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10 Free Things to do in Cardiff

Exploring the Welsh capital doesn’t need to be expensive. Here are 10 free things to do while you’re there

Cardiff is actually Europe’s youngest capital city with a rich and interesting history. With so many free activities to enjoy in the city, it’s easy to discover Cardiff’s charm for yourself. This beautiful port city has a wealth of free activities for all the family to enjoy.

1. Glamorgan Canal Natural Reserve 

Cardiff’s best birding spots are Forest Farm Country Park and the Glamorganshire Canal Local Nature Reserve. Ancient beech and oak trees, wildlife, including otters, canal history, a long distance route, and the River Taff, in addition to a first-rate path network and first-rate public transportation connections, all contribute to making it a wonderful place to visit.

Go for a stroll and let the trees, flowers, and wildlife, such as kingfishers and herons, help you overcome your worries.

2. Walk by the Cardiff Bay 

The 10-kilometre (6.2-mile) circular trail is designed for cycling and pedestrians. It completely covers the Bay and crosses to the beach town of Penarth via Pont Y Werin, a 140-metre bridge that connects Penarth with the International Sports Village for pedestrians and bicycles.  

The Bay has an unique, special attraction thanks to the lively waterfront cafés, bars, and restaurants.

3. Browse the Castle Quarter Arcades 

A leisurely stroll through these hidden arcades will provide you with a genuinely distinctive window-shopping experience, with everything from bookshops filled with the smell of forgotten pages to music stores that will transport you back to the age of vinyl.

 Rows of unique, independent boutiques can be found in these finely constructed Victorian arcades, which have housed Cardiff’s markets for decades.

4. Stroll through Bute Park

Bute Park is the best area to spend some time outside in Cardiff because it is a peaceful haven in the centre of the city. The greatest season for a stroll is spring, when the plants and fauna are at their most beautiful. Explore the friary remains, stroll by the Taff, and stop for a picnic to take in the natural beauty of the area.

5. Learn in the National Museum Cardiff

The National Museum Cardiff is just one of seven national museums in Wales, yet it has so many different collections that you may explore it for an entire day without becoming bored. There are exhibits on zoology, botany, archaeology, geology, and more in this magnificent structure. Children will enjoy exploring the dinosaur exhibit, which is undoubtedly the museum’s crowning achievement.

Additionally, the museum has a sizable art collection that includes pieces by Magritte, Renoir, Degas, and Monet.

6. Visit the Penarth Pier 

Visitors to the Welsh beach have been enjoying Penarth Pier since it was built in the Art Deco style in 1898. The Victorian pier has benefited from significant renovations while keeping some of its original characteristics, and there are many quaint stores and eateries around to explore. Wander along the pier for free, then sit and relax while enjoying the sea breeze and some fish and chips.

Penarth Pier (sunset – early evening) Penarth Cardiff South Towns and Villages

7. Step Back in Time at St Fagans National History Museum

This 100-acre open-air museum brings Wales’ historical past to life. It includes more than 40 restored structures from various periods in Welsh history, including former schools, butcher shops, bakeries, ironworks, and workmen’s institutions. You will observe artisans using their traditional talents and hawking their items because it is a living museum. You can see native cattle breeds that are still raised on the premises.

If you want to visit during one of the museum’s seasonal festivities of traditional music and dance, make sure to check before you arrive.

8. Adventure at the Fforest Fawr Sculpture Trail 

Just a short drive from Cardiff, the intriguing Castell Coch is close by the wooded Fforest Fawr sculpture trail. The 1.5-mile trail is intended to lead kids on an enchanted adventure through the woodland. Ten new figurines, all carved by artist Simon O’Rourke from a single redwood tree, representing creatures that would have formerly roamed the Welsh woodland, were installed in 2018 to replace some of the old sculptures that had been damaged following years of exposure to the weather.

Along with the more recent additions of an elk and a European wolf, some original sculptures still exist, including a large Welsh dragon.

9. Marvel at the Millennium Centre 

You will find this masterpiece of architecture, which houses the National Arts Centre of Wales, by heading down to the bay. The majority of the activities offered here require tickets, but they also host free public performances on the Glanfa Stage in the foyer, including dance performances, concerts of modern music, and festivals. Even if you miss the show, the structure itself is remarkable.

Constructed of Welsh wood, slate, steel, and glass, it is thought to exemplify everything that is admirable about the country.

10. Watch Democracy in Action at the Senedd 

Visit the Senedd, where Wales’ National Assembly is located, for something a little different. The building, which is primarily made of glass and wood and was constructed to symbolise transparency and sustainability, is stunning from the outside. Once inside, you can unwind with views of the bay in the Oriel cafe or sit in the gallery above the debating room to hear the proceedings of the day.

Additionally, there are a tonne of thrilling performances, musical acts, and entertaining events happening all year round. A seat in the viewing gallery must be booked in advance.

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Exploring the Welsh capital doesn’t need to be expensive. Here are 10 free things to do while you're there