When you’re not busy enjoying the films and events of the Festival, why not take the time to investigate what else Cardiff has to offer. There’s always something new to discover in the city, so make the most of your visit – go forth and explore. Here are some recommendations to get you started.
Located within beautiful parklands at the heart of the capital, Cardiff Castle’s walls and fairytale towers conceal 2,000 years of history, including a Roman Fort, Norman Keep and the home of the Bute family, who owned the Castle from 1766 until they gifted the Castle and much of its parkland to the city of Cardiff in 1947.
City of Arcades
Cardiff’s seven Victorian and Edwardian arcades house some of the most eclectic independent shops and cafes in the city, all in beautiful (and under cover!) surroundings. This is the place to buy everything from cheese to board games to vintage clothes, visit independent barbers and eateries, and explore the iconic Spillers Records, Cardiff’s local record store since 1894.
Two wealthy Welsh sisters bequeathed their large art collection to the National Museum Cardiff in the mid 20th century, resulting in Cardiff owning one of the largest collections of Impressionist paintings outside of Paris, with works by Renoir, Monet and Cezanne. It’s also a great place to learn some of Cardiff’s interesting and varied natural history and explore one of its grandest buildings. Free entry.
Cardiff Story Museum
Housed in Cardiff’s beautiful Old Library, Cardiff Story Museum tells the story of how Cardiff came to be the city we know today. Free entry.
Castle Street/North Street
Once the ‘back garden’ of Cardiff Castle, Bute Park is a huge area of mature parkland in the centre of the city. Perfect for a relaxing walk, run or to enjoy the sunshine, and if you pass by the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in the grounds you might be lucky enough to hear some live music being rehearsed.
Theatres and Cinemas
St David’s Hall
St David’s Hall is is best known as the venue for the annual Welsh Proms and as a host to some of the world’s top orchestras. The 2000-seat hall also features international singers, comedians, musicals and plays.
Chapter Arts Centre
Market Road, Canton
Chapter has earned a reputation as one of the most diverse arts centres in Europe, combining theatre, art, film, music and literature into one venue. Regular festivals, themed events, workshops and lectures ensure that there’s always something of interest taking place, and the excellent bar and café means it’s a great place to hang out between shows. By specialising in real ales and European beers, an evening at Chapter means your tastebuds can get some culture too.
Since opening in 1906, this recently-restored Edwardian Playhouse has played host to such legends of the stage as Laurel and Hardy. Today the New Theatre is a popular venue for touring musicals and plays.
The Sherman Theatre has commissioned more new plays for young people than any other theatre in Britain, many of which are dedicated to nurturing tomorrow’s talents through a programme of youth projects. Its diverse programme also features plenty of work in the Welsh language.
Wales Millennium Centre
Wales Millennium Centre presents international opera, ballet, modern dance, theatre and musicals. Shows take place in a variety of spaces, including the world-class Donald Gordon Theatre and The Void – which lets you explore the roof space for unique and unforgettable performances. Situated in Cardiff Bay, the landmark building also offers group tours every day so you can uncover some of its backstage secrets.
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Wales’ National Conservatoire, RWCMD hosts over 300 public performances every year including orchestral concerts, drama, opera and musical theatre. It’s also home to the most popular jazz night in Cardiff – a free event that takes place on Friday evenings in the foyer, featuring the up and coming talent of the college’s jazz students.
Clwb Ifor Bach
11 Womanby Street
Often referred to as ‘The Welsh Club‘, this place has three floors and caters for a wide range of musical tastes, with each floor often offering a different scene. It stages regular club nights with DJs, and gigs, and is also the place to contact if you have the desire to learn Welsh.
Oxford St, Cardiff
G39 is renowned internationally as one of Cardiff’s leading contemporary art spaces. The work on display is a mix of Welsh and from further afield, often exhibiting recent art graduates alongside established international artists, with a focus on showcasing the best experimental new work.
Turner House Gallery
Ffotogallery is Wales’ premier gallery devoted to photography featuring touring exhibitions from Welsh and international photographers; the centre also runs regular photography projects, provides drop-in facilities and runs photography courses.
For more inspiration, head to Visit Cardiff.