Within Cardiff, Wales’ Capital city can be found unique attractions, top class entertainment and quality shopping with a difference – all within walking distance. Innovative architecture sits alongside historic buildings and Cardiff Bay offers entertainment for everyone, including children. Here are the top ten things to do in Cardiff:
Cardiff Bay Waterfront
Europe’s largest waterfront development, Cardiff Bay has a wealth of leisure activities available both on and off the water. The bay has been turned into a vast freshwater lake with the building of a tidal barrage. A number of boat tours operate from Mermaid Quay, which allow one to gain an understanding of the history and fauna of this exciting area, and attractions such as Techniquest are wonderful for children. A wide variety of high-end restaurants such as the Turkish Bosphorus and Italian Bellini’s. Small bars are also numerous, the most pleasant of which is The Waterguard, found close to the Norwegian church. Boat trips across the bay are available, to the seaside town of Penarth.
Discover 2000 years of history in the heart of the city. From the arrival of the Romans, through the Norman Conquest to lavish Victorian design − all have left their distinctive mark on the Castle. The picturesque ruin of the castle is an oasis of tranquillity in the bustling City Centre, and reconstruction events can be great for kids.
The National Museum of Wales
Entry is free for this fantastic museum and art gallery in the centre of town. The National Museum frequently hosts visiting works of art such as Raphael’s Madonna of the Pinks and sketches by Leonardo Da Vinci as part of the Artes Mundi exhibit. There is also an extensive natural history section, replete with animatronics that will keep children interested.
Shop in the Victorian Arcades
Cardiff’s winding arcades are home to a wide variety of shops and cafés, and exploring these narrow indoor streets is a must for any visitor wanting to get a taste of the real Cardiff.
Have A Local Drink – Brains
Like Guinness in Ireland, Brains is the beer of the nation. From the renowned SA to the legendary Dark, through to the award winning SA Gold, Brains beers have become famous throughout the world. Tours of the Brains Brewery are available, and for any beer-lovers, this is an important stop.
The Millennium Stadium – Tours Available
Rugby fans will already be well acquainted with the Millennium Stadium. It is the home of the Wales national rugby union team and the Wales national football team but is also host to many other large scale events, such as the Super Special Stage of Wales Rally Great Britain, Speedway Grand Prix of Great Britain, boxing and many music concerts, including Tina Turner, Madonna, The Rolling Stones, U2 and the Tsunami Relief concert. Tours of the grounds are available.
The Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans – Living History
St Fagans is one of Europe’s leading open–air museums and Wales’s most popular heritage attraction. It stands in the grounds of the magnificent St. Fagans Castle, a late 16th-century manor house. Here, more than 40 buildings have been reconstructed from different time periods.Traditional crafts and activities bring the museum alive: craftsmen still demonstrate their traditional skills in workshops, and farm animals can be petted and fed. Produce is on sale in reconstructed victorian shops.
Castell Coch – Fairytale Castle
Late nineteenth-century ‘fairytale’-style castle, built on medieval remains, designed for the third marquess of Bute by William Burges. Lavishly decorated and furnished in the Victorian Gothic style; a Romantic vision of the Middle Ages.
Caerphilly Castle – Medieval Marvel
Caerphilly Castle is one of the great medieval castles of Western Europe. Its immense size (1.2h) makes it the largest in Britain after Windsor. Its impressive leaning tower and dramatic silhouette, as well as working reconstructions of medieval siege equipment make it a must-see for history enthusiasts.
The Cardiff Tourist Centre
Of course, the Tourist Information Centre is an essential place to visit. The multilingual and knowledgeable staff will help tourists make the most of their stay. They can help plan visits with ideas on where to go, what to do, how to get there and where to stay. The Tourist Information Centre also sells local and UK guide books, city maps and Welsh souvenirs. Services include city events listings, a left luggage service, internet access, and accommodation booking.
Cardiff is a city of attractions, sport, culture and entertainment. Within the few square miles of the city-centre alone, you’ll find a wealth of things to do, whatever your tastes, and in the surrounding areas, you’ll find everything from abseiling to whisky tasting.