12 family-friendly attractions to visit in Cardiff Bay


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a guide to attractions in Cardiff city centre that were perfect for visiting with children. This time, I’m turning my attention to Cardiff Bay, which is a great place for a family day out. As well as all the places listed below, Mermaid Quay is a lovely place for walking around on a sunny day, with loads of family-friendly restaurants if you fancy a spot to eat, and an ice cream parlour.

Have I missed anywhere? Do let me know in the comments section below, by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy or on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page.

FREE Cardiff Bay Barrage

Cardiff Bay Barrage playground collage

Stretching from Cardiff Bay to Penarth, and at just over 1km in length, this is a great place for families to explore, either on foot or by bikes, scooters or skates, and is buggy-friendly too. A number of educational trails and information points provide an insight into the history f the Bay, such as an account of Captain Scott’s journey to the Antarctic. Mid-way across the barrage is a large children’s pirate-themed play area, with wooden boats to climb, although it’s on sand, so can get quite messy for younger children. There’s also a skate park, toilet facilities, and an ice cream stall.



Stuart Street, Cardiff Bay

Techniquest 5

This hands-on science centre has over 100 exhibitions over two floors, making science fun and accessible to children of all ages. It’s buggy-friendly, with a lift between floors, a café serving hot drinks, sandwiches and hot snacks, plus a gift shop with plenty of souvenirs at pocket money prices. The shows in the Planetarium (£1.50 extra per person) and science theatre at weekends and school holidays really bring science to life.

The toddler days, which usually take place on the first Friday of the month, are definitely worth checking out if you have pre-schoolers. You can read our review here.

Adults cost £7.50, child (4-16), £6, under 4s free. A Family (2+up to 3) is £25. Visit after 2pm on Sundays throughout 2016 and pay just £3 for entry. Shows in the Planetarium cost £1.50 extra per person. Techniquest is not open on Mondays during term-time


Doctor Who Experience

Heol Porth Teigr, Porth Teigr, Cardiff Bay

Doctor Who Experience Cardiff Bay

Be part of your own interactive adventure with the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi), as you journey through time and space, journeying to the heart of the Tardis, and grappling with a threat which could destroy the universe. From there, head to The Exhibition Hall, which houses the world’s largest collection of Doctor who props sets and costumes, including a complete collection of the Doctor’s iconic costumes from 1963 to the present day, three full TARDIS sets, plus a host of costumes from evil monsters to loyal companions. Specially-created sets will allow you to discover first-hand what happens behind the scenes of the iconic television series.

It’s cheaper to book in advance online – prices start at adults £14 (£16 on the door), children 5-16 £9.75 (£11.75), family £41 (£49), or more to include a merchandise pack ticket. Under 5s are free.


World Of Boats

Heol Porth Teigr, Porth Teigr, Cardiff Bay

World Of Boats Cardiff Bay

As its name suggests, this is a celebration of all things boat-related. Visitors can see over 40 rare boats from around the world, find out more from video touch-screen, hands-on exhibit, plus observe on-going restoration projects. There’s also a café overlooking the Bay.

Adults £4.99, one child under 16 free with each paying adult, additional children £3. Open daily from 10.30am, although check in advance for seasonal variations and in case they’re moving the big boats around.


SOME EVENTS FREE Wales Millennium Centre

Bute Place, Cardiff Bay

Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff bay

Showstopping family-friendly musicals coming to the Welsh theatre venue in 2016 include Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. However, there’s plenty else on offer at Wales Millennium Centre. It’s worth checking out the free Family Saturdays arts and crafts sessions every weekend from 11am-4pm (also often held daily during the school holidays) plus the monthly toddler days during term-time. The foyer also holds a number of free performances throughout the year, as well as being home to a play space for children – this used to be an interactive area introducing children to different aspects of live performance, but is now a free Minecraft playing zone.


Cardiff International Pool

Olympian Drive, Cardiff Bay

Cardiff International Pool

A selection of twisting slides, inflatables, a lazy river and water fountains make this a fun water experience for families. There are swimming lessons every Saturday and Sunday morning, meaning the leisure pool doesn’t open until 11am at weekends. It’s also worth checking ahead on weekdays during term-time as the slides aren’t usually open.


Ice Arena Wales

Olympian Drive, Cardiff Bay

International Ice Arena

As well as being home to the Cardiff Devils ice hockey team, the newly-opened Ice Arena Wales boasts two ice rinks, with plenty of opportunities for families to take to their skates. Youngsters can even hire one of the special penguins to assist their skating. Regular family sessions include pay and play sessions for the under 5s on Tuesday mornings at 10am (£6), Thursdays is a family disco session from 5.15pm-7.15pm, while Fridays 4pm-7pm is a junior disco session (both £7.50).

Sessions including skate hire cost £9.70 (peak) or £7.70 off peak, with a family of 3 priced at £24.70, a family of 4 £33 and a family of 5 £33.


FREE Ikea – Playland Creche

Ikea Cardiff Bay

Ferry Road, Grangetown, Cardiff

Children aged 3 to 9 can stay for 45-minutes of free play, supervised by fully-trained staff, while you shop or enjoy a cuppa in the café.


Hollywood Bowl

The Red Dragon Centre, Hemingway Road, Cardiff Bay

Hollywood Bowl Cardiff Bay

Strike! Ten pin bowling is such a fun family activity for a special occasion. All lanes at Hollywood bowl have the option of bumpers at the side so your children’s bowling balls don’t fall off the edge, plus special ramps to help little ones launch the balls.

Book online for the best prices – adults from £5.59, under 16s from £4.59 and families from £18.29. You can also upgrade to a VIP lane, themed around a Hollywood legend. Also look out for Family Fun Weekends through the year (next one is 23rd-24th April), which include glow bowling, face painting, balloons and treasure hunts.

You can read more about Cardiff Mummy Says’s role as blogger ambassador for The Red Dragon Centre here, and how we got on at a family bowling session here.



Odeon Cinema

The Red Dragon Centre, Hemingway Road, Cardiff Bay


An 18-screen cinema, including IMAX, with plenty of family-friendly film screenings. There’s also free parking outside subject to minimum spend and getting your ticket validated. The 10am weekend and half term Odeon Kids showings are great value at £2.50 per person. The films are usually a few months old rather than new releases.


Cardiff International White Water

Watkiss Way, Cardiff Bay

Cardiff International White Water Cardiff Bay

The white rafting water centre offers family sessions for children aged six and over, where the water level and speed of the rapids is lowered. All coaching and specialist equipment is provided. There’s also indoor surfing for those of 107cm and above, an air trail (132cm or 107cm if accompanied by an adult) and a climbing wall (107cm).

Two-hour family rafting sessions are available on Wednesday evenings, Sunday mornings and school holidays. It costs between £22.50 and £25 per person. Canoe and kayak courses available during school holidays from £10.


Boat tours around Cardiff Bay

There are several companies which will take you on a sight-seeing boat tour around the Bay. Check individual companies via the link above for height restrictions and individual booking details.

Cardiff Bay Collage 1 with text

What else would you recommend for families to do in Cardiff Bay? Do let me know in the comments section below, by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy or on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page.

For more ideas of family-friendly events in South Wales, see the Cardiff section of Cardiff Mummy Says, or follow Cardiff Mummy Says on Instagram.

All prices are correct at the time of publication, April 2016, but are subject to change so do check ahead.


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