Cardiff has been voted the best city to live in in the UK. So if you’re planning a trip to Wales’ capital city, Cardiff, then here are 17 unusual things to do in Cardiff whilst you’re there.
1. Taff Trail
The Taff Trail is a cycle and walking path that runs for 55 miles, from Cardiff to Brecon. This trail is amazing on a warm summer’s days. If you want to take a detour, you can get on and off whenever/wherever you want.
2. World of Boats
World of Boats is a little cafe situated in Cardiff Bay (next to the Doctor Who Experience) that has the PERFECT view of the Bay and the water. Dreamy. And they even have a ‘Cafe Dog’ who walks around and enjoys everyones company.
If it’s vintage clothes you’re after, then Cardiff has THE best shopping arcades. Wyndham Arcade, Royal Arcade, Morgan Arcade and Duke Street Arcade have vintage stores such as Penny Lane, Sobeys, Jacobs Antiques (more on that below), Hobos, and many, many more. These arcades are scattered around the city centre and are difficult to miss.
Note: around twice a month there are about 2 vintage markets that happen around Cardiff in City Hall and Portland house. If you search for Cardiff Vintage, you will find lots of events.
Do you like art? Or maybe you like to see independent plays? Chapter arts, The Gate, and Sherman Theatre offer all these things for you. Chapter arts also has film showings if you don’t want to go to a populated cinema.
5. Penarth Pier
I know Penarth isn’t Cardiff but it’s so close that it technically is. To get to Penarth Pier you can either get a train directly from Cardiff Queen Street Station or Cardiff Central Station, which takes around 5 minutes. Or you can walk from Cardiff Bay Barrage. Penarth Pier is the last remaining Victorian Pier in Wales and it’s beautiful in any weather, so grab an ice cream and watch people fight off seagulls.
6. St Fagan’s
St Fagan’s National Museum of History is an open air Museum located in St Fagan’s, in the West of Cardiff. St Fagan’s displays the historical lifestyle, architecture and culture of Welsh people. This little museum is great for kids and has exhibitions happening throughout the year, and if you go in springtime you can see little piglets being born!
7. Key to the castle
This is no joke. If you live or work in Cardiff, all you have to do is provide proof of residence or work placement and you get a key to Cardiff Castle. Ok, so it’s not a physical key, but you get to have a picture of yourself on a pass that gives you free entry to the castle, basement walk, wartime shelters and so much more. Obviously, if you’re not from Cardiff, then it’s a £12.50 fee that will give you access to everything, and then for an extra £3.25 you get a House Tour.
TIP: If you take the stairs to the top of the tower, you will uncover a secret garden.
8. Roald Dahl Trail
Roald Dahl is one of the world’s most famous authors and he was born and raised here in Llandaff, Cardiff. You can visit the places where the author lived, went to school and bought his sweets, and where he went to church.
9. Church with view
The Norwegian Church is situated in the heart of Cardiff Bay. It’s a beautiful looking church and it’s actually one of the locations on the Roald Dahl Trail as it features a lot of his work. There is also a little café situated at the back of the church, where you can sit and take in the wonderful views. In the summer, they stage open air plays, such as Macbeth, around the area.
10. Food from all over the world
Fancy Turkish? Chinese? Greek? Mexican? Or just simply can’t decide what you want? Take a walk down City Road. City Road is a street in the heart of Cathays, a 10 minute walk from central Cardiff. The street can be quite daunting to look at, as there is a lot going on, but just walk through and you will experience many different cultures. El Paso and Tenkaichi are my personal favourites.
11. The Red Castle
Castle Coch: a 19th Century Gothic revival castle. It’s a £6.50 entrance fee, but they have reenactments of battles, war time activities and guides tours available. The Fairytale Castle is beautiful, and the walk around the area is also stunning.
12. Kelly’s Records & Spillers Records
If your into vinyl/records, Cardiff is known for its 2 most famous record shops.
Kelly’s Records – founded in 1969 and is still thriving today. Located in central Market.
Spillers Records – the oldest record store in history, it was established in 1894. Located in Queens Arcade.
I can guarantee you will spend hours upon hours searching through all the old collections.
13. Jacobs Antiques
A four floor hidden gem that has over 50 stalls, selling second-hand and antique furniture, books, vintage clothes and just about anything really. If you’re into finding quirky one-off pieces then it’s definitely worth checking out. Jacobs Antiques is a 5 minute walk from Cardiff Central.
14. Dinner in a prison?
The clink is a restaurant that’s located in Cardiff Prison (HMP Cardiff), where the food will be cooked and served to you by the prisoners. I know, you’re probably thinking I’m mad, right? But The Clink was voted one of the top 10 restaurants in the UK and has a waiting list of around 6 months.
NOTE: you don’t have to go through security checks when attending the restaurant and if you’re interested in going, book way in advance.
15. Rave in an old bank vault.
If it’s nightlife you’re after when coming to Cardiff, then The Vaults may be the place for you. The Vaults is an old bank vault that’s now home to raves such as Cellar Door, Shangri-La and lots more. The Vaults is situated in Butetown, right opposite the Coal Exchange.
16. LET’S GO DEVILS!
Are you into sports/ice hockey? To be honest, even if you don’t like sports I guarantee you that you will have a blast watching the Cardiff Devils play in the Ice Arena. You can buy tickets on the website, www.cardiffdevils.com or you can buy them at the box office at the arena.
TIP: Games do sell out so grab them beforehand.
17. Street food/Bingo Lingo/Quizzes
Depot is a warehouse that’s been converted into a venue that holds all kind of events from street food festivals to Harry Potter quizzes, and everything in between. There’s also an event called Bingo Lingo, which is basic bingo but people dance on tables and the prizes range from life size cutouts of Drake to a car.
Depot holds a lot of quizzes on a monthly basis, its Facebook page has all the listings for you to check out.