Explore the city and beyond for nothing with our guide to the 10 Best Free Attractions in Cardiff & The Vale.
St Fagans Natural History Museum, Cardiff
As Wales’ most popular heritage attraction, St Fagans is an amazing, open-air museum that’s well worth a visit now the wintry months are behind us. Visit the Makers’ Market during February half-term (February 17th-25th), and the Easter Hunt (March 20th-April 2nd) is good fun too – solve the riddles and follow the trail around the site in order to claim your prize. No need to book, either – just turn up on the day.
Cardiff Story Museum, Cardiff City Centre
As cities go, Cardiff has transformed itself over the years. In the 1300s, it was a small market town, before booming to become one of the world’s biggest ports in the 1900s. And today, it’s a fabulous, cosmopolitan hub of happiness. Find out all about our capital and its people at the Cardiff Story Museum, open seven days a week. Don’t miss the new exhibitions arriving this spring, including a showcase about Whitchurch Hospital, and two ‘Protest!’ exhibitions – Object For Change and Ideas Worth Fighting For.
Roath Park, Cardiff
Spot wildlife and wildflowers inside this classic Victorian park – the perfect contradiction to the bustle of the city. Watch the sunset, soak up the history and feel the calmness within this serene green space. As the weather warms up, it’s the perfect place for a picnic, too.
Cardiff Bay Barrage
For views across the city, Cardiff Bay and even the Bristol Channel, head to the Barrage, an award-winning engineering project which created the freshwater Bay we all know and love. Take a stroll from Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre (or even hop on a bike). You can also visit Mermaid Quay and The Senedd from here.
Barry Island Beach
With a Blue Flag and Seaside Award, Barry Island Beach (or Whitmore Bay, as it’s also known) is a great place to visit year-round – and not just for Gavin & Stacey fans. A beautiful beach for a dog walk (four-legged friends are allowed on the beach until May), you can also enjoy the beach huts and climbing wall, or take a five-minute walk to Jackson’s Bay, where you can find a delightful sandy cove.
Cosmeston Lakes & Medieval Village, Penarth
Wheelchair-friendly and open every day, the medieval village is set in the year 1350. Wander around the site, take in the furnished buildings and discover the past in the small museum. While you’re there, look out for the diverse wildlife and plant species growing in Cosmeston Lakes Country Park – an area designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest spanning 100 acres of land and water.
Fforest Fawr Sculpture Trail, Tongwynlais, Cardiff
Head to Fforest Fawr for a 4km walk on the Industrial Heritage Trail. As well as the 3 Bear Caves and Blue Pool, there are sculptures to help encourage children to walk and explore the forest, while using their wildest imagination to help develop a story about a giant creature living in the woods. And the views at the end are great for family photos, too.
Surrounded by busy Cardiff, the conservation area of Llandaff – where the cathedral sits – is wonderfully tranquil. Dating back to 1107, this beautiful building has seen a lot of life. Admire the architecture, beautiful windows and the grounds all around on a relaxing day out.
The Castle Quarter, Cardiff City Centre
Take time out to explore the beautiful Victorian and Edwardian arcades that make up the Castle Quarter, all just a short walk from Cardiff Castle. Originally made up of fortune tellers, drapers and apothecaries, the shops are now home to bridal boutiques, barbers and coffee houses, but still maintain their original charm.
National Museum Cardiff, City Centre
The amazing Cardiff Museum is a definite must-visit, showcasing an array of fantastic exhibitions. Who Decides? Contemporary Art for Everybody contains a whole host of gorgeously tactile pieces, and from February 18th until March 25th, Bacon to Doig: Modern Masterpieces from a Private Collection brings one of the UK’s most important private collections of modern British art to our capital city.