Across the Celtic Sea from Ireland, perched on the edge of England, Wales is a small, often over-looked country worth your family’s attention. The United Kingdom is basically a map of castles and historic locales, surrounded by modern advances and incredible attractions, but the quaint societal life and breathtaking natural beauty of Wales offers something special to be explored.
Getting in and out of the country can be easily done through Cardiff, a booming port city and the country’s capital. Situated on the south coast, surrounded by the Bristol Channel, Cardiff has a much older history than some of its modern buildings and revamped waterfront would suggest. Whatever holds your family’s intrigue, rest assured, Cardiff has something to see and do.
Get in some history at the must-visit Cardiff Castle. Tour the castle grounds and astonishing interior, boasting thousands of years worth of history and family activities to match, including tours of the secret underground tunnels and costumes for the kids to dress up. If you happen to visit on a weekend and have an active group with you, take the Clock Tower Tour and climb 101 steps up the spiral staircase of the clock tower. Take in the beautiful, ornate interior details and look out on the passersby below. Make your way down to the café for tea and refreshments — you’ve earned it. Check out the castle’s museum and visitor center for more information. There are often great events to check out, including jousting matches on the castle grounds.
Change pace from land exploration to sea with a Cardiff Sea Safari boat tour. The kids will love the high-speed trip and you’ll all get a little thrill from the water spraying and splashing while getting a new perspective on the city.
Once back on dry land, hit the boardwalk of Mermaid Quay. Stroll along in the fresh sea air and stop in local boutiques, or fill up at a traditional Welsh restaurant. Have a pint at the local pub, or a cwrw as the Welsh would say, and take the kids for a spin on the Ferris wheel. The boardwalk of Cardiff Bay offers all the port-side fun of the beach while still an easy distance from the city’s many museums, historic landmarks and ancient architecture.
Head into the heart of the city and hit an obligatory museum or two, where you’ll see plenty of exhibits and attractions for all ages. A short distance from Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, explore the Bishop’s Palace and park. The ruins offer a unique backdrop to a fun day on the green.
Before you plan your trip, keep an eye on the tourism website — whether music, film, entertainment-centric or even a children’s literary festival, there’s always something going on in the city.