Take in a show
The iconic Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, built using Welsh slate and glinting copper, is home to worldwide and Welsh theatre, music and art. Check out what shows are on during your stay; you might get lucky and fit two performances in!
Other theatrical venues:
- Everyman Theatre - small boutique cinema
- New Theatre – smaller-scale touring plays and shows
- Sherman Cymru – contemporary theatre and dance
- Chapter Arts Centre – indie shows, art house cinema and art
If you prefer to take a look behind-the-scenes, visit the state-of-the-art television and radio studios on a guided tour of BBC Cymru Wales. Find out what it's like to read the news, how sound effects are added to your favourite podcasts and 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.
Visit the home of Welsh sport, Principality Stadium
Few cities boast a sporting facility like this one. Slap bang in the middle of Cardiff, Principality Stadium has hosted the UEFA Champions League final, Olympic 2012 events, the Rugby World Cup and musical greats (including James Brown, The Rolling Stones, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Ed Sheeran). Take a tour to get behind the scenes of the magnificent venue.
Explore a wide range of art
The art collection at National Museum Cardiff is one of Europe's finest. See 500 years of magnificent paintings, drawings, sculpture, silver and ceramics from Wales and across the world, including one of Europe's best collections of Impressionist art - the biggest collection outside of Paris. And admission is free!
Spend Sunday morning at Riverside Food Market
If you want to shop like a local, head to the banks of the Taff, opposite Principality Stadium, on Sunday mornings. You’ll find the tastiest local produce at the Riverside Food Market. Farmers from the surrounding countryside bring traditional Welsh meats and cheeses, while local chefs, bakers and makers share their artisan wares.
Climb the keep at Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle is the jewel in the city’s crown, dominating the city centre and within easy walking distance of all the other sights. Don’t forget to glance up at the outer wall to see the quirky ‘animal wall’, where 100-year old statues of lynx, seals and other creatures pose above you.
Other historical highlights:
- St Fagans National Museum of History – open-air museum with painstakingly reconstructed buildings that combine to tell the story of Wales
- Museum of Cardiff – city centre museum about the origins and cosmopolitan history of Cardiff
- Cardiff on Foot – walking tours that delve deep into the city's murky past or focus on a specific historical period
Explore the Victorian arcades and markets
Delight in the Victorian arcades and markets, peruse the high street brands or delve into one of the many independent stores.
Check out Castle Arcade and Morgan Arcade to shop for everything from traditional Welsh textiles and love spoons at the various Welsh goods shops to fine footwear at The Brogue Trader or music at Spillers Records (est.1894), the oldest record shop in the world.
If you are feeling thirsty you could grab a coffee in The Plan Cafe or if you are looking for something a bit stronger head to Gin and Juice to sample some of their unique cocktails. If your special interest is food then Loving Welsh Food offer a walking City of Arcades Tasting Tour - highlighting the vibrant city food scene. There's the City of Arcades history and culture guided walking tour with Fogo’s Free Tours, which operates on a 'pay as you feel' basis.
Other arcades and markets:
- Royal Arcade - the oldest arcade in Cardiff has independent clothes stores, jewellers and photography shops
- High Street Arcade - sophisticated cafes and restaurants as well as barbers and vintage clothes stores
- Cardiff Central Market - fresh quality produce and warm local charm, this Victorian indoor market is the beating heart of Cardiff and offers a unique shopping experience.
- Jacob's Market - three stories of antiques, vintage, retro and collectable items. There is also a roof terrace with views of the city.
Move your feet
Whether you want a short stroll, a run in a beautiful green space, or a relaxing ride on the Ferris wheel in the Bay, Cardiff can certainly cater.
Bute Park is a popular spot. Take to the tree-lined paths, run along the river or get a taste for the Taff Trail. You'll struggle to believe you're in the middle of the city! If you prefer a more relaxed trip then take the water taxi from Bute Park along the Taff to Cardiff Bay.
Walkers, cyclists and runners love the flat 10k Cardiff Bay Barrage circular route. This waterside trail runs from the Bay to the seaside town of Penarth, taking in industrial heritage sights en route. You could also stop for an ice cream on Penarth Pier and Promenade.
Adrenaline adventures in the city
Get the blood pumping with one of Cardiff's many urban adventures. Go rafting at Cardiff International White Water Rafting Centre, try a speedboat trip in Cardiff Bay, climb at Boulders Indoor Climbing Centre, zoom around in a go-kart at Teamsport Cardiff or try something else from our adrenaline-packed guide.
Rest and recharge
Cardiff has plenty of quality accommodation to suit all budgets, including luxury 5* spa hotels, boutique B&Bs and city-centre self-catering apartments.
Base yourself in the heart of the city with a stay at the Hilton Cardiff, located directly opposite Cardiff Castle, the Radisson Blu Hotel, one of the tallest buildings in Cardiff and just minutes from Cardiff Central railway station, or opt for stunning waterfront views from voco® St David's Hotel in Cardiff Bay to enjoy sunset drinks on your own private balcony.
Other hotels to check out:
- Hotel Indigo, Cardiff - 4* city-centre hotel with skyline views of the city, stylish rooms themed around Welsh heritage.
- The Parkgate Hotel, Cardiff - elegant and individual 4* hotel with a rooftop spa and thermal suite, right next to Principality Stadium. Recently awarded 4 Silver Star Hotel status and 2 Rosettes for the Sorting Room Restaurant by the AA.
Eating and drinking in the capital
The city offers a world of food and drink experiences to suit all tastes.
If you're in the mood for charcoal-grilled steaks and a bar with craft beers and cocktails then head to Pasture. If you would prefer a classic pub where you can have a pint and listen to live acoustic music then The Old Arcade is the place to be. Try a traditional pizza at Ffwrnes situated in the historic Cardiff Market.
Mill Lane in the city centre has fancy bars for cocktails, and there are a number of good restaurants on High Street and St Mary’s Street, such as The Potted Pig. Discover more places to eat out in our local's guide to eating in Cardiff.