5 Historical Sites in Cardiff that are a Must Visit for Families
If you’re a family of history buffs looking for a day out in Cardiff then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll show you five of Cardiff’s most historical attractions and museums, which are sure to provide a fun-filled day out for the entire family.
An ancient castle dating back to the time of the Romans, it is thought that a fortress was first built on this site in the 1st century AD. It wasn’t until the 11th century that the Normans built the keep which survives until this day. Parts of Cardiff Castle were used as air raid shelters to protect civilians from bombing during the Second World War. The entire family can chart this historic story for themselves with a visit to the castle.
Families visiting the castle can explore a reconstruction of these shelters, walk the battlements, tour different parts of the castle and watch live re-enactments of the mighty trebuchet, a terrifying catapult which hurls objects through the air – sure to delight the youngsters. Cardiff Castle has also been used in filming for popular TV shows such as Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures.
Themed tours to these locations are also offered. Castle entry costs £12 for adults, £9 for children aged 5 to 16 and is free for under 5s.
St Fagans National History Museum
On the western outskirts of the city is the 100-acre St Fagans National History Museum, an outdoor museum dedicated to the history of Wales. More than 40 original buildings have been reconstructed to look exactly as they would have done in the olden days. There’s a school, chapel and a selection of houses. There’s also a working farm complete with native breeds of livestock, which children are sure to enjoy getting to know. St Fagans is also a working museum, and live demonstrations at the blacksmiths and other workmen’s institutes are sure to provide entertainment. Best of all, entry to the museum is completely free.
Big Pit National Coal Museum
Much of Wales’ and indeed the entire UK’s coal industry has died out as cheaper, cleaner renewable energy sources have come to the fore. One former coal mining site around an hour drive from Cardiff city centre is the Big Pit National Coal Museum near Pontypool. Though a bit of a drive from the city, the museum is well worth a visit. Home to a sawmill, winding house and more, visitors can also head underground into the mine itself to find out a bit more about what it was like to work down here during the Industrial Revolution. Once more, entry to this attraction is completely free of charge.
World of Boats
If you’re planning a trip down to the Cardiff Bay area of the city then you’ll want to pay a visit to World of Boats, particularly if you have an interest in sailing and maritime history. This museum is home to more than 40 different vessels, dating back throughout the ages and sourced from all over the world. The museum is located right on the water and there’s a small café and restaurant to keep everyone well fed. It’s one of the best places in Cardiff to watch the sunset too. Kids will love getting to know all the different boats in the museum, and the shipwrights will be happy to answer any curious questions. If you are visiting with a larger family group then guided tours can also be arranged.
If you want to have some fun with your younger children then why not tell them that you’re heading to Rapunzel’s tower, or Snow White’s castle? Because that’s what this sprawling Gothic castle nestled in the Welsh countryside reminds visitors of. Cylindrical turrets and pointed roofs look more befitting of Eastern Europe than South Wales, but here it is, hidden just six miles from Cardiff city centre.
The castle was actually built during the Victorian period as a hobby for the ludicrously wealthy Marquess of Bute. You’ll approach the castle from the woods, which only adds to the fairy-tale allure. And this continues once you get inside. Spiralling stone staircases, secret passages, a drawbridge and dark dungeons will enthral kids and adults alike. There is even a children’s activity room, where younger children can enjoy drawing with stencils, amongst other things. There’s also a gift shop and café, with everything you could possibly need for a family day out being provided for.
The Cardiff area is one of the most historic in the whole of Wales, and there are numerous family friendly places where fun and education come together to offer amazing family days out.