10 Unusual Things to Do and See in Cardiff

The Animal Wall
The Animal Wall
Photo of Poppy Jacob
24 September 2017

If the big tourist attractions aren’t for you here’s a choice selection of the lesser-known pulls Wales’ capital has to offer…

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.

Castle St., Cardiff, +44 7538 878 609

Haunted Castle

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.

HMP Cardiff, Knox Rd, Cardiff, +44 2920 923130

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.

Barrack Ln, Cardiff, +44 29 2023 1263

Saturday is in full swing here at TDC. Join us this evening, we're open til 3am 🙌🏻

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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.

Castle St, Cardiff

The Animal Wall

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.

Roath Park Botanic Gardens, Cardiff, +44 29 2233 0235

Cardiff's very own indoor jungle #roathparkconservatory #hotheat #jungle

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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.

Castle St, Cardiff

Go on a sculpture trail

Out of the city in the woodland of Fforest 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.