Panoramic view of the Cardiff Bay, Wales

Things to do in  Cardiff

Thousands of years of Welsh history

Cardiff, Wales’ capital and largest city, centers around a small hill where Cardiff Castle was built 2,000 years ago. Today, layers of buildings and development around the castle tell the history of the city, and by extension the whole of Wales— from the Gothic Revival mansion at the castle and the city’s Victorian and Edwardian shopping arcades to modern-day builds like the Cardiff Arms Park and Millennium Stadiums and the Cardiff Bay waterfront development. There’s a lot to see and do in this cool little capital.

Top 15 attractions in Cardiff

Cardiff Castle (Castell Caerdydd)

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Surrounded by leafy Bute Park, Cardiff Castle (Castell Caerdydd) boasts a history spanning two millennia. The hodgepodge castle is a jumble of different architectural styles, from the Norman-era keep to the faux-Gothic apartments. It is the former home of the prominent Bute family, who helped transform Cardiff into an influential industrial port.More

National Museum Cardiff

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In Cardiff’s civic center, at the National Museum and Art Gallery, travelers can wander through 15 galleries dedicated to European art dating back 500 years while also learning about Welsh history and culture. Opened in 1927, the National Museum and Art Gallery is home to several Monet, Daumier, and Van Gogh masterpieces, as well as many notable Welsh artworks and historical artefacts.More

Snowdonia National Park

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Sprawling along the Irish Sea coast and centered on Mount Snowdon, Wales’ highest mountain, Snowdonia National Park is a rugged wonderland of rugged hills, medieval castles, and glistening lakelands. With ample opportunities for hiking and outdoor activities, it’s one of the most visited attractions in Wales.More

Caerphilly Castle (Castell Caerffili)

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Built in the 13th century, Caerphilly Castle (Castell Caerffili) is a lasting reminder of medieval times in modern-day Wales. Located on the edge of Brecon Beacons National Park, overlooking the town of Caerphilly, it draws history buffs and curious visitors from the world over who come to step back in time to understand life in the Middle Ages.More

Principality Stadium (Millennium Stadium)

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Designed by Rod Sheard for the 1999 Rugby World Cup Final, the former-Millennium, now-Principality Stadium in Cardiff is one of the UK’s premium sporting arenas and live music venues. From its picturesque waterside position in the heart of Cardiff’s city center, the Millennium Stadium—which has also hosted the Rolling Stones—is now home to both the Welsh National Rugby and Football teams.More

Tintern Abbey

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Tintern Abbey—immortalized in the title of a Wordsworth poem—was the first building of its kind in Wales, originally founded in the 12th century by Cistercian monks, before being rebuilt in a gothic style a century later. Nowadays, it’s a Grade I-listed and impressively-preserved (albeit roofless) medieval attraction on the banks of the River Wye, within easy day trip distance of Cardiff.More

Barry Island (Ynys y Barri)

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For the quintessential British seaside experience, head to Barry Island(Ynys y Barri) in South Wales. Here you’ll find a sandy beach, traditional fairground rides, arcade games, and cafés serving paper-wrapped fish and chips. There’s plenty for both kids and adults at Barry Island, a popular destination for British vacationers for decades.More

Llandaff Cathedral

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Llandaff Cathedral is one of the oldest Christian sites in the UK. Built in the 12th century it offers visitors the chance to see a striking example of gothic architecture. It’s a must-visit for fans of historic buildings.More

Bute Park and Arboretum

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The charming Bute Park was once part of Cardiff Castle’s estate but it’s now a public park for all to enjoy. With riverside walking paths and an arboretum, it’s the place to head to enjoy a breath of fresh air when in Cardiff.More

Cardiff Bay Barrage (Morglawdd Bae Caerdydd)

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With its waterfront walk, the Cardiff Bay Barrage is a pleasant place for a stroll when visiting the city.More

Norwegian Church Arts Centre

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Originally built as a place of worship, the Norwegian Church Arts Centre is now a local art gallery and café, which regularly hosts live music sets from its advantageous spot on the water at Cardiff Bay. Travelers can also enjoy panoramic views of the Bay from the outdoor terrace of this strikingly white Arts Centre, a building quite unlike any other in Cardiff.More

Cardiff City Hall (Neuadd y Ddinas)

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With a mixture of English and French architectural styles, Cardiff City Hall is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city. Set in landscaped grounds, it’s open to the public and often used for wedding receptions and civic events.More

Techniquest

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Science is made fun and accessible at Techniquest in Cardiff, one of the UK’s best science and discovery centers. Get hands-on with interactive puzzles, more than one hundred exhibits, a science theater, and Planetarium that will captivate children and adults alike, in the scenic surrounds of Cardiff’s recently-redeveloped Cardiff Bay area.More

Penarth

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Just south of Cardiff city center, Penarth has been a popular seaside resort since Victorian times. In summer, particularly, British vacationers and international visitors alike come to experience its pebbly beaches and restored art-deco pier.More
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Llandaff

Llandaff

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Llandaff is a centuries-old town that lies within the city limits of Cardiff. It’s famous for its cathedral—one of the UK’s oldest Christian sites—under which early Roman burial sites have been discovered. It is said that ghosts and spirits, such as the White Lady, haunt Llandaff and roam the local woods. Beware!More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Cardiff

Doctor Who Cardiff Walking Tour
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Doctor Who Cardiff Walking Tour

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The Wandering Bard's Tour of South Wales
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The Wandering Bard's Mythical West Wales Tour
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Private Doctor Who Tour of Cardiff and South Wales
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Cardiff Bay Boat Tour
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Cardiff Bay Boat Tour

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$15.21
Private Tour: Doctor Who TV Locations and Tour of Cardiff
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Vehicle & Driver Hire

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All about Cardiff

When to visit

Many people find Cardiff’s mild-to-warm summers, with temperatures that generally peak around 68°F (20°C), the best time to visit. Outdoor activities typically run through summer, from arts events and outdoor movies at Cardiff Castle to cricket matches and music concerts. However, Cardiff is a reasonably big city with plenty of indoor attractions, too. Catch Welsh singers during concerts around Christmastime, and retreat from the winter’s cold in a museum or the many shopping arcades.

Getting around

The city center and Cardiff Bay—two of the main areas of interest to tourists—are close together and easily walkable. To travel further in the city, consider bicycling: Cardiff is a flat city with some dedicated cycle paths and shared pedestrian-cycle paths. Public buses and a small train network make getting around the greater Cardiff area easy during the day, and taxis and ride share services also are available.

Traveler tips

It’s easy to understand why Cardiff bears the nickname the City of Arcades. Shopping and dining here can be more atmospheric than in the average mid-sized UK city, thanks to its seven Victorian and Edwardian–period arcades that host many independent retailers. This is great news for winter travel, or any time it’s raining. Look for the shop selling Welsh cakes in Castle Arcade, the award-winning fine arts supplies store in Duke Street Arcade, and vintage clothing stores.

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People Also Ask

Is Cardiff worth visiting?

Yes. Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, offers many cultural attractions, such as Cardiff Castle, the Cardiff Arms Park stadium, the Techniquest science museum, and the National Museum of History at St. Fagans Castle. There’s also Cardiff Bay, home to restaurants, nightlife, and the impressive Senedd Welsh National Assembly building.

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What to do in Cardiff in three days?

Three days is an ideal length of time to spend in Cardiff, and there are many things to do. Spend two days at the city attractions of your choice, then make a day trip to nearby Brecon Beacons National Park for hiking and cycling, and to admire the natural landscapes.

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What is Cardiff best known for?

Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, is best known for its ancient castle, the Cardiff Arms Park and Millennium Stadium rugby stadiums, and the Cardiff Bay waterfront development that houses many restaurants and shops, as well as the architecturally dramatic Senedd Welsh National Assembly building, which is open to visitors.

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Is there a lot to do in Cardiff?

Yes, there is a lot to do in Cardiff, a relatively large city of around half a million people. Among the range of cultural, sporting, and outdoor activities in Cardiff include visits to Cardiff Castle and the city museums, as well as attending a rugby match (November through early spring).

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Can you speak English in Cardiff?

Yes, you can speak English in Cardiff. Welsh is an official language in Wales, and in West or North Wales you may hear it spoken in the street. However, most people in Wales do not speak Welsh as a first language, and Cardiff is in South Wales, where English is predominant.

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Is Cardiff rough at night?

Cardiff is generally a safe city and not especially “rough” at night. As in many other cities, you should take general precautions when you’re out at night, especially if alcohol is involved. It is always wise to make sure you have a safe way to get back to your accommodation.

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