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Merchant Seafarers' Memorial © tom1068/Pixabay
Merchant Seafarers' Memorial © tom1068/Pixabay
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20 Unmissable Attractions in Cardiff, Wales

Picture of Poppy Jacob
Updated: 26 September 2017
Here are the best attractions you should put at the top of your list when you visit Wales’ capital city!
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Wooly mammoths

Cardiff has a brilliant museum full of natural history, world class art, interactive activities and more. One of most iconic exhibits is the skeleton of a mammoth, see if you can find it.

Cathays Park, Cardiff, +44 (0) 300 111 2333

Come explore the great natural history exhibition at national museum Wales, in Cardiff #museum #tourism #naturalhistory #mammoth #bones

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A stroll along a Victorian pier

Penarth is a seaside town outside Cardiff’s centre. It’s the perfect place to go for a cup of tea, a walk along the pebbled beach finished by fish and chips on the pier.

Beautiful blue skies down at the pier today!

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A fairytale castle

Castell Coch or Red Castle, is a beautiful gothic relic found in lush woodland. You can get to it by cycling along the River Taff from the centre of the city, out into the countryside. There are plenty of activities going on inside too, making it great for taking the kids.

Tongwynlais, Cardiff, +44 (0) 4429 2081 0101

Views like this

Cardiff is a city full of vibrantly green parkland – one of the benefits of being in rainy Wales. This view is from a bridge near the city centre overlooking the River Taff.

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A honeycomb room in the castle

Inside Cardiff Castle you’ll find the magical Arab Room which has a fascinating history and a ceiling that looks like honeycomb.

Cardiff Castle, Castle St, Cardiff, +44 (0) 2920878100

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A huge outdoor museum

St Fagans National History Museum is an open air wonderland full of interesting Welsh history, old buildings and scenery. You could easily spend an afternoon here and learn a lot about Wales in the process.

St Fagans, Cardiff, +44 (0) 300 111 2333

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The Roald Dahl Church

This unusual and attractive church provides a link between Cardiff and Norway. With stunning views over Cardiff Bay, it is the oldest church in the UK founded by the Norwegian Seamens’ mission, and is now an arts centre and café. None other than Roald Dahl used to worship here, hence the nickname.

Harbour Dr, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, +44 (0) 29 2087 7959

Cosy independent bookshops

The are plenty dotted around Cardiff – this is called Troutmark Books and from floor to ceiling is chock full of books – rare, specialist, classic and contemporary – and all expertly categorised.

Troutmark #literature #bookheaven #bookshop #cardiff

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Majestic botanical gardens

Outside of the city but well worth a visit are these magical gardens, tended by dedicated volunteers who are creative and playful in their planting – making a feature out of vegetables and using rows of parsley to border flower beds. There are lots of different sections, from the grand central lawns to the cactus house and wilder wooded parts.

#dyffryngardens #wales

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A castle in the centre

How many cities have a castle in the centre? Go for a tour, hang out in the stocks, admire the moat and find out about its secrets and ghosts…

Cardiff Castle, Castle St, Cardiff, +44 (0) 2920878100

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Antiques galore

A veritable treasure trove of antiques, vintage clothes, jewellery and home furnishings spread across three floors with a café and roof terrace.

W Canal Wharf, Cardiff, CF10 5DB, +44 (0) 29 2039 0939

Amongst pretty things. #antiques #antiqueshop #cardiff #jacobsantiques

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The Animal Wall

An iconic sight in Cardiff: count the animals lining Cardiff Castle and get your picture taken with them.

Cardiff Castle, Castle St, Cardiff, +44 (0) 2920 878100

Sculptures like this…

A couple and their dog pose at Mermaid Quay, representing the people of what used to be Tiger Bay – a busy port which created a lot of industry in the city.

People Like Us
People Like Us | © Richard Croft/Geograph

The Rugby

There’s nothing like the atmosphere of a rugby match when Wales are playing on at the Millennium Stadium. Rugby is a way of life here, something the Welsh are truly passionate about. Pictured is Cardiff Castle during the Rugby World Cup, with a giant ball looking like it had been booted into the wall…

Rugby Ball in Cardiff Castle
Rugby Ball in Cardiff Castle | © Rockschaf/ Pixabay

Architecture like this

The Senedd is where the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff meets but it is also a public building, with places to eat and drink and all sorts of events being held there. But the architecture in itself is unmissable.

The Senedd
The Senedd | © Tidy/ Pixabay
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The Millennium Stadium

The world famous Millennium Stadium is a big presence in Cardiff, both due to its purpose as an incredible sports venue but also it’s visibility, it is a huge structure which sits beside the River Taff and can be seen for miles around.

Westgate Street, Cardiff

And more impressive sculptures

This sculpture of a sleeping head which turns into a ship’s hull is found in front of the Welsh Parliament (the Senedd).

Merchant Seafarers’ Memorial
Merchant Seafarers’ Memorial | © tom1068/Pixabay

Winding arcades

One of the best things about shopping in Cardiff is the Victorian arcades which house a rich collection of independent businesses – great for finding unusual gifts and goods.

Royal Arcade
Royal Arcade | © Geograph
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Costa del Cardiff

Sit outside, order a cocktail and feel like you’re on a Mediterranean promenade at Mill Lane, a row of upmarket bars and restaurants.

Mill Lane, Cardiff

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The bustling market

A bit of time warp, Cardiff Market houses stalls selling books, records, gifts, vintage clothes, freshly-cooked Welsh cakes, meals to-go and more. To get a feel of a real Cardiff community, go here.

St Marys St, Cardiff