Explore your world
Bute Park in autumn|©Jon Candy/Flickr
Bute Park in autumn|©Jon Candy/Flickr

12 Free Things To Do in Cardiff

Picture of Nicholas Witts
Updated: 21 January 2017
Visiting Cardiff need not be expensive. There are some fantastic, free opportunities in the City allowing you to get the best out of your time on a tight budget.


Stroll through Bute Park

An oasis in the metropolis, Bute Park is a beautiful place to spend time when in Cardiff. You can follow your way down alongside the Taff and take in the natural beauty the area offers. Come spring, the flora and fauna truly come into their own and make this green land a brilliant place to spend time.

Learn at the National Museum of Wales  

This wonderful museum has collections of  archeology, botany, fine art, geology, and zoology. The building itself is a spectacle and well worth a visit. Arguably, its pièce de résistance is the dinosaur exhibition.

Step back in time at St Fagans National History Museum

Visit this 100-acre open air museum and learn about Wales’ historical past. There are re-erected buildings from various ages, including old schools, butchers, bakers, ironsmiths, and workmen’s institutes. On the grounds, you’ll also see native breeds of livestock – farmed daily – as well as seasonal celebrations of traditional music, dance and festivals.

St. Fagans Castle and gardens

St. Fagans Castle and gardens|©Ben Salter/Flickr

Marvel at the Millennium Centre

Head down to the bay and you’ll find this architectural masterpiece that hosts all form of arts performances – dance, choir, contemporary music and orchestras. These events take place on the Glanfa Stage in the lobby and are free to watch. If that isn’t your thing, head outside and admire the exterior. Made of Welsh wood, slate, steel and glass, the building is seen to embody all that is good about the Welsh spirit.

The beautiful Millennium Centre

The beautiful Millennium Centre|©Mark Botham/Flickr

Get outdoorsy with the Forest Fawr sculpture trail

One for the children, the Forest Fawr sculpture trail, located near Castell Coch, is a woodland area just a short drive outside of Cardiff. It is roughly 1.5 miles long and designed to take children on a magical journey through the forest with its many trails for walking and cycling. It is based on the idea of a giant creature who lives in the woods and has discarded different objects around  – like a watch, a treasure chest and a dragon. If you are thinking about spending your time here in the autumn or winter, remember to pack wellies.


The Senedd is Wales’ National Assembly. It is one of Cardiff’s most beautiful buildings and cost an eye watering £69 million to build. Upon attending this iconic building, you can find plenty of tour guides on hand that are willing to give you a full understanding of the building’s architectural design, why it was chosen, and what goes on. Come watch democracy in action.

Browse the arcades 

Cardiff’s arcades are draped around the city like ribbons. They offer some of the most quirky shops in the city – from book shops filled with the smell of forgotten pages to music shops that will transport you back to the age of vinyl. Even if you don’t want to spend any money, taking a leisurely stroll around these undercover centers will undoubtedly leave you enamored with Cardiff.

Cardiff's romantic arcades

Cardiff’s romantic arcades|©Alex Liivet/Flickr

Amelia Trust animal visit

The Amelia Trust Farm is a 160-acre working farm where you can take a country walk and see a range of different animals. Whilst the farm is situated just outside of Cardiff in Barry, it is well worth a visit especially if you have little ones that need entertaining.

Sully Island

You will need a car, a good map, and around half a day to get close to Sully Island. It will however be worth it. The hill at the end of the island is reputed to have been a Viking look out fort. There are also visible ribs of a ship from a Victorian wreckage, washed ashore and now part of the landscape. The unbridged island can be reached when the tides are extremely low, however, you should fully prepare yourself before making your way out – check tide times, ensure suitable footwear, and make sure you take provisions.

Admire the street art

Cardiff city is a gallery, the streets painted and brightened by creative Welsh minds. Their work has made the city feel more organic and characterful, and ensured that leisurely walks are more gripping than ever. So why not lose yourself in amongst the graffiti and murals and see if you can pick out your favourites.

Pay a visit to Penarth Pier

Penarth Pier is one of several popular seaside attractions on the south coast of Wales. Opened in 1898, the Pier is a seasoned, Art Deco gem that can be enjoyed by pedestrians for free. The Pier has benefitted from substantial redevelopment and renewed interest making it a lovely area to walk, with some shops and restaurants close by. There are plenty of places to sit, relax and wander whilst enjoying the salty sea air.

Penarth Pier under some great skies

Penarth Pier under some great skies|©Ben Salter/Flickr

Norwegian Church Arts Centre

The Dahl Gallery, named after Cardiff native Roald Dahl, is located within a picturesque Norwegian church previously used by sailors. The clapboard church’s stubby spire pierces the through the bay’s skyline and makes for one of the most distinctive architectural landmarks of the city. Inside, the gallery hosts touring exhibitions and displays work by local artists.

Norwegian Church where Roald Dahl was baptised

Norwegian Church where Roald Dahl was baptised|©Ben Salter/Flickr