Take in Cardiff Castle
A fun way to spend your first hour in the city is by exploring the city's epic Cardiff Castle. It's nearly 2000 years old, but in the 19th century the interior had a lavish makeover by architect William Burges. Join a tour, to see the ornate decor, intricate carvings and rich colours that fuse together Arabian, Gothic and Mediterranean styles. For a fantastic view of the city and beyond, climb to the top of the keep before you leave
Enjoy the green lungs of the city
Next to Cardiff Castle lies Bute Park, one of the city's sprawling green spaces. You can explore the expansive grounds of Bute Park on foot: walk along the River Taff, which runs through the park, spot local wildlife, or enjoy a picnic stop.
The park forms part of the Taff Trail, a popular path between Cardiff Bay and Brecon, which brings in lots of cyclists. If you're keen to spend some of your day cycling, you can hire decent quality bikes from Pedal Power next to the park. Fuel up at Secret Garden café - it's a wonderful café in the heart of the park, which uses local produce and creates wonderful vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Soak up some culture
Spend some time in one of Cardiff's museums. The Old Library hosts Museum of Cardiff, where the history of the city is told through stories, photographs, films, objects and interactive exhibits. Alternatively, wile away a few hours in National Museum Cardiff. The grand building hosts a huge collection of Impressionist art, as well as pieces from over 500 years of art history, natural history exhibits and touring exhibitions.
Go backstage at the BBC
Ever wondered what it's like to read the news? Or how sound effects are added to your favourite podcasts? Join the friendly guides for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of BBC Cymru Wales. Visit the state-of-the-art television and radio studios to discover the secrets of making BBC programmes. BBC Cymru Wales has received a coveted Visit Wales gold award for the quality of its tours and a TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award. These guided tours are available in Welsh, English and BSL.
Get musical in the oldest record shop in the world
Wales is the land of song, and Cardiff is home to the world's oldest record shop. Spillers Records opened in 1894, bringing records, live performances and a hub for musicians to mingle. It's moved a few times, but is now perched on the corner of Morgan Arcade. Pop in to rummage through racks of music history. It's easy for time to fly there!
You can explore the various arcades or there's the free City of Arcades history and culture guided walking tour with Fogo’s Free Tours, which operates a 'pay as you feel' basis after the tour. Or if you fancy a food walking tour around the diverse shopping arcades of the city then Loving Welsh Food provide a City of Arcades Testing Tour.
Eat at Gareth Bale's Elevens
As if being a world famous footballer for Real Madrid and Wales wasn't enough, international star Gareth Bale has his own premium sports bar and restaurant in his home town. When Elevens first opened in 2017, Bale partnered with Cardiff's biggest brewery, Brains, to bring local food and beer to the venue. It's now an independent venture, but retains its reputation for an ideal place to grab a pint and a bite to eat while watching a match on one of the sports screens.