10 free things to do in Cardiff

For a city with such a rich and interesting history, you’ll be surprised to learn that Cardiff is actually Europe’s youngest capital city. With so many free activities to enjoy in the city, it’s easy to discover Cardiff’s charm for yourself.

Here are 10 free Travelodgical things to while you’re there:

1. Get cultured at the National Museum and Art Gallery

Found amongst the beautiful architecture of the civic centre, this museum is a must for anyone with an interest in natural and geological history. There are plenty of interactive activities and fascinating exhibitions to enjoy, but the highlight is the Evolution of Wales exhibition, which follows the journey of Wales from the Big Bang to the modern day.

Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP. Open 10am – 5pm Tuesday – Sunday.


2. Take an invigorating walk through Cardiff Bay

If you’re feeling energetic, the Cardiff Bay trail makes for a fantastic day of outdoor exploration. Stretching over 10 kilometres, the trail leads you through Cardiff Bay towards the wetlands, passing Cardiff Bay Barrage – a fascinating feat of engineering and construction.

The trail is circular, but the best place to pick it up is Roald Dahl Plass: Cardiff CF10.

3. Watch democracy in action at the Senedd

For something a little different, why not take a trip to the Senedd, home to the National Assembly for Wales. Built in order to represent transparency and sustainability, the building is comprised mostly of glass and wood, making it incredible to look at from outside. Once you’re inside, relax in the cafe with views of the bay or take a seat in the gallery above the debating chamber and listen in to the day’s discussions.

Cardiff CF10 4PZ. Open 9.30am – 4.30pm Monday – Friday and 10.30am – 4.30pm Saturday – Sunday.

4. Discover Welsh tradition at St Fagans National History Museum

An open-air museum covering 100 acres, St Fagans is a great place to learn all out about Welsh traditions over the years. The museum features over 40 re-erected original Welsh buildings from various historical periods, including a school and the old Workmen’s Institute, as well as beautiful gardens and lots of friendly animals.

Cardiff CF5 6XB. Open 10am – 5pm every day.

5. Chill out at Bute Park

If the weather is looking good, Bute Park is the perfect place to spend a lazy summer afternoon. Visit the arboretum, chill out on the grass or take a stroll along the peaceful River Taff – with 130 acres of landscaped gardens and parkland to explore, there’s plenty to do.

North Rd, Cardiff CF10 3DX. Open 7.30am – 30 minutes before sunset everyday.

© Jon Candy

6. Get creative at Chapter Arts Centre

Cardiff has plenty of amazing art galleries to choose from, but Chapter comes up trumps when it comes to atmosphere. Welcoming, creative and very trendy, the gallery displays great exhibitions from all over the world, and there’s a huge cafe and bar area where you can unwind after a day of exploring.

Cardiff CF5 1QE. Open 8.30am – late every day.

7. Explore the Arcades

Even if you’re not spending any money, Cardiff’s meandering Victorian Arcades are full of hidden gems waiting to be found. You’ll stumble across some of the city’s most charming and unusual boutique shops, where you’ll find a wide variety of handmade and vintage items.

Cardiff CF10.

8. See the wildlife at Glamorgan Canal Nature Reserve

You can discover country life without leaving the city at Glamorgan Canal Nature Reserve. Take a walk around and feel your worries melt away as you relax amongst the trees, flowers and wildlife including kingfishers and herons.

Forest Farm Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff CF14 7JH.

9. Enjoy a peaceful day at Llandaff Cathedral

Built on the site of a 6th-century monastery near the River Taff, this imposing cathedral is full of history. The cathedral has been restored and rebuilt plenty of times over the centuries, resulting in a unique blend of older and more modern styles.

Cathedral Green, Cardiff CF5 2LA. Open 9am – last service Monday – Saturday and 7am – last service on Sundays.

© Michael D Beckwith

10. Learn about Cardiff’s journey at the Story Museum

If you really want to discover the story of Cardiff, why not find out through the eyes of the people who know it best – the people! The Cardiff Story Museum highlights how life has changed for the people of Cardiff as it transformed from a small market town in the 1300s to one of the world’s biggest ports in the 1900s, eventually becoming the cool, cosmopolitan capital we know today.

The Old Library, The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1BH. Open 10am – 4pm Monday – Sunday.

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