Things to do when your parents come to visit, excluding Cardiff Castle and Bute Park

How am I meant to fill up an entire weekend with these people?

It’s that time again. Bedroom and kitchen tidied along with alcohol, take-away containers and party remnants stashed away.  So the fun façade of pretending you have your life together must begin. It can only mean one thing – the parents are visiting.

Whether they are staying just for a day or the whole week, parents expect to be shown around the place their child is calling home for three or so years, so they would never forgive you if you stayed in your Cathays dump the entire time.

But where oh where are you going to take them, you cry? There are only so many times you can show them Bute Park and the castle. One visit to those in the summer is enough. Cardiff is a thriving city with lots to see and do, so treat your parents to all the secret treasures the capital has to offer. Besides, it’s more than likely your parents will be paying so you may as well make the most of it.

Find something to watch

Cinema, theatre, sport, music, comedy- there is something on every day and every night in Cardiff. With venues including Chapter, New Theatre, Motorpoint Arena, Glee Club, and Tramshed, right in the heart of the city, there is something for everyone. Give your parents the little culture boost they need. At least one point in your student life you must experience a rugby match, so tie this in with the parents visiting so they can gain a real taste of the Welsh pride and atmosphere.

Why else do people visit Wales?

Night life

If you have inherited your drinking gene from mum and dad, then there is a huge range of bars and pubs they will enjoy. They provide a much more mature and sophisticated scene, unless they want to be taken to the Lash of course. Dirty Martini, Turtle Bay and Dead Canary are just a handful of the exciting cocktail bars that Cardiff have to offer, and with happy hour and 2-4-1 deals every night, it’s likely you’ll end up carrying them home.

Outside of Cardiff Central

Roadtrip anyone? If by some miracle your parents drove to Cardiff (why everyone insists on getting the train I don’t know), then make the most of it. Have a day out at the stunning Brecon Beacons and climb Pen y Fan, take in the sights of yet another mesmerising castle when exploring Castell Coch, walk along Rhossili Bay as the sun sets, or sit on the beach with a greasy portion of chips and immerse yourself in Gavin and Stacey quotes at Barry Island.

Dare you venture into the midst of the unknown?

Inside of Cardiff Central

Even staying close to home for the day invites endless things to do with the family. There are the quirky arcades snaking through main roads of the city, each with independent stores boasting clothing, smellies, jewellery, books, and little gadget gizmos you wouldn’t even think of. The arcades also play host to several exciting café’s, including one which makes ice cream using liquid nitrogen, and another that sells the best cream teas and cakes.

Exploring the shopping scene is a must in Cardiff with the huge St. Davids shopping centre towering over the town and pop-up vintage sales, but make sure to take a wander around the Cardiff Market as well to find the best prices on simply everything (and going upstairs means you get to spy on the rabbits and fish). For more adrenaline junkie parents take a look at bowling, Escape Rooms, Laser Quest, and mini golf, which are also available in the centre. Being just within a five-minute walk from each another, you can easily cram these into one afternoon.


Besides Bute Park, there are some beautiful walks around Cardiff that are worth including in the tour. Explore the pedal boats, canal, and green house in Roath Park, head to Cardiff Bay and explore the lit up harbour scene and endless array of restaurants, or touch up on your history of Wales in the National Museum.

So next time your parents visit, for their sake and mine please don’t take them to the usual tourist hotspots. Cardiff is brimming with one million and one things to see and do and, despite always coming to visit at the most inconvenient times, taking your parents to new places will be just as exciting for you as it is for them.