When you travel to Cardiff, be sure to get the cheapest tickets by booking up to 3 days in advance. Check out our Low Fare Finder if you’re flexible on dates, giving you more money in your back pocket for all that shopping, nightlife and entertainment during your visit to Wales.
Cardiff may be Europe’s youngest capital city but it has an incredible past. There are tons of top attractions for those who love history, while modern day Cardiff also has lots to offer when it comes to shopping and entertainment.
Scroll down to read our verdict on things to do.
For fans of Italian food, Calabrisella is one of the best restaurants in Cardiff. Here, you can sample authentic and affordable pizzas in a welcoming environment. Popular with locals, you might spot the unmistakeable Calabrisella van parked outside, equipped with its very own wood-fired oven.
On Romilly Crescent you’ll find Bully’s Restaurant, a local favourite with a well-deserved reputation as one of Cardiff’s best places to eat. With seasonal produce from regional providers, you’ll have the perfect excuse to try authentic Welsh cuisine over lunch or the evening meal.
For an authentic taste of the local food scene, head down to Pop-ty, a unique pop-up restaurant located in an old church. Here, you can sample traditional Welsh food in one of the quirkiest places to eat in Cardiff.
Sample a post-dinner Cardiff cocktail
After dinner, your night out in Cardiff needn’t and shouldn’t come to an end. There’s no shortage of city centre bars where marvellous mixologists can concoct the perfect cocktail. Ten Mill Lane has 2 for 1 deals and delicious, flavoursome combos, while Dirty Martini not only has numerous cocktail options, but provides a fun night out well into the early hours.
Get crafty at The Urban Tap House
Among the top pubs in Cardiff is The Urban Tap House on Westgate Street, a popular haunt with beer lovers. With a wide selection of local and international creations, it’s a great place to start a night out in Cardiff. The venue is owned by the Tiny Rebel brewery, based in Newport, so there’re plenty of Welsh ales to sample.
Immerse yourself in the underground music scene
Four decades on, Clwb Ifor Bach remains one of Cardiff’s essential venues for a great night out. This popular Womanby Street hangout has a place in the city’s folklore, with a strong commitment to Welsh language music and often-overlooked genres. In the evening, it’s a popular nightclub attended by revellers from far and wide.
St David’s Dewi Sant
The biggest shopping centre in Cardiff, St David’s is the city’s premier destination for a spot of retail therapy. Choose from more than 150 stores, or a pay a visit to the on-site adventure golf and cinema.
Castle Quarter Arcade
Away from the city’s main thoroughfares, the Castle Quarter Arcade is an old-fashioned shopping mall where you can find unusual gifts and souvenirs from a range of independent local businesses. Unlike some modern shopping centres, Cardiff’s arcades are full of charm and surprises at every turn.
Nest Vintage Living
For affordable gifts and quirky trinkets, Nest Vintage Living should be high on your to-visit list. With its distinctive homeware, kitchen items, perfumes and candles, this much-loved independent store is the perfect place to treat yourself.
One sightseeing opportunity not to be missed is Cardiff Castle, with its 2,000 years of Celtic history and unmistakeable Gothic charms. Check out the guided tours, treasure hunts for children, and the fantastic cafe on your trip to one of Cardiff’s top places to visit.
Wales Millennium Centre
A beautiful modern building in a striking waterside location, the Wales Millennium Centre is one of Cardiff’s best things to see. The iconic building is the home for performing arts in Wales, and hosts operas, musicals and plenty of all-year round entertainment.
St Fagans National Museum of History
An open-air museum in the city’s beautiful outskirts, St Fagans National Museum of History is one of the best things to do for free in Cardiff. With a roster of events, talks, family days and farmers’ markets, there is always something to see when visiting the historic grounds of the museum and adjoining galleries.
Dazzle them at Castell Coch
For a memorable family day out, Castell Coch (Red Castle) is unbeatable. A stunning rural retreat built on ancient foundations with a Victorian twist, fans of period architecture will find much to love here. Set within beautiful grounds perfect for exploring, this is one fairy tale kids’ attraction not to be missed.
Splash out with the family
For adrenaline-fuelled family fun, spend the day at Cardiff International White Water, home to family and solo white water rafting, canoeing and gorge walking. It’s an energetic day out, but a great way to get a unique view of the city via its waterways and skies.
Inspire them with historic sites
Some of the best kids’ attractions can be found a short distance from Cardiff if you fancy a family day out. Just north of the city is the 13th century Caerphilly Castle, or head east to Caerleon Roman Fortress where you’ll step back in time 2,000 years as you explore what is reputedly Europe's only viewable Roman legionary barracks.
Walk beside the water at Cardiff Bay
Cardiff Bay is Europe’s largest waterfront development, and a stunning introduction to the Welsh capital. At various points of this wide expanse, you’ll find many of the city’s top attractions, including the National Assembly for Wales, the pretty Norwegian Church and the epic Wales Millennium Centre.
Brush up on Welsh history at the National Museum
The National Museum Cardiff is one of the best free places to visit in Cardiff. In this beautiful civic centre made of stone, you’ll find Wales’s national collections of art, geology and natural history, with a variety of events and exhibitions throughout the year.
Sample the music scene at Gwdihw or Clwb Ifor Bach
For a real authentic insight into Cardiff’s music scene, head to one of these iconic venues at night when the city really comes alive. Gwdihw is a unique cafe and bar with low-key daytime gigs and raucous raves later on, while Clwb Ifor Bach has acquired a legendary status for its diverse line-up of local and international acts.
For an off-the-beaten-path shopping experience, check out the world’s oldest record shop — Spillers Records. This remarkable place first opened its doors on Morgan Arcade in 1894 and, today, stocks old vinyls at affordable prices.
Situated in an old scaffolder’s workspace, Bone Yard is a fantastic place to experience Cardiff a little off-the-beaten-path. By day, it operates as a series of offices and workshops for local creatives, but on the first Saturday of each month, visitors can browse the studios and grab a bite to eat.
The Little Man Coffee Company
On your weekend jaunt, head to Ivor House on Bridge Street where The Little Man Coffee Company offers one of Cardiff’s best hidden attractions. Not only can you enjoy a latte from the city’s finest coffee connoisseurs, the regular pop-up theatre shows, craft clubs and life drawing classes offer a rich and varied visiting experience.
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