Looking for fun things to do in Cardiff? Explore our recommendations for kid-friendly, outdoor activities ranging from arts and culture to history, wildlife and museums.
Want to experience culture, wildlife and historic sights in the Welsh capital? Here are some of the best days out to enjoy with kids in the Cardiff area.
Wales’ most populous city, Cardiff has established itself over the past couple of decades as one of the UK’s most colourful and lively places to visit. If you’re thinking of popping down to the Welsh capital, here are some great ideas for things to do…
Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, which opened in 1999, is home to the Wales national rugby union team. Described as “the most magnificent rugby venue in the world”, the Stadium offers behind-the-scenes tours that take you from inside the press room to deep into the bowels of the terraces to the ‘Dragon’s Lair’ home-side changing rooms.
Wales Millennium Centre
With 1.5 million visitors annually, Wales Millennium Centre is Wales' number one visitor attraction, with Andrew Lloyd-Webber calling it “the best theatre built in the world in the last 50 years”. A vibrant arts hub, it regularly puts on theatre, opera, cinema presentations and dance performances. If you fancy going behind the scenes at the Centre, it does one-hour guided tours for pre-booked groups, so you can see how it all comes together.
Located in the heart of the city, Cardiff Castle is not only a must-see attraction in itself (the 2,000-year old castle’s opulent interiors are rich with elaborate wood carving, murals and stained glass), but you may want to check out one of the open air theatre productions or re-enactments staged within its grounds.
Roath Park Lake
The Victorian-styled Roath Park is one of Cardiff’s most beautiful lakes and, should you want to take to the water, there’s a variety of different boating experiences you can try. Fancy getting in touch with your inner Jerome K. Jerome, of Three Men in a Boat fame? Then try a traditional rowing boat. Or what about something a little more fun, like a pedalo? There are Peddlerz paddle boats for the kids, and for the truly adventurous, how about giving a Water Walkerz a try, where you’re inside an inflatable bubble?
National Museum Cardiff
Situated in the city’s civic centre, National Museum Cardiff houses Wales’s national art, archaeology, natural history and geological collections, as well as major touring exhibitions. You can take a fascinating journey through 4,600 million years of geological history in The Evolution of Wales and drink in 500 years of paintings, drawings, sculpture and ceramics from Wales and across the world. You'll need at least three hours to do the Museum justice, but it’s definitely worth your time.
St. Fagans National Museum of History
For many years, St Fagans National Museum of History has been one of Wales' most popular heritage destinations. The open air museum is located in the grounds of St Fagans Castle, a magnificent late-16th-century manor house bequeathed to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth. Over fifty ancient structures from various locations in Wales and historical periods have been re-built in the 100-acre area over the last fifty years for visitors to explore. Each structure has been preserved in time and opens a door into Welsh history, providing an intriguing peek into the past.
Bute Park is a peaceful sanctuary in the middle of Cardiff's busy business district. This modest but beautifully structured 56-acre park will take you by surprise as you walk from the tarmac and tall buildings of Cardiff’s bustling streets into the relative tranquillity of the park's forest and grassy picnic spaces. Bute Park has three cafés, animal conservation areas, a sculpture path, and is within a stone's throw from Cardiff Castle. It's ideal for a half-hour lunch break or a whole day while away the hours in the shade.
Castle Quarter Arcade
While much of Cardiff city centre is home to chain stores and high street favourites, there’s a shopping area a short walk from Cardiff Castle that’s specially designated for shops with a more independent flavour – the Castle Quarter. Home to a bridal boutique, vintage tailor, graphic designer, gentlemen’s barber, interior stylists, beauty salons, handmade jewellers, a vegan store, Indian street food, an American deli, tea salon, coffee house, music shop and bookshop, as well as other specialist restaurants, the Castle Quarter prides itself on representing Cardiff’s independent side.
Massively redeveloped in the late 1990s, Cardiff Bay now draws crowds with its bustling waterside eateries and swanky bars. It’s one of the best looking places in the city, and boasts the stunning five-star St David’s Hotel, which regularly homes some of the world’s biggest stars. If you’re a Doctor Who fan, check out ‘Ianto’s Shrine’, an unusual tribute to a character from spin-off BBC show Torchwood, which was filmed around the Bay.
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