Cardiff Attractions

Visitor Attractions & Places of Interest

Cardiff offers visitors a wide range of local attractions both in the city of Cardiff and in the surrounding areas. The compact city of Cardiff includes a number of attractions and places of interest for visitors to discover. The city includes a choice of attractions including museums, galleries, historic and contemporary buildings, theatre, concerts, events and its location in south Wales means the Welsh countryside, national parks and the seaside are all within reach.

We have outlined a number of interesting attractions and places of interest for visitors to Cardiff, these include:

The national collections in art , archaeology and geology can be found at the National Museum Cardiff; located at Cathays Park in the city, visitors can see a number of exhibitions that give visitors a greater insight in to the art, archaeology and the geological history of Wales. Art works includes historic, applied and contemporary art, the evolution of Wales exhibition takes visitors through history with sounds, lights and specimens. The natural history exhibition looks at the natural history of Wales including woodland and seashore. The clore discovery centre is a place where visitors can see close up museum artefacts including historic weapons, fossils and insects. A trip to the museum offers an educational day out for the whole family.

Visitors can enjoy a boat trip on the Cardiff Boat Tours. The waterbus service takes visitors from Cardiff City Centre to Cardiff Bay, visitors can sit back , relax, enjoy the experience take in the scenery and experience the atmosphere. The drop off and pick up point in Cardiff Bay is where the waterside pubs and restaurants are located, where visitors can enjoy a choice of food and drinks in scenic surroundings.

The St Fagans Natural History Museum is located 4 miles to the west of Cardiff off the A4232. St Fagans has been described as one of the finest open–air museums in Europe and is one of Wales’s top historic attractions. Located on the grounds of the 16th century St Fagans Castle, over the years original buildings have been re-erected in the grounds that includes 100 acres parkland. The museum re-creates the ways in which people in Wales lived, worked, and spent their leisure time, visitors can learn more about Welsh lifestyles and traditions. The museum hosts a number of traditional festivals, dance events and music bringing the area to life. The historic buildings include a school, farm, chapel, houses and a workmen's institute. There are a number of workshops where craftsmen demonstrate their traditional skills covering a range of crafts.

Cardiff Castle includes 2,000 years of history, located in the heart of Cardiff city centre surrounded by scenic parkland, the castle is one of the best known attractions in the city. Dating back to Roman times the castle is full of history and character, various tours of the castle are available to help visitors better understand the rich history and heritage. The Interpretation Centre includes a film and exhibition looking at 2,000 years of castle history.

Personal audio guides are available for visitors to tour the battlements, wartime tunnels, Norman Keep, impressive Victorian apartments and the grounds. The rooms include lavish interiors, murals, stained glass, gilding and are noted for their impressive craftsmanship. Visitors can discover the wartime tunnels used during World War II and there is a family trail to follow that includes questions and quizzes. The castle can also be hired for occasions including for corporate functions and for weddings and civil partnerships.

Cardiff is home to the historic St John the Baptist Parish Church located at St John Street in the city centre, the church dates back to the 12th century. The building is one of the oldest buildings in Cardiff that is still in use. The church is in active use with regular worship, it is also used for baptisms and weddings along with art exhibitions, lectures and concerts.

Llandaff Cathedral is a 12th century cathedral located in Llandaff a short distance north of Cardiff city centre. The cathedral is located on one of the oldest christen sites in the UK. The cathedral is also a parish church and includes prayer and music services. The cathedral shop includes a number of gifts and memorabilia to remember your visit to the cathedral.

The Norwegian Church Arts Centre is located in Cardiff Bay and is among the most iconic buildings in the city. Historically it was a church for Norwegian solders, originally founded back in the 19th century. Norwegian ships brought timber to be used in coal mines and the church offered a place for seafarers to meet. The decline in the coal industry meant the Norwegian ships stopped coming and the church fell in to disrepair, however it was rebuilt back in 1992 and since 2006 has been a popular arts centre. Visitors can find a varied programme here including live music, events, functions, classes and workshops. The Dahl Gallery displays a range of art and photography exhibitions, there is a café bar where visitors can get food and refreshments.

Art lovers can go to the Martin Tinney Gallery located on St Andrews Crescent in Cardiff, close to the National Museum Cardiff. The gallery was established back in 1989 and over the years has earned a fine reputation of being one of the foremost private commercial art galleries in Wales. Inside visitors can see a number of works from both Welsh and Wales based artists from the past and present. The gallery includes works from Sally Moore, Harry Holland, Shani Rhys James and Kevin Sinnott and works from younger up and coming artists. Each month there are solo exhibitions in the main gallery and a continually changing exhibition of prints, paintings and sculptures on two floors. A visit here has plenty to offer arts aficionados.

The Millennium Stadium is centrally located in the city, the stadium has become a modern icon of Wales. Visitors can learn more about the stadium with guided tours available where you can see the VIP hospitality suite and the press conference suite, experience the atmosphere and anticipation of match day and see the Wales rugby team dressing room. The stadium is home to the Wales rugby team and hosts a number of events throughout the year. The stadium is noted for its spine tingling atmosphere on match days, seeing Wales play rugby in the stadium is a wonderful experience for senses.

The Wales Millennium Centre was established back in 2004 and in a short space of time has established itself as a top arts and cultural destination. Located in Cardiff Bay approx one mile from the city centre, the centre has become an international and cultural landmark and a recognised centre for performing arts. Noted for its architecture there are guided tours available for visitors to learn more about the centre in a backstage tour with specialist architectural and technical tours available too. There is an extensive programme of performances including west end musicals, ballet, opera, dance in various genres, comedy, workshops, art works, training days and free daily foyer performances.

Cardiff is one of greenest cities in the UK, famous for its green spaces and parks, the city is ideal to discover by foot with a number of walking routes. The surrounding countryside to Cardiff offers the finest in the Welsh countryside including woodlands and nature reserves offering some scenic walks, cycling routes and trails, water sports, horse riding opportunities, for more information please see Outdoor Cardiff for more information on the great outdoors in and around Cardiff.

Cardiff is one of the top shopping destinations in the UK, there are a choice of shopping facilities located here from high street shopping to designer brands and boutiques, to the historic shopping arcades the city is synonymous and modern shopping centres, there is something for everyone. St David’s Dewi Sant shopping centre is located in the heart of the city centre close by to both Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street stations. Visitors can find the best in high street retail here with a choice of department stores, there are designer stores and boutiques for those that like upmarket fashion and a choice of restaurants and eateries with over 20 restaurants and cafes to choose from serving local, regional and global cuisine.

The six historic Victorian and Edwardian arcades are Duke Street Arcade, High Street Arcade, Castle Arcade, Royal Arcade, Morgan Arcade and Wyndham Arcade. The arcades are well worth a visit, they still retain many original features offering plenty of charm and character and an interesting alternative to large modern shopping malls. Inside the arcades shoppers will find a number of interesting cafes, delis and delicatessens, vintage shops, craft shops and boutique stores selling jewellery and clothing.

Theatre fans can visit the New Theatre located in Park Place in Cardiff city centre close to the National Museum Cardiff. Built back in 1906, it is the oldest surviving theatre in the Welsh capital. Housed inside an Edwardian building that has been restored, the theatre retains its historic charm and character presenting an ideal place to enjoy theatrical productions. The theatre has a year round programme of performances that include dance, musicals including west end musicals, drama, children's shows and pantomime.

It is recommended that prior to visiting Cardiff; visitors do their research and ensure any sights and attractions they plan on visiting are actually open on the days you intend on coming. The transport is also worth checking as maintenance and engineering works can mean a restricted service on public transport.

For visitors Cardiff is a relatively compact city making it easy to explore, there are a choice of attractions, from its thriving creative arts and culture scene, to its lively nightlife and shopping facilities there is plenty for visitors to see and enjoy here. The city has become a popular destination for short and weekend breaks in recent years and has been transformed with a number of redevelopment and regeneration projects resulting in a new found confidence and energy with the promise of more to come.

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