See the Welsh capital with a friendly local
Our Private Half-Day Tour of Cardiff is the best way to quickly get to know the Welsh Capital. Whatever your reason for visiting, this is the best way to discover as much as you can of this stunning city in half a day.
Led by a Cardiffian, this trip allows you to see the best bits of Cardiff, hear what it is like to live in the city and discover some of the local hidden gems that only a local knows about. Because our guides are locals, they know all the best places to eat, drink, and how to experience all the best bits of the city including those places that are away from the usual tourist trails.
Starting in the city, and including a brief visit the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff’s civic centre, the tour will finish ‘down the bay’ where you are able to visit some of Wales newest and most iconic buildings and learn how the city (and Wales) has changed in the last 100 years.
The tour includes, but is not limited to:
Cardiff Castle Cardiff Castle started life as a Roman Fort, evidence of which is still visible today. Indeed the city of Cardiff gets its name from the old Roman fort, as Cardiff or the Welsh version Caerdydd translates into English as “Fort on the river Taff”. Developed by the Normans the castle has seen many changes and was once used as a royal prison. Developed further by various English marcher Lords, the castle fell into ruin in the 16th century. Taken over by the Marquis’ of Bute in the 17th Century, it wasn’t until the 3rd Marquis that the current version of Cardiff Castle came into being. Described as a Victorian escapist dream, it is a stunning former stately home and Welsh national treasure. As this tour offers an overview of the city of Cardiff, we will be unable to enter the Castle during the tour. However, your guide will tell you the highlights of this impressive structure’s history from outside the Castle.
Saint Mary Street St Mary’s Street has historically been the heart of Cardiff’s shopping district. Home to Cardiff’s famous market and Victorian arcades, full of beautiful boutiques, cosy cafes, and the oldest record shop in the world, this is your chance to explore a part of Cardiff that is not normally seen on a tour. Thanks to the nature of this private tour, you will be able to stop and explore any of the shops that take your fancy. You will also hear how these shopping gems are an integral part of life here in Cardiff, from a local guide who has spent many an hour exploring these beautiful arcades with their friends and family.
Spillers Records Spillers Records is the oldest record shop in the world and is a South Wales institution. Everyone who lives in, or near Cardiff has brought at least one record from this amazing part of local history. Regardless of your musical tastes, Spillers will have something for you – often a record that you didn’t even know you needed in your life but which will find its way into your possessions and your heart.
Cardiff Central Market Cardiff’s impressive Victorian covered market is another location that you might not experience unless a local took you there. A favourite with Cardiffians for its diverse range of products on offer, ranging from second-hand books to cakes, to fresh meat and fish, the market is a centre of food excellence. Whilst walking through the market you are free to stop and sample the local delicacies, explore the stalls, and spend, spend, spend! Previously home to Cardiff’s Goal (or Jail) it was outside Cardiff Market where Dic Pendryn was executed. One of Wales’ most famous historical figures (although few people outside of Wales have heard of him), your guide will tell you how Dic, a labourer from nearby Merthyr Tydfil was charged with killing a soldier with a bayonet during the famous Merthyr Rising and hanged on the orders of Lord Melbourne – Queen Victoria’s first Prime Minister – who was Home Secretary at the time of the riots.
Statue of Aneurin Bevan Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan is the father of the UK’s National Health Service. Immortalised in a statue that many people in Cardiff walk past every day, which is used as a popular meeting place (many Cardiffians ‘meet at Nye Bevan’) and which is a preferred perch for pigeons, we will stop here to discuss how Bevan changed the UK forever. A major political opponent of Churchill during the Second World War, which brought him into the national consciousness, it was Bevan’s experiences of poverty in Wales, his time spent working in a mine, and his position in the post-war Labour government that helped shape one of the most important, well-loved and adored institutions in the UK. Whilst here we will discuss Bevan’s role in the creation of the NHS, his history and his politics as well as exploring part of Cardiff’s role in the Coal trade.
National Museum Cardiff The National Museum Cardiff is home to one of the best collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art in the UK. Its collection, which is spread over 15 galleries, includes masterpieces by Monet, Cézanne, includes Renoir’s famous Blue Lady ‘La Parisienne’ and Rodin’s ‘The Kiss’. Also home to some of the best Welsh art, both modern and historic, it would be easy to spend a whole day in the museum exploring the world-class collection that is on permanent display. Sadly this tour can only offer you a taster of what is on show but promises to get you ‘up close and personal’ with as many of the most famous artworks. How did the National Museum manage to collect such an impressive range of art? Your guide will explain all, including who to thank, during the tour. Please note that the Museum is closed on Monday’s. Tours booked on Monday will be unable to visit the interior of the museum but other locations will be added to the tour by the guide on the day to compensate for this.
Cardiff Bay After visiting the National Museum of Wales we will head to Cardiff Bay. This can be done either by taking a local train or via a local cab. Train/Cab fare is not included in the price of the tour. Cardiff Bay is the modern name for the old Cardiff Docks which at their hight were the largest coal exporting docks in the world. Owned by the Marquis of Bute, the Jeff Bezos of the day, the area was as multicultural then as it is today. Now the cultural heart of Cardiff and the political centre of Wales, Cardiff Bay is home to the Wales Millennium Centre, Roald Dahl Plass, The Senedd, and the new BBC Wales’ Studios. Whilst ‘down the bay’, as the locals would say, your guide will show you around one of the most interesting, and beautiful parts of Cardiff, explain its rich and vibrant history, and explain how Cardiff went from the largest coal exporting docks in the world to the beautiful waterfront you see today.