The best things to do outdoors in Cardiff

The best things to do outdoors in Cardiff

There are many things to see and do outside when exploring the Welsh capital, Cardiff. If you are worried about big crowds, or simply enjoy being outdoors, there are many things to do in Cardiff in the open-air.

Cardiff Bay Spy Mission Treasure Trail

Explore Cardiff’s historic docks and wetland area with this self-guided spy mission. It is ideal for age 6 plus and takes about 2 hours to complete – at your own pace. Even big kids love it! If you get stuck, you can even get text message clues. You will become a member of the Welsh Intelligence Agency. Top-secret documents go missing from The Senedd, you will help track them down.

Cost: £9.99 if printing at home. £14.48 for personalisation.

Cosmeston Lakes and Medieval Village

At Cosmeston Lakes you will find a unique blend of countryside, adventure and history. In the Medieval Village, a reconstructed 14th Century heritage attraction, you can discover how people lived and worked in 1350. The village has even been used as a filming location for Dr Who, Stella and Merlin. The main feature of the park is the two large lakes divided by a bridge. As well as an adventure play area, picnic benches and BBQ area, Cosmeston is much loved by walkers.

Cost: Free entry and free parking for 2 hours.

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle is hard to miss when in the city centre. As lockdown lifted, the grounds were opened to all visitors, with social distancing circles drawn on the floor – ideal for taking a picnic – as well as benches, and tables and chairs. Hot and cold drinks are served from the café. Lone Stag, a local gin and vodka producer, are also selling their famous cocktails and handmade truffles from an outside bar.

Cost: Free entry to the grounds

Dyffryn Gardens

The National Trust property is a short drive from Future Inn Cardiff. The house and estate can be traced back to the 7th Century. The gardens are a peaceful oasis and cover more than 55-acres. A lot of work has been put in to get them to their original splendour, ideal for exploring. Within the grounds is a grand Victorian mansion, with the upper floors still under refurbishment.

Cost: Free for National Trust members. £8 per adult, £4 per child and £20 for a family. All visitors will need to pre-book their timed entrance slot in advance.

Cardiff International White Water

If you’re looking for a challenge, adventure awaits at Cardiff International White Water. There are too many activities to mention, but highlights include white water rafting, stand up paddleboarding, an air trail of high ropes, indoor wave, climbing wall, and canoeing and kayaking. It is perfect for families, couples and groups, but especially those who are thrill-seekers.

Cost: Dependent on activity, but from £10 per person

Forest Farm Nature Reserve

Forest Farm is full of surprises. Sections of the former Glamorganshire Canal still survive here and a wide range of habitats including woodland, scrub, hay meadow, ponds and marshland. The Taff Trail runs through the site, as well as the restored Melingriffith Waterpump – a relic of the industrial past of Cardiff. Forest Farms trails are popular with walkers, cyclists and wildlife spotters. There are bird hides to sit in and watch, as well as a sculpture trail.

Cost: Free

St Fagans National History Museum 

Wales’ historical past comes to life at this 100-acre open-air-museum. It contains over 40 re-erected buildings from various ages of Welsh history. With old schools, butchers, bakery, workshops, farmhouses and mills. In the grounds, you can see livestock and even craftspeople practising traditional skills. There is also St Fagans Castle, an Elizabethan manor house, and gardens.

Cost: Free entry and parking is £6 per day. Free for disabled badge holders and motorbikes. All visitors will need to pre-book their timed entrance slot in advance.

Enjoy a Staycation with Future Inn Cardiff Bay

Our hotel in Cardiff Bay is the ideal base for exploring outdoors in Cardiff. As a cycle-friendly hotel, we will also let you bring your bike, so you can enjoy the great outdoors on two wheels.

There are three room types for you to choose from, including our twins which offer two double beds. All bedrooms can sleep up to four, making them ideal for groups or families. All stays include free parking and free WiFi. 

With our super flexible rates, you can book with confidence when staying at Future Inn Cardiff. Book direct for the best rates guaranteed on our website, or by contacting the Reservations Team on 02920 487111 or  

Dine on Local Cuisine 

Thomas Restaurant is an ideal place to sit in comfort and fuel up on local, homemade produce. Join us for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea evening a-la-carte or traditional roasts on Sunday. Under 5's eat for free with a paying adult, and the offer is extended to under 12's during the school holidays.

A large selection of alcoholic and soft drinks is also available including Welsh beer and spirits, wine by the glass or the bottle, plus all cocktails are £7 each. 

Reservations can be made on 02920 487111 or, or online: 


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