The 10 Best Things to Do in Cardiff, Wales

Updated August 15, 2020.

So you’re heading to Cardiff. I’m so happy for you! I really enjoyed my time there, and I hope you do, too! The people are so kind, and I love that all signage is in both English and Welsh! Here is my quick list of the top things to do while you’re there.

10. Go to a Rugby Match

Unfortunately rugby season had just ended when I was there, but apparently the Welsh feel about rugby the way the American South feels about SEC football!

9. Visit St. Fagan’s National History Museum

This is a very interesting open-air museum, and it’s free! They’ve taken historic structures from all over Wales and preserved them here, just outside Cardiff. Take the 32A Bus (only 3.20 GBP round-trip!) from downtown right to the entrance.

1508 Farmhouse from Llangynhafal, Wales!
More here: What to Know Before You Visit Cardiff

8. Visit St. John the Baptist Church

This is not only the oldest church in the city, it’s also the oldest standing structure besides Cardiff Castle! It’s easy to spot with it’s 40-meter tower in the middle of the popular shopping district!

St. John the Baptist Church
Inside the Church.

7. Visit the Firing Line Museum

This small museum is included with your admission to the Castle, so you’d be crazy not to go! It’s a military museum dedicated to the people of Wales who have fought for King, Queen, and Country throughout history.

Entry to the Firing Line Museum!
More here: Solo Travel: Wales

6. Have Afternoon Tea at Pettigrew Tea Rooms

I mean, who wouldn’t want to have tea next door to a castle?! The people here were so kind, and the food was wonderful! Between the sandwiches, scone, and sweets, I was full for hours after. I recommend visiting the Castle when it opens at 9:00 and then heading right to Pettigrew at noon or so for Afternoon Tea. They take reservations, but they also leave a few tables available for walk-ins!

Don’t forget to leave room for this American-sized Victoria Sandwich for dessert!
Keep eating: The World’s Best Desserts

5. Explore Bute Park

You’ll see the name Bute all over Cardiff, and with good reason! The Marquesses of Bute have been helping Cardiff grow and succeed since the Third Marquess of Bute married the heiress of Cardiff Castle. Bute Park runs right by the Castle and the trails are miles long for maximum enjoyment!

A bit of peace in nature right in the center of town! This is where I took my morning run each day.

4. Eat Freshly Made Welsh Cakes

What’s a Welsh cake? It’s a delicious, dense, warm, cookie-sized pancake. There’s a fabulous place across the street from the Castle called–get this–Fabulous Welsh Cakes! And they really do cook them right there on the griddle all day long. They’re only 50 pence, so try all their flavors!

Welsh Cakes at the Castle!
More here: What to Eat in Wales

3. Order a Popcorn Coffee from Madame Fromage

Never heard of popcorn coffee? Me either! So I ordered it thinking it would be like, normal-sized, flavored coffee, maybe with some whipped cream on top. When the waitress brought this out, I couldn’t help but laugh! It’s so over-the-top, and so good! That’s actual caramel corn on top, too.

Could you handle this?
Read on: Coffee Around the World

2. Tour the House at Cardiff Castle

You can take a self-guided tour of a few rooms, or you can pay just a few GBP extra to take the guided tour of much more of the house. I thought it was well worth the add-on! The house is decorated in the classic, over-the-top, opulent Victorian style, and it’s more… well, it’s just more! Check it out!

The fireplace in the smoking room. Everything you see that’s gold is actual gold!
Just a portion of the Arabic Room.
Recognize this? It’s the Tardis Library from Dr. Who!
More info here: Tips for Driving on the Left

1. Visit Cardiff Castle

This is number 1 for a reason: it’s the best thing to do! You’ll find Roman, Norman, and Victorian architecture here, and even if you don’t love history, you can’t help but be impressed with this castle.

  • You can see the original Roman foundation in the tunnels under the castle wall.
  • William the Conqueror’s eldest son spent the last 8 years of his life as a prisoner at the Castle Keep.
  • In World War II, the Marquess of Bute welcomed everyone in town inside the tunnels of the castle so they could use it as a bomb shelter.
  • And more!
Cardiff Castle Keep
A sneaky peek at the house from the Castle Keep!
The view from the Castle wall!

Are you ready for a trip to Cardiff? Tell me below! For more Welsh and British adventures, check out my United Kingdom Page!

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