Our capital city Cardiff is a great destination for a day out, long weekend or a family holiday.
As the home of the Principality Stadium and the Welsh Parliament, known as the Senedd, Cardiff has numerous family-friendly activities, enough culture and diversity to satisfy every taste, and a wide variety of places to stay. With access to more castles than any other city, a thriving retail experience, and a warm friendly atmosphere, Cardiff is well worth considering for your next break.
Just to the south of Cardiff, is the seaside town of Penarth and the popular resort of Barry. With numerous attractions, including the world-famous Pleasure Park, Cardiff makes an excellent base for exploring the surrounding area.
1. Cardiff Castle
Surrounded by glorious parkland, Cardiff Castle has stood at the heart of the city since the Norman invasion in 1066. Although it has gone through many regenerations, it was John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute who made the biggest impression on the site. The famous architect William Burges transformed the castle into the opulent gothic fairy-tale it is today.
With lavishly themed rooms, such as the Moorish-inspired Arabian Suite, or the grandeur of the Banqueting Hall, jaw-dropping riches are around every corner.
The grounds are home to the impressive Trebuchet - a fearsome weapon used in many sieges, murals depicting life in the Roman fort that existed here before the castle, and juxtaposed, serene beauty as you wander through the lovely landscaped gardens.
- Location: Just 10 minutes walk from Cardiff Central
- Breath-taking buildings and infrastructure
- Cardiff Castle Website
2. Spy Mission Treasure Trail
If you're looking to entertain children (and maybe tire them out a little) the Spy Mission Treasure Trail is excellent fun. Just download the trail guide and head for Cardiff Bay.
Be a spy on a secret mission and by solving the clues, your kids will learn more about this fascinating city, whilst having fun hunting down the well-hidden clues. There’s no time limit, so you can take as long as you'd like, and if you fancy a break, you can return to solve more clues on another day.
- Enjoy every moment of your life
- Capture your moment on camera
- Fun for all the family and kids
3. Cardiff Bay
Cardiff Bay proudly declares itself Europe’s largest waterfront development, but it’s so much more than that. Offering a diverse culture and cosmopolitan vibe, global cuisine is well represented, with restaurants and cafes serving everything from Portuguese pastries, South American dishes and traditional Welsh fare. The iconic Millennium Centre is right on the waterfront and is the heart of a thriving arts community. With a packed programme of events, performances and exhibitions, it brings energy and vibrancy to the Bay.
- Relax in one of the many restaurants and cafes
- Europe’s largest waterfront development
- Cardiff Bay Website
4. St Fagans National Museum of History
Lying just outside Cardiff is St Fagans National Museum of History. With over 40 buildings from around Wales collected and reconstructed on this site, the past is brought to life. Allowing visitors to experience the sights, sounds and smells of bygone times, the museum was named as the UK’s favourite visitor attraction by Which? Magazine. The Art Fund went on to name it Museum of the Year 2019, commending its: "exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement".
5. Principality Stadium
Formerly known as the Millennium Stadium, the Principality Stadium is home to the national rugby union team of Wales. Built for the 1999 Rugby World Cup, it has hosted numerous events, both sporting and otherwise, including football, motorsports and music concerts.
If you’re a sporting fan, the stadium tours will fascinate you. Taking you into every corner of the venue, you’ll experience the hallowed turf, the changing rooms and press conference suites. For rugby lovers, the chance to meet your heroes, see the memorabilia and hear their stories is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
- Location: Just over a mile from Cardiff Central station
- Stadium tours from just £12
- Principality Stadium Website
6. Fforest Fawr
On the outskirts of Cardiff lies Fforest Fawr. Perfect for a day out, this beautiful woodland trail is home to sculptures depicting woodland creatures who once lived amongst these trees. Carved from giant redwoods, squirrels, deer and wolves mingle with fey folk, some are easy to spot, while others are harder to find. Poetry in Welsh and English accompanies each figure, bringing the trail to life.
With walking, cycling and a nearby golf course, there’s plenty to enjoy here.
7. Castell Coch
Just outside Cardiff is the castle of Castell Coch. Owned by the same John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute as Cardiff Castle, and redesigned by William Burges in his famous gothic revivalist architecture, it is easily recognised by the Swiss-style conical topped towers and stepped courtyards. The interior features the lavish grandeur that Burges is known for, with rich tapestries, gold in abundance and themed rooms, including an octagonal Drawing Room, Banqueting Hall and the double-domed Lady Bute's Bedroom.
8. Barry Island
Made famous by the popular sitcom, Gavin and Stacey, Barry Island, south of Cardiff, is perfect for a day on the beach. The colourful amusement arcades, cafes and beach huts line the wide promenade, and the long crescent of smooth golden sand is soft and inviting. Awarded Blue Flag status, the beach is beautifully clean, the quality of water is rated as excellent.
- Blue flag beach
- Fun for all the family
- Go on the Gavin and Stacey Official tour
9. The Cardiff Story Museum
Telling the fascinating story of this great city, the Cardiff Museum houses collections of over 3000 artefacts associated with Cardiff. From Roman relics to contemporary displays, the objects exhibited here allow visitors to experience the visual history right from the start of people settling in this region to the latest pop phenomenon to play live on the city’s stage. Offering workshops and interactive learning opportunities, wherever your interests lie, you’ll learn something new
10. Visit the Victorian arcades
Known for its numerous Victorian and Edwardian arcades, it’s easy to while away whole days just browsing through the crafts and artisan wares showcased in these charming marketplaces. Independent boutiques and colourful barrows offer everything from the quirky to the cute, with many items locally produced. Bakeries and confectionary stores keep you well provided with snacks and sweet goods and with a choice of tea and coffee houses, there are plenty of opportunities to relax and watch the world go by.
- Boutique Shopping
- Over 100 independent shops, bars and cafes
- Cardiff Arcades Website
Cardiff has so much to recommend it as a destination. Whatever you’re seeking, you’ll find it here in our capital city where ancient and modern mingle.