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Cardiff travel guide: things to see and do, best hotels, best restaurants

cardiff castle

Cardiff Castle is the “crown of the city”, Kayak.com said. Centrally located and with nearly 2,000 years of incredible history, Cardiff Castle has “a medieval keep at its heart, but it’s the later additions that really capture the imagination”, Lonely Planet said. Access to the public square, café and souvenir shop is free, although tickets and reservations are required to access the castle’s main attractions, such as the Norman keep, the castle apartments, the Roman ruins and Chariot Corner.

cardiff bay

Formerly known as Tiger Bay, Cardiff Bay is “often described as one of the UK’s most successful redevelopment projects”, India Leigh told Culture Trip. Home to a number of attractions and hotels, The Bay has ‘transformed from the red-light district of decades past into the thriving and hip part of Cardiff that it is today’.

Occupying some 2,700 acres of waterfront land, Cardiff Bay is so large that “it could easily take the better part of a day to explore it properly,” Bryan Dearsley told PlanetWare.com. It is “well worth the investment of time and energy” and is home to many fun things to do, “especially if you are traveling with children”.

Boasting shops, hotels, restaurants and attractions such as the Techniquest – Science Discovery Center and Y Senedd, home of the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay is only a short drive away. bus or train from downtown, or a good walk.

arts and culture

In Cardiff Bay you will also find the Wales Millennium Centre, Wales’ national home for the performing arts. Residents include the BBC National Orchestra and the Welsh National Opera. It is one of the UK’s top cultural attractions with over 1.5 million visitors each year.

Wales is known as the ‘Land of Song’, BBC Travel said. And its capital is an excellent destination for attending concerts and shows. Womanby Street is the “heart of Cardiff’s live music scene”, says WalesOnline.

Retail therapy: shopping and markets

If you want a shopping spree, Cardiff has “everything you need to dress to impress”, said Nicholas Witts on Culture Trip. And the capital of Wales is “a patchwork of different styles of shops”. With over 150 shops, restaurants and cafes, St David’s Dewi Sant is Cardiff’s largest shopping centre. Queens Arcade, Cardiff Bay Retail Park, Capital Shopping Park and Capitol Shopping Center are other must-visit places to shop.

You’re bound to be able to find what you’re looking for in one of Cardiff’s many markets, WalesOnline said. From more permanent installations to weekly farmers’ markets, “there’s something to explore almost every day of the week.” Cardiff Market, a Victorian indoor market, has been “an iconic part of the city since the 1700s” and is one of the city’s most popular attractions.

Cardiff is also known as “the city of arcades”. At the heart of the centre, you’ll find Victorian and Edwardian arcades that house independent cafes, bars and shops. Places to visit include Castle Arcade, Royal Arcade and Morgan Arcade.

The great outdoors

With its attractions, train station and castle nearby, Cardiff is an ideal place to explore on foot or by bike. The River Taff also offers a “5,000 pace course” through parks, oak-lined avenues and numerous arboretums, The Guardian said.

St Fagans National History Museum

Located around 25 minutes outside the city centre, this open-air museum is Wales’ most popular heritage attraction and is free to enter. Here visitors can explore the history of Wales and walk through more than 40 original buildings from different historical periods. If you fancy exploring a new post-lockdown town ‘without spending time indoors’, then at St Fagans National History Museum’s ‘star attraction’ you can spy ‘all the sights without go inside only once,” Luke Waterson told The Telegraph.