Cardiff, Wales

6 Free Activities In Cardiff For People Of All Ages.

The rich cultures of London, Edinburgh, and Dublin is usually where we indulge our UK travel wanderlust, while Wales, although immensely historical, seems to get lost in the UK country shuffle. Recently, I had five free nights to spare before visiting aunts in London and a friend suggested Cardiff.  The weather forecast stated 100% no rain, so I was all in!

I was in full-on tourist mode the four days I spent exploring. I meandered through arcades, bought Welsh Cakes from Cardiff Market, had a picnic in Bute Park, leisurely strolled around Cardiff Bay, got my art on at the National Museum and ran amok through St Fagans Museum of History. The best part? All these activities are free! Well, except for the purchase of traditional Welsh nibble. Every activity proved better than the next and only made me wish I lived here so I could experience Cardiff’s heart and energy every day.

 

6 FREE ACTIVITIES IN CARDIFF

Bute Park

Have a picnic under the blossoming cherry trees, meander through the gardens, have afternoon tea at Pettigrew Tea Room or read a book along the banks of the River Taff. For £12.50 explore the grounds of Cardiff Castle. Whatever you choose, this charming park in the center of Cardiff is a wonderful place for you to unwind.

Cardiff National Museum

Beautifully curated galleries of natural history, famous works of art, and Welsh antiques are among many exhibits that will sure to impress. Kids will enjoy interactive exhibits and complimentary art supplies are provided. I spent two afternoons perusing the modern art and impressionist painting galleries – it is was easy to lose track of time. 

Cardiff Arcades

Scattered through central Cardiff, long tunnel like ‘alleys’ are lined with quaint boutiques, cute coffee shops, and funky vintage stores. Walking through these Edwardian or Victorian indoor covered passages offer a unique shopping experience away from the mayhem of shopping malls. Head to Morgan Arcade to peruse Spillers Record Shop, the oldest in the world or walk through Duke St Arcade if you are in the market for Welsh gifts. Most arcades have cozy cafes with both indoor and outdoor seating – the perfect place to have a relaxing bite away from the bustle of the streets.

Cardiff Bay

From Bute Park, Cardiff Bay is only a 35-minute stroll along the River Taff or a15-minute ferry ride. Enjoy a lovely lunch on Mermaid Quay, take in the views from the Pierhead Building or partake in the Dr. Who Experience. A nature lover? Head around the corner to the wetlands for bird and duck watching. Want a cultural evening? The Wales Millennium Centre rotates a program of musicals, ballet, and opera. 

Cardiff Market

In the center of town, this Victorian structure from the 1700s houses beautifully arranged vegetable, flower and food stalls alongside stands that sell fabrics, records, and Welsh trinkets. For a few pounds devour a sausage roll, a Jam & Cream Welsh Cake and buy some Turkish Delight for an evening treat. Have a kitchen at your disposal? Support local – the butcher, cheesemonger, and baker will be thankful.

St Fagan Outdoor Heritage Museum

Hop on the 32A bus and head 25 minutes to this National Museum of History, an open-air heritage museum which houses re-erected historical buildings. Walk through history learning about life from centuries past. Sit on church pews, peer through bedroom doors and warm up in front of the fire. For the kids, play carnival games or take a ride on the carousel at the traditional fairground. Hungry? Buy some biscuits, have a cup of coffee or enjoy an ice cream. Brought a picnic? Near the main entrance, walk through the tunnel towards St Fagans Castle. Although closed for renovations, the immense grounds are open for walking and plenty of green space around the water features are ideal spots for chilling.


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