This walled fortress boasts 2000 years of history. Originally a Roman fort, the castle was rebuilt after the Norman conquest and served as a keep until the 18th century, when it became the home of the Bute family, who renovated it in Gothic Revival style. You can walk around the Norman keep, discover the Roman foundations and take a guided tour around the grand apartments with their gilt ceilings and murals.
The entrance to the park is a short walk along Castle Street, to the left of the castle. The gardens have their own walled parapet that features incredibly life-like stone animals including a bear, lion, hyena, monkeys and a pelican. The park runs alongside the River Taff and has great views of the castle and its moat – it even has a miniature Stonehenge!
This impressive domed building houses one of the largest collections of Impressionist paintings in Europe, along with the best Welsh art. The museum also comprises an archaeology and geology collection as well as a natural history exhibit with giant skeletons of whales and dinosaurs.
With the exception of Cardiff Castle, St John the Baptist Church is the oldest building in the city. The church originally dates back to 1180 but was destroyed in 1404 during the Welsh Revolt and rebuilt thereafter in Gothic style. Now it serves as an Anglican church and is open to the public for prayer or visit.
Cardiff Bay has altered beyond recognition, from its past as the world’s largest coal exporting port to a modern sports and leisure complex. It is also Europe’s largest waterfront development which has a wealth of leisure activities available both on and off the water. Sights of interest and things to do include: Pierhead Building, Coal Exchange, Cardiff Millennium Centre, Norwegian Church, Mermaid’s Quay’s restaurants and bars.
Open air museum set on 100 acres of parkland on the outskirts of Cardiff. The museum is a village of 40 buildings that tell the story of Wales throughout the ages, and each building was transported brick-by-brick from their original location. The village includes a 17th-century farmhouse, working men’s hall, a tannery, bakery and terrace of workers’ cottages with each house representing a different decade.
The second biggest castle in Britain (after Windsor), it was built in the late 13th century to secure the area against Welsh attacks from the north. The castle is one of the greatest examples of medieval military architecture displaying an enormous array of defensive structures such as high towers, large moats and barbicans. It is located 15 minutes by train from Cardiff.
Located an hour from Cardiff, Brecon Beacons National Park is a natural reserve with an area of 1,340 square kilometres. Inside the park it is possible to enjoy many outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, bird watching and so on. The park is also perfect for stargazing, as it was recognised as an International Dark Sky Reserve in 2013.
The Wales Millennium Centre was built as a haven for arts and performances. It houses a theatre and several halls, restaurants and shops, hosting live events like plays, operas and concerts on a regular basis. The centre is also the home of various organisations such as the Welsh National Opera, the National Dance Company and the Arts Council of Wales.
Founded in 1986 by Professor John Beetlestone and his colleagues from Cardiff University, Techniquest is a discovery and science centre with many exhibits and activities for children and science lovers. Inside you will find a science theatre, a planetarium and more than 120 different exhibits where you can test your abilities and discover more about the world of science and technology.
Water, adventure and a lot of fun await you at Cardiff International White Water. Here you can choose between different sports and activities such as rafting, canoeing, kayaking and gorge walking. There is also the possibility to surf at the Indoor Wave, where you can feel the thrill of ocean waves in the safety of an indoor facility.
The Senedd is the administrative heart of Cardiff, where the National Assembly gathers to discuss matters of political interest. The building is a fine example of modern architecture and was designed to be environmentally friendly, with a sustainable heating system and materials.
The Clink Cymru is part of a rehabilitation programme for prisoners who get the chance to work and gain experience so that they can be successfully reintegrated in society upon release. The restaurant is well-known for the quality of its food and service, which is why it is recommended to book a table in advance, as the place often gets very busy.
A restaurant specialised in Australasian and Asia-Pacific cuisine, located at The St David’s Hotel and Spa. Overlooking Cardiff Bay, the restaurant has stunning views and in the summer months alfresco dining is available on a waterside terrace. The bar is also worth a visit and is perfect for a pre-dinner drink.
This is a modern Italian restaurant located in Mermaid Quay, right on the waterfront in the busy Cardiff Bay area. They offer a menu with freshly prepared Italian cuisine, including pasta, pizza, fish and meat dishes. It’s recommended to book in advance, especially on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Caban Cardiff is a nice vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Clifton Street. The menu offers many international dishes, taking inspiration from different culinary traditions so as to give guests the widest selection possible of vegetarian foods, all in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere.
If you're looking for some tasty Indian food, 3B's is one of the best choices. Situated in the very centre of the city, it offers a taste of Mumbai's varied street food, from the famous vada pav to all sorts of appetisers, desserts and teas. The interior is small and simple but the foods and prices are well worth it.
A small and cosy Italian eatery that serves homemade pizza and pasta dishes named after famous musicians. Since they do not take reservations, keep in mind that during the busiest hours you will have to wait 5-10 minutes to get a table. Cafe Minuet, however, is worth the wait, as the food is tasty, the prices are good and the portions abundant.
The Plan is a gourmet cafe which prides itself on its artisan coffee and tasty foods prepared with fresh local ingredients. Listed on the menu are many specialities like Welsh cider, loose leaf tea, an extensive range of beer and wine as well as vegan and gluten free options for those with special dietary needs.
A modern, contemporary cafe and book shop at the same time, Octavo's Book Cafe & Wine Bar is housed in the oldest surviving building in Cardiff Bay. It has a wide range of books for sale, especially Welsh writing, and a good choice of coffee, wine and tea as well. An absolute must for book lovers and anyone who wants to sit down and relax in a warm and cosy ambience.
Hidden in a backstreet in Central Cardiff, The Dead Canary welcomes its guests with a quiet atmosphere and amazing cocktails. The drinks are named after characters from the medieval Welsh tale collection Mabinogion, which adds a nice touch of Welsh folklore to the soft and cosy ambience of this bar.
Cardiff’s biggest and oldest indoor market. It's housed within a Victorian structure built in 1891, even though the market itself is much older, probably dating back to the 18th century. The market sells everything from fresh local produce to all sorts of objects and utensils.
The Pumping Station is a three-storey antique market located in an old Victorian pumping house. It houses a plethora of antique traders that sell a host of different objects and artefacts from the Victorian era to the present, including furniture, clothes, jewellery, silverware and anything you can imagine. It also has a cafe so that you can have a drink and rest your tired legs.
Citizens of the European Union member-states, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Switzerland, and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) only require a valid passport to enter the UK. Residents of a further 10 countries do not require entry visas for stays under 6 months: the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, South Africa, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. Nationals of some further countries do not require a visa, but need to hold an entry certificate. Use the UK Government website to check for specific requirements: www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa.
The climate in Cardiff is mild and the city hardly ever experiences extreme temperatures, but as elsewhere in the UK, the weather can be quite unpredictable. For this reason, visitors are recommended to bring waterproof coats and shoes. The best period to enjoy the city is from April to September, when the weather allows for a pleasant visit with warm temperatures and moderate precipitation. The major events and fairs take place during the summer, such as the Cardiff International Food & Drink Festival, and visitor numbers are expected to be at their highest at least until mid-September. Autumn is generally rainy with occasional snowfall in November and December, while winter can be cold and chilly, making this season the slowest in terms of visitors.
Cardiff is served by its own international airport with regular direct flights from the UK and Europe. The Cardiff Airport Express Bus Service (T9) to Cardiff City Centre runs every 20 minutes from 04.50 – 24.10, £5 adult single fare/£8 return and £2.50 for child/£4 return. Trains run every hour from Monday to Saturday and every two hours on Sundays from Cardiff International to Cardiff Central Station. Taxis cost around £15-£20. Pre-book your taxi to/from Cardiff Airport with Cardiff Airport Taxis online at www.cardiff-airport-taxis.co.uk or via telephone: +44 1446 710693. They accept various payment methods, such as credit cards and Euros cash. Fares are subject to change. Note: Bristol International airport is only 1 hour away, with Continental Airlines flying directly from the States as well as EasyJet low-cost airline providing flights from Europe, including Germany, and within the UK. Birmingham, Manchester and London airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton) are also all easily accessible by high-speed InterCity train or coach.
Public transport in Cardiff is run by Cardiff Bus (Bws Caerdydd), which covers the urban area. There are 2 fare zones, Cardiff (adult £1.90, child £1.30) and Barry (adult £1.80 child £1.20). Tickets can be bought through the mobile app or directly on the bus with cash or contactless. Day tickets are also available.
London-style Hackney cabs are available in Cardiff and can be hailed from the roadside. Private hire taxis are also available but cannot be hailed from the roadside and must be pre-booked instead. Dragon Taxis Cardiff: dragontaxis.com/cardiff Premier Taxis: www.premiertaxis.net Capital Cabs: www.capitalcabs.co.uk