Third Eye Traveller

A Complete Cardiff Travel Guide – Discover the Amazing Capital of Wales!

By: Author Sophie Pearce

Posted on Last updated: July 13, 2023

Categories WALES

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

When I crossed over the water from England, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Bright sunshine, blue skies – in Wales?!  

It made a nice change from the grey clouds, wind, and rain that you’re usually greeted with on arrival.  

I remember smiling when I saw the Red Dragon sign and the words ‘Croeso y Cymru’ or Welcome to Wales.

It is always comforting to me as my family is Welsh and since I was a kid, I would shout when I saw the Red Dragon on the signs and we would have competitions to see who would spot it first!

One of the friendliest cities in the world which is over this side of the country is Cardiff.

It has oodles of shops, sightseeing, and character. I love coming here for a shopping trip or a mini city break as there’s just so much to do and take in!

Here’s a quick Cardiff travel guide to make the most of your time in the wonderfully Welsh capital.

Cardiff Travel Guide

How to travel to Cardiff in the UK

Although Wales is attached to England, the south is divided by the River Severn. So, if you’re approaching my car from London, you will need to cross the Severn Bridge!

There are two bridges, the old and the new. The new can be accessed via the M4 and the old can be accessed via the M48 – both, lead to Cardiff.

There are National rail links from London Paddington directly to Cardiff and the National Express coaches will also go here and drop you off in Central. It all depends on your budget.

There is currently NO toll charge for the Wales Bridge!

Wales travel tips – Do they speak a different language in Wales?

There’s not too much difference as you cross over from England, apart from that there’s usually more rain and sheep!

The British pound is still currency here in Wales, so you don’t need to worry about that.

The language however you will notice is slightly different. Although only around 20% of the entire country speaks Cymraeg, you will see it plastered everywhere!

The road signs, attractions, and even shop names have Welsh there.

It does almost look like someone went mad with a keyboard and decided to create a language blind but, it is a beautiful language nonetheless.

Most Cardiff residents are fluent in English and love to chat with you, so you shouldn’t have any issues speaking to people.

Cardiff Travel Guide

The top things to do in Cardiff

There are so many attractions to get stuck into in the Capital of Wales, alongside being able to shop til’ you drop and enjoy a lazy afternoon by the Bay.

You shouldn’t need more than a few days here so it’s perfect for a weekend. Here are some of the highlights;

  • Cardiff Castle – a Medieval Castle turned into a Victorian Mansion! It’s the highlight of the city and must visit
  • Go shopping on the high street – there are so many little boutiques here, but also the main high street brands
  • Cardiff Bay – my favourite stop of all! Here there’s a whole wealth of things to do including the Welsh Parliament Building and Cardiff Opera House.

Where and what to eat in Cardiff

I decided to go authentically Welsh on my trip and ate…Shake Shack. Ha! The meat is technically from Welsh farms but I know I cannot justify it – oops!

I was dying to try one though and wanted to see what all the fuss was all about. It was on another level of awesome.

If you’re looking for some traditional Welsh food to try while you’re here, I would highly recommend trying the national dish Cawl (a broth), Lamb, Rarebit (posh cheese on toast), and Welsh cakes.

My Nan always makes Welsh cakes which I eat fresh from the oven and they’re such a scrummy treat!

But here’s a picture of my Shake Shack, if you’re interested!

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What to buy in Cardiff

There’s so much to see and do here in modern Wales but there are a few traditional delights, one being the Welsh love spoon.

Beautifully hand-carved, each spoon has different symbols meaning different things.  

Anchors are for safe travels on long journeys, a horseshoe is for luck, a cross for religion, bells for marriage, a lock for security etc.

They are great for a souvenir or decorating your home.

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Day trips from Cardiff

If you are planning on staying a while, there are tonnes of places to visit around Cardiff in South Wales within a short driving distance.

You could go to the Wye Valley and visit Tintern Abbey, walk the famous Transporter bridge in Newport, explore the Brecon Beacons national park,  go to countless Castles and enjoy some amazing walks. Wales is your oyster.

So, that’s my mini Cardiff travel guide

Cardiff is such a lively Capital city with so much to do, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

It’s a city steeped in history and tradition. You’ll see a Welsh flag on every corner, find dragons everywhere on nearly everything and meet the friendly locals. 

I wouldn’t expect the sun to put his hat on though, it’s usually quite wet!

Cardiff Travel guide

  • Historic buildings
  • City / Town
  • Shopping centres and malls

© Hawlfraint y Goron / Crown Copyright

View from Cardiff Castle over the city centre, South Wales

Things to do in Cardiff city centre

Wales' capital city is a modern, cosmopolitan city with a warm Welsh welcome. Here's our guide to activities and things to do in Cardiff, including our favourite places to visit, eat and explore.

Cardiff is our dynamic capital, seamlessly blending our rich Welsh heritage with modern city life. The city centre is fairly compact - so really easy get around, with good public transport to Cardiff Bay and the nearby countryside. Whether you’re interested in history, sports, nature, or just looking for a fun and relaxing day out, Cardiff has something to offer for everyone.

Map of the cities in Wales, including the capital city Cardiff in South Wales

Wander around Cardiff’s museums

Cardiff is a city full of culture and heritage. The Old Library in The Hayes hosts the Museum of Cardiff , where the history of the city is told from its 1300s origins to the present day through stories, photographs, films, objects and interactive exhibits.

National Museum Cardiff 's grand building hosts a huge collection of Impressionist art, as well as pieces from over 500 years of art history, natural history exhibits and touring exhibitions. St Fagans National Museum of History is a brilliant family-friendly open air museum. The site is full of reconstructed buildings to explore, telling the social history of Wales.

Inside Cardiff Castle's walls, you'll find the fascinating Firing Line Museum . Discover over 300 years of Welsh military history through displays, events, exhibitions and educational events.

National Museum Cardiff, South Wales

Waterlilies by Monet

National Museum Cardiff

travel home cardiff

Museum of Cardiff

St Fagans Castle

St Fagans National Museum of History

HRH The Prince of Wales opens the Firing Line

Firing Line Museum

Catch a show....

If you're looking for a memorable night out in Cardiff, there are plenty of options to suit your taste and budget. The Wales Millennium Centre is the country's equivalent to the Sydney Opera House, hosting a variety of shows, from West End hits to Welsh language productions, inside a spectacular architectural delight. The New Theatre is the oldest theatre in Cardiff, dating back to 1906. Expect classic and contemporary plays, as well as pantomimes, ballets, and musicals.

Sherman Cymru is a modern, innovative venue showcasing new and emerging talent from Wales and beyond. It produces original and diverse works, ranging from intimate dramas to family-friendly shows. Chapter Arts Centre is a vibrant hub where you can watch independent films, theatre, and dance performances, join workshops and classes, or explore the gallery and the bookshop. The Glee Club in Mermaid Quay hosts live comedy most nights, drawing in big names and newcomers alike to Cardiff Bay.

Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, South Wales

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Wales Millennium Centre

travel home cardiff

New Theatre

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Sherman Cymru

travel home cardiff

The Glee Club

Cardiff has loads of live music and DJ venues spread around the city. Womanby Street is home to iconic music venues and nightclubs Clwb Ifor Bach and The Moon , while Jacobs Roof Garden has rooftop gigs overlooking the city centre. Sŵn festival founder and DJ Huw Stephens shares a few of his favourite Cardiff music venues in his guide to Cardiff .

Read more: Your essential guide to Cardiff's cultural venues

SŴN Music Festival, Cardiff, South Wales

Explore Cardiff Bay

This area of the city was hugely significant in the 1900s, being the main way of transporting coal from South Wales to the rest of the world. It has since been reinvented into a waterfront escape from the city's bustle. The Senedd , home to the National Assembly for Wales, and the Pierhead are nearby, as is the Norwegian Church in which author Roald Dahl was baptised. There are loads of independent coffee shops, bars and restaurants to try out as you explore the area. 

Read more: Guide to Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay, South Wales

Senedd

Norwegian Church Arts Centre

Princess Katharine

Cardiff Boat Tours

Rib in the Cardiff Bay

Bay Island Voyages

Shop in victorian arcades.

Weaving through the city is nearly a kilometre of arcades, dating back to Victorian and Edwardian times. Inside you can find independent shops, family-run cafes and cute boutiques. Highlights include Hobo's for vintage clothing, Rules of Play for board game enthusiasts and the world’s oldest record shop, Spillers Records . You can find high-end stores and well-known brands in the large modern shopping centre, St David's , just five minutes from the arcades.

If you fancy a food walking tour around the diverse shopping arcades of the city then Loving Welsh Food provide a City of Arcades Testing Tour. There's the free City of Arcades history and culture guided walking tour with Fogo’s Free Tours , which operates a 'pay as you feel' basis after the tour. For more ideas, check out our specific guide to shopping in Cardiff .

Hobo's and Spillers Records, Cardiff, South Wales

Conquer Cardiff Castle

Originating from Roman times, Cardiff Castle sits right in the middle of the city. It had a major transformation during the 19th century, when the rooms were decorated in an ornate Gothic style by William Burges. A tour of the interior shows you the luxurious gold and marble furnishings, floral carvings and elaborate décor. For a fantastic view of the city and beyond, climb to the top of the keep before you leave.

Read more: Things to see and do at Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle, South Wales

Cardiff Castle Summer Room

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Tasting Tour

Loving Welsh Food

Cardiff Walking Tour

Fogo's Free Tours

Where to eat in cardiff.

The city offers a world of diverse food experiences to suit all tastes. Visit City Road in Roath or Cowbridge Road East in Canton for authentic international cuisine at fair prices. Highlights include for Bangkok Cafe Thai food and Mina for Lebanese cuisine. Mill Lane in the city centre has fancy bars for cocktails, and there are a number of good restaurants on High Street and St Mary’s Street, such as The Potted Pig .

Take a trip down Womanby Street to Tiny Rebel , famous for its beer made in a small brewery based near Cardiff. Don't forget Cardiff Indoor Market and the Cardiff Farmers’ Markets in Riverside, Roath and Rhiwbina for a wide range of tasty goods from some of the best food producers in Wales.

Read more: A local's guide to eating in Cardiff

Cardiff Market, South Wales

Things to do in Cardiff with the kids

One of the nicest things about Cardiff is plenty of accessible green spaces to enjoy. As well as the city centre's Bute Park , there are several lovely parks, gardens and play areas scattered across the city, including Roath Park ,  Victoria Park ,  Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve  and Cosmeston Lakes . You could also hire cycles, including adaptive bikes, from Pedal Power  in Pontcanna, to explore the Taff Trail .

As well as the family-friendly museums, Techniquest in Cardiff Bay is full of interactive science exhibits designed specifically for children of all ages to learn and enjoy.

Read more: Buggy routes around Cardiff and the Vale

Techniquest, Cardiff Bay, South Wales

Things to do in Cardiff for couples

If you're up for a bit of entertaining competition, Cardiff city centre has a lot to offer! Treetop Adventure Golf in St David's Shopping Centre is fantastic fun, or go retro arcade gaming at NQ64 in St Mary Street. We've got escape rooms, games venues and adventure activities so there really is something for everyone to enjoy. 

End the day with a romantic sunset stroll around Cardiff Bay, exploring the cocktail bars and restaurants, or take a relaxing boat trip around the bay.

Read more: Nightlife in Cardiff

Croeso Cardiff

Making a weekend of it?

Planning a weekend or a short break in Cardiff? Discover a range of great places to stay for all tastes and budgets on our Cardiff city breaks page .

Our capital city is well-connected by public transport, so it's easy to explore the city and its surroundings. Traveline Cymru is a useful public transport journey planner.

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On the Luce travel blog

A weekend in Cardiff, Wales: 2-day Cardiff itinerary

Posted on Last updated: April 22, 2024

How to spend a weekend in Cardiff: Discover the best things to see, do, eat and drink in Cardiff in a two-day itinerary featuring the Welsh capital’s castles, museums, arcades and redeveloped dockside.

* This site contains affiliate links , where I get a small commission from purchases at no extra cost to you.

A weekend in Cardiff, Wales: 2-day Cardiff itinerary

AD: My trip was hosted by Visit Wales , but all views are my own

Located along the banks of the River Taff, the Welsh city of Cardiff is Europe’s youngest capital. This dynamic city has a great mix of history and culture, from its 2000-year-old castle to the modern architecture of Cardiff Bay. It’s a centre for sport, for music and for food, with seasonal, local produce and drinks from around Wales on the menu.

It packs it all into a small space too, so you can easily experience the city’s highlights in a couple of days. So join us for a weekend in Cardiff, with this two-day Cardiff itinerary which shows you what to see as well as where to eat, drink and stay in the Welsh capital.

How to spend a weekend in Cardiff

Views across Cardiff from the castle keep

Friday evening

Check into your accommodation then start your weekend in Cardiff with a pre-dinner drink at The Dead Canary bar on Barrack Lane. This speakeasy bar has a Prohibition-era feel – ring the bell by the birdcage to be let inside. Interiors are moodily lit and atmospheric, with a creative cocktail menu, currently inspired by Welsh folklore and superstitions.

Then have dinner at the Potted Pig . This former underground bank vault in the city centre is now a restaurant serving modern British dishes made using seasonal Welsh ingredients. Think roast pork belly with black pudding bonbons or miso-glazed aubergine with spiced lentils. There’s also an impressive range of gins as well as a few Welsh whiskys.

Cardiff Castle keep

Saturday morning

Begin your Cardiff itinerary at its castle , located at the heart of the city and surrounded by parkland. Over its 2000-year history it’s been a Roman fort, Norman castle, Victorian Gothic mansion and Second World War bomb shelter. It’s owned by the city of Cardiff, and if you live or work there you can apply for a castle key which gives you free entry.

Visitors can take a walk around the battlements, see an original Roman wall, tour the wartime tunnels, and climb to the top of the keep for panoramic views across the city.

It’s worth paying the small extra cost (£4 adults/£3 children) on top of the entry fee to take a 50-minute guided tour around the Castle Apartments too. These fairytale rooms were renovated for the Bute family, who took over the castle in 1766. They’re lavishly decorated with elaborately painted murals, wood carvings, gilt, stained glass and marble.

Inside the Castle Apartments at Cardiff Castle

Just outside the castle, you can see the Animal Wall along the edge of Bute Park. The first statues were added in the late 1880s, based on sketches by William Burges, who was the architect who designed the Castle Apartments for Lord Bute. Original designs included lions, a wolf, bear and hyena, and six more animals were added in the 1920s.

Bute Park covers 130 acres, and was once the part of the castle grounds. It’s a lovely place for a walk on a sunny day, with an arboretum, flower gardens and a riverside pathway. There’s also the remains of the 13th-century Blackfriars Friary.

Next head across to the 18th-century Castle Arcade, which is one of several Victorian and Edwardian shopping arcades around Cardiff. Each of these covered arcades has a mix of independent shops, cafés and restaurants perfect for browsing. And make sure to head up to the Castle Arcade balcony to get an up-close view of the beautiful architecture.

The Morgan Quarter Arcade on a weekend in Cardiff

The Royal Arcade is the city’s oldest arcade and its first shopping centre. Call into Sobeys Vintage Clothing and visit Wally’s Delicatessen to stock up on treats from around the world. Then a passageway links the Royal Arcade to the Morgan Quarter Arcade, where you’ll find Spillers Records, the world’s oldest record shop which opened in 1894.

Next call into the Cardiff Market for lunch. There’s been a market here since the 1700s, and today it takes place inside a glass-roofed Victorian building. Stalls sell a mix of local produce and hot food – our favourites include Ffwrnes for Neapolitan-style pizzas, Tukka Tuk Canteen for Keralan street food and Bao Selecta for vegan steamed buns.

Stalls at the market in Cardiff Wales

Saturday afternoon

After lunch, take a short walk to the National Museum Cardiff . This two-in-one museum is free to visit, though donations are welcomed to help support its work.

The ground floor is all about natural history, and tells the story of ‘The Evolution of Wales’ from the Big Bang to the end of the last Ice Age, with a mix of multimedia exhibits and displays including everything from meteorites to a woolly mammoth’s skeleton.

And the upper floor is an art gallery, showing paintings, sculpture and ceramics from across Wales and beyond. Its Impressionist collection is one of the best in the world, featuring Monet’s Water Lilies as well as works by Renoir and Van Gogh. Welsh artists are well represented too, so it’s a great place to discover some new works.

The Evolution of Wales exhibition at the National Museum Cardiff

Allow at least a couple of hours to explore the museum, then call into Tiny Rebel Cardiff for a drink. This former fire station is now a bar run by a cult craft brewing company based in nearby Newport. They have their own brews on tap, including the quirky pineapple and mango Clwb Tropica and doughnut-flavour Pump up the Jam, plus guest beers.

Then have dinner at Pasture Restaurant , on the High Street near the castle. They specialise in dry-aged, charcoal-grilled beef, with big plates of tomahawk steak or Châteaubriand to share, and tasty sides like truffle chips and cabbage cooked in bacon butter.

Inside the art galleries at the National Museum Cardiff, Wales

Sunday morning

Start your Sunday with breakfast at Coffee Barker in the Castle Arcade. Choose from a doorstep bacon, egg or sausage sandwich, or go for a sugar hit from their ‘Tom Jones toast’ which comes covered in Nutella, peanut butter, banana and strawberries.

Then take the scenic route to Cardiff Bay by catching a water bus from Bute Park, which leaves from the landing just opposite the Holiday Inn. Cardiff Boat Tours run trips on board the 90-seat Princess Katherine which take 25 minutes. (Or if the boats aren’t running then you can also take a train from Cardiff Queen Street or catch the Baycar bus.)

Bute Park and the River Taff

A huge urban regeneration project has transformed the city’s old docklands in Cardiff Bay . The docks were originally used to ship coal out from the Welsh Valleys, but now combine a mixture of modern architecture and renovated historic buildings.

Start at the bay’s most recognisable building – Wales Millennium Centre , a performing arts centre where you can see opera, music and theatre shows. The eye-catching copper frontage has a poem by Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis built into it which is illuminated by night. Translated it means “Creating truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration”.

Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay

In front of the centre is Roald Dahl Plass, named after the popular children’s author who was born in Cardiff. Fans of Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood might also recognise it as the location for ‘The Rift’. And under a bridge by Mermaid Quay is ‘Ianto’s Shrine’, where Torchwood fans left letters and flowers after character Ianto Jones was killed off.

Next head to the Senedd – the Welsh Assembly’s strikingly modern parliament building. You can also take a look around the red-brick Pierhead Building, which was built as the headquarters of the Cardiff Railway Company in 1897. Its clock tower its been nicknamed the ‘Big Ben of Wales’ and there are exhibits on Welsh history inside.

Then stop for lunch at Culleys Kitchen and Bar , set inside the Coal Exchange Hotel and named after the wine merchant who opened the first restaurant there. They do a great Sunday lunch, with sharing platters of beef and chicken or a cauliflower steak served with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, pigs in blankets and seasonal veg.

The Senedd – the Welsh Assembly's parliament building – in Cardiff

Sunday afternoon

After lunch take a walk along the waterfront towards the Cardiff Bay Barrage, past rows of boats in the harbour and with views out across the Severn Estuary. The walk takes around 30 minutes each way, and passes the white wooden Norwegian Church .

The church was built in 1868 as a base for Norwegian sailors working in the docks, though it was moved during the regeneration. Its also where author Roald Dahl – whose parents were Norwegian – was christened. Today it’s an arts centre and café that’s free to visit.

The Norwegian Church and Scott Antarctic Memorial in Cardiff Bay

Next to the church is the Scott Antarctic Memorial, which overlooks Roath Basin where Scott’s ship the Terra Nova set sail in 1910 on its ill-fated expedition. You can also see the BBC Wales studios where shows like Casualty and Pobol y Cwm are filmed.

The path then continues on along the waterside – it’s part of the 870-mile Wales Coast Path which runs on over the barrage to the town of Penarth. The barrage is a kilometre long and was built to regulate the water level when the docks were regenerated. Originally the bay would’ve just be mud at low tide but the barrage keeps it full of water.

The Wales Coast Path along Cardiff Bay

Or if you fancy a view of Cardiff Bay from a different angle, you can take with a boat trip. Bay Island Voyages run a few different trips, from a 15-minute blast around the Bay in a high-speed inflatable RIB to a 90-minute Coastal and Island tour which runs out past the barrage then into the Bristol Channel to Flat Holm and Steep Holm Islands.

Finally, finish your weekend in Cardiff back in Mermaid Quay with a visit to Fabulous Welshcakes . They hand make traditional buttery Welsh cakes which are cooked in small batches over a cast iron griddle – though its impossible to eat just one.

Freshly cooked Welsh cakes

Map of things to do in Cardiff

Map of things to do in Cardiff Wales

The details

How to get to cardiff.

Cardiff’s main train station is Cardiff Central. It takes around two hours from London Paddington to Cardiff by direct train * or 50 minutes from Bristol Temple Meads.

If you’re driving, Cardiff is 150 miles (3 hours’ drive) from London, 45 miles (1 hour) from Bristol or 118 miles (2 hours 15 minutes) from Birmingham. Overnight car parking is available at Central Station (CF10 1LA) and Sophia Gardens (CF11 9FH).

Cardiff has an international airport, which is 15 miles or a 30-minute drive west of the city. You can also catch a 905 bus from the airport to Rhoose train station (7 minutes) where you can pick up a train to Cardiff Central or Queen Street (30 minutes).

Getting around Cardiff

The centre of Cardiff is fairly compact and easy to get around on foot. To get from the city centre to Cardiff Bay it’s around a 35-minute walk, 25-minute boat trip, 10-minute bus ride on the Baycar (number 6) bus or a short train journey from Cardiff Queen Street.

The Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay

Where to stay in Cardiff

The Hotel Indigo * is a smart, modern hotel on Queen Street in city centre. The 116 bedrooms reflect three themes – Made in Wales, Welsh Industry and Music – with colourful nods to Welsh culture, from bore da cushions to portraits of Tom Jones. And the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill on the top floor has great views.

No 73 by CoffiCo * (formerly known as Cathedral 73) is a boutique bed and breakfast in a converted Victorian townhouse an short walk into the city centre. There are eight rooms and apartments, plus a separate two-bedroom coach house. It’s run by a coffee company, who have a café-bar downstairs, and there’s a tucked-away secret garden.

Or splash out on a stay at the Parkgate Hotel, * near the Principality Stadium. Two historic buildings, the old post office and county court, have been merged into a sleek, chic new hotel. Rooms are decorated with leather and wood in restful shades of blue and gold. And there’s a bar and brasserie, plus a luxurious spa with a thermal infinity pool.

Looking for somewhere to stay in Cardiff?*

Cardiff Castle grounds on a weekend in Cardiff

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How to spend a weekend in Cardiff: Discover the best things to see, do, eat and drink in Cardiff in a two-day itinerary featuring the Welsh capital’s castles, museums, arcades and redeveloped dockside | Weekend in Cardiff Wales | Things to do in Cardiff | Cardiff itinerary | Cardiff weekend break

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Aerial view of Cardiff city centre, River Taff and Principality Stadium

1. Why you should visit Cardiff

2. top attractions: things to see and do, 3. hotels and accommodation: where to stay, 4. restaurants, pubs and bars: where to eat and drink, 5. transport: how to get there, 6. what the locals say….

Cardiff is “loud, lively and out for a good time”, said Rob Crossan in The Times . The capital of Wales “doesn’t really do demure” and it’s a city that “isn’t shy about showing visitors its many charms”.

A weekend in Belfast: travel guide, attractions and things to do A weekend in Edinburgh: travel guide, attractions and things to do

With its industrial landmarks “stylishly repurposed” and a waterfront that has been regenerated, Cardiff “knows a thing or two about keeping with the Joneses”, said Luke Waterson in The Telegraph . It has “happily adapted” to being a “suave” shopping centre, live music hotspot and craft beer capital. “You never quite know what might come next.”

To see the city at its “most vibrant and euphoric”, then you should visit Cardiff when the Welsh national rugby union team are playing at home at the “mighty” Millennium (Principality) Stadium, said the World Travel Guide . This is the city “at its best”, but Cardiff is no “one trick pony” – it has “earned its growing reputation” as an exciting year-round tourist destination. “This pint-sized capital is finally having its day.”

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The Norman Keep at Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle is the city’s “crowning glory”, said Kayak.com . Located in the centre and with almost 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”, said Lonely Planet . Access to the Public Square, café and gift shop is free, though tickets and bookings are required for entry to the castle’s main attractions, such as the Norman Keep, Castle Apartments, Roman remains and Chariot Corner.

Cardiff Bay

Formerly known as Tiger Bay, Cardiff Bay is “often described as one of the most successful redevelopment projects in the UK”, said India Leigh on Culture Trip . Home to a number of attractions and hotels, The Bay has “transformed from the rough red-light district of previous decades into the flourishing and trendy 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 best part of a day to explore properly”, said Bryan Dearsley on PlanetWare.com . It’s “well worth the expenditure of time and energy” and is home to plenty of fun things to do, “particularly if you’re travelling with kids”.

Boasting shopping, hotels, restaurants and attractions such as the Techniquest – Science Discovery Centre and Y Senedd, home of the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay is just a short bus or train ride from the city centre, or a decent stroll on foot.

Arts and culture

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

Wales is known as the “land of song”, said BBC Travel . And its capital is a great destination to watch concerts and shows. Womanby Street is the “heart of Cardiff’s live music scene”, said WalesOnline .

Retail therapy: shopping and markets

If you want some retail therapy, Cardiff has got “everything you need to dress to impress”, said Nicholas Witts on Culture Trip . And Wales’s capital is “a patchwork of different styles of shops”. With more than 150 shops, restaurants and cafes, St David’s Dewi Sant is Cardiff’s biggest shopping centre. Other major places to shop include Queens Arcade, Cardiff Bay Retail Park, Capital Shopping Park and Capitol Shopping Centre.

You’re bound to be able to find what you’re looking for at one of Cardiff’s many markets, said WalesOnline . From more permanent fixtures to weekly farmers markets, “there’s something to explore nearly 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 ”. In the heart of the centre, you will find Victorian and Edwardian arcades which are home to independent cafes, bars and shops. Places to visit include Castle Arcade, Royal Arcade and Morgan Arcade.

The great outdoors

With the close proximity of its attractions, station and castle, Cardiff is a great place to explore on foot or by bike. The River Taff also offers a “5,000-step roam” through parks, oak-lined avenues and abundant arboretums, said The Guardian .

St Fagans National Museum of History

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

Cardiff has a wide range of accommodation and places to stay, which can suit every budget. “Best for location” is The Angel Hotel on Castle Street in the city centre, said Angela Hui in The Independent . Mercure Holland House is “best for spa” while Park Plaza Cardiff is “best for families”.

According to The Telegraph ’s experts, Hotel Indigo Cardiff gets an 8/10 rating. “Welsh culture and quirky symbolism have been bottled up in each of the 122 rooms at Cardiff’s Hotel Indigo, giving the city an injection of modern accommodation with boutique leanings and a headline Marco Pierre White restaurant that has captured the attention of locals.”

If you’re looking for luxurious lodgings, then the New House Country Hotel, about 30 minutes’ drive outside of the centre, is a “delightful” and “historic” property, said LuxuryHotel.guru .

Cardiff has “long been devoid of restaurants with Michelin stars”, said Ellie Donnell on SquareMeal.co.uk . “In fact, it wasn’t until the guide released its updated line-up of restaurants with Michelin stars in 2022 that the Welsh capital finally gained a Michelin-starred restaurant.” In nearby Penarth, approximately four miles south of the city centre, you will find Home by James Sommerin. With “high quality cooking”, it’s “worth a stop”, the guide said . “It’s a small, intimate space providing an immersive yet warm and friendly experience. The impeccable dishes make great use of the produce provided by local suppliers.”

According to Michelin , Thomas on Pontcanna Street and Nook on Cowbridge Road East are both popular restaurants which offer modern British cuisine, while Heathcock on Bridge Street serves up a menu of contemporary British dishes. Other popular places to eat in Cardiff include Heaneys (modern cuisine), Asador 44 (Spanish), La Cuina (Spanish), and Purple Poppadom (Indian).

The Bottle Club ’s poll of the UK’s most mysterious bars named three Cardiff venues among the best, WalesOnline reported. Lab 22 in Caroline Street, Pennyroyal on High Street and The Dead Canary on Barrack Lane were all “deemed worthy of inclusion” based on their secrecy, creativity, cocktail range, affordability and reviews.

For those who prefer their drinks in pint measurements, 14 Cardiff pubs were selected in the Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide 2022 . Included on the list were pubs such as The Andrew Buchan, Cathays Beer House, The Central Bar, The Deri Inn, and The Flute & Tankard.

Cardiff Central Station and the Principality Stadium

Cardiff Central

By far the best way to travel to Cardiff is by train. Cardiff Central Station is just under two hours direct from London Paddington and the GWR service calls at Reading, Swindon, Bristol Parkway and Newport. Cardiff Central also has trains to Portsmouth and Manchester.

Cardiff Airport

Cardiff Airport is the only international airport in Wales. You can fly directly from Edinburgh in Scotland, Dublin in Ireland and a number of major European cities.

Aerial view of Cardiff Bay

Cardiff has “just about everything you could want from a capital city”, said writer Megan Potterton, who spent three years living and studying there. In her “local’s guide” on the Emily Luxton Travels blog, Potterton gave a “top tip” for visitors going to Cardiff Bay. “If you’re up for a walk, you can stroll around the whole of the bay in just 6 miles! It’s an easy walk and you’ll get to see the Cardiff Bay Wetland Reserve en route.”

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Mike Starling is the digital features editor at The Week, where he writes content and edits the Arts & Life and Sport website sections and the Food & Drink and Travel newsletters. He started his career in 2001 in Gloucestershire as a sports reporter and sub-editor and has held various roles as a writer and editor at news, travel and B2B publications. He has spoken at a number of sports business conferences and also worked as a consultant creating sports travel content for tourism boards. International experience includes spells living and working in Dubai, UAE; Brisbane, Australia; and Beirut, Lebanon. 

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Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, Monmouthshire, Wales, United Kingdom, Europe

Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery

The capital of Wales since just 1955, Cardiff has embraced the role with vigour, emerging in the new millennium as one of Britain’s leading urban centres. Spread between an ancient fort and an ultramodern waterfront, compact Cardiff seems to have surprised even itself with how interesting it has become.

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Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, Monmouthshire, Wales, United Kingdom, Europe

Cardiff Castle

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National Museum and Gallery at night, Cardiff, Wales

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Millennium Stadium and River Taff, Cardiff.

Principality Stadium

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500px Photo ID: 68922741 - Views around Cardiff Bay and the Millennium Waterfront and the Roald Dahl Plass South Wales UK

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cafes and shops in Cardiff

The inside guide to Cardiff, Wales

From the centre to the suburbs, the Welsh capital is always reinventing itself, whether through its diverse architecture or dynamic dining scene.

It might be Britain’s youngest capital city (having held the title since 1955), but what Cardiff lacks in titular heritage it makes up for with a knack for reinvention. Its once woebegone docks have arguably become Europe’s boldest waterfront development and a showpiece for 21st-century architecture, while edgy restaurants are redefining the city’s dining scene. When you consider the city is also renowned for its elegant Victorian and Edwardian shopping arcades, museums, live music and a proud industrial heritage, Cardiff is, perhaps, whatever you wish it to be.

Get your bearings at Cardiff Castle . The fort is Norman at its core, but the flamboyant, 19th-century reconstruction of the castle apartments is its most eye-catching element. Various tours can include behind-the-scenes explorations of seldom-glimpsed, astoundingly decorated rooms, and you can also admire the beautiful building free of charge from the castle courtyard.

The nearby National Museum Cardiff ranks among Britain’s finest neoclassical buildings, and its collections of impressionist and post-impressionist works is world-class. Don’t miss the multimedia Evolution of Wales exhibit, which whisks visitors through 400 million years of geological development with VR-rendered prehistoric beasts.  

Combine historic sightseeing with retail therapy in the city’s seven Victorian- and Edwardian-era Arcades , or the impressive Cardiff Market , flanked by many of the city’s most exciting shops and restaurants. Stop by the delightfully old-fashioned Wally ’ s Delicatessen in Royal Arcade or pick up gluten-free picnic fare from Noglü at Cardiff Market. Alternatively, book a table at The Clink Restaurant , where prisoners serve standout Welsh-European food as part of their cookery training.

view of Cardiff Castle

Much of Cardiff’s charm and character lies outside the centre. Meander through picturesque Bute Park and along the River Taff to leafy Pontcanna, with its avenues of grand townhouses. An Eden for leisurely lunch-seekers, the area is home to raft of spots to refuel, including chic bistro Milkwood and roastery-cum-workshop Lufkin Coffee Roastery , tucked away in Kings Road Yard .

Multicultural Canton is where you’ll find the self-titled ‘nouvelle Keralan restaurant’ Purple Poppadom and, further afield, Dusty Knuckle , which has transformed a corner of an industrial estate into a creative pizzeria.

Cardiff’s east side also deserves your attention. Over in Roath, the city’s first permanent street food venue, Sticky Fingers Street Food, is ensconced in a red-brick industrial building with an ever-changing array of local culinary names serving casual-but-creative fare under one roof alongside a lively bar.  

But for the best example of the city’s exciting renaissance, look no further than Cardiff Bay, the city’s ultra-modern waterfront. One of the area’s landmark buildings is the Coal Exchange . Once the hub of the world’s coal trade, in October 2020 it began a new life as Cardiff’s largest independent hotel. Nearby, the Wales Millennium Centre is the country’s main performing arts nexus, wrapped in slate mined from the five quarries that spearheaded Wales’ industrial revolution. But most interesting here is Cardiff Bay Barrage, the ingenious dam that transformed the bay from mudflats into sparkling sea.

About five miles outside the city is St Fagans National Museum of History , set over more than 100 acres of parkland, which paints a vivid timeline of the nation’s story through a number of re-erected original buildings from various historical periods.

Published in the May 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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The Perfect Cardiff Day Trip Itinerary

travel home cardiff

Table of Contents

This post may contain affiliate links to things like tours, hotels, Amazon associates and products. These help me earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

Although I recently spent a little longer than one day in Cardiff (a whole week in fact), I decided to put together this day trip to Cardiff itinerary because I know many people come for a quick trip. As the capital of Wales , there’s plenty to do see and do in Cardiff. You could easily spend a whole weekend or longer but a day trip is a fantastic introduction. From castles to museums, boat trips and delectable local and international cuisine, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into during a day trip to Cardiff from London (or elsewhere).

Read next: where to go on the ultimate Wales road trip

CARDIFF ESSENTIALS Copy of Lonely Planet Wales Activities and tours: GetYourGuide Getting to Cardiff: flight ( Skyscanner ) bus ( busbud ) / train ( Trainline ) / car hire ( Rentalcars.com ) Getting around: foot / bus / Uber

Why to spend a day in Cardiff

Cardiff is a fun, cultural city with plenty of attractions. If you’re looking for day trips from London, it’s a great option. Also, you’re technically visiting a new country and you’ll get to sample Welsh cuisine including tasty Welsh cakes! Not only is Cardiff just 2 hours on the train from London, but it’s also easy to reach from other UK cities like Bristol, Bath and Oxford.

How to get to Cardiff

Day trip to Cardiff from London by train: Journies between the English and Welsh capitals take 1 hour 50 minutes and start from £39. Book your journey on Trainline . Day trip to Cardiff from London by bus: Buses are far cheaper starting at £6.90 but take 3 hours 45 minutes, a bit long for a day trip! If you have the time, book your journey on Busbud . From other UK cities, browse trains and buses here.

Looking for UK day trips ? Check out my 1-day itineraries for Oxford , Bath , Margate , Brighton , the Cotswolds and Liverpool .

How to get around during a one day trip in Cardiff

It’s easy to explore Cardiff in one day by simply walking around. However, to go to Cardiff Bay, you may wish to catch a local bus . These are regular and easy to navigate. Most tickets cost £2-2.50 so it may be worth getting a £4 day rider which offers you unlimited journies for the day. Parking in Cardiff: if you’re driving to Cardiff, you can park at St David’s (£10 for up to 9 hours) or, if you don’t mind a walk into town, North Road Car Park (£8.80 for a full day). See all Cardiff car parks here. For a fun way to get around Cardiff, ride the 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour . This includes a day’s transportation, headphones, commentary and discounted entry into Cardiff Castle and Principality Stadium.

statue cardiff

What can you do in a day in Cardiff?

This Cardiff day trip itinerary aims to cover the best of the city’s culture and heritage with some brilliant coffee and food thrown in along the way. One day in Cardiff overview:

  • Cardiff Castle
  • Cardiff Arcades
  • Lunch at Cardiff Market
  • Cardiff National Museum
  • Boat trip around Cardiff Bay
  • Norweigan Church Arts Centre

Wales Millennium Centre

  • Shopping / dinner at Mermaid Quay

1 day Cardiff itinerary

Here’s what to do during one day in Cardiff and how to plan your itinerary…

First stop – coffee & pastel de nata at Nata & Co

Coffee cardiff.itinerary 1 day

My first Cardiff sightseeing stop was Cardiff Castle. Out of character for me, I arrived early (shock) to discover it wasn’t opening for another 20 minutes. * Rose starts scanning for nearby coffee* It didn’t take long. Just across the road from the castle is Nata & Co , an authentic Portuguese bakery with branches in Cardiff and Bath. This is a great place to refuel after your journey and begin your day in Cardiff. Grab an original coffee and nata for just £3.50 or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try the lemon nata or peanut butter nata. Address: 3 Castle St, Cardiff CF10 1BS.

Morning – Cardiff Castle

red dragon cardiff castle

I doubt there’s a Cardiff itinerary in existence that doesn’t start with, or at least feature, Cardiff Castle . Exploring 2,000 years of Welsh history in the heart of the city is a must for a London to Cardiff day trip. If you’re travelling on a budget , you can wander the castle grounds for free and snap a few photos. However, I felt it was worth it to buy a ticket and go inside. Your Castle ticket includes: Castle interior : walk through selected rooms, the most impressive being this one pictured below. The elaborate ceiling looked exotic, perhaps Middle Eastern, and was the last thing I expected to see in a Welsh castle!

castle ceiling

Underground tunnels: used as wartime bunkers, these tunnels are kitted out with wartime memorabilia and realistic air raid sirens to set the scene. Walking through them was interesting yet eerie and I was relieved to pop back up in the sunny castle grounds. If you’re interested in history, it may be worth paying an extra £4 for a guided castle tour that visits otherwise off-limit rooms. These depart hourly from 10am-5pm. Cardiff Castle ticket prices: £14.50 for adults, £10 for children, £12 for seniors/students, £39 for families. Address: Castle St, Cardiff CF10 3RB.

Tip – if you’re spending one day in Cardiff and want to save time, you can catch an Aquabus from Bute Park (beside the Castle) all the way to Cardiff Bay, a location we’ll touch on later.

Late morning – Cardiff Arcades

Arcade selfie cardiff itinerary

Cardiff isn’t known as the City of Arcades for no reason. This maze of covered shopping streets begins just across the road from Cardiff Castle (ideal on a rainy day when you can rush straight into Castle Arcade). If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss Barker Gelato Ice Cream Parlour in Castle Arcade or Mayhem & Magic for Harry Potter-themed Bertie Botts beans! Other Cardiff arcades include Duke Street Arcade, High Street Arcade, Morgan Arcade and Royal Arcade. I love the independent feel the arcades bring to Cardiff. Otherwise, the city centre is largely dominated by your usual high street chains. I didn’t find much else to love about the centre so I’m glad I found these charming arcades housing independent cafes and shops selling clothes, jewellery, trinkets and homeware.

Lunch – Cardiff Central Market

Book store cardiff market

Housed inside the same Victorian-style covered buildings asf the Arcades, Cardiff Central Market is packed with lovely independent stands for example the second-hand bookstand pictured above. But the highlight of Cardiff Central Market has to be the food! Not only is there a huge range of world cuisine on offer, but it comes in affordable, generous portions. A few highlights include:

  • Thai & Asian Delish cafe – I had an enormous portion of rich, creamy Panang curry for just £5.50. After my many foodie trips to Thailand , I can vouch for the dishes on the menu being authentic. It’s a takeaway stand so grab your curry and eat on a bench in the square outside.
  • Mediterranean Foods – despite having devoured enough Panang curry for a family of four, I couldn’t resist getting a takeaway box of olives, feta-stuffed peppers, dolma, hummus and sundried tomatoes from the friendly owner of this stall. There was a £5 limit on card so I HAD to have a baklava for the road, too 😉
  • Crockers Brunch Bar – fry ups from £3.50 and breakfast burritos? I’ll head here next time.
  • Spirit Infusions – I spotted this place serving gin, rum and vodka slushies. Interested!
  • Bake Stones – with the motto ‘happiness is a warm Welsh cafe’, this is THE place to buy homemade Welsh cakes.
  • Shan’s – this stand serving roast pork with stuffing always has a queue around the corner.
  • Sage Deli – grab your sourdough sandwiches and salads here. The Cubano sandwich looked incredible.
  • Ffwrnes Pizza – this famous pizza cafe is where I planned to eat before I got sidetracked by Thai and Mediterranean food. When I tried to return another day, I discovered it’s sadly closed from Sunday to Tuesday! If you have just 1 day in Cardiff, you may want to plan it tactically from Wednesday-Saturday.

Cardiff Central Market address: St Mary St, Cardiff CF10 1AU. Opening times: 8.30am-5.30pm, closed Sundays.

Early afternoon – National Museum Cardiff

National Museum

A trip to the National Museum is one of the best things to do during a day in Cardiff. Not only will you brush up on Welsh history and culture, but you’ll also browse colourful, interactive exhibits including art from around the world. Exhibits range from natural history beginning in Wales’ pre-Ice Age era to traditional and modern Welsh art. Temporary exhibitions change regularly: I caught one on the life of Welsh actor Richard Burton. Check the website’s ‘What’s on’ page before your visit. Entry price: free! Address: Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP. Opening times: 10am-5pm, Tues-Sun; closed Mon.

Mid-afternoon – Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay

After your culture dose at Cardiff Castle and the National Museum, end your Cardiff 1 day itinerary at the Bay. There’s plenty to do for tourists: jump on a boat trip around the harbour, drink and dine at the many waterfront restaurants or find the Doctor Who fan sites.

Wales Millennium Centre

Places to see at Cardiff Bay include…

This impressive building is worth a stop even if you do nothing more than admire it from the outside. However, there’s plenty to do and see inside as it’s used as a visual and performing arts centre. From festivals to events and digital experiences, check the Wales Millennium Centre website to see what coincides with your Cardiff day trip.

For a fun afternoon activity, jump aboard a boat in Cardiff Bay and take a spin around the harbour. The Aquabus tours locations of interest including Mermaid Quay, the Wetlands nature reserve and the Barrage. It will also take you back and forth between Cardiff Castle grounds (Bute Park) and Cardiff Bay. Bay Island Voyages will take you all the way to Flat Holm Island for a 3-hour tour. Another option is disembarking the Aquabus at the Barrage for Penarth which is a lovely town with lots of cafes, thrift shops, a pier and beach. While it’s a great place to visit, time may be too tight during a one day Cardiff itinerary.

Wales Millennium Centre boat trip what to do cardiff day trip

Norwegian Church Arts Centre

What do Norway, a church and the arts have to do with Cardiff, you might be wondering? The truth is not much, but it’s still one of Cardiff’s coolest attractions. This Lutheran church was constructed in 1868 by the Norwegian Seamen’s Mission to create community for the Scandinavian sailors based in Cardiff. When the coal industry diminished, the Church fell into disrepair but, luckily, the locals banded together to save it. Eventually, it found new purpose as an art gallery. A fun Wales fact is that author Roald Dahl was baptised in this church (as he was born to Norweigan parents) and was at the forefront of the campaign to save the church. Don’t miss The Dahl Gallery inside containing items from his childhood. Address: Harbour Dr, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF10 4PA Entry fee: free!

Doctor Who / Torthwood filming locations

TV fans will find plenty of Doctor Who filming locations around Cardiff including a few by Cardiff Bay. Beside the Wales Millennium Centre, Roald Dahl Plass is a paved square with a series of standing beacons used as the Torchwood headquarters. A few metres away beside the water is a memorial to character, Ianto Jones. It’s well maintained by Torchwood fans so swing by to pay your respects.

Restaurants around Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay is more about chain restaurants than independents but if you fancy grabbing a bite to eat before ending your Cardiff day trip, there’s plenty of choice. Cardiff Bay restaurant options include Pizza Express and Zizzis for standard Italian food, and Yakitori1 and Wagamama for Asian food. I always love the food at Bill’s , especially the halloumi and avocado burger!

mermaid quay

FAQs for spending 1 day in Cardiff

Is cardiff worth a day trip from london.

I’d say so, yes. No, it doesn’t have the same volume of museums, parks or cool areas as London but let’s face it, where does? A day trip to Cardiff from London is a great way to see somewhere new and learn about Wales.

Is Cardiff a safe city?

Cardiff regularly seems to get voted one of the safest cities in the UK AND one of the least safe cities in the UK. What can we take from this? That, like almost everywhere in the world, Cardiff has good and bad neighbourhoods as well as isolated incidents that can and do happen elsewhere. The areas you visit in Cardiff as a tourist such as the city centre and Cardiff Bay are safe, friendly and well-lit. You don’t need to have any concerns about safety when visiting Cardiff as a day trip.

How can I spend 2 days in Cardiff?

Staying overnight for a second day in Cardiff is a great idea. During a L ondon to Cardiff day trip, you’ll be on a tight schedule so, rather than whiz around Cardiff Bay on a quick boat trip, you could get off at the Barrage and spend half a day exploring Penarth. You could also take a leisurely walk in the Wetlands nature reserve. Other options include a day trip to Barry Island and trips to Caerphilly Castle and Castle Coch. Then, there are the lesser-known Cardiff neighbourhoods like boujee Pontcanna and up-and-coming Canton. There are some fantastic brunch cafes here like Hard Lines Cafe & Roastery . Even a full day relaxing in Bute Park would be time well spent. To summarise, you could easily spend a week in Cardiff. I would know because I did!

hard lines brunch

Is Cardiff an expensive city?

If you’re taking a Cardiff day trip from London, you won’t think so! In my opinion, Cardiff is the cheapest UK capital, considerably cheaper than London or Edinburgh (why do you think I had to write this guide to the free things to do in Edinburgh ?). Saying that, it’s still the UK so it’s not a total bargain. After a couple of meals, a bus ticket, boat ride and Cardiff Castle entry, I quickly spent £50 during a day in Cardiff. But it was worth it!

Thanks for reading my Cardiff itinerary for 1 day!

For more travel content, follow me on Instagram , Facebook , Twitter and YouTube .

Read my other Wales blogs:

  • The ultimate Wales road trip
  • What to do in Conwy, Wales
  • Llandudno activities for a day at the seaside
  • Things to see and do in colourful Portmeirion village, Wales
  • Complete guide to visiting Holy Island, Wales
  • Things to do on Anglesey Island, Wales

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WALES QUICK LINKS Guidebooks – LP always get my seal of approval. Use the latest copy of Lonely Planet Wales / L onely Planet Great Britain . Flights (international and domestic): I use Skyscanner to find the best-value flights, using the ‘search by month’ tool to find the cheapest dates. You can also use the ‘to anywhere’ feature if you’re flexible on where you’re going. Car hire – use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals and campers in the UK (and all around the world). For trains , use Transport for Wales . The search feature allows you to compare prices, and they have a ‘capacity checker’ for safe travel in 2021. For buses , I use Busbud . It’s the only site that compares UK coaches and buses. Find London to Manchester journeys for £1!  For hotels and self-catering apartments, I use Booking.com . You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.com . To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters , a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets. Browse UK tours and activities on GetYourGuide . For food tours pairing travellers with passionate local chefs and foodies, check out EatWith .  Need travel insurance ? I use True Traveller (for Europe residents) since it’s affordable but covers everything you’d need including various activities, valuables and pre-existing conditions. Unlike some companies, they insure you if you’re already travelling / don’t yet have your flight home booked. Get a quote . For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing . Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and budget tips from my 10+ years on the road!

travel home cardiff

Rose is a solo traveller from the UK who has been on the road since 2015. She wants to show other women that solo travel isn't scary and doesn't have to be expensive! Rose has lived in Mexico, Canada and all over Asia, seeking out food, bubble tea and street art wherever she goes!

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Visit Cardiff

TRAVEL TO CARDIFF

Cardiff has strong transport links, so travelling here couldn’t be easier..

Cardiff is an easily accessible city. With so many ways to travel here, there’s really no excuse not to pay us a visit. Cardiff has it’s very own airport; high-speed rail links from London; the M4 motorway passes the north of the city; and you can even arrive on a ship! We’d love to welcome you, so what are you waiting for?

If you need advice for getting around Cardiff, parking your car, or anything else head over to our visitor information page.

travel home cardiff

WHERE IS CARDIFF?

Cardiff – in Welsh ‘Caerdydd’ –  is the capital city of Wales and is located on the Southern coast of Wales. Wales is one of four countries within the United Kingdom of Great Britain, along with Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland.

More specifically, Cardiff is located within the historic county of Glamorgan on the Bristol Channel, at the mouth of the River Taff, about 150 miles (240 km) west of London.

By Air

Cardiff Airport offers direct flights all year round from capital cities such as Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, along with many other European destinations, as well as connecting routes to hundreds of destinations worldwide.

The Airport is located in the Vale of Glamorgan, 13 miles to the west of Cardiff. Customers can travel to and from the airport with ease by using public transport, which runs regularly and frequently.

By Rail

Cardiff is less than two hours from London by train, with services every 30 minutes. Cardiff Central station is conveniently located in the city centre, close to many hotels and top attractions like the Principality Stadium and Cardiff Castle.

Transport for Wales Rail run services within Wales and an hourly service from Manchester. Great Western Railway directly connect Cardiff with London, Bristol, Bath, Southampton, Portsmouth, Reading and Exeter. CrossCountry run an hourly service from Birmingham and Nottingham.

travel home cardiff

An easy and affordable to travel to Cardiff. National Express offer regular services from London and along the M4 corridor, as well as to Birmingham, and from Heathrow, Gatwick and Bristol airports.

Megabus multiple daily services connect Cardiff with over a dozen UK cities and airports. Flixbus offer a twice-daily service from London, while TrawsCymru run a daily service from mid Wales and Big Green Coach run coaches to Cardiff’s major concerts.

By Road

Cardiff is easily accessible via the M4 motorway, which runs through the north of the city, with central London only a 3 hour drive away . From the Midlands, the North of England and Scotland it is a straightforward drive via the M6, M5 and M50/M4. From the South and South West of England the approach is by the M5 and M4. Access from West Wales is by the M4.

You can find lots of conveniently located car parks in the city centre, Cardiff Bay and our neighbourhoods. 

By Bike

For a much more active way to get to Cardiff, why don’t you get on your bike? If you’re coming from the south of England, then use the M48 cycle bridge and follow the A48 into the city centre.

The Taff Trail (NCN 8) is a great way to enter Cardiff from the Rhondda valleys. You can also use the National Cycle Network, the A-road network (unless stated), or a combination of both, to make your way to our capital.

travel home cardiff

Did you know that you can sail to Cardiff? The Cardiff Harbour Authority is responsible for the operation of the Cardiff Bay Barrage. For all access and navigational information visit the Cardiff Harbour Authority website . There are short-term moorings in Cardiff Bay and moorings available in nearby Penarth .

If you’re arriving in the UK by ferry at Portsmouth or Southampton, there are direct train connections from these port cities to Cardiff. The ferry ports also link with the national motorway system to provide fast access to Cardiff. You can also travel by ferry from Rosslare in Ireland to either Fishguard or Pembroke in West Wales. These ports then connect to Cardiff by train and road.

STAY IN TOUCH

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Cardiff holiday homes

Villas and Holiday homes in Cardiff

357 available villa offers

357 Villa rentals in Cardiff

Tynant House - Cardiff

Tynant House

About: Holiday rental listing from £66 per night for up to 5 people with an excellent rating of 93% based on 130 reviews. You will be located in Cardiff.

Services and facilities include a washing machine, free parking and a dish washer. This house in Cardiff also has a garden!

Gorgeous Cartws Close To Centre - Cardiff

Gorgeous Cartws Close To Centre

About: Accommodation for 3 people with an excellent rating of 96% based on 70 reviews. You will stay in Cardiff.

Facilities and services include a fridge, free parking and a kitchen. This accommodation in Cardiff is ideal for families.

Large Citycentre Townhouse & Pool Table With Offroad Parking - Cardiff

Large Citycentre Townhouse & Pool Table With Offroad Parking

About: House from £84 per night for 12 guests with an excellent rating of 96% based on 171 reviews. You will be in Cardiff.

Services and facilities include a fridge, a pool table and a kitchen.

City Retreat, Spacious 4 Bed House, Games Room, Parking, Hot Tub & Bbq - Cardiff

City Retreat, Spacious 4 Bed House, Games Room, Parking, Hot Tub & Bbq

About: Holiday rental listing from £169 per night for 10 guests with an excellent rating of 94% based on 133 reviews. You will stay in Cardiff.

Facilities and services include a kitchen, free parking and a freeze.

New! 5 Mins Walk From Stadium & City Centre,cardiff Townhouse With Free Parking, - Cardiff

New! 5 Mins Walk From Stadium & City Centre,cardiff Townhouse With Free Parking,

About: House with an excellent rating of 97% based on 38 reviews. This accommodation is located in Cardiff.

Facilities and services include a washing machine, a kitchen and an iron.

17th Century Cottage With Mountain Views On The Outskirts Of Cardiff - Cardiff

17th Century Cottage With Mountain Views On The Outskirts Of Cardiff

About: Cottage rental for 4 guests with an excellent rating of 97% based on 251 reviews. This accommodation is based in Caerphilly.

Services and facilities: a fitness center, a dish washer and an iron. Take advantage of the Free Parking with this accommodation in Caerphilly!

travel home cardiff

Beautiful Victorian House/pretty Garden/ Central Location.<br>beach/sea/castles

About: House rental for 8 people with an excellent rating of 100% based on 155 reviews. You will stay in Cardiff.

Services and facilities: a washing machine, a garden and a barbecue. Enjoy free parking with this accommodation in Cardiff!

Taffs Well Cottage - Cardiff

Taffs Well Cottage

About: House rental from 96 pounds for 4 guests with an excellent rating of 92% based on 33 reviews. You will stay in Taffs Well.

Services and facilities: a dish washer, an iron and a beauty institute. This house also has a terrace!

Pontcanna Townhouse Free Parking, Just 5 Mins Walk From Cardiff City Centre - Cardiff

Pontcanna Townhouse Free Parking, Just 5 Mins Walk From Cardiff City Centre

About: Book this Holiday rental for up to 7 people with an excellent rating of 99% based on 324 reviews. You will be based in Cardiff.

Services and facilities: a barbecue, a kitchen and an iron. Enjoy free parking with this accommodation in Cardiff!

Stroll To The City Centre In From Chic Refurbished Townhouse - Cardiff

Stroll To The City Centre In From Chic Refurbished Townhouse

About: Holiday rental for 8 guests with an excellent rating of 99% based on 220 reviews. This accommodation is based in Cardiff.

Facilities and services include a fridge, a washing machine and a terrace. This house in Cardiff also has a garden!

Quiet, Close To Amenities, Excellent Travel Links - Cardiff

Quiet, Close To Amenities, Excellent Travel Links

About: House rental for up to 4 people with an excellent rating of 99% based on 47 reviews. You will be in Cardiff .

Facilities and services: a coffee place, a kitchen and a washing machine. This house also has a garden!

Cardiff Bay House Sleeping 16, 2 Minutes From Bay - Cardiff

Cardiff Bay House Sleeping 16, 2 Minutes From Bay

About: Accommodation for up to 16 people with an excellent rating of 100% based on 55 reviews. You will be in Cardiff.

Services and facilities: a coffee place, an iron and a fridge.

Other types of accommodation in Cardiff

Best cardiff villas and holiday homes with a pool.

Among the 357 accommodations in Cardiff, here are the 5 best villas and holiday homes with a pool

Private 7-bedroom Villa With Hot-tub, Heated Pool And Bar. - Cardiff

Private 7-bedroom Villa With Hot-tub, Heated Pool And Bar.

About: House listing at 811 pounds for up to 13 guests with an excellent rating of 100% based on 1 reviews. Your accommodation will be located in Wenvoe.

Facilities and services: a washing machine, a tennis court and a child space. Take advantage of the garden in this house in Wenvoe.

Glamorgan House - Cardiff

Glamorgan House

About: House rental listing for 13 guests. You will stay in Cardiff.

Services and facilities: a garden, a swimming pool and a kitchen. Pets are welcome in this house.

Glamorgan House, Pet Friendly, Luxury Holiday Cottage In Cardiff - Cardiff

Glamorgan House, Pet Friendly, Luxury Holiday Cottage In Cardiff

About: Cottage rental from £752 per night for up to 13 people. You will stay in Cardiff.

Services and facilities include a tennis court, a swimming pool and a fridge.

190 M² Cottage ∙ 7 Bedrooms ∙ 13 Guests - Cardiff

190 M² Cottage ∙ 7 Bedrooms ∙ 13 Guests

About: Cottage for 13 people. Your accommodation will be located in Wenvoe.

Services and facilities include free parking, a fridge and a tennis court. Take advantage of the garden in this accommodation!

4 Bed House For Up To 6 People In Cardiff, Wales - Cardiff

4 Bed House For Up To 6 People In Cardiff, Wales

About: House rental listing from 250 pounds for up to 6 guests. You will stay in Cardiff.

Facilities and services include a fridge, a washing machine and a swimming pool. Enjoy free parking with this accommodation in Cardiff!

Best family friendly Cardiff villas and holiday home

Among the 357 accommodations in Cardiff, here are the 8 best family friendly villas and holiday homes

Large Townhouse - Cardiff Bay 10 Mins To Town - Cardiff

Large Townhouse - Cardiff Bay 10 Mins To Town

About: Holiday rental for 9 people with an excellent rating of 95% based on 195 reviews. Your accommodation will be located in Cardiff.

Services and facilities include a coffee place, a freeze and a fridge. Pets are allowed in this house.

Luxury Villa-  Free Secure Parking- Walk To Town - Cardiff

Luxury Villa- Free Secure Parking- Walk To Town

About: House to rent for up to 10 people with an excellent rating of 98% based on 241 reviews. This accommodation is based in Cardiff.

Facilities and services: a fridge, a washing machine and an iron. Enjoy free parking with this accommodation in Cardiff!

Stylish family home in desirable Penylan + Parking - Cardiff

Stylish family home in desirable Penylan + Parking

About: Holiday house rental for 6 guests with an excellent rating of 94% based on 63 reviews. You will be in Cardiff.

Services and facilities: an iron, a dish washer and free parking. This house is very convenient for families.

Traditional House Near City Centre - Cardiff

Traditional House Near City Centre

About: Holiday rental from £79 for up to 7 guests with an excellent rating of 85% based on 95 reviews. Your accommodation will be located in Cardiff.

Facilities and services include a wheelchair friendly access, a fridge and a freeze. This house in Cardiff also has a garden!

Riverside City Centre House With Hot Tub And Pool Table - Great For Groups! - Cardiff

Riverside City Centre House With Hot Tub And Pool Table - Great For Groups!

About: Holiday house rental with a good rating of 83% based on 24 reviews. Your accommodation will be located in Cardiff.

Facilities and services include a dish washer, a kitchen and a fridge.

Beautiful Townhouse, Great Location - Pet Friendly - Cardiff

Beautiful Townhouse, Great Location - Pet Friendly

About: House for 10 guests with an excellent rating of 97% based on 115 reviews. This accommodation is located in Cardiff.

Services and facilities include an iron, a barbecue and a freeze. You can bring your favourite pets this house!

Penarth Family Home - Gorgeous Views Of Cardiff... - Cardiff

Penarth Family Home - Gorgeous Views Of Cardiff...

About: House rental listing for 8 people with an excellent rating of 99% based on 28 reviews. Your accommodation will be located in Vale of Glamorgan.

Services and facilities: a coffee place, a freeze and a fridge. Take advantage of the Free Parking with this accommodation in Vale of Glamorgan!

5 Bedroom Townhouse Sleeps Up To 10 Free Parking - Cardiff

5 Bedroom Townhouse Sleeps Up To 10 Free Parking

About: House to rent for up to 10 guests with an excellent rating of 96% based on 119 reviews. This accommodation is located in Cardiff.

Facilities and services: a fridge, a washing machine and a garden. This is a pet-friendly house!

Frequently asked questions about holiday homes in Cardiff

What are the best holiday homes in Cardiff?

Among the holiday homes in Cardiff, Pontcanna Townhouse Free Parking - Just 5 Mins Walk From Cardiff City Centre , Cardiff City Entire House Secure Onsite Parking and Tiny House Cardiff are the most popular ones.

What are the best holiday homes with a pool in Cardiff?

Modern 2 Bed House With Garden & 2 Private Parking Spaces 8 Mins From Stadium , Free Local Parking - Fast WiFi - Sleeps 10 Guests by PROPERTY PROMISE and Private 7-bedroom Villa With Hot-tub - Heated Pool And Bar are the best holiday homes with a pool in Cardiff.

What are the best holiday homes with a jacuzzi in Cardiff?

The best holiday homes with a jacuzzi in Cardiff are City Retreat - 2 Bed House With Cloudstream Hot Tub , City Retreat - Spacious 4 Bed House - Games Room - Parking - Hot Tub & Bbq and River Bay .

What are the best holiday homes for families and kids in Cardiff?

The best holiday homes for families and kids in Cardiff are Pontcanna Townhouse Free Parking - Just 5 Mins Walk From Cardiff City Centre , Cardiff City Entire House Secure Onsite Parking and Luxury Villa- Free Secure Parking- Walk To Town .

What are the best pet friendly holiday homes in Cardiff?

The best pet friendly holiday homes in Cardiff are Pontcanna Townhouse Free Parking - Just 5 Mins Walk From Cardiff City Centre , Cardiff City Entire House Secure Onsite Parking and Luxury Villa- Free Secure Parking- Walk To Town .

What are the best holiday homes with parking in Cardiff?

Pontcanna Townhouse Free Parking - Just 5 Mins Walk From Cardiff City Centre , Cardiff City Entire House Secure Onsite Parking and Tiny House Cardiff are the best holiday homes with parking in Cardiff.

Destinations nearby

Best pet friendly cardiff villas and holiday homes.

Among the 357 accommodations in Cardiff, here are the 8 best pet friendly villas and holiday homes

Comfortable And Convenient Home Away From Home - Cardiff

Comfortable And Convenient Home Away From Home

About: House rental for 8 people with an excellent rating of 96% based on 37 reviews. Your accommodation will be based in Cardiff.

Facilities and services: a kitchen, a fridge and a barbecue. This house in Cardiff also has a garden!

Large Holiday Home in Cardiff. Sleeps 4Great Area - Cardiff

Large Holiday Home in Cardiff. Sleeps 4Great Area

About: House to rent for 4 people with an excellent rating of 95% based on 68 reviews. Your accommodation will be based in Cardiff.

Services and facilities include an iron, a coffee place and free parking. This is a pet-friendly house!

Private Detached Annex Near Village - Cardiff

Private Detached Annex Near Village

About: House rental listing from 61 pounds per night for 4 guests with an excellent rating of 86% based on 110 reviews. This accommodation is located in Cardiff.

Facilities and services include a fridge, a washing machine and free parking. Take advantage of the terrace in this house in Cardiff.

Perfect Pad For Exploring Cardiff! Sleeps Upto 8 - Cardiff

Perfect Pad For Exploring Cardiff! Sleeps Upto 8

About: Holiday house for 8 people with an excellent rating of 97% based on 128 reviews. This accommodation is located in Cardiff.

Services and facilities: a cleaning service, a garden and a kitchen.

Ty Cerrig - Comfy House with Parking for Multiple Vehicles and Great Transport Links - Cardiff

Ty Cerrig - Comfy House with Parking for Multiple Vehicles and Great Transport Links

About: Holiday rental for up to 6 guests with an excellent rating of 93% based on 72 reviews. Your accommodation will be based in Cardiff.

Facilities and services: a terrace, a cleaning service and a freeze. This is a pet-friendly accommodation!

Penarth Town Terrace, Close To Cafes, Beaches, Cardiff - Cardiff

Penarth Town Terrace, Close To Cafes, Beaches, Cardiff

About: House rental listing for 7 guests with an excellent rating of 93% based on 93 reviews. Your accommodation will be based in Cardiff.

Facilities and services include a washing machine, free parking and a fridge. This house in Cardiff also has a garden!

Three Bedroom Townhouse - Free Local Parking - By Property Promise - Cardiff

Three Bedroom Townhouse - Free Local Parking - By Property Promise

About: Accommodation for 7 guests with an excellent rating of 91% based on 165 reviews. Your accommodation will be located in Cardiff.

Facilities and services include a garden, a washing machine and free parking.

Rumney House - Cardiff

Rumney House

About: House rental listing for up to 11 guests with an excellent rating of 95% based on 73 reviews. This accommodation is based in Cardiff.

Services and facilities: an access for persons with reduced mobility, a dish washer and a kitchen. This house also has a garden!

Neighborhoods and points of interest in Cardiff

Travelling King

48 Hours in Cardiff – 2 Day itinerary

Pretty night time illuminations of the stunning Cardiff Bay many sights visible including the Pierhead building (1897) and National Assembly for Wales.

As the Welsh capital and tenth largest city in the UK, Cardiff has undergone significant regeneration in recent years, progressing from one of the largest ports in the world to an important cultural hub, attracting visitors all year long.

It is now home to a large number of indoor shopping arcades, museums covering the history of the area, a trendy foodie scenery including a brewery said to rival the Guinness Brewery of Ireland, natural beauty spots, and one of the most visited castles in all of the UK.

Within easy reach of London and a local airport with flights landing from across Europe, Cardiff has become the unofficial city of culture for Wales.

This guide is perfect for those who only have 48 Hours in Cardiff – A 2 Day Itinerary. We will show you what to do in Cardiff, where to stay, what to eat and how to get around, whether its a weekend in Cardiff or just a quick trip.

Plan your trip?

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Need help planning your trip from start to finish? Check out these helpful links:

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Table of Contents

Best time of Year to Visit Cardiff

June to September are typically the warmest and driest months to visit, with temperatures during this time reaching the mid-twenties.

November, on average, sees more rain than any other month and is best to be avoided, but for those after a wintry, festive break, Cardiff has seen their Christmas Market grow in popularity over the last few years.

Where to Stay in Cardiff for 48 hours

Whether you are looking for a budget hotel or somewhere more luxurious, a boutique B & B or an apartment, Cardiff is full of unique places to stay in to choose from. 

For first-timers in the city, Cardiff city centre itself is full of wonderful places to stay, like the Clayton Hotel Cardiff , which is within walking distance of all the major attractions, including Cardiff Castle. 

While others looking to spend 48 hours in Cardiff prefer to stay close to the Riverside, which is slightly further away from the bustling nightlife and closer to the weekly Riverside Farmers Market for those visiting at the weekend. 

Cardiff, United Kingdom - Panoramic view of Cardiff Bay and Mermaid Quay on a sunny morning in Cardiff, Wales.

48 Hours in Cardiff itinerary

If you are wondering how many days in Cardiff are needed, you will find a comprehensive guide highlighting places to visit below.

This guide is split across two days and includes a mixture of cultural locations, museums, and sporting choices that will appeal to everyone.

Day 1 in Cardiff

Start your trip with a good breakfast.

When you land in the city, especially if travelling via train, you will find yourself central to the city. Therefore, head towards the Wyndham Cafeteria in the main shopping area and grab a coffee and a traditional British-cooked breakfast before you start a day of exploring.

Cardiff Castle

Start this two-day Cardiff itinerary by taking a short stroll along St Mary’s Street until you reach the grounds of Cardiff Castle.

This castle is, without a doubt, the most popular attraction not just in Cardiff but across Wales, for a good reason.

For more than 2000 years, Cardiff Castle has been at the heart of the city, having stood the test of time through the Norman Conquest, civil war, and even World War II when it was turned into an air raid shelter.

Today, the castle and its grounds are open for all to explore and even host several festivals and concerts throughout the year.

Enter the castle to learn more about the history of the Bute family, one-time owners of the monument, before you climb the Norman Keep to see the replica trebuchet.

You can also explore the castle apartments, uncover Roman remains and take a look at Chariot Corner.

Finally, make sure you allow time to wander through the military museum and the wartime shelters to get a true sense of how Cardiff Castle has supported the area over time.

Exterior of Cardiff Castle in Wales, United Kingdom

Lunch in a Former Gaol

Not far from the castle, Cardiff Market is a Grade II listed, Victorian structure that has been trading as a market since the 1700s.

Before that time, this site was used as the Cardiff gaol, with St. Mary’s St entrance at one time being the location of the gallows where people were hanged for their crimes.

Spread over two floors, you can wander around enjoying the local produce on sale and the remarkable structure that has stood the test of time before heading to one of the many food outlets for a lunch of street food delights.

Choose between Indian at Tukka Tuk , Thai and Asian treats at Delish Cafe , various choices at the Market Deli, pizza from Ffwrnes , or baked goods at The Naked Vegan . 

Cardiff Wales United Kingdom - People are eating at the food stalls while visiting the Christmas Market in Cardiff UK

Explore the City of Arcades

After a hearty lunch, take some time to get lost in the many arcades, home to more than 100 independent shops, and whether you are looking for vintage clothes, homeware, artwork, and several bookshops, there is plenty to explore.

Make sure you pick up some welsh cakes from the Castle Arcade, a local treat that must be tried during your weekend in Cardiff.

Make sure to include a visit to Spillers Records , the oldest record shop in the world, dating back to 1894; there may even be a live music event during your stay if you are lucky.

Cardiff, United Kingdom - Castle Quarter Arcade with shops and tea room in Cardiff city center.

Museum of Cardiff

When you have had enough retail therapy, head to the Museum of Cardiff in the heart of the city, where, for free, you can find out about Cardiff’s heritage and history through its people’s eyes.

It is here you can uncover information about the earliest recorded times, through to the industrial boom and up to the present day, and it is a great way to end your first day of exploring in the city.

Cardiff / UK - The town hall in Cardiff city, Wales

Cocktails at The Alchemist followed by a Portuguese fest

For a bit of drama to your early evening drinks, head to The Alchemist , home of theatrical drinks in an upmarket setting.

The cocktails are designed to dazzle and bewitch with mixologists creating drinks that arrive surrounded by theatrical smoke and served in an array of glasses similar to test tubes and bottles that you could find in a chemistry set.

From here, it is a short walk to Ty Madeira , a family-run Portuguese restaurant offering traditional dishes in a rustic setting.

Mixed with well-known Mediterranean dishes, you can also try Pastel de Bacalhau, a traditional plate of grilled sardines, Caldeirada fish broth, and Tipica. An evening here is the perfect way to relax after a long day on your feet.

mixed fresh portuguese gourmet seafood selection set on white table

Take a Ghost Tour

For those who would prefer an earlier dinner and then something spooky to finish their evening off, consider heading back to Cardiff Castle and hop onto one of their ghost tours .

Visit the castle at night and listen to stories about ghostly phenomena, strange sounds, unusual sightings, and ghastly deaths.

There are also many stories about how the 3rd Marquis of Bute tried to summon the dead with bizarre experiments. Make sure to book in advance though, to avoid disappointment.

Castell Coch or the Red Castle and a Wales dragon monolith in Autumn. Cardiff, South Wales, the United Kingdom

Day 2 in Cardiff

If you only have 2 days in Cardiff, day two is likely to include an early start, and you may wish to wear comfortable shoes, as there will be some walking involved, but it is the best way to see the sights of the city.

Breakfast of Champions at Coffee Barker

Walking into Coffee Barker , you could be forgiven for thinking you are in New York, as this cafe is an eclectic mix of New York West Village and a Parisian brasserie. Inside are paintings on the ceiling and typewriters in the toilets.

At the same time, those who prefer coffee shop curbside culture can enjoy breakfast outside any time of year thanks to its central location in the Castle Arcade.

Breakfasts are served from 8:30 each morning, and you can enjoy either a traditional welsh breakfast or something more unique that involves smashed avocados or peanut butter.

Either way, it is the perfect place to fill up for a morning of sightseeing and offers some of the best coffee in the city.

The Principality Stadium

To start the second day of your weekend in Cardiff, head to the Principality Stadium, once known as the Millennium Stadium and home to Welsh Rugby.

It has become one of the main places to visit in Cardiff, Wales, not only for its sporting events but because it has a large retractable roof, making it one of the biggest indoor arenas in the country with a 74,000 seating capacity.

Booking onto a tour here will see you walking around with a professional guide sharing facts about the stadium’s history, including details about rugby games, world-class boxing, and football matches, as well as rock and roll concerts featuring the Rolling Stones and other events that have been held there since it opened in 1999.

Again, booking ahead of time is recommended as they only run a few tours each day and can fill up quickly.

Cardiff, United Kingdom. Exterior of Cardiff Millennium Stadium with the reflection on River Taff in a sunny day.

From the stadium, take a walk along the Taff river to Bute Park, a 13-acre green space home to several nature trails and more than 20 sculptures created by artists using dead trees to explore, along with landscaped gardens and wildflower meadows.

It is also home to Blackfriars Friary, an ancient monument dating back to the 13th century. It was occupied for 288 years before Parliament ordered its closure in 1536.

While here, head through The People’s Door and into the Secret Garden, where you can pick up some refreshments to enjoy in the park before the exploration of the city continues.

View of the river taff public Bute Park and the water bus stop at the public and government owned Cardiff castle in autumn. Cardiff Wales UK

The National Museum

From Bute Park, head east past the South African War Memorial, which honours the victims of the Second Boer War, and onto the National Museum , home to one-of-a-kind art displays and interactive science exhibitions.

Make sure you visit the Evolution of Wales, which takes you on a 4,600 million year journey from the Big Bang to the age of Dinosaurs and woolly mammoths to the present day, and the Natural Science galleries.

Also, allow time to check out the historic art galleries where you will see works by Botticelli and Rembrandt. The National Museum also has many short-term exhibitions, so it is always worthwhile checking before you visit to see what is on.

National Museum of Wales in Cardiff Great Britain

Enjoy a Turkish Mezze for Lunch

Before heading to the other side of the city, take some time out and visit Lezzet Turkish Kitchen , a restaurant started by two friends more than 30 years ago.

This location offers a cosy, relaxed atmosphere with traditional Turkish dishes, including mixed grills, lamb koftas, baklava, and Turkish delight.

At lunchtime, you can enjoy either the main menu or a lunchtime special which gives you a choice of some of their best dishes at a budget price.

An afternoon at Cardiff Bay

For the last part of your 48 hours in Cardiff itinerary, it’s time to hop on a bus and head out towards the Wales Millennium Centre near Cardiff Bay. This arts centre hosts a range of productions, operas, and learning experiences.

Even if you decide not to go in, chances are you will recognise the area if you are a fan of Doctor Who or Torchwood, as the Water Tower at the northern end, which stands around 21 metres high and has a constant stream of water running down it, has appeared in both.

This area is also home to the Welsh Parliament Building (the Senedd) and Roald Dahl Plass, a public space named after the Cardiff-born author, and is often home to concerts and events as well as offering areas to eat and drink.

Cardiff Bay is also home to the Techniquest Science Discovery Centre, a space hoping to inspire a passion for the subject and offers a great family afternoon out. You will also find The Welsh Assembly at Pierhead, home to a terracotta building that resembles Big Ben in London, and the Norwegian Church.

You will be able to spot the Norwegian Church as it is unique with its black and white colour and is where Roald Dahl was baptised.

Finally, while in this area, wander down to Mermaid Quay and walk around the Riverside until you come across Ianto’s Jones Shrine.

This was set up in 2009 as a fan memorial to the character of the same name from the show, Torchwood, and includes photos, poems, and stories from fans worldwide, including a plaque dedicated to the fictional character .

Cardiff United Kingdom - Tourists and locals are watching eleven powerboats and more than thirty jet ski riders competing in the fourth round of the P1 national championships at the Cardiff Harbour Festival & the P1 Welsh Grand Prix of the

Evening Drinks in an Old Chapel

After heading back into the city, your first stop must be Chapel 1877 for pre-dinner drinks. This location stands out both outside and inside.

Outside from a distance, it still looks like an active ornate chapel, while inside, you will find three floors giving the nod to French-Italian gothic design. If you want to end your evening in style, this is the place to start with a Long Island Iced Tea or an Elderflower Bellini.

It is just a short walk from the Old Chapel to The Ivy , a trendy yet refined dining experience offering everything from lobster to shepherd’s pie in a vibrant, art-deco environment.

As this is your final night in the city, there are plenty of other things to do in Cardiff should you wish to carry on.

Whether you want to continue with a few drinks, dance the night away in one of the many nightclubs, or do something completely different, like Tree Top Adventure Golf , Cardiff has what it takes to make it a memorable evening.

Cardiff, Wales - Depot in Cardiff filled with people on spanish food festival, United Kingdom

Tour ideas to do in Cardiff

During your 48hrs in Cardiff, if you would prefer, there are several different tours you can join, including private tours or one that is customised to your preferences .

There are also several other themed tours relating to Doctor Who for any Whovians, as well as hop-on,hop-off bus tours for those that do not want to walk everywhere. 

For those that would like to see Cardiff Bay from a different perspective, you could take one of the many boat tours on offer, including a speedboat thrill ride that departs daily from Mermaid Quay.

Finally, just 4 miles out of the city, you can also visit St Fagans National Museum of History, either on your own by jumping on the 32A bus or via a private tour .

St Fagans, a magnificent castle, is now known as the people’s museum that tells the story of locals, Welsh history, and their everyday lives. 

Ayrshire dairy cow grazing near an old thatched cottage in St.Fagans National history museum, South Wales.

We hope that this 48 hours in Cardiff itinerary has given you an idea of things to do in the city. On top of the suggested activities, you could also choose to spend time castle hopping around South Wales or explore the Rhondda Heritage Park, a coal mining museum highlighting the area’s industrial past.

Alternatively, you could take in a rugby game, visit the opera, or go on the Cardiff Bay Trail to learn more about Captain Scott and his fatal journey to the Antarctic. 

Recommended tours in Cardiff

  • City Sightseeing Cardiff Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
  • Doctor Who Cardiff Walking Tour
  • Cardiff City Tour
  • The Wandering Bard Tour of South Wales
  • Cardiff Like a Local: Customized Private Tour
  • Day Tour – Castles, Mountains & More
  • The Ghosts of Llandaff: A Self-Guided Audio Tour

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48 Hours in Cardiff - 2 Day itinerary

Sam, a seasoned traveler across four continents and 49 countries, is a leading authority in travel planning. Her website, Travelling King, offers tailored itineraries and expert guides for seamless trips. Sam's expertise in luxury travel, fast travel, and destination guides keeps her at the forefront of the travel community.

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One Day in Cardiff Itinerary: Visit Cardiff in a day

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Cardiff is the capital and largest city in Wales, located about 150 miles from London . It is a major tourist destination, known for its castle, museums, shops, restaurants, and nightlife. So here is an epic one day in Cardiff itinerary to make the most of your visit!

We have included sightseeing attractions and travel tips, including visiting the city from London on a day trip. 

One Day in Cardiff Itinerary: Visit Cardiff in one day

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The harbor city of Cardiff, (called Caerdydd in Welsh), is the capital of Wales and an excellent destination for one day getaway from the chaos of London , especially when you are short of time.

A good contender for some cultural diversity, Cardiff is easily accessible by train and allows the visitor to explore not only a new part of the United Kingdom but a different country as well.

Girl at the Alexandra Gardens Cardiff

Cardiff one day itinerary: Things to do in Cardiff in one day

Breakfast at fabulous welshcakes , explore the cardiff castle, wander the cardiff arcades, stroll along st mary’s street, visit the national museum cardiff, head to the mermaid quay, dinner at the potted pig .

This lively city really comes alive on big sporting days, when the entire nation comes out to cheer their teams in the famous red jersey. 

Cardiff Castle grounds

So even if you have lived all your life here or the city is new to you, there is something to enjoy all the time in Cardiff.

A day trip to Cardiff will give you the perfect opportunity to explore the main attractions of the city. It will also provide an insight as to what to prepare for, should you decide to return for an extended period of time in the future.

Getting to Cardiff from London UK: Trip planning

The easiest way to travel from London to Cardiff is by train. Trains depart from the Paddington Station in London to Cardiff Central frequently, and the trip takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes, or even more, to reach the Welsh capital. 

As this can significantly decrease the limited time available in Cardiff, it is suggested to arrive a day in advance in order to make this itinerary workable. The Great Western Railway is the excellent non-stop option on the Swansea line (tickets available from £49.90 to £84.60 one way at peak times).

Top Tours in Cardiff : Hop on and hop off tours | Cardiff welcome tour | Tour of Cardiff Bay and Vale of Glamorgan

Shops and cafes along the Centre

If you’re driving from London , the drive will take about 3 hours. Cardiff is not a congested place so if you are driving into the city center you can easily find a parking slot at either John Lewis or St Davids Shopping Car Park.

Cardiff airport is situated in the Vale of Glamorgan and is only a 12 minute bus ride from the center of the city. Buses depart every 20 minutes from the airport for Cardiff Central and Cardiff Bay. A single ticket costs £5.

Best time to visit Cardiff

Summer, from May to the end of August is the ideal time to spend one day in Cardiff, especially if you want warm weather. This also happens to be the time when open air events are held in Cardiff Bay and Cardiff Castle.

Girl at the Cardiff Alexandra Gardens

If you are scheduled to travel in winter, then December is the month when the Cardiff Christmas Festival takes place with a number of dazzling events. March, April, September, and October months are best to take advantage of lower accommodation rates.

Hotel recommendations

One of the most popular areas for hotels in Cardiff is around Cardiff Central station. The district covers the southern part of the city, including Cardiff Castle and the region bounded by the River Taff in the west.

  • voco-St. David’s Cardiff : If money is no object, then voco-St David’s Cardiff will give you the bang for every buck spent. Not only are the rooms ultra luxe, they also have a great spa on-site. And the views of Cardiff Bay from the rooms are absolutely stunning. The hotel is located at Havannah Street, Cardiff Bay. Click to check availability and current rates here
  • Clayton Hotel: Another great place to stay on St Mary Street is the Clayton Hotel. As it is located near the main train station, it is immensely popular with those visiting Cardiff for business purposes or short stay travelers. The rooms are bright and cheerful and so is the staff. No wonder a majority of their clients are return visitors. Book your stay here
  • Coal Exchange Hotel : Don’t be fooled by the name because the Coal Exchange Hotel in Cardiff Bay has a lot to offer to its guests. Located on Mount Stuart Square, the property lies very close to Cardiff Bay. Additionally, the rooms are great, the service is excellent and the staff is warm and welcoming. Check reviews and photos here

Now, let’s kickstart this one day Cardiff itinerary, shall we?

Cardiff is compact. And there is plenty to see around the city centre within walking distance of each other, so you won’t have to spend a lot of money on transportation, which is good for a short trip. 

View of the chapel tower, Cardiff City Hall

If you don’t fancy walking, you can always take the hop-on and hop-off bus and create your own itinerary to visit the landmark of your choice. The ticket costs £20 and is valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase and covers eleven places of interest.

No better place to begin your one day Cardiff itinerary than at the famous Fabulous Welshcakes bakery right opposite Cardiff Castle.

All the Welsh cakes are homemade, using locally sourced ingredients, and made in batches in the traditional manner on a cast iron grill. 

Remember to carry extra ones for the day, or even some for taking back home.

Pro Tip: You will find a lot of bakeries including Portuguese cafes right in front of the next stop, Cardiff Castle. 

Nestled in the heart of the city, Cardiff Castle was built by the Romans nearly 2000 years ago and is deeply steeped in Welsh history. 

Cardiff Castle

The grounds of this Victorian Gothic building are huge and two hours will barely allow you to scratch the surface and see the important features like the Arab Room, The Norman Keep, and the labyrinth of tunnels that served as air raid shelters during WWII. 

Cardiff Castle complex

The Clock Tower is the most recognizable landmark here and can be easily seen from a distance. 

Stunning views can be had from the top, but personally, we feel that climbing the steep and uneven stairs is not easy, and you have to shell out an additional £4.50 to access it. If you wish to get to the top, remember to wear comfortable walking shoes!

Girl at the Cardiff Castle grounds

Though the best part of visiting the Castle is that entry to the grounds is free and one can see a lot from outside. 

  • Address: Castle St, Cardiff
  • Hours : Summer hours are from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekdays. Weekends from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Winter season hours are from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on weekdays, and 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on the weekends. (closed on 25, 26th December, and 1st January)
  • Admission: Adults: £14.50 | Child: £10.00 | Senior/Student: £12.00 (Currently tickets are open for online booking on a monthly basis)

You might be interested : Hop on and hop off tours | Cardiff welcome tour

This maze of covered shopping outlets begins just across the road from Cardiff Castle and gives the city a feeling of independent shopping which is not evident in the high street chains.

Cardiff Arcades

These charming street arcades house quaint cafes, clothing shops, and jewelry outlets. 

Cardiff has the highest concentration of such indoor shops which has earned the Welsh capital the nickname of the “City of Arcades”.

From global brands to local flashy stores you will find everything in the back streets and markets of St Mary’s Street. 

St Mary's Street

As you stroll along just dive into any alley or side street which catches your eye. Here you will come across Wally’s Deli , a local food institution, and jaw-dropping exhibits of Indian handicrafts at the Ganesha . 

From St Mary’s Street, you can access the Cardiff Indoor Market with its interesting stalls like Kelly Records , a must for music fans.

Cardiff Indoor Market

Lunchtime 

All the walking must have made you hungry by now, but do not fear as there are plenty of food joints in the city centre. 

When it comes to an authentic Italian eating experience there is none better than La Citta on 4, Church Street. Seating is limited and the atmosphere is very cozy and nicely decorated. From all kinds of pasta to pizzas, everything is homemade using fresh dough and cooked in wood-fired ovens.

Drinks at the Pasture Cardiff

If you prefer to sit down for a drink or a quick bite, then Pasture Restaurant in Cardiff is a good option. It is only a 3 minute walk away from the Castle grounds. 

Brush up your knowledge of Welsh history during your visit to Cardiff with a trip to the National Museum. 

Cardiff National Museum

Here you will find exhibits from all parts of the world, ranging from the ice age to the present day while bringing you face to face with woolly mammoths and dinosaurs along the way. 

Situated in the middle of the city’s civic centre the National Museum in Cardiff has something for all interests.

  • Address : Cathy’s Park
  • Hours: Open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Mondays closed)
  • Admission : Free

Once you are done with the city centre it is time to hit the waterfront at Cardiff Bay . You can either do a 15-minute walk along Lloyd George Avenue or take the bus to access the bay area. 

Cruising on the Bay of Cardiff

Once you have arrived, we recommend you stop at Mermaid Quay where there are a number of good bars and eateries. 

If you are into nature, you must visit the Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve or else head to the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, home to a thriving art and cultural scene where there is a gallery dedicated to the famous author Roald Dahl.

There are many restaurant options at Cardiff Bay like Wagamama for Asian food, however, our personal favorite is Bill’s because they make great halloumi and avocado burger.

There are a plethora of places to dine in on the high street but our firm favorite is The Potted Pig . 

Located in the environs of a former bank vault, well below the city, this restaurant and gin lounge is known for its passion for serving some of the best British food and the odd suckling pig with wonderful concoctions of gin.

If you are looking for Asian fare, head to the most refined south Indian food restaurant,  Purple Poppadom, a 2021 award winner of the best restaurant in Wales voted by British Curry.

  • Address: 27, High Street 

More things to do in Cardiff in a day: Ideas for 2 days in Cardiff itinerary

There is so much to do in Cardiff, that one day may not be enough. We are sharing additional attractions and activities that you can swap for any of the sites listed above. 

Or extend the trip by another day 🙂

Cardiff food tasting tour

There are scores of bars and restaurants to choose from and the best part is that most of them are within walking distance from Cardiff Castle. 

Cornish Pastries in Cardiff UK

However, if you can’t make up your mind about all these amazing eateries, then you can opt for a food-tasting walking tour around the city. 

On this tour , you will get to sample six local Welsh dishes at different restaurants from upscale to street food stalls. Plus you get to see the sights of the city as well (prices are approx £30 per person for 4 hours). 

Alexandra Gardens

Alexandra Gardens is a public park located in Cardiff, Wales. The park was opened in 1910 and is named after Princess Alexandra of Denmark. 

travel home cardiff

The gardens feature many beautiful flowers, trees, and sculptures including a beautiful Welsh War Memorial. 

You can enjoy a lovely stroll in the fall or spring months here through the park.

Visit Bute Park

Located near Cardiff Castle, the 130 acres Bute Park comprises gardens and parklands which were once considered to be within the castle boundaries. 

Bute Gardens in Cardiff

Home of a former Dominican Friary, a 3D representation depicts how the site would have looked like in the medieval times. 

A popular feature of the park is the Animal Wall, which showcases sculptures of fifteen different animals.

Cardiff Animal Wall

Cardiff Walking Tour

A Cardiff walking tour, and that too free, is a sure-shot way to ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the important sites and at the same time learn about the history behind each landmark visited. 

travel home cardiff

If you are not comfortable traveling with a group, there is a paid private walking tour available which covers the city centre and Cardiff Bay in around four hours.

Cardiff Bay Trail 

If you have extra time or wish to spend the day in some outdoor activity, one of the top activities in Cardiff is hiking the 10 km (6.2 miles) long circular Cardiff Bay Trail.

The route is extremely well-marked and there is no danger of getting lost. 

Along the way, you can experience the rich heritage of Cardiff through its iconic buildings like the world famous Wales Millennium Centre, the Welsh Assembly Building, Roald Dahl Plass, and the vibrant cafes which give this place its unique vibe.

One day in Cardiff Itinerary: Sightseeing Map

Cardiff sightseeing map

Day trips from Cardiff Wales + Road trips 

If you have some more time on hand there are some fantastic places within a short distance from Cardiff which are a must during your visit to this corner of Wales.

travel home cardiff

Brecon Beacons National Park: 90 minutes from Cardiff

A day trip from Cardiff to Brecon Beacons is an absolute must on a Wales road trip even if you are not into nature.

The park is 30 miles away and is best accessed by bus T4 from the Castle Stop KA (opposite Cardiff Castle).

Tickets are £11 for adults and £7 for a child. (Carry the exact amount of money as drivers don’t keep change). There are a number of activities to be enjoyed at the reserve:

  • Try faggots, a traditional Welsh dish with aromatic tea while enjoying the views 
  • Shop for souvenirs
  • There are many hiking/cycling trails you can follow. The friendly people at the visitor center will provide all the information
  • Your bus ticket includes a stopover at Merthyr Tydfil, famous for the 19th-century Cyfarthfa Castle

Keep track of the weather beforehand as rains can ruin your trip. If you want to climb Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales, make sure you wear dark, comfortable waterproof walking shoes.

Carew: 90 minutes from Cardiff

A ninety-minute drive to the west of Cardiff will bring you to the tiny village of Carew which will showcase the country’s image prior to becoming industrial. 

Here you can explore the pretty ruins of the 13th-century Carew Castle, which is also known to be haunted. 

Today it has been colonized by bats and birds who have made nests there. There is a 23-acre mill pond, the only one it is kind in use today, from where one can take good photographs.

Swansea: An hour away from Cardiff

An hour west of Cardiff, by road or rail, lies Swansea, the second largest city in Wales, located on the picturesque Gower Peninsula. 

Being the birthplace of the poet Dylan Thomas, the town boasts a vibrant university theme. Cultural highlights here include the Swansea Festival of Music and Arts held each October. 

Swansea is a fun and walkable city and boasts of several parks and a 47-acre botanical garden. Other things worth a visit are the National Waterfront Museum and the famous area of Mumbles.

Additional Cardiff travel tips 

When traveling to Cardiff, all the tourist visas and currency apply the same as it is for London or any other UK destination. 

View of St. John's Park, City Hall in Cardiff

But we have some additional tips for Wales, so take a moment and consider the following:

  • The weather in Cardiff is very fickle, though the temperatures don’t reach extremes. 
  • Hotels in Cardiff will allow you to leave your luggage for a few hours, even after you have checked out. Alternatively, there are plenty of lockers available, particularly in the St David’s area.
  • Learn a few Welsh phrases like Diolch for Thank you, Iechyd Da for cheers, and Esqusodwch fi for excuse me. This will bring you immediately much closer to the locals who appreciate someone trying to speak Welsh.
  • Buy a Cardiff visitor card to save money on attractions, tours as well as restaurants. The best investment for a one day trip. It is available from the Tourist Info Office at the Wales Millennium Centre
  • Carry only a lightweight travel backpack that will allow you to move with ease on your short trip. Plus a passport holder to ensure that your travel documents are safe all the time.

Shops in Cardiff

Not a travel tip, but….we found a Tim Hortons at the Cardiff centre – in case you want a Canadian coffee fix (Salil was delighted lol). 

People consider Cardiff safe and unsafe both. This means that it is like everywhere else in the world. That said, Cardiff has good and bad neighborhoods where isolated incidents do take place.

However, the main tourist spots like the city center and Cardiff Bay are safe and well-lit, so there should not be any safety concerns.

Cardiff is one of the cheapest cities in the UK, much more affordable than London or Edinburgh. 

City Hall in Cardiff

If you are a couple the average hotel price is £145, meals £34, local transport £17.

The average daily cost, which will include entry to the major attractions also, will be about £122 for your one day vacation in Cardiff.

Was one day in Cardiff enough?

Cardiff is fairly small so you can see a lot of it in one day, (though you can fill an entire weekend if time permits). This includes Cardiff Castle, The Cardiff Arcades, Cardiff Bay, and the city centre. However, we suggest you come back in the future and visit it at a slower pace to see a bit more of Wales.

So there you have it! We hope this post was useful in crafting your Cardiff one day itinerary. We personally enjoyed this beautiful capital city. 

We always thought of visiting Cardiff as a lot of our friends have studied here at the University, and it didn’t disappoint. 

Visiting Cardiff is a great way to experience the culture and history of Wales. 

There are many things to see and do in the city, from exploring Cardiff Castle, and strolling the beautiful parks to enjoying a traditional Welsh dinner. Whether you’re visiting for a day or staying for a longer holiday, you’re sure to have a great time in Cardiff City!

Pin: Cardiff day trip itinerary

Mayuri is the founder & editor of ToSomePlaceNew. An Indian-Canadian globetrotter, she has traveled to over 100 cities and 35+ countries. Mayuri has a graduate degree in History and is an MBA. She loves traveling the world, capturing historical nuances, and discussing that over a cup of coffee with her husband, Salil. She currently resides in Edmonton, Canada, and plots travel plans to Europe, the Americas, and beyond. 

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UK Travel Planning

15 Very Best Things to Do in Cardiff (2023)

By: Author Tracy Collins

Posted on Last updated: May 1, 2023

Are you planning a trip to Cardiff? In this article, you will discover our selection of the VERY BEST things to do in Cardiff including the main landmarks and best attractions not to miss in Wales’s capital city.

The Welsh capital is the buzzing centre of this Celtic nation. Crammed with cultural hotspots, charming Victorian architecture, a rich history, impressive castles, and modern urban hangouts, Cardiff has a whole heap of things for visitors to do and is a great place to include in your itinerary for south Wales.

If you are visiting Cardiff for the first time it is well worth spending some time discovering what the capital city of Wales has to offer. In this article, we have put together a round-up of some of the VERY BEST things to do in Cardiff to ensure you have a fun day and make the most of your visit to this vibrant city at the heart of Wales.

At the end of the article you will find a map showing the locations of all the Welsh attractions, eateries and places to stay mentioned in this article.

We recommend taking the hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus to enjoy the main attractions of Cardiff. Alternatively, a walking tour is a great way to explore the city. This private tour with a local is a great way to learn about the city and Welsh culture (why not meet people not just see places!)

Tip – Many British TV programmes are made in Cardiff. Why not join a themed walking tour and learn more about your favourite TV show? This one is perfect for Dr Who fans and if Gavin and Stacey are more your thing this is the one for you!

Cardiff Castle

Stroll cardiff’s centenary walk, cardiff bay, wales millennium centre, bute park sculpture trail, wander cardiff’s central market, shop in the cardiff’s 6 victorian arcades, national museum of cardiff, st fagans national museum of history, llandaff cathedral, take a themed tour of the city, the cottage, barkers tea room, the naked vegan ltd, the lansdowne pub, castell coch, caerphilly castle, barry island, bannau brycheiniog (formally known as the brecon beacons), where to stay in cardiff, map of things to do and see in cardiff (+ accommodation & eateries), visiting wales, top tourist attractions & best things to do in cardiff.

If you like castles, you’re in luck: Cardiff Castle is one of the most historic in the UK. Sat right in the heart of the city, this castle is a fascinating structure that’ll have you enthralled for hours.

It was first built by the Romans in the 1st century AD, but then the Normans moved in during the 11th century and constructed the still awe-inspiring Norman keep that you see today. If you look carefully at the castle walls you will see traces of the abandoned Roman fort it was built upon.

The Lords of Glamorgan built the House in the 15th century and finally, a grand Victorian Gothic home was added in the 19th century.

The Cardiff Castle Clock Tower which stands at over 100 feet tall and dominates the city skyline was completed in 1873. So for its 2,000 years of history, visiting this castle is easily one of the best things to do in Cardiff.

Good to know – If you dream of spending the night in a fairytale Welsh castle you may be interested to know that you can! Yes there are a number of castles in Wales with accommodation options – you can find out in my guide to Welsh castle hotels.

Where, When and How Much?

  • Castle St, CF10 3RB
  • Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 10:00 to 16:00 (last entry 15:00), Friday – Sunday from 9:00 to 18:00 (last entry 17:00).
  • Admission prices: £12.00: Adult | £10.00: Senior/student (proof of ID) and disabled visitors | £9: Children 5-16 | Free: Children under 5

Visiting Cardiff Castle is one of the best things to do in Cardiff

Rather than spend money on a tour, it’s possible to hop on a very comprehensive self-guided tour of Cardiff, thanks to the city’s Centenary Walk. Established in 2005 to mark 100 years of Cardiff’s city status, it weaves through some of the most magnificent sights the city has to offer.

Kicking off at the Old Library and onto Cardiff Market, you’ll pass by hotspots (41 in total) such as the Millennium Stadium, the City Hall, and St David’s Cathedral.

Eventually, you’ll wind up back in The Hayes, just south of the city centre. This loop is a must-do in Cardiff for hikers and history buffs alike.

Good to know – If you prefer to save your feet there is a hop-on-hop-off bus tour available which offers panoramic views of the city.

  • Starts at Old Library, The Hayes, CF10 1BH
  • Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Free admission

Cardiff City Hall

Cardiff Bay is a redeveloped area located in south Cardiff and is a happening hangout in the city: think walkways, piers, and boardwalks.

You’ll find a ton of bars and restaurants here to while away the hours. It’s particularly nice on a warm, sunny day when it seems like the whole of Cardiff is out here enjoying this revamped dockyard area.

Don’t miss some of Cardiff’s main attractions including the Wales Millennium Centre, the Senedd (which houses the Welsh Government National Assembly for Wales, the Pierhead Building ( a Grade 1 listed building and one of Cardiff’s most familiar landmarks), and the Norwegian Church where Roald Dahl was baptised in 1916.

  • Cardiff Bay, CF10 
  • Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (times vary for restaurants and bars)

An aerial view of Cardiff Bay one of the best places and things to do in Cardiff

You’ll find the spectacular Wales Millennium Centre located in Roald Dahl Plass (a public square) right in the middle of Cardiff Bay.

This landmark arts centre is built out of Welsh slate and other local materials in a celebration of all things Welsh. Just glimpsing the impressive architecture alone is one of the best things to do in Cardiff.

Opening its doors in 2004, the centre has played host to all sorts of different theatrical performances, from opera to ballet. If you don’t have time to fit in a show, there are on-site restaurants and dining, so you could just grab a coffee and enjoy the atmosphere.

  • Bute Pl, CF10 5AL
  • Opening hours: typically from Monday – Saturday 10:00 to 18:00
  • Admission free (costs of performances vary)

Visiting the the Wales Millennium Centre is one of the best things to do in Cardiff

Fancy some art – and a breath of fresh air? Then this place is a must-do when you’re in Cardiff. The sprawling Bute Park is a place to visit in itself. It’s named after the 3rd Marquis of Bute; the Butes were the family that once owned Cardiff Castle.

It’s a popular spot for locals, where on sunny days you can see people laying out on the lawns and picnicking. There are some 21 huge sculptures by various artists scattered throughout the park, from a gigantic stag beetle in Old Man’s Wood to a warthog that locals have affectionately dubbed “Pumba”.

And they’re not just to look at: made of old tree stumps, these sculptures are all about enjoying the natural environment. Feel free to scramble all over them!

  • North Rd, CF10 3ER
  • Admission free

Bute Park Cardiff.

Hitting up Cardiff’s Victorian-era Central Market is a great way to spend your time in the city. This indoor market has been in operation since the 1700s, but opened in its current form back in 1891. Scarily enough, originally this would have been where the gallows were located.

Today, it’s a thriving farmer’s market and one of the best places to visit in Cardiff for foodies. Spread over two floors, there are fruit and veg shops selling local produce, florists, butchers, and even vegan eateries to try out.

One particularly interesting place is Ashton’s, a fishmonger’s that’s been trading in the same spot since 1866; another long-established stall is the family-run Market Deli, going strong for over a century.

  • St Mary St, CF10 1AU. 
  • Open daily 8:00 to 15:00

For more Victorian shopping experiences in Cardiff, you should check out the city’s Victorian era arcades. Boasting six Victorian-era arcades, Cardiff’s antique commercial hotspots not only look the part, they also have a range of independent shops to browse.

The biggest of these is Castle Arcade. Right opposite the High Street, this particular arcade was built in 1882 and is split across two floors, with beautiful balconies and ornate interiors.

Elsewhere there’s the well-preserved Morgan Arcade (1896), which is home to Spillers Records , the world’s oldest record shop and a must-visit in Cardiff for music-lovers.

  • Various locations in the Castle Quarter
  • Times vary, but Castle Arcade is open daily from 8:30 to 18:00

An image of one of the Victorian Arcades in Cardiff which are one of the best things to do in Cardiff

With its 500 years’ worth of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and ceramics, the National Museum Cardiff was established in 1912. It’s one of the best things to do in Cardiff if you want to learn about international art and Welsh history.

You’ll find works from famous artists here, including big-hitters like Van Gogh, Cezanne, Lowry, and Francis Bacon.

There are many interactive exhibits to enjoy including the popular mother and baby woolly mammoths on display in the Evolution of Wales gallery.

It’s easy to spend a whole afternoon just strolling around this vast cultural centre (especially on a rainy day) soaking it all up.

  • Cathays Park, CF10 3NP
  • Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 to 17:00 (closed Mondays)

National Museum Cardiff.

For more of a definitively Welsh history lesson than that on offer at the National Museum, you should head to St Fagans National Museum of History.

One particularly cool thing about this place is its location in the grounds of St Fagans Castle, where you’ll find over 50 historic buildings relocated and reconstructed here from all over Wales.

There are old shops, a Victorian school, farm buildings – complete with real-life animals -, a medieval church, and craftspeople at work in traditional garb. It’s an open-air museum, essentially, that makes for a decent day out from the city centre.

  • St Fagans, CF5 6XB. 
  • Opening hours: from 10:00 to 17:00 daily

St Fagans National Museum.

Llandaff Cathedral is one of 2 cathedrals in Cardiff (St David’s is the Roman Catholic Cathedral). Founded in 107 the cathedral features some of the finest medieval architecture in Wales.

Extended, rebuilt and damaged throughout the ages the Cathedral has had 2 major restorations. One in the late 19th century and another after damage caused by bombing raids during WW2.

  • Cathedral Close, High Street, Llandaff, Cardiff
  • Usually open daylight hours

Cardiff is a popular location for some of Britain’s best-loved TV shows. If you are a fan of Dr. Who or Gavin and Stacey a themed tour of the city is the perfect option!

  • Dr Who Walking Tour of Cardiff – Take a 2.5-hour walking tour of Cardiff, and discover locations in the Welsh capital used in the hit TV series “Doctor Who.” Learn how the city was utilized for intergalactic purposes, and how it was transformed to become New York, Pompeii and more.
  • Barry Island Gavin and Stacey Tour – Discover the locations of Gavin and Stacey on this official tour. See Barry Island and visit the home of Stacey. Visit Nessa’s arcade and sit in her chair, then take a walk on Barry seafront.

Where to eat and drink in Cardiff

Exploring all the fun things to do in Cardiff is hungry (and thirsty) work. But don’t worry, there’s no way anyone’s getting hangry here!

There are a ton of different places to eat and drink, from hip bars, cosy coffee shops, and cool cafes to local pubs and fancy restaurants.

Here’s just a selection of what’s on offer.

Despite the name, this is a pub—and a very charming one at that. It’s perfectly situated in the city centre, so after you’ve had a day of discovering Cardiff’s top sights, you can head to this olde worlde pub for a pint of beer (or real ale) and a bite to eat.

The staff are friendly, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and the decor is particularly traditional. If you want to really soak up the vibes, head here on rugby days when it gets particularly lively.

Where and When?

  • 25 St Mary St, CF10 1AA.
  • Every day from 12:00 until midnight.

For a less rowdy experience, with a lot of less alcohol involved, make a beeline to Barkers Tea Room. Situated in Cardiff’s historic Castle Arcade , this traditional tea room is a cute little place to cosy up for a spot of breakfast, a tasty lunch, or even some afternoon tea (recommended).

Think big leather chairs and wooden floors or—on warmer days—sipping a cuppa out in the arcade itself. Fancy, but not overly expensive.

  • 8-12 High Street Arcade, CF10 1BB
  • Every day from 9:00 to 17:00

Among the buzz of Cardiff Market you’ll find The Naked Vegan. This compact stall sells a wide variety of amazing cakes and donuts—all vegan, obviously, and some even gluten-free. They’re so delicious that, vegan or not, you’re bound to be impressed at their offerings.

The raspberry brownie comes particularly recommended. It’s run by a friendly couple who’ll be more than happy to take you through what’s on offer.

  • 132 Central Market, CF10 1AU
  • Monday – Friday 9:00 to 11:00 (closed weekends)

The Lansdowne Pub is a more family-friendly option than The Cottage, but not only that—it’s also award-winning; receiving CAMRA’s “Pub of the Year” accolade in 2014 and 2015.

Afternoons here are busy with families with children, while evenings are abuzz with friends catching up over drinks. There’s also a good selection of pub grub on offer for those who are more hungry than thirsty.

  • 71 Beda Road, CF5 1LX.
  • Monday – Thursday from 12:00 to 23:00; Friday – Saturday 12:00 to 23:30; Sundays 12:00 to 22:30.

Places to visit near Cardiff

Located on the outskirts of Cardiff and arguably one of the most picturesque castles in all of Wales, Castell Coch is a stunning fairytale structure. Meaning “Red Castle”, it’s a 19th-century Gothic Revival style building situated on the site of a Norman castle built in 1081 to protect the town of Cardiff – then newly conquered by the Normans.

Rising out of the tree-lined hills in the village of Tongwynlais, this really is a refreshing spot to enjoy a day away from the city.

It’s easy to see why it was used as a summer retreat for the 3rd Marquis of Bute, and why visiting this mini marvel is one of the best things to do in Cardiff.

  • Tongwynlais, CF15 7JS. 
  • Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 10:00 to 16:00, and Sunday from 11:00 to 16:00.
  • Admission prices: £7.30: Adult | £5.80: Seniors 65 and over | £4.40: Children 5-17 | Free: Children under 5 and disabled visitors

Castell Coche.

Caerphilly Castle is arguably the granddaddy of all castles in Wales. This truly impressive and spectacular castle will wow you from the moment you set eyes on it, and makes for a must-visit spot in Cardiff.

Constructed by Gilbert de Clare in the 13th century, to consolidate his power in Glamorgan, the medieval castle and towers are surrounded by a large moat and connected via a bridge.

After Windsor Castle, Caerphilly is the second-largest in the whole of the United Kingdom. It boasts concentric walls and soaring Gothic gatehouses, a whole array of stony defences, staircases to tread and windows to peep out of. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back to a different time entirely.

  • Castle St, Caerphilly, CF83 1JD
  • Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 9:30 to 17:30, with shorter opening hours in the winter months
  • Admission prices: £8.90: Adults | £7.10: Seniors 65 and over | £5:30: Children 5-17 | Free: Children under 5 and disabled visitors

Caerphilly Castle.

Barry Island is a popular destination for locals in the summer months. The seaside resort is located on a peninsula NOT an island as the name suggests.

Barry Island is a fun place to visit for families and an easy day trip from Cardiff. Spend time on the beach, hire a beach hut, and enjoy some tasty fish and chips from Boofy’s!

Where, when and how much?

  • Located 7 miles from Cardiff – park at Harbour Road Car Park £4/day. Take the train – 30 minutes from Cardiff Central to Barry Island.
  • Visit during the summer months!

Barry Island in Wales

If you are planning to spend two or more days based in Cardiff and enjoy the outdoors why not include a visit to the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park in your itinerary?

With stunning lakes, waterfalls, and peaks it is a great destination for hiking, cycling or wildlife watchers. There are also plenty of adrenaline sports on offer too including paragliding, rafting and sailing.

If you are feeling adventurous why not book a guided hike up Pen-y-fan the highest mountain in Bannau Brycheiniog?

  • Located 42 miles from Cardiff. There are no direct train connections so I would recommend hiring a car in Cardiff and driving to the area or booking a tour .
  • Visit all year round (check the weather forecast before you go)

Brecon Beacons

Plan your visit to Cardiff

In this section, you will find a quick guide to help plan your visit to the capital city of Wales including a map showing all the main sights and attractions in Cardiff.

How to get to Cardiff from London?

Cardiff is located 150 miles from London and takes around 2 ½ hours by car.

Great Western trains depart hourly from London Paddington to Cardiff Central. The journey takes around 2 hours with one change at Bristol Temple Meads.

Check the trainline for prices and train times.

There are a range of accommodation options in Cardiff to suit all travel styles and budgets. These are our top choices:

  • Best – Voco St David’s Cardiff is located in Cardiff Bay. Amenities include a spa and visitors are welcomed with Welsh cakes on arrival.
  • Mid-range – 4* Hotel Indigo Cardiff offers modern accommodation and a rather splendid Marco Pierre White restaurant!
  • Budget – Hotel Number One Hundred is a boutique-style B&B offering superb value for money.

For more places to stay – Wales Accommodation Guide

My Wales Travel Guide is a great place to start when planning your travels to and around Wales.

You may also find the following articles about visiting Wales useful:

  • Top 10 places to visit in in Wales
  • Best castles in Wales to explore when you visit
  • Fairytale Welsh Castles you can stay in

Join my UK and London travel planning group on Facebook for more tips, inspiration, and help from other travelers planning future travel to and around the UK.

3 Best Travel Agencies in Cardiff, UK

Expert recommended top 3 travel agencies in cardiff, uk. all of our travel agencies actually face a rigorous 50-point inspection , which includes local reviews, history, business standards, ratings, satisfaction, trust, price and their trading excellence., tui holiday superstore, hays travel, trailfinders cardiff.

TUI Holiday Superstore

TUI Holiday Superstore is one of the world's most renowned travel companies, with a history spanning over 100 years. Their core offering revolves around personalised and tailor-made holidays, encompassing all services from car rentals to reservations. They are true specialists in the most coveted destinations across the globe. The team of holiday experts at the TUI Holiday Store exercises great care in selecting the featured hotels, ensuring that each is meticulously chosen. Moreover, their commitment to sustainability remains unwavering, with more than half of their customers having the opportunity to stay in hotels recognised globally for their eco-friendly and ethical practices. Within their store, a diverse range of holiday options awaits, including city breaks, beach getaways, skiing vacations, wedding packages, and serene lake and mountain retreats. Their expertise also extends to the world of cruising, with Marella Cruises offering the chance to explore over 120 destinations, complete with inclusive tips and service charges. TUI Travel Money provides competitive rates on over 50 different currencies worldwide, all without commission fees. Their approach is non-commission-based, and you can easily reach out to them for the seamless booking of your holidays. UNIQUE FACTS: • 24/7 Holiday Helpline • Friendly Advice • Great Service • ATOL Protected.

Speciality:

  • Book Appointment
  • car***@t***o.uk
  • tui.co.uk/shop-finder/tui...
  • 029 2022 2003

Working Hours:

Tbr® inspection report:, tui holiday superstore reviews.

Superb package holidays came to an end today, had an unforgettable time here in Turkey thanks to one of the most experienced and very helpful member of staff at store" SOPHIE" who helped us to choose a hotel which was eligible for my wife's needs... arranged special assistance at airport and also booked the best available front seats both sides + got a requested room for an easy access to the pools. Definitely recommend to my family and friends to book at Cardiff bay store. Thanks again SOPHIE, it was so kind of you, we'll see you soon IA;)
Went into store this morning to book my first holiday with my son and spoke to Sophie. She was amazing, talked me through everything and went above and beyond to help make our trip run as smoothly as possible. She made sure I understood it all and made the whole process stress free. Definitely will be back.
My partner and I (Tracey & Martin) were very impressed with Cody and the staff at the TUI, Cardiff Bay branch. We booked a holiday and found the customer service to be absolutely brilliant. In particular, Cody helped us today and was professional, efficient and friendly. We will definitely book with TUI again.

Help others: Click Here to send review or send us your review to [email protected] . Negative and positive review will be used for rating. Make a difference.

Hays Travel

Hays Travel is a prominent independent travel agency based in the UK, boasting over four decades of experience in the industry and a network of 450 branches. Their team of expert travel agents is readily available to assist you with all your holiday requirements. They possess the knowledge and skills to craft the perfect holiday experience, whether you're seeking short breaks within the UK, sunny package holidays, unique cruise adventures, or far-flung getaways that genuinely excite you. At Hays Travel, they are dedicated to providing holidays that align with your anticipation, offering flexibility and security to make your travel experiences as stress-free as possible. For insight into the fantastic deals they have available, don't hesitate to contact their branch today. Moreover, they prioritise the complete financial security of their customers, holding total bonds from ATOL, ABTA, and IATA. Their portfolio of top destinations encompasses Greece, New York, Turkey, Lapland, Tenerife, Benidorm, and Lanzarote. When you're ready to book your holiday, contact one of their expert travel agents to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience. UNIQUE FACTS: • Great Customer Service • ABTA Members and ATOL Holders • Affordable Prices • Provides Travel Insurance.

  • car***@h***o.uk
  • haystravel.co.uk
  • 02921 433032
  • 08082 962653

HAYS TRAVEL REVIEWS

Love hays travel .always use them wont use any where else. Always helpful proffesional quick to reply no matter what holiday i throw at rhem they always get back to me promplty with everything i asked for . Usualy paul i deal with but had girl instore who was just as great booking my holiday i like to book my insurance at same time so can leave tbere without any stress or worries. They polite and nothing to much trouble i would recommend to anyone in doubt who to book with or trust they even beat any price out there from all othet holiday suppliers. Always 5 stars for hays csrdiff queen street and online fb messanger and barry or any other stores dealt with always best service thsnks guys.
Happy customer. Helen dealt with booking our holiday. She was helpful , friendly. Would highly recommend it.
Absolutely amazing team, always so helpful and will always find you a perfect holiday. Delightful team.

Trailfinders Cardiff

Trailfinders Cardiff is a well-known travel agency in Cardiff, and their extensive team comprises over 1000 members who have successfully facilitated travel arrangements for more than 16 million clients. They are dedicated to offering an unparalleled selection of flights, tours, hotels, cruises, car rentals, and motorhome hires globally, all at highly competitive prices. The Trailfinders team is renowned for their expertise in crafting tailor-made itineraries to destinations worldwide, and they are committed to delivering unbeatable value and exceptional service. With 42 travel centres staffed by the most seasoned travel consultants in the industry, they assist 7 days a week, conveniently located throughout the UK and Ireland. Trailfinders is proud to offer the broadest range of flights, tours, hotels, cruises, car rentals, and motorhome hires worldwide, all at affordable rates. As pioneers in the realm of personalised travel, they firmly believe that there is no substitute for one-on-one, customised service. They stand by their commitment to immediate refunds in the event of any cancellations. UNIQUE FACTS: • Offer Virtual Appointments • Affordable Prices.

  • tra***@t***.com
  • trailfinders.com/travel-c...
  • 02920 726600
  • 02920 726644

TRAILFINDERS CARDIFF REVIEWS

The best travel service you can get! Been using them for years. The staff are very knowledgeable friendly and helpful. During the pandemic when we had to change plans frequently trying to get to Australia the service and support they gave was outstanding. On my way to see them this morning to book out next trip. I highly recommend them.
Travelled with Trailfinders many times in the last 25 years, never had a problem. Same can be said of our most recent trip to Thailand for 17 nights, Phuket,Koh Samui,Bangkok. Wonderfull hotels and the transfers were timed perfect from airport to hotel and vice versa. Will most definitely be booking with them again.Well done.
Excellent service from the Trailfinders team in these challenging times. Last autumn we booked the holiday of a lifetime for this July. Throughout the intervening period we have been kept informed and with the holiday just cancelled we have been told our full refund is on its way. We look forward to going back to Trailfinders to rebook when the impact of the virus has lessened.

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Oklahoma man facing 12 years in Turks & Caicos prison released on bond, banned from travel

Ryan watson made bail a couple weeks after he was detained and arrested for ammo possession in turks & caicos. but he's not allowed to leave..

travel home cardiff

An American man facing 12 years in prison in Turks & Caicos after airport security found ammunition in his duffel bag won’t have to spend one more night in jail . For now.

Ryan Watson, 40, appeared before a court on Wednesday, agreeing to pay $15,000 to secure his release, according to a news alert from The Royal Turks & Caicos Islands Police Force. 

The court granted Watson's release about two weeks after he was initially detained and arrested. He's being released with a slew of stipulations, including being prohibited from leaving the archipelago nation. He also had to surrender his passport and travel documents to the court, and needs to report to police twice a week as his case moves through the system.

His next court hearing is set for June 7.

Here’s what we know.

Why were Ryan and Valerie Watson detained in the Turks and Caicos?

Ryan and Valerie Watson were in Turks & Caicos to celebrate the 40th birthdays of several friends in early April, USA TODAY reported.

The couple was trying to catch a flight back home on April 12, when airport security found four rounds of ammunition “unknowingly left in a duffel bag from a deer hunting trip,” according to a GoFundMe post made on behalf of the family. 

They were both questioned and subsequently charged with possession of ammunition, a charge that carries a minimum of 12 years in prison in Turks & Caicos.

The couple was stuck on the island without passports, unable to get back to their two young children, which left Valerie Watson “terrified.” 

“We can't both be in prison for 12 years. We have kids at home," she told WBTS-TV in Boston  "And this is such an innocent mistake that we ... didn't even know it was there. So yeah, my immediate thought was our kids and them being parentless for that long."

Ryan Watson maintains that it was a “bonehead mistake” on his part, not knowing that the ammunition rounds he typically uses to hunt whitetail deer were in his bag, the outlet reported.

Ultimately, the charges were dropped against Valerie Watson, who has returned to Oklahoma.

Oklahoma governor vouches for family: ‘Outstanding members of the community’ 

Days after the Watson family was detained, Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt sent a letter to the Turks & Caicos Islands government in an attempt to get the home sooner.

“The Watsons are upstanding members of their community and the State of Oklahoma, and I can assure you countless others stand willing to confirm their high moral characters,” Stitt said.

He continued to say that the couple would never “intentionally break the law,” emphasizing the importance of having them return to Oklahoma so they can continue to serve the community, Valerie as a school teacher and Ryan as a medical product salesman.

 And so that their children, Van and Ellie, don’t have to face another day without both parents, he said.

Family creates GoFundMe to bring Ryan Watson home 

Close friends have created a GoFundMe on behalf of the Watson family to cover the costs of “mounting legal fees, living expenses, and the overwhelming stress of their situation.” 

Valerie Watson said that the strain her family is under is tremendous, telling WBTS-TV that it could “ruin them.” 

“We've already talked, and we're like, what if we lose our house? Which, when we moved to Oklahoma, we built a home that we thought was our forever home,” she said. 

The sentiment was echoed by Ryan Watson, who says “this is something that we may never recover from.” 

“The emotional and financial toll is immense, and they are at risk of losing everything,” the fundraiser description reads. 

The GoFundMe had raised about $196,000 of the $250,000 goal by Friday night. 

What happens next?

Valerie Watson and her children are awaiting her husband’s next court appearance, set for June 7.

Even though Ryan Watson “forgot” about the ammunition in his bag, he may not be able to leave the Turks & Caicos Islands without serving time. The government prohibits anyone, of status or origin, to possess a firearm, ammunition, or any other weapon.

There are exceptions to this, of course, but the court is still required to issue “both a sentence of imprisonment and a fine” that are in line with what the court would consider an “exceptional circumstance,” USA TODAY reported. 

The Turks & Caicos government stiffened the penalties for firearm possession in February, noting that there were a handful of cases involving "exceptional circumstances" that allowed accused people to get away with paying a fine. “exceptional circumstances."

  • International

Pro-Palestinian protests continue at colleges across the US

By Dalia Faheid, Nouran Salahieh, Maureen Chowdhury and Antoinette Radford, CNN

Universities are cracking down after months of student protests over Israel’s bombardment of Gaza

From CNN's Dakin Andone

With tension mounting over an encampment in support of Palestinians at  New York’s Columbia University , police strode onto campus this month and arrested more than 100 demonstrators.

Soon, dozens more students protesting the monthslong assault on Gaza were arrested at  New York and Yale  universities. At the  University of Texas at Austin , police in riot gear and on horseback moved to disperse a like-minded demonstration, while nearly 100 at the  University of Southern California  also got arrested. Then at  Emory University in Atlanta , law enforcement deployed pepper balls to break up a pro-Palestinian action, arresting 28, including several  professors . And at  Boston’s Emerson College , another 108 protesters were arrested, with four officers hurt.

While the latest run of arrests has commanded outsized attention, US colleges have been using law enforcement — along with academic suspensions and, for at least one school, expulsion — to try   to   rein in student demonstrations since  Hamas’ October attack on Israel  left more than 1,200 dead and dozens taken hostage. Israel’s devastating counterpunch in Gaza – with more than 34,000 Palestinians killed, according to its health ministry – has further fueled deeply held views of students and faculty on all sides.

Amid US students’ broad insistence their tactics are peaceful, administrators often have decried campus protests as disruptive, with some — including at  Indiana University,   George Washington University  and  California State Polytechnic  University’s Humboldt campus — employing school rules governing use of public spaces to threaten or enact discipline, or call for police backup.

Administrators lately have seemed quicker to levy consequences against campus demonstrators than they were six months ago, according to Zach Greenberg of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. Read more about the crackdown here.

Vandalism reported at USC is "absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated," university says

From CNN’s Paradise Afshar

People stand near a vandalized statue at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, on April 27.

The University of Southern California says campus property was vandalized Saturday "by individuals who are part of the group that has continued to illegally camp on our campus."

The Tommy Trojan statue and a fountain in Alumni Park were vandalized, the university said, without elaborating on the type of damage they sustained. University officials also did not state what led them to believe the perpetrators were among those taking part in encampment demonstrations.

Video footage from CNN affiliate  KABC  showed the words “Say No to Genocide” spray-painted on the base of the Tommy Trojan statue.

“Despite repeated warnings, this group has also continued to disrupt our campus operations and harass students and others, in violation of numerous university policies,” Joel Curran, senior vice president of communications, said in a statement.

"While the university fully supports freedom of expression, these acts of vandalism and harassment are absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated," Curran said.

University President Carol Folt has made attempts to meet with students, “but they have declined these offers,” Curran said.

“We are hoping for a more reasonable response Sunday before we are forced to take further action,” he said. “This area is needed for commencement set up early this week.” 

Remember: Demonstrators at universities across the country have organized in protest of Israel's ongoing military campaign in Gaza , in many cases calling on the schools to disinvest from Israeli institutions and other entities they say benefit from the war.

A USC professor who has criticized the school's response to protests told CNN on Saturday that the university's decision to cancel its Muslim valedictorian's commencement speech , citing safety concerns, served as a catalyst for demonstrations at the Los Angeles campus.

This post has been updated with additional information about the protests at USC.

Dozens of police cars surround University of Southern California campus, video shows

KABC

Dozens of police cars lined the streets as a large group of officers swarmed the University of Southern California Saturday night, video from CNN affiliate KABC  shows.

The Los Angeles Police Department issued a "tactical alert" Saturday amid the pro-Palestinian protest at USC,  CNN affiliate KCBS reported. No arrests had been reported as of early Sunday and it's unclear what prompted the move.

The university posted a message  on social media  Friday night that said the University Park campus will be temporarily closed due to a "disturbance."

USC has served as the backdrop of demonstrations tied to the school’s valedictorian speech cancellation and as part of the nationwide campus pro-Palestinian protests.

Arizona State University Police arrested 72 people, including 15 students, university says

Arizona State University Police arrested 72 people, 15 of whom are students, on Friday in connection to an encampment on campus, university officials said Saturday.

“ASU Police arrested 72 people for trespassing after they set up an unauthorized encampment Friday, in violation of university policy,” the university said in a  media release.  “Encampments are prohibited on Arizona State University property. Lawful demonstrations can take place except overnight between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m."

Of the 72 people arrested and charged with criminal trespass, "about 80 percent of those arrested were not students," the release said.

“A group of people – most of whom were not ASU students, faculty or staff – created an encampment and demonstration that continued until well past 11 p.m. when the group was instructed repeatedly to disperse,” the media release said. “Individuals who refused to leave after numerous warnings were arrested and charged with criminal trespass.”

“While the university will continue to be an environment that embraces freedom of speech, ASU’s first priority is to create a safe and secure environment that supports teaching and learning,” the university said in the release.

How are universities cracking down on a swell of tension months into pro-Palestinian protests?

Members of law enforcement and police officers intervene during a pro-Palestinian student protest at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California, on April 24.

With tension mounting over an encampment in support of Palestinians at New York’s Columbia University, police strode onto campus this month and arrested more than 100 demonstrators.

Soon, dozens more students protesting the monthslong assault on Gaza were arrested at  New York University and Yale University . At the  University of Texas at Austin , police in riot gear and on horseback moved to disperse a like-minded demonstration, while nearly 100 at the  University of Southern California  also got arrested. Then at  Emory University in Atlanta, law enforcement deployed pepper balls to break up a pro-Palestinian action, arresting 28, including several professors. And at Boston’s Emerson College , another 108 protesters were arrested, with four officers hurt.

On the cusp of the close of the academic year, university communities across the nation remain on edge, not only over flares of political action but also what response, if any, it might compel.

While the latest run of arrests has commanded outsized attention, US colleges have been using law enforcement – along with academic suspensions and, for at least one school, expulsion – to try   to   bring to heel student demonstrations since Hamas’ October attack on Israel left more than 1,200 dead and dozens taken hostage. Israel’s devastating counterpunch in Gaza – with more than 34,000 Palestinians killed, according to its health ministry – has further fueled deeply held views of students and faculty on all sides.

Amid US students’ broad insistence their tactics are peaceful, administrators often have decried campus protests as disruptive, with some – including at  Indiana University ,  George Washington University  and  California State Polytechnic   University ’s Humboldt campus – employing school rules governing use of public spaces to threaten or enact discipline or call for police backup.

Implicit in the crackdowns is a built-in tension of higher education: balancing the role of campuses as bastions of free speech while ensuring the safety of students, including those who are Jewish and have expressed  concern for their well-being  in the face of antisemitism that’s surged nationally since October 7 and has occasionally been seen at or near – or  conflated with  – pro-Palestinian campus demonstrations.

Administrators lately have seemed quicker to levy consequences against campus demonstrators than they were six months ago, according to Zach Greenberg of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.

But, he said, calling in police carries risk.

It is a “drastic action” that “should be reserved for only the most direct and severe threats to campus safety,” Greenberg said. Further, doing so threatens to “erode” the trust between universities and students, who may see “police officers in riot gear arresting their classmates, maybe their professors.”

Read the full story here.

More than 80 arrested in Washington University demonstration, university says

More than 80 people were arrested at Washington University in St. Louis on Saturday amid ongoing Pro-Palestinian demonstrations, the university  said in a statement.

A group of demonstrators, which included students, employees and individuals not associated with the university, marched at multiple locations on campus where they “pitched tents, and indicated that they did not intend to leave,” the university said.

“It quickly became clear through the words and actions of this group that they did not have good intentions on our campus and that this demonstration had the potential to get out of control and become dangerous,” the university said.

“When the group began to set up a camp in violation of university policy, we made the decision to tell everyone present that they needed to leave,” the statement said. Dozens were arrested after they "refused to leave after being asked multiple times."

“All will face charges of trespassing and some may also be charged with resisting arrest and assault, including for injuries to police officers,” the university said. “We are firmly committed to free expression and allow ample opportunity for voices to be heard on our campus. However, we expect everyone to respect our policies and we will take swift action to enforce them to their fullest extent.”

Presidential candidate Jill Stein was among those arrested Saturday at the university, her campaign's communications director previously said, adding that “we are not aware of any charges at this time.”

University of Southern California temporarily closes campus to everyone except residents

The University of Southern California has closed its University Park campus temporarily, the school announced on Saturday night.

“Due to a disturbance, the University Park Campus is temporarily closed except for residents,” the university posted on X.

The university has been the backdrop to ongoing pro-Palestinian protests,  CNN has previously reported .

Some context: Nearly 100 people  were arrested after the university ordered protestors at the campus' Alumni Park to disperse Wednesday. Protesters are demanding “full amnesty” for those brought into custody and “no policing on campus.” This week, the university canceled its main stage commencement ceremony set for next month, after sparking criticism by canceling Asna Tabassum's valedictorian commencement speech.

Presidential candidate Jill Stein arrested at pro-Palestinian protest at Washington University

From CNN’s Alexandra Ross

Jill Stein, 2024 Green Party presidential candidate, center, speaks with demonstrators during the March on Washington for Gaza rally in Washington, DC, on January 13, 2024.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was arrested Saturday at a pro-Palestinian protest at Washington University in St. Louis, but “we are not aware of any charges at this time,” her campaign spokesperson said.

Stein was at the protest to support students who had set up an encampment and declared they would not leave until Washington University divested from Boeing and boycotted Israeli academic institutions, among other demands . In a video recorded prior to her arrest and posted to X , the Green Party candidate said she stood in support of the students and their constitutional free speech rights.

“We’re going to stand here in line with the students who are standing up for democracy, standing up for human rights, standing up to end genocide,” Stein said.

David Schwab, communications director for Jill Stein for President, said Stein had attempted to de-escalate the situation between protestors and police Saturday afternoon, but that the police “were not responsive” and began arrests shortly afterward.

“As Dr. Stein said, it's shameful that university administrations are condoning the use of force against their own students who are simply calling for peace, human rights, and an end to a genocide that the American people abhor,” Schwab said.

Stein’s campaign manager and deputy campaign manager were also arrested. 

USC professor to CNN: University officials have failed students and faculty

From CNN’s Amanda Musa

University of Southern California administrators failed students and faculty who are encouraged by the institution to speak their minds, said  Mike Ananny , PHD, an associate professor of communications and journalism at USC who recently criticized university leaders over their handling of campus demonstrations.

On Thursday, Ananny wrote an open   letter appearing in the student publication, the  Daily Trojan , stating he no longer trusts the school's provost, Andrew Guzman, and its president, Carol Folt, after witnessing how they handled what he called peaceful protests, especially on Wednesday.

Nearly 100 people  were arrested after the university ordered protestors at the campus' Alumni Park to disperse, CNN previously reported.

“Peaceful protestors were at the university expressing their speech rights and doing all the things that we ask our students to do,” he said. “We want them to be engaged and passionate citizens who are taking care of their world.” 

Ananny cited the university’s decision last week to cancel Asna Tabassum's valedictorian commencement speech due to safety concerns as the catalyst for the pro-Palestinian protests. This week, the university also canceled its main stage commencement ceremony set for next month – further dismantling trust between administrators and the university community, Ananny claims.

“The university needs to trust its students, trust its faculty to do the work that we know how to do,” he said. “We know how to have these conversations – let us have them.”

Ananny says he has not received a response from Folt to his open letter.

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Automatic Refunds and No More Hidden Fees: D.O.T. Sets New Rules for Airlines

The Transportation Department issued new requirements on refunds when flights are canceled or delayed and on revealing “junk” fees before booking. Here’s what passengers can expect.

A blue airport screen showing extensive cancellations and delays is shown in close up with a man standing in front of it.

By Christine Chung

The Transportation Department on Wednesday announced new rules taking aim at two of the most difficult and annoying issues in air travel: obtaining refunds and encountering surprise fees late in the booking process.

“Passengers deserve to know upfront what costs they are facing and should get their money back when an airline owes them — without having to ask,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement, adding that the changes would not only save passengers “time and money,” but also prevent headaches.

The department’s new rules, Mr. Buttigieg said, will hold airlines to clear and consistent standards when they cancel, delay or substantially change flights, and require automatic refunds to be issued within weeks. They will also require them to reveal all fees before a ticket is purchased.

Airlines for America , a trade group representing the country’s largest air carriers, said in a statement that its airlines “abide by and frequently exceed” D.O.T. consumer protection regulations.

Passenger advocates welcomed the new steps.

Tomasz Pawliszyn, the chief executive of AirHelp, a Berlin-based company that assists passengers with airline claims, called it a “massive step forward and huge improvement in consumer rights and protection” that brings the United States closer to global standards in passenger rights.

Here’s what we know about the D.O.T.’s new rules, which will begin to go into effect in October.

There’s now one definition for a “significant” delay.

Until now, airlines have been allowed to set their own definition for a “significant” delay and compensation has varied by carrier . Now, according to the D.O.T., there will be one standard: when departure or arrival is delayed by three hours for domestic flights and six hours for international flights.

Passengers will get prompt refunds for cancellations or significant changes for flights and delayed bags, for any reason.

When things go wrong, getting compensation from an airline has often required establishing a cumbersome paper trail or spending untold hours on the phone. Under the new rules, refunds will be automatic, without passengers having to request them. Refunds will be made in full, excepting the value of any transportation already used. Airlines and ticket agents must provide refunds in the original form of payment, whether by cash, credit card or airline miles. Refunds are due within seven days for credit card purchases and within 20 days for other payments.

Passengers with other flight disruptions, such as being downgraded to a lower service class, are also entitled to refunds.

The list of significant changes for which passengers can get their money back also includes: departure or arrival from an airport different from the one booked; connections at different airports or flights on planes that are less accessible to a person with a disability; an increase in the number of scheduled connections. Also, passengers who pay for services like Wi-Fi or seat selection that are then unavailable will be refunded any fees.

Airlines must give travel vouchers or credits to ticketed passengers unable to fly because of government restrictions or a doctor’s orders.

The vouchers or credits will be transferable and can be used for at least five years after the date they were issued.

Fees for checked baggage and modifying a reservation must be disclosed upfront.

Airlines and ticket agents are now required to display any extra fees for things like checking bags or seat selection clearly and individually before a ticket purchase. They will also need to outline the airline’s policies on baggage, cancellations and changing flights before a customer purchases a ticket.

The rules, which apply to all flights on domestic airlines and flights to and from the United States operated by foreign airlines, have varying start dates.

For example, automatic refunds must be instituted by the airlines within six months. But carriers have a year before they’re required to issue travel vouchers and credits for passengers advised by a medical professional not to fly.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

Christine Chung is a Times reporter covering airlines and consumer travel. More about Christine Chung

Open Up Your World

Considering a trip, or just some armchair traveling here are some ideas..

52 Places:  Why do we travel? For food, culture, adventure, natural beauty? Our 2024 list has all those elements, and more .

Mumbai:  Spend 36 hours in this fast-changing Indian city  by exploring ancient caves, catching a concert in a former textile mill and feasting on mangoes.

Kyoto:  The Japanese city’s dry gardens offer spots for quiet contemplation  in an increasingly overtouristed destination.

Iceland:  The country markets itself as a destination to see the northern lights. But they can be elusive, as one writer recently found .

Texas:  Canoeing the Rio Grande near Big Bend National Park can be magical. But as the river dries, it’s getting harder to find where a boat will actually float .

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