There’s no way to dodge it – cities are expensive places to visit, and capital cities in the United Kingdom are even more so.
Especially during the peak summer months when the throngs of tourists flock to the capitals, prices can get so high you have to re-mortgage your house in order to buy a sandwich.
For the thrifty traveller, there are other options, especially if you plan on paying a visit to the Welsh capital. Yep, there are free things to do in Cardiff.
There are a host of free activities that will leave both you and your wallet happy.
Free things to do in Cardiff, Wales
Looking for things to do in Cardiff for free? Check out these spots!
National museum of Wales
Want a brief history of Wales that starts 4.6 billion years ago? Cardiff’s National Museum hosts Evolution of Wales; a permanent exhibition that takes you on a journey from Wales’ earliest beginnings right up to the present day. You’ll also see full dinosaur skeletons, woolly mammoths and a full size basking shark that is suspended from the ceiling. There is also a large art gallery upstairs featuring both classic and contemporary art. Make sure you don’t touch Brian the Bison, though; he’s going bald from being petted by visitors for over twenty years.
St. Fagans Natural History Museum
If the weather’s being kind to you then definitely pay a visit to St. Fagans. It is considered to be one of Europe’s best open-air museums (it seems museums are among the top free things to do in Cardiff), and it combines selections of Wales’ Celtic and industrial history with acres upon acres of beautiful Welsh countryside and parkland. Because it’s an open air museum, the warmer months make St. Fagans an excellent place to see live music and theatre events, festivals and living history celebrations.
If history isn’t your cup of tea, then take a stroll through the gardens and woodland of Bute Park (visiting parks are also among the top free things to do in Cardiff). Originally owned by the Cardiff nobility, the park is a naturalist’s delight and is one of the largest urban parks in Wales. The park features some 2000 trees and is home to a host of wildlife including herons, woodpeckers and otters. Bute Park hosts the annual Royal Horticultural Society show in the springtime, so you’re guaranteed to get a vibrant and colourful welcome.
Roath Lake is a unique park in that it has still retained much of its original Victorian charm. The pleasure gardens back onto a large lake that contains a memorial lighthouse in honour of Captain Scott, who set sail from Cardiff to the Antarctic in 1910. As well as being home to a number of wild birds, Roath Lake also has a number of rowing and pedal boats that are available for the public.
The Cardiff Story Museum is a fairly new addition to the city’s amenities, and it’s an excellent complement to the main museum. Built in Cardiff’s Old Library, the Cardiff Story gives visitors a fun and interactive look at how Cardiff has been shaped over the centuries; from a sparsely populated late medieval town to the sprawling cosmopolitan metropolis of the Industrial Revolution. The museum also has its own upstairs gallery with the best of modern Cardiff talent in art, animation, film and much more.
Bonus: Cardiff Castle
If you live or work in Cardiff, you’re able to enter Cardiff Castle for free. You can sign up for a free ‘Castle Key’ pass that’ll give you access to the Castle grounds, original Norman keep and parts of the manor house.