The capital of Wales is easy to get to from many places in England, with a direct train from London in just over two hours and an airport with direct flights to several destinations in Europe and beyond. If you want to go somewhere new on a long weekend, Cardiff is a great city with so much to enjoy. There are family-friendly options, historical places, and choices for people who want something easy on the wallet. Read on to discover its top attractions.
This fairy tale castle is so much more than a pile of crumbling stones. The Norman Keep is a great place to see how the structure has stood the test of time, and the wartime shelters are an atmospheric spot to experience what people went through in times of peril. Pay extra for the house tour – it’s absolutely worth it, and the exquisitely furnished rooms are unrivalled in beauty and history. Also, visit the on-site museum for a spot of history, and visit the tea rooms to top off your visit. The castle makes a grand day out and is the best attraction in Cardiff.
The National Museum and Gallery of Cardiff
Museums are not everybody’s cup of tea, but this is one spot that you really shouldn’t pass by. The art galleries are fantastic, with such a brilliant range of pieces on display. The geology section is popular with children, and there are seasonal exhibitions to check out as well. One of the best free attractions in the city.
One of the largest public parks in the UK, Bute Park is at the heart of the city and is a popular spot for both tourists and locals. Take a stroll in the marvellous greenery, or take a boat trip on the River Taff for a unique way to see the city. Also, don’t miss the ‘Animal Wall’ that runs between the park and the castle.
Cardiff market and arcades
The city is famous for its traditional arcades that allow shoppers to browse and window shop undercover and away from typically British rain. The old Cardiff Market, unlike many other markets across the UK, is still thriving today. Every stall is occupied, with everything from cafés and bakeries to clothing stalls and butchers. On the mezzanine, check out the huge vinyl record shop. Downstairs, the Thai stall is a top choice for lunch, or stop by a bakery for a traditional Welsh cake – a great souvenir for friends at home!
This stylish modern waterfront is a short bus ride or 30-minute walk from the centre, and it feels like a world apart from the bustling high streets. There are over 30 bars and restaurants to choose from and don’t miss out a visit to the Norwegian Church (where author Roald Dahl was christened) which is now an art gallery and fabulous café.
If you have time, there are plenty of other places to visit in Cardiff. The St Fagans Museum is a popular choice, as is the Doctor Who experience on Mermaid Quay. The Cardiff Story Museum is a top free choice, and the central St John the Baptist Church is a magnificent place to pop into as well. If you’re into sport, see what’s on at The Stadium. Lovers of the arts should head for the Millennium Centre. If you don’t mind travelling out of the city, Castle Coch is renowned for its fairy tale appearance. Whatever you do, make sure you try a few different flavours of Welsh cakes – they’re absolutely delicious!