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Discover Cardiff in a Day: Must-Do Activities for a Perfect Day Trip

If you have just one day to explore Cardiff, here is a list of things you should do to make the most of your time in this beautiful Welsh city.

Cardiff Castle

Begin your sightseeing at Cardiff Castle, where you can explore its rich history and stunning architecture.

Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle

This is a magnificent medieval castle that combines Roman and Victorian architecture. You can buy a ticket and go inside the castle to explore almost 2000 years of history, from Roman times through to the second world war.

There are a lot of stairs and it's not fun when it is raining so those with serious walking difficulties should just plan to enjoy the grounds as entrance to this large public square is

free. Given we had limited time, we also chose not to go inside the castle. We were able to walk along the castle walls and through a few tunnels and that was a wonderful experience.

Bute Park

Not far from the castle, is the 130-acre Bute Park - what a peaceful escape! This is a nice spot to walk or to just sit. Enjoy its winding pathways, landscaped lawns and lines of beautiful trees!

The park features remnants of the Blackfriars Friary and the enigmatic Gorsedd Stones, adding an interesting historical element to the experience. The entrance to the park is free.

Bute Park in Cardiff, Wales
Bute Park in Cardiff, Wales

Over the last 10-15 years, the Cardiff Council has been restoring parts of the garden by adding new facilities, bathrooms, extending historic buildings and creating educational centers.

Millennium Stadium / Principality Stadium

The national stadium of Wales serves as the primary residence for the Wales National Rugby Union team and has been a notable venue for numerous national football team matches. With seating for 74,500 spectators, this all-seater stadium boasts a retractable roof, making it the second of its kind in Europe and the world's largest football stadium to possess this distinctive feature.

Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Principality Stadium, Cardiff

Beyond its sports events, the stadium's versatile space has accommodated boxing matches, concerts, and motorsport competitions, even doubling as a cinematic backdrop. Notably, scenes from the 2001 Hindi film "Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam" were shot on its grounds. They offer a tour of the stadium. Explore the tour here.

Cardiff Bay

Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront of Cardiff Bay!

Cardiff Bay, in Cardiff
Cardiff Bay, in Cardiff

Cardiff Bay's waterfront is a captivating blend of old and new, where historic docks meet sleek contemporary architecture.

How to get to Cardiff Bay from Cardiff City Center?

You can get to Cardiff Bay from the city center by train, Bus No.6 or Uber. If you are already at Bute Park, look for the water shuttle that takes you to Cardiff Bay.

Cardiff boat service that takes you from Bute Park to the Bay
Cardiff boat service that takes you from Bute Park to the Bay

This is the service we took and the running commentary was added bonus. Plus, we got to see swans on the boat ride which was really cool.

Here are a few things to check out when at this stunning waterfront location.

Mermaid Quay

This is a beautiful waterfront location with over 30 different restaurants, cafes and bars. It is a perfect place to grab a drink while enjoying the ocean views.

Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay
Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay

There is often something going on, this place is pretty lively! There is a giant ferris wheel which runs in the morning, and the Aqua Park (next to the Cardiff Bay Sailing Center) is an interesting summer attraction to check out.

The Roald Dahl Plass

This is a huge public space, named after the Cardiff-born author, Roald Dahl. This is an oval shaped basin which is often used to host concerts and events. The plaza was first used during the filming of Doctor Who, a sci-fi drama.

Panoramic view of The Roald Dahl Plass
Panoramic view of The Roald Dahl Plass


The Senedd building in Cardiff Bay houses chamber and committee rooms of the Welsh Parliament. This structure cost almost $70 million to build and the design is sustainable and modern. It's a sight to see!

Welsh Parliament building, Cardiff Bay
Welsh Parliament building, Cardiff Bay

Millennium Center

This is a beautiful national arts center, the principal receiving venue for large-scale opera, ballet and musical events. The main theater can seat almost 2500 people, and there are also two smaller theaters at the venue.

Millennium Center, Cardiff Bay
Millennium Center, Cardiff Bay

Even if you can't watch a show, the exterior of the building itself is awe-striking! Inside, you may find a coffee shop and a restaurant and many locals having conversations around art and culture.

National Museum Cardiff

If you like museums, this museum houses an impressive collection of art, natural history, and archaeological exhibits. It's a great place to delve into Wales' cultural heritage.

We did not have the time to go into the museum but it is a popular place to visit.


Food in Cardiff

You will most certainly find vegetarian food options in Cardiff. Many restaurants offer a few vegetarian items and there are also exclusively vegan / vegetarian spots around the city - You can Google and find some great options.

Here (below) are a few of our tried and tested suggestions on our short trip to Cardiff. It is interesting that two of the three suggestions are from South Asia. We certainly did not plan it but we went for award-winning chefs / restaurants and these two seemed most promising!


Welsh House

As they say, when in Rome, do what the Romans do :) There are a few Welsh items that every vegetarian tourist should try when in Cardiff and we did too, at this restaurant.

  • Welsh rarebit on sourdough toast - Sounds like meat but a rarebit is toasted bread covered in cheese sauce with spices!

  • Curried leek and potato soup w/ mature Welsh cheddar crouton - Leeks are a national emblem of Wales! You will find it on many restaurant menus!

Things to find on the streets of Cardiff on your walk:

  • Bara Brith is a traditional Welsh tea bread flavored with tea, dry fruits and spices. We found one at our hotel but one of the best spots for this is in the Penylan Pantry

  • Welsh cakes: Fabulous Welsh Cakes. Find this place right across the castle. They only sell this one product, and its made fresh in front of you!

  • Welsh Tea - is a family brew tea business. It is an iconic brand that has been around for 30+ years


Srilankan food at The Coconut Tree

Affordable small plate options, we really loved the food and the vibe. It has a whole vegetarian and vegan section. It was better than most Srilankan food out there! Beautiful flavors. Interesting story behind the start of this award-winning restaurant brand. It already has 9 locations, and will probably show up in London at some point soon - That's how good it is!

Nouvelle Indian Cuisine at Purple Poppadom

Fabulous food by award-winning chef, Anand George - one of UK's most acclaimed chef. You can't go wrong with anything you order. Note that this is not family style, each person orders their own dish - unique to this restaurant as Indian food is often not ordered this way!


Many options out there but this one is different and therefore gets a mention.

The Alchemist for cocktails!

Darkly decadent décor, flaming atmosphere and creative cocktails! This 'experience' has many locations - the one in Cardiff is on St. Mary's Street. You can choose a drink that has light or dark theater and even non-alcoholic beverages. From lava lamps, color changing cocktails, light bulbs, drinks served in pipes and tongues in glasses, you will be theater-served!


Los Angeles based Green Sea Shells is all about the joyful pursuit of happiness. Subscribe to get our periodic newsletters, all about local, national and international family travel, vegetarian food and LA Life with a sprinkle of desi. Know that this post may contain a few affiliate, commission-earning links, at no cost to you.

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