - you can also get free tours around the Welsh Assembly and see a show in the Millennium Centre) Caerphilly Castle (a few miles north of the city, biggest castle in Wales and seriously impressive)

  23. 5 day trip ideas in and around Louisville worth the drive

    There are also water rides, wave pools and other features at the Hurricane Bay water park. Ticket prices vary by ticket type, day of the week and frequency of visits. General admission tickets for ...

  24. CARDIFF BAY: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

    Really enjoyed our afternoon in Cardiff Bay - formerly Tiger Bay. Europe's largest waterfront redevelopment project. Got the water taxi from Bute Park (25 mins and undercover) w