Top Cardiff's landmarks
The capital of Wales, Cardiff is a bustling destination packed with highlights that range from historic castles to modern theatre. You can catch a game in the city's stadium, shop to your heart's content in the market or simply explore the fascinating sculptures, monuments and other sights found throughout the “City of Arcades.” Here are a few of the most popular attractions and famous landmarks in Cardiff.
The history of Cardiff Castle spans 2,000 years. The site has hosted a Roman fort, a medieval keep and a noble castle. Tour the elaborate apartments, chilling air raid shelters, rooftop garden and more. Take the 50-minute guided tour for a well-rounded view of the property. For a more focused experience, try the Film Location Tour to see how shows such as "Doctor Who," "Sherlock" and "Torchwood" have used the site.
The Pierhead Building was originally constructed in 1846. It has since undergone a restoration, and it reopened in 2010 to serve as a visitor and education center for the Welsh National Assembly. Inside, you'll find breathtaking tile mosaics, glazed ceramic handrails, soaring ceilings and other architectural delights.
The Animal Wall
The Animal Wall originally sat in front of Cardiff Castle and featured nine animals carved by architect William Frame. Following the west relocation of the wall to accommodate the widening of the road, it gained an additional six animals that will delight you with their whimsical nature.
Serving as the national stadium of Wales and one of the top attractions in Cardiff, this venue can hold 73,931 spectators. It also boasts the first fully retractable roof in the U.K. Its three tiers hold 34 bars and 16 food and beverage outlets. You can see football, rugby, motorsports and concerts at Principality Stadium, or you can simply book a tour to view the impressive facility.
National Museum Cardiff
With its free admission, the National Museum Cardiff is an essential stop for you and your family. Explore an art collection spanning 500 years, follow the evolution of Wales through 4,600 million years and engage in a hands-on exploration of fossils, insects and Bronze Age weapons at this fascinating destination.
Cardiff International White Water
Cardiff International White Water is a thrilling whitewater rafting center where you can raft, canoe, kayak, paddle board and surf. Activities are available for guests of all ages, so even children can try the whitewater rafting experience on select days. The Air Trail allows you to zip line over the watery rapids if you prefer to stay dry.
Cardiff Bay is the largest waterfront development in Europe. Attractions in Cardiff Bay include a freshwater lake with charming shops, restaurants, accommodations and other destinations lining the shores. The voco St. David's Cardiff hotel offers the best views of the water from its floor-to-ceiling windows. In addition, a 90-seat waterbus offers transportation from the Cardiff Bay shopping and dining area to Cardiff City Centre.
Wales Millennium Centre
The Wales Millennium Centre hosts a stunning program of music and theatrical performances. The venue houses the expansive Donald Gordon Theatre, the intimate Weston Studio, a dance house and cabaret bar, the orchestral BBC Hoddinott Hall and a spacious public performance area.
The Cardiff Story Museum
This free destination tells the story of Cardiff through a collection of objects that represent different aspects of the city and its communities. You can stop in at the Cardiff Story Museum and browse the fascinating finds daily between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Mountain View Ranch
Mountain View Ranch is an outdoor escape for you and your family that invites adventure and curiosity. Explore fairy forests, discover dragon eggs and follow the Gruffalo Trail to meet storybook characters straight from your fantasies. Take a stroll with the ranch's goats, roast a s'more, play with the soft archery set and hop on the jumping pillow. If you're ready for a challenge, you can even tackle the high ropes course. You can pack your own picnic or stop in at the Pizza & Bean Cafe or Snack Cabin for a bite.
Ianto's Shrine is a dramatic memorial to a fictional character from the "Torchwood" show, a spinoff of BBC's "Doctor Who." When the character died on the show, fans promptly erected a memorial along the Mermaid Quay boardwalk where the secret entrance to the show's team headquarters would be, if its Cardiff location were real. Artwork, essays, poems and photos contributed by fans adorn the wall.
Commissioning Castell Coch was the third Marquess of Bute. It was later constructed by architect William Burges. Built around the remains of a 13th century castle, the fantastical building features remnants of its original construction topped with whimsical elements designed to look like a fairy tale castle. Conical towers, decorative trellises and an elaborate chimney piece will delight you at this picturesque destination.
The Cardiff Market, also known as Central Market, serves up a plethora of shopping opportunities from produce to clothing. Scour the market for one-of-a-kind vintage items, sample mouthwatering street food or pause to consult a psychic. This is one of the best attractions in Cardiff to find locally sourced food products, secondhand specialty items and inspiring souvenirs. The market has been in operation since the 1700s and spans two levels within a soaring glass-roofed Victorian structure.
If you're interested in exploring some of the best tourist attractions in Cardiff, these sights and stops will keep you busy for days. Select a few or plan an extended stay to truly take in all that this unforgettable city has to offer.