While most visitors flock to Cardiff’s famous landmarks and attractions, there’s a whole world of unusual and offbeat experiences waiting to be discovered here. Whether you’re a curious traveler or a local looking to explore beyond the beaten path, Cardiff has a treasure of unique and unexpected experiences to offer. Embrace the peculiar and join us as we discover the most intriguing and unusual things to do and see in Cardiff.
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Do a ghost tour of a castle
A tour guide full of knowledge of ghostly happenings and the often-gruesome past of Cardiff Castle will lead you by torch light through the haunted rooms of the fortress, telling you detailed stories of what happened in each one. Expect to get the spooks.
Eat a meal at a prison
The Clink is a restaurant which aims to challenge perceptions and reduce the chance of its staff re-offending, all of whom are serving prisoners of HMP Cardiff, the city’s prison. Not only is it a charity initiative which has shown to reduce reoffending by 41%, but it has been named among the top restaurants in the country.
Go to a secret speakeasy
Still on an alcohol theme, how about going to hidden bar The Dead Canary? It does the most amazing, intricately-made cocktails, and takes it speakeasy theme just as seriously. Down an unassuming little street you’ll see the tell-tale canary cage and what looks like a back door. Ring the bell to be ushered into a low-lit vintage-style bar where you’ll be shown a seat and helped to choose a drink based on your favourite flavours and spirits. The outcome is guaranteed to be exquisite.
Spot stone animals
The Animal Wall is a veritable Cardiff institution – a row of animal sculptures designed in 1866, found along the outer walls of Cardiff Castle. No visit to Cardiff would be complete without a picture of your favourite critter.
Visit mini islands on a lake
Cardiff’s Roath Park has a beautiful lake complete with a lighthouse and little islands where birds nest. You can hire a boat – choosing from pedalos or rowing boats – and head out to get a closer look, while admiring the scenery of weeping willows and wildlife.
Go to an indoor jungle
Another feature of Roath Park is its conservatory, a beautiful and humid indoor jungle with a large pond in the middle where you can feed fish (buy some food for them on the way in) and watch the huge colony of terrapins bobbing about. The vines and flowers too make for a magical visit which kids will love.
Design and make a pot
If you’d like to do something creative how about throwing a pot? Cardiff Pottery Workshops do one-off days (check the website), as do Llanover Hall and Barefoot Ceramics. Whether you’re only visiting, or you have time to sign up for a longer course, there’s nothing like getting your hands in some clay, using the wheel to shape your creation and then decorating it, all while getting to take home something you made at the end of the day.
A rooftop garden in the castle
Visitors to Cardiff Castle often miss this little hidden gem, a heavenly oasis above the city. Once you get inside the castle go Bute Tower, where a spiral staircase takes you up to a decadent rooftop garden with lush plants, colourful tiles and water features.
Go on a sculpture trail
Out of the city in the woodland of Forest Fawr, which is also the grounds to Castell Coch, you can follow the trail of sculptures. Designed to help kids engage with nature, the sculptures are connected by a tale of a giant creature who has misplaced its things: a treasure chest, a cauldron, books and a chair. There are also mystical creatures to spot and a wizard.
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