Last Updated on January 17, 2023 by Louise
There are so many attractions and things to do with your teen in Cardiff. Your teen is going to love it.
Visit the castle, shop til you drop, ride on the big wheel at Cardiff Bay and/ or take a boat trip. Whatever you choose to do (and there is so much) you’ll have a fabulous time.
Below is a wide range of attractions that teenagers will enjoy in and around the Welsh capital city.
Cardiff Castle (image credit Nick Amascato)
Nestles in the heart of the city centre is Cardiff Castle. It was built by the Romans in 200 AD and is one of Wales’ most popular tourist attractions.
Teenagers will enjoy the Norman Keep, which dates to back to the 11th century. It sits atop a hill and is surrounded by a moat. If you climb to the very top, you get some nice 360 degree views of the city.
The gorgeous church, the clock tower and the exquisite banqueting hall are all amazing to see and walk around.
Find out more at Cardiff Castle website
Explore the Victorian Shopping Arcades
Image Credit: Shutterstock
There are numerous gorgeous Victorian arcades in Cardiff. The arcades are home to over 100 independent cafes, bars and shops right in the heart of the city and offer a truly unique experience. The architecture is beautiful and if your teen likes browsing the shops, the arcades are great to visit.
Opposite the Castle, is the Castle arcade and it’s well worth a stop for a bite to eat after a trip to the castle. There are some amazing cute, cozy coffee shops.
Check out the Coffee Barker with your teen. It’s especially great for breakfast and for afternoon treats.
Find out more about Cardiff’s Arcades.
Shop Til You Drop
If your teen likes to shop until they drop, they will love the high street shops at St David’s Dewi Sant Shopping Centre which include New Look, Zara, Primark, Foot Locker and the largest H and M in the UK. Brand shops include Pandora, Apple and Superdry. There’s lots of cafes and restaurants too. St David’s is situated right in the heart of the city centre.
Also check out Cardiff Market which has been trading in one form or another since the 1700s. It’s a traditional market with lots of stalls but also a food lover’s paradise (so not just for the teen shoppers!) It’s awesome for the teen foodies too. There are also records, clothes, flowers and lots more.
Find out more at Cardiff market
Go on a Cardiff Ghost Walk
With so much history in Cardiff, it’s the perfect place to go on a ghost walk.
Cardiff Ghost Walk takes in the hidden, the horrible and the haunted places of the Cardiff City Centre and starts at the John Bachelor Statue.
Or why not explore Cardiff Castle at night where stories have abounded over the years of various ghostly phenomena? Book with Dark Wales Tours.
Cardiff International Pool and Gym
Image: Cardiff International Pool
This £23m complex is the largest swimming facility in the UK and boasts a state of the art 50m pool with 3 flumes, a unique space bowl and a lazy river.
All sessions need to be prebooked on the website in advance. The timed sessions are for one hour.
Try a Fresh Welsh Cake
If your teenager likes to eat (my 14 year old definitely does!) don’t leave Cardiff without trying a fresh welsh cake. There are lots of places you can buy welsh cakes including from Bakestones in the market.
There is also Fabulous Welsh Cakes which is based in the Castle Arcade. A great place to get a snack after a visit to the castle. They also have a branch in Cardiff Bay too.
St. Fagans National Museum of History
St Fagans Museum Grounds (image Richard Szwejkowski)
On the outskirts of Cardiff, you’ll find St Fagans museum. It’s an open-air museum that has history from Celtic times to the present day. Entry to the museum is free (although donations are welcome and you’ll need to pay for parking). It’s well worth a visit. At the time of writing, it’s the number 1 attraction in Cardiff on Trip Advisor.
The museum stands in the grounds of the magnificent St Fagans Castle and gardens, a late 16th-century manor house donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth in 1948. Since 1948, over forty original buildings from different historical periods have been re-erected in the 100-acre parkland, among them houses, a farm, a school, a chapel and a splendid Workmen’s Institute.
Find out more at St Fagans Museum
Visit Cardiff Bay
Cardiff Bay at Night (image Creative commons)
Cardiff Bay spans 2007 acres of shoreline area. There is so much to do, including bars, shops and cafes.
Check out some activities in and around Cardiff Bay that teens will love below.
The Millennium Centre
The Millennium Centre (image credit: H. Michael Marley / Flickr)
See the Millennium Centre, which is an amazing piece of architecture and book a show to see. Visitors enjoy musicals, opera, ballet, contemporary dance, hip hop, standup comedy, art exhibitions, workshops, free daily foyer performances, guided tours, bars and restaurants.
Check out what’s on at The Millennium Centre while you’re in Cardiff on their website.
Fun Fair At Cardiff Bay
Teens will enjoy a couple of the fun fair rides at Cardiff Bay which include the dodgems and a Sizzler twister ride.
Find out more on the the Cardiff Bay Beach web site
Giant Wheel Cardiff Bay
Part of the fun fair at Cardiff Bay is the giant wheel. The 33m wheel is a fun activity for teenagers and gives amazing views of the bay.
Bay Island Voyages
A must for teenagers is a boat ride with Bay Island Voyages.
One of their most popular boat rides is a 15 minute “Bay voyage”. It’s also well worth looking at their long trips, which include a 1 or 1.5 hour coastal voyage.
Check out some reviews on TripAdvisor to see what an unforgettable experience their trips are.
Find out more at Bay Island Voyages
Boat Ride or Aquabus from Cardiff Bay to Bute Park
Image credit : Sasha / Flickr
If your teenager prefers to take to the waters at a more leisurely pace, take either the Princess Kathrine or an aquabus between Cardiff bay and Bute Park (or in the other direction).
Princess Katherine is a water boat run by the family owned company Cardiff Boat Tours. On board, experience recorded commentary with fascinating information about the history of the area, buildings along the route, the barrage and the wildlife on the Bay and river.
White Water Rafting
Experience a family friendly white water rafting experience at Cardiff International White Water located in Cardiff Bay. Or your teen might prefer one of the other adrenaline filled experiences such as paddleboarding, white water tubing, canoeing or kayaking.
If they prefer to keep dry there’s also an air trail (which includes a zip wire).
Watch a Movie at the Everyman Boutique Cinema
Image source : Shutterstock
Visit the Everyman cinema in Cardiff Bay and watch a movie one evening or afternoon. Sit in one of the gorgeous, tiny rooms with dinky velvet sofas and have food and drinks brought to your seat.
There’s of places to eat in Cardiff Bay so you could combine your cinema trip with a meal out for an extra special trip.
Visit the Principality Stadium (Millennium Stadium) on Match Day or Get a Tour
The Principality Stadium at Night (image credit : Dave Griffiths / Flickr.com)
The Principality Stadium in Cardiff Bay is the home to Welsh rugby.
There’s nothing like watching an international football or rugby match at the stadium with a sports mad teenager. The city transforms on match day with an atmosphere of excitement around the streets.
The next best thing to match day is a tour of the stadium. It’s a great way to spend an hour and full of knowledge and interesting facts and stories and definitely a must for rugby and sports fans.
Picture of Techniquest (image Peter Hurford)
Techniquest is a science museum for kids and adults. There are lots of interactive exhibits for all ages. Like most attractions of this nature, there will be a lot of families with kids and it’s probably best for younger teenagers or families with children of all ages.
Teenagers will especially enjoy the planetarium.
For more information and to book your tickets, go to the Techniquest website.
National Museum Cardiff
National Museum Cardiff (image Dom Atreides)
Discover Welsh history with a visit to the National Museum Cardiff. It’s housed in the civic centre building. It documents Welsh history back to the times of dinosaurs. There are lots of things to see and the museum is also free.
Teen artists will enjoy exhibited works by impressionists Monet and Picasso which stand out amongst many artworks available to see.
The dinosaurs are pretty impressive too.
There are often free exhibitions, so it’s worth checking out what’s on over at their website.
Roath Park (image Gordon Plant)
If you want some green space on your visit to Cardiff, head to Roath Park.
Founded in 1894, it was the city’s earliest public park with 130 acres of green areas. You can also walk around the stunning 30-acre lake.
Teens will enjoy activities such as boating on the lake. You can hire rowing boats and pedalos. There’s plenty of green space for games of rounders or football. You can play tennis on one of the courts free of charge and there is a basketball court for shooting hoops.
Find out more here.
Treetop Adventure Golf
Based in St David’s shopping centre (on level 3) is treetop adventure golf. A fun activity for a rainy day for teenagers and other family members or friends of all ages.
Find out more here: Treetop Adventure Golf, Cardiff
Hire Bikes and Cycle the Cardiff Bay Trail or the Taff Trail
Hire bikes from Pontcanna Centre or from Cardiff Bay (in the spring / summer).
From Cardiff Bay, you can cycle the Cardiff Bay Trail. It’s an easy, traffic-free circular trail runs around Cardiff Bay and across to the seaside town of Penarth via Pont y Werin.
Or for more adventure, you can cycle the Taff Trail which runs for 55 miles between Cardiff and Brecon along a mixture of riverside paths, railway paths and forest roads.
Escape Room Experiences
Like most of the major cities, Cardiff has escape room experiences which are perfect for teenagers.
Adventure Rooms Cardiff offer a fun and engaging live escape the room experience, suitable for groups of 2-14 people. Your team is locked in a room with mysterious and hidden objects. With only these objects as clues you have 60 minutes to escape.
Or try out Escape Rooms Cardiff which have rooms designed for groups of 2 to 6 people. The more people in your group – the cheaper it works out per person.
Caerphilly Castle (image Robert Payne)
If your teen loves history, the ruins of Caerphilly Castle are spectacular and not to be missed. Built in 1628 and now the country’s largest fortress, it’s a 15 minute drive from Cardiff.
Even if your teen isn’t a huge history fan, they should enjoy climbing up and down winding stairs, strolling the ramparts, overlooking the battlements and investigating the siege machines.
See old weaponry and armour, much of it used in battle. Admire the half ruined leaning tower with the wooden sculpture “holding” it up. Sit in the semi circular room to view the cartoon like film explaining the history of the castle including how it was built, bombed and rebuilt again. Throw some coins in the wishing well.
Find out more at Caerphilly Castle
More Attractions and Entertainment
As you would imagine, being the Capital city of Wales, we’ve only just touched the surface of things to do for teenagers. here is a quick round up of a few more destinations to consider. Some are in the centre of Cardiff or in Cardiff Bay but others will require a car or public transport to get there (it will depend on where you are located).
Red Dragon Centre – Situated on Cardiff Bay, this one stop entertainment complex features an 18 screen ODEON IMAX cinema, 26 lane bowling centre, gym and an array of restaurants, bars and cafes.
Lumberjack Axe Throwing – This unique activity is a great way for teens to have fun and let of steam. It involves throwing axes at a target! At the time of writing they offer a discounted price of £14pp for 13-18 year olds with the 12pm and 2pm sessions on weekends. Check out their website for more details.
Freerunning at Fluidity – book a free running session at the UK’s largest parkour / freerunning centre. First timers can book during an open session to give it a try.
Climbing at Boulders – just down from Fluidity, you’ll find Boulders an indoor climbing centre. You can book as a family on a give it a go session.
Visit the Senedd – The Senedd is the main public building of the Welsh Parliament and you can book onto a free tour around the building. It’s a very modern building to look at and is a great way to educate teenagers about democracy in Wales.
Ice Skating – just a stone’s throw away from the Cardiff International Swimming Pool, you’ll find the Ice Arena Wales where you can book an ice skating session.
Bute Park and Arboretum – Behind Cardiff Castle just a short walk from the city’s main high streets, you’ll find Bute Park. Teens may enjoy the fitness trail as well as a walk through the Arboretum. This is one of the places you can hire bike (at Pontcanna as mentioned earlier in the article). It’s also where you can hop on a water taxi. There are also three different cafes for some refreshments.
You May Also Like…
A Weekend At Bluestone Holiday Resort: Our Review
A Weekend At Bluestone Holiday Resort: Our Review Bluestone is a holiday village located in the beautiful countryside of Pembrokeshire in South Wales. It’s a popular holiday destination for families with a variety of accommodations, including lodges,...
14 Things To Do In Barry and Barry Island
Barry is located in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales. It's about 9 miles from Cardiff. There's a lot to love about Barry. The seaside resort has a traditional feel with a sandy beach, tourist shops and fun fair. At the same time, Barry is up and coming...
22 Things To Do With Teenagers In Bath
Bath is a stunningly beautiful city in South West England. It's also a fantastic city for teenagers with a multitude of attractions, sites and things to do that teenagers will love. The city of Bath is steeped in a long history and particularly renowned...