Things to do in Wales for free

Must-see free Wales sights

Incredible scenery, fantastic museums and rewarding hikes - Wales is every traveller’s dream. And a lot of its attractions are all available without spending a single penny. You’re guaranteed to never be stuck for what to do in Wales for free.

  1. Explore Cardiff’s fantastic arcades
  2. Enjoy a refreshing long-distance walk in Wales
  3. Make the most of Swansea and its museums
  4. Explore the fascinating Blaenavon
  5. Enjoy a tranquil walk in the incredible St Davids
  6. Make the most of the Pembrokeshire Coast

Wales has plenty to offer. Head to vibrant Cardiff and enjoy its pretty arcades, discover Swansea for its history and trundle along the Pembrokeshire Coast. There’s plenty to like here! If you’re inspired, have a browse of our fantastic Wales holidays.

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1. Explore Cardiff’s fantastic arcades

Secreted away between The Hayes and St Mary Street and High Street in Cardiff are some half a dozen renovated arcades, a series of Victorian and Edwardian galleries where you’ll find many alluring little independent shops. Particularly impressive are the High Street and Castle arcades, packed with great clothes shops, quirky gift stores and a range of esoteric emporia where you can pick up fliers for clubs and events. A few yards further down towards Central Station is the elegant Edwardian indoor market and further still the Royal and Morgan arcades, linking St Mary Street with the lower end of The Hayes.

Best for: Window shopping

While you’re there: Bangor is a university city and so is rife with shopping opportunities too.

2. Enjoy a refreshing long-distance walk in Wales

Chepstow is the starting point for three of Wales’ most popular long-distance walks: the famous Offa’s Dyke Path, the Wye Valley Walk, and the Wales Coast Path; this path begins in Riverside Gardens, near the Old Wye Bridge, before cutting inland across fields and then meeting up with the Severn estuary. Guides and maps for all three paths can be obtained from the tourist office.

Best for: Exploring Wales by foot

While you’re there: Brecon Beacons National Park is another stunner. Trek to your heart’s content among these wild, rambling moors.

3. Make the most of Swansea and its museums

Swansea’s old South Dock features the enticingly old-fashioned Swansea Museum, whose highlight is the Cabinet of Curiosities, a roomful of glass cases stuffed with everything from offbeat household items and memento mori - miniature shrines containing photos and models of the deceased - to intriguing local photos, including several of Winston Churchill during his visit to Swansea in World War II. There’s also a marble bust of a Gower boy, Edgar Evans, who perished with Scott in Antarctica in 1912. This is one of the best free things to do in Wales for any history buffs.

Best for: Unique museum

While you’re there: Swansea’s superb National Waterfront Museum houses a breathtakingly varied set of exhibitions dealing with Wales’ history.

4. Explore the fascinating Blaenavon

Fourteen miles north of Newport, the valley of the Llwyd opens out at the airy iron and coal town of Blaenavon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A spirited and evocative place, its population today stands at around five thousand, a third of its size in the nineteenth century. Head to the Blaenavon Ironworks while you’re here. Limestone, coal and iron ore - ingredients for successful iron-smelting - were abundant locally, and the Blaenavon works was one of the largest in Britain until it closed in 1900. This remarkable site contains three of the five original Georgian blast furnaces, one with its cast house still attached, and the immense water-balance lift. Also here are the workers’ cottages, some unchanged and others converted into a museum offering a thorough picture of the process and the lifestyle that went with it.

Best for: A look back at Wales’ ironworks industry

While you’re there: A great spot in Blaenavon is the Big Put National Mining Museum. You are lowered 300ft into the labyrinth of shafts and coalfaces.

5. Enjoy a tranquil walk in the incredible St Davids

St Davids (Tyddewi) is one of the most enchanting spots in Britain. This miniature city - really just a large village - sits at Wales’ very westernmost point in bleak, treeless countryside, above its purple- and gold-flecked cathedral, the country’s spiritual heart. Supposedly founded by the Welsh patron saint himself in 550 AD, the shrine of St David has drawn pilgrims for a millennium and a half - William the Conqueror included - and by 1120, Pope Calixtus II decreed that two journeys to St Davids were the spiritual equivalent of one to Rome. Today, with so many historical sites, outdoor-pursuit centres, surf beaches, superb walks, bathing and climbing, St Davids Cathedral and its peninsula are a must-visit.

Best for: Enjoying the great outdoors

While you’re there: Guided tours of St Davids Cathedral are available.

6. Make the most of the Pembrokeshire Coast

The Pembrokeshire Coast is Britain’s only predominantly sea-based national park, hugging the rippled coast around the entire southwestern section of Wales. Established in 1952, the park is not one easily identifiable mass, rather a series of occasionally unconnected coastal and inland scenic patches. Following almost every wriggle of the coastline, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path winds 186 miles from Amroth, just east of Tenby, to its northern terminus at St Dogmael’s near Cardigan. Enjoying the Pembrokeshire Coast is one of the most rewarding free things to do in Wales.

Best for: A classic Wales attraction

While you’re there: Gower is a wonderful area for more walks with sweeping yellow bays and precipitous cliffs, with caves and blowholes.

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