Cardiff Castle, as seen on a UK city tour

City tour of Cardiff, Wales

Welcome to Cardiff A walking tour in the Welsh capital

Although small, with a population of around 350,000 people, Cardiff is known as one of the UK's friendliest cities. So it's perhaps not surprising that the Welsh capital attracts over 20 million visitors each year. Most of these tourists stay in town for just one night, with many of them coming to witness one of the countless sports or musical events that take place here. With so many of Cardiff's top attractions within easy walking distance of one another, it's very possible to take in the city's top highlights in a single day's walking tour. If you're thinking of touring Cardiff in one day, here's how it's done.

A walking tour of Cardiff, UK

Start at Cardiff Castle

Explore the historical heart of the city with a visit to Cardiff Castle. Situated right in the centre of Cardiff and just a five-minute walk from the train station, this ancient structure offers the perfect starting point for any tour of the city. The history of this site begins with the Romans in the Fifth Century and, astonishingly, it remained a private residence until 1947. A quick stop will not do full justice to the grounds, the Norman keep, and WWII air raid shelters you'll discover here, but 60–90 minutes should suffice for a whistle-stop tour.

Cardiff Castle, as seen on a UK city tour
Bute Park, as seen on a Britain city tour

Explore Bute Park

Behind the castle, you will find Bute Park — an expansive parkland on the banks of the River Taff. Amongst the trees, sculptures and flower gardens, you could easily forget that you're in the middle of a capital city. You will nonetheless encounter plenty of friendly faces here, with local students and commuters using it as a shortcut across the city. The Secret Garden Café offers a quiet spot for refreshments before your adventure continues. Alternatively, there is a traditional British tearoom as well as a Summerhouse Café.

National Museum Cardiff

Situated just across the road from Bute Park (there is a pedestrian underpass), you will find the National Museum Cardiff. The museum is abutted by City Hall and the Law Courts, and it shares with them a Classical architectural style, which is all the more striking because of how unusual it is in South Wales. Visitors to the museum are treated to as diverse an array of artefacts as you are likely to find in any museum of this scale: here you will find fine art, geological displays, natural history exhibitions and much else besides. What's more, like almost all museums in Wales, admission is free of charge.

National Museum Cardiff, as seen on a tour of Britain cities
Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay

Lunch on Mermaid Quay

If your legs are tired after the Castle and museum, then you may wish to ride on the water taxi to Cardiff Bay. Otherwise, enjoy a pleasant 30-40 minute walk — note that the long, tree-lined Lloyd George Avenue offers a more pleasant outlook than Bute Street running parallel. When you reach Mermaid Quay, choose from the many bars and restaurants on offer. Be sure to ask for a window table: most lunch spots here offer great views across the bay towards the seaside town of Penarth.

Cardiff Bay

Before undergoing one of Europe's largest ever waterfront redevelopments, this area of Cardiff was once known locally as 'Tiger Bay'. With a reputation as wild as the name suggests, this was for many years a place that tourists would avoid. Today, it is a must-see destination for any visitor to the region. It is home to the Senedd — The Welsh Parliament Building — as well as the Wales Millennium Centre (home to the Welsh National Opera). You will also find here the Norwegian Church Arts Centre and The Makers' Guild. Spend the afternoon exploring and taking in the sights.

The Welsh Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay
Tourists enjoying the nightlife in Cardiff, UK


Cardiff is known throughout the UK for its nightlife. Especially on weekend evenings when a rugby, football or music event has been on, the atmosphere in town is lively and friendly but quite raucous. If you fancy a night on the town, head to St Mary Street and the Brewery Quarter, where a party atmosphere awaits. For a quieter night, head for Cathedral Road towards the pubs and restaurants of Pontcanna and Canton. On a rugby weekend, prior dinner reservations are essential.

Walking tour of Cardiff City Map

Other Cardiff attractions

If you're looking to go a bit deeper, or a bit further afield, here are some other Cardiff attractions that may be of interest.

St Fagans National Museum of History - a possible stop-off on a tour of Britain

Open-air museum

St Fagans National Museum of History is a large open-air space dedicated to chronicling the historical lifestyle, culture, and architecture of the Welsh people.

Llandaff Cathedral - a possible stop-off on a tour of Britain

Llandaff Cathedral

Stunning architecture in peaceful surroundings. Visitors are welcome but, to avoid clashes with planned events, it is advisable to check the Llandaff Cathedral website and social media in advance.

The Principality is open for stadium tours

Principality Stadium

Wales is obsessed with Rugby. And the home of Welsh rugby is undoubtedly the Principality Stadium, where the national team plays its home fixtures. If you can attend on a match day, then so much the better.

Techniquest science museum attraction

Science Museum

A fun and educational time for kids and big kids – that's what you will find if you visit Techniquest science museum in Cardiff Bay.

Cardiff farmers market

Farmer's market

A great way to mix with the locals is to head to one of Cardiff's local farmer's markets. Especially during the warmer months, it's a great way to spend a relaxing weekend morning.

The Taff Trail in South Wales, UK

The Taff Trail

If you're looking to get outdoors for a few hours, put on your walking boots or hire a bicycle and head for The Taff Trail, a scenic Greenway that runs from Cardiff Bay through the city all the way to the Brecon Beacons National Park 55 miles beyond.

Penarth Pier, in the Vale of Glamorgan, UK

Fish 'n' Chips on the pier

Technically just outside of Cardiff, the beautiful seaside town of Penarth sits just across the bay. But, on a warm summer's day, there is no better place to enjoy fish 'n' chips and an ice cream than on Penarth's pier and pavilion.