Cardiff is an amazing city – I always think of it as a mini London – it has fantastic shops, great transport and fabulous tourism. You can come to Cardiff and there is a real mix of things to do for everybody.
Right in the heart of the city centre, literally five minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the Queen Street shops is the National Museum of Wales. Best of all, entry is free!
It is a short walk away from three train stations – Cathays, Queen Street and Cardiff Central is about 15 minutes away on foot. There are also lots of busses in the area and parking both outside and in the museum car park. We parked outside for 10 hours which cost us £5.20 – not bad for city centre parking for the whole day.
The museum itself is fabulous – it has a great range of exhibits and they always have something new each time we visit. A list of what is on at the museum can be found on their website. There is so much to see there you could easily spend an entire day in the museum but as we took the children we just looked around the parts that they would enjoy. The history of the Evolution of Wales is an exhibit we walk around every time we visit – the children love the dinosaur display and it is a fabulous twist teaching them about evolution with a welsh twist. There is a variety of interactive exhibits from videos to ‘look and find’ and plenty for the children to touch and get involved in which makes it a great learning place for all ages. The girls had an amazing time and learnt lots about volcanos and earthquakes and dinosaurs of course!
The children also really enjoyed the specific children’s exhibit I Spy Nature and I loved having a little look at the temporary modern art exhibit – Artes Mundi 6. There literally is something for everyone there, and it is also not too huge so you don’t feel like you are aimlessly wandering around a huge building like some of the bigger museums in London – you actually feel like you are taking a lot in but it is not overwhelming.
There are also great displays of historical art, ceramics, sculptures and modern art.
Access for me is particularly important as we have a pushchair. There are lifts up the front stairs to access the museum and lifts inside the museum too. Because of the nature of the building one lift is quite small but our family of 5 could fit inside so not a problem and the staff were very helpful if we needed help navigating or using the lifts.
The restaurant Oriel is simply great. I would come for lunch there even if we weren’t visiting the museum. The menu is varied and all cooked fresh and presented really well. I also like the welsh focus on the food. The food is clearly freshly prepared and the children’s menu is perfect! The best lunch ever declared Bean when she sat down with her lunch box! There is also freshly poured free drinking water always available and there are disabled and baby changing facilities here.
The food was delicious and the hot chocolate and brownies to die for (just saying!!) and there is a great little play area so the kids can have fun while you relax!
Shopping and Cafe
There is a cute little shop which sells some great little things related to the displays in the museum and some individual and unique welsh items. Definitely worth a little look, although it is a little difficult to manage with the pushchair. By this is an open cafe when you can stop for a drink and some cake 🙂
When we were visiting there was a vintage / Christmas fair held in the lobby which was a surprise – looking at the museum website they actually hold quite a few events so it is worth taking a look and planning your visit accordingly. There were some fabulous little vintage and welsh handmade stalls which I really enjoyed browsing.
I would thoroughly recommend the Museum as a great family day out – or indeed a great place to visit for everyone! A definite one not to miss when visiting the wonderful city of Cardiff!
We received lunch at the museum for the purpose of this review and as part of the Millennium Guide to Cardiff. All thoughts and opinions are our own.