The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Cardiff Bay

With a vibrant nightlife scene and enthralling history, Cardiff Bay is a must-visit spot for 2017. It’s safe to say the area is flourishing, and it’s attractions are far from limited.

The redevelopment of Cardiff Bay has undoubtedly transformed the area. And whether you’re looking for a romantic weekend break or a family getaway, there’s plenty on offer to keep you and the little ones smiling.

Local History and Culture

Cardiff Bay Barrage

You can’t appreciate the beauty and history of Cardiff Bay without experiencing Cardiff Bay Barrage itself. For first-hand insight into the groundbreaking project, you can take a ride on the Road Train. Expect to be taken through the docks, spotting boats entering locks along the way. If you fancy a refreshing drink afterwards, just sit back and relax at the Barrage Café.

World of Boats

World of Boats

At World of Boats, you can admire over 40 unique boats, gathered from all around the world. Featuring hands-on exhibits and touch-screen, there’s lots to keep the family entertained. You’ll discover how boats have evolved over the years and leave with plenty of history to pass on. While you’re there, why not enjoy a bite to eat and the views from The Lookout Café?

Pierhead Building

Pierhead Building

A visit to Cardiff Bay wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Pier head. The Grade-I listed building is one of the area’s most striking buildings, and like much of Cardiff Bay, it’s filled with history. Reopened to the public from its days as the Cardiff Rail Company, visitors can now enjoy exploring the museum and art gallery, featuring an interactive exhibition. Meanwhile, the regal building remains a venue for the National Assembly for Wales to meet, making it one of the most important buildings in Cardiff Bay.

Norwegian Church

Norwegian Church

A significant contrast to the more modern and industrial buildings of Cardiff Bay, one of its most striking landmark buildings is the Norwegian Church. Now an arts centre and cafe, the iconic church provides locals and tourists with a cultural experience like no other. Founded by the Norwegian Seamens’ Mission, the church was attended largely by Norwegian sailors during the industrial revolution.

If you venture upstairs, you’ll discover the latest art exhibitions within the Dahl Gallery. The gallery is named after famous children’s author Roald Dahl, who lived in Cardiff as a child and was christened at the church. With free entry, this is a must-do activity during your visit.

Top Entertainment Spots

Mermaid Quay

Mermaid Quay

Mermaid Quay is home to top venues for delicious dining and sipping the night away with a refreshing cocktail in hand. Featuring UK favourites Nando’s, Wagamama, Bill’s and Zizzi’s, you certainly won’t find yourself short of choices for wining and dining by the waterfront.

And don’t worry, if you’re not ready to head home early, why not head to Mermaid Quay’s very own comedy club? The Glee brings audiences unbeatable comedy nights every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The Red Dragon Centre

For a range of fun family-friendly activities, great food and atmospheric drinks, look no further than the Red Dragon Centre for everything you could want. From a large bowling alley, fabulous casino and the only digital IMAX in Wales, this is the ultimate entertainment hub for every member of the family.

The Millennium Centre

Opera House

Making the arts more accessible to wider audiences, the Millennium Centre is Wales’ home for the performing arts. Audiences can enjoy a range of shows, from opera and musicals to ballet, circus and the most popular theatre productions touring the UK.

Doctor Who Experience

Doctor Who Experience

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Cardiff Bay, you’ll find plenty to see at the Doctor Who Experience. Fans can take a step back in time as they explore the history of the hit TV show over the years. With an Interactive Adventure and large collection of costumes, props and sets in the Exhibition Hall, there’s something to keep the whole family entertained at the Doctor Who Experience.

Cardiff International White Water 

Water Activity Centre

Located at the International Sports Village of Cardiff Bay, this one is for the adrenaline junkies! With Cardiff International White Water, you can take on the power of the rapids with this exhilarating activity. And if you’re visiting with kids, there’s a family-friendly rafting option that operates at a less challenging pace.

Cardiff Bay Nightlife

VIP Lounge

For wining and dining like a true VIP, look no further than the VIP Lounge. While you can be certain of luxury interior and great service, the range of drinks at this Mermaid Quay hot spot makes it an affordable night out for everyone. With a stunning interior featuring elegant chandeliers and a 28-foot long ice bar, anticipate an atmospheric night at this Cardiff Bay favourite.

The Dock

The Dock

With picturesque waterside views and mouth-watering menus to choose from, The Dock Bar & Kitchen has got you covered. Offering an extensive drinks menu, you can enjoy your favourite drinks served to perfection.

You can tuck into their tasty dishes from brunch until the later hours. And if you’re in a larger group or fancy something a little lighter, why not try one of their social plates for sharing? We’re sure you won’t regret it!


Cardiff Bay Salt

No matter the season, Salt is one of Cardiff Bay’s best-loved locations to watch the world go by. Over the colder period, you can make yourself at home with roaring fires and cosy sofas. In the summer months, why not catch some rays as you enjoy an ice cold drink on the outdoor terrace? Take advantage of Salt’s laidback cafe vibe in the daytime, and watch it transform into a stylish bar with live music by night.

The Glee

Glee Cardiff

Filling Cardiff Bay with comedy, you’ll discover plenty of laughs at The Glee. Located within the Red Dragon Centre, you can look forward to seeing some of the world’s best comedians. A spacious venue with a large bar, you won’t have to worry about missing the punchline!

Seating 450 people with a full house, this is a truly incomparable comedy venue with a high-spirited atmosphere.

The Exchange Hotel is the perfect accommodation for a visit to Cardiff. Whether it’s the sight-seeing or the nightlife calling you to Cardiff Bay, book to stay at The Exchange, the perfect Cardiff hotel for a blend of modern luxury and historic charm.