Wales for Free
Great things to do in Wales that are free!
The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
The National Library of Wales, one of Wales’s foremost cultural centres, welcomes readers and visitors to use its collections and view the numerous exhibitions. An interesting programme of films, lectures and presentations is regularly held in the Drwm, its 100-seater auditorium. Pen Dinas restaurant offers good meals at reasonable prices. The Library shop stocks a range of books, CDs and gifts. Organised tours of the Library building are available on request.
Markets in Wales
Each town and village has its own traditional street market. Look out also for the Farmers markets where you can really enjoy the true taste of Welsh Food. There are weekly, fortnightly and monthly markets with their particular characteristics and local flavours. Seasonal vegetables, often harvested on that morning, are a regular feature as is the best of Welsh cheese, poultry, fresh meat and meat products. Pick up a recipe or two and buy the produce – fresh from the farm!
The Great Outdoors
Wales has many country parks, nature reserves, forests, beaches, walking and cycling trails. With three National Parks and five areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Wales invites you to be active and play or simply to relax amongst stunning scenery.
Male Voice Choir Rehearsals
Wherever you stay in Wales, you’ll be able to find a local male voice choir at practice. You are welcome to listen to their rehearsals – and join them later in the bar or down the pub!
There’s no shortage of individual craft makers around Wales, be they potters, artists or wood carvers. Rhuthin Craft centre, Afonwen Craft &; Antique Craft Centre, Beacons Craft, Model House Llantrisant, Craft in the Bay, Cardiff, Oriel Myrddin, Carmarthen, Aberaeron Craft Centre – so many to choose from.
Cardiff Summer Festival (June to August annually)
Cardiff Festival is the UK’s largest free outdoor festival – at its heart the very best of street theatre, live music, youth and children’s entertainment, funfairs and drama.
The Big Cheese Festival, Caerphilly (July annually)
Set in the shadows of one of Europe's largest Castles, the town of Caerphilly comes to life as people of all ages come to The Big Cheese, an extravaganza of street entertainers, living history encampments, music, dance, traditional funfair, folk dancing, falconry, fire eating, minstrels, troubadours and much more. Portraying the history, heritage and culture of the area, people flock to Caerphilly to experience this fun filled programme of activities and entertainment.
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
Wales Millennium Centre is a vibrant, living centre with activity throughout the day and into the night. It is a place to browse, relax and soak up the atmosphere. You can listen to free music over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, visit the hands-on interactive gallery, or join in with one of the wide range of creative workshops. Drop into the Glanfa for free performances on Tesco stage. Visit arts Explorer, the hands-on interactive gallery on a performing arts theme. Spend time on the Glanfa upper levels, looking at Visual art.
Cardiff Mardi Gras (annually around September)
The Cardiff Wales Mardi Gras welcomes people from all walks of life regardless of age, gender, colour or sexuality. Whether you’re a family of four on a day out or Cymru’s Campest Carnival Queen – there’s something for everyone.
- The Senedd, Cardiff Bay
The Senedd is the Welsh Assembly's debating chamber which opened on 1st March 2006. It's an impressive sight, designed by one of the world's leading architects, Lord Richard Rogers. The building with its unmistakeable undulating roof and open design was conceived on the main principle of energy conservation. Incorporated in the design are renewable energy system and recycling features. Free guided tours are available.
- The Cathedrals of Wales
Nestling in a hollow in Britain's smallest city is the magnificent St Davids Cathedral. Don't miss the beautiful carved ceiling of Irish Oak which spreads like an exquisite lace canopy over the interior. Cardiff, boasts Llandaff Cathedral and in North Wales you'll find St Asaph's Cathedral - the venue for the North Wales Music Festival.
Note: Some Cathedrals now charge for group visits with guides so pease check with each Dean individually.
Cathedrals, Churches and Chapels Factfile
- Margam Country Park, Port Talbot
Set in 1000 acres of glorious parklands, Margam Country Park offers beauty, history, wildlife and a wide range of facilities to make it one of the best days out in Wales for all the family. It has surprises around every corner, from the magnificent 18th century Orangery, and impressive Tudor-Gothic style victorian Mansion House, a 12th century Chapter House, to the unique Fuschia Collection and the newly restored historic gardens around the Castle, the Monastic Gardens and Orangery Terrace.
- Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea
The Dylan Thomas Centre has a permanent exhibition on Dylan Thomas and his life, as well as a shop filled with books, posters and memorabilia. The Centre is also home to the Ty Llen literature programme, which puts on many literature events throughout the year, including the annual Dylan Thomas Festival during October and November.
- The Egypt Centre
This is a small Museum, specialising in Egyptian antiquities. There are over 5,000 items in the collection. They offer one hour guided tours set over two rooms in various languages. They can accommodate coaches at the University. There is a lift to both floors and the Museum, Cafe and WCs are all fully accessible.
- Trefriw Woollen Mill, North Wales
Manufacturers of traditional Welsh bedspreads, tapestries and tweeds. Visitors can take a tour of the working mill museum and turbine house. Hand spinning demonstrations are available in the summer season. Shop and tea-room on-site.
- Cadw properties
CADW is the Welsh Government’s historic environment service. Conserving Welsh history and helping people to understand and care about their history. CADW sites include historic buildings, ancient monuments, historic parks and gardens, landscapes and underwater archaeology. Some Cadw sites including Llanthony Priory, Llansteffan Castle, St Non's Chapel and many more are unstaffed and free entry generally between 10am-4pm. For a list of free entry sites click here. Note that some sites are staffed part year and charged as indicated. www.cadw.gov.wales
- Cyfarthfa Castle, Merthyr Tydfil
Once a Regency mansion owned by the Crawshay family, the castle now houses a museum and art gallery. There's lots of fine and decorative art to admire in the Regency rooms and visitors can discover local and industrial history in the atmospheric basement. The Tea Room retains a Victorian flavour whilst also providing traditional Welsh food.
- Winding House, New Tredegar
The Winding House is housed in the former colliery building that was originally part of the Elliot Colliery. It tells the history of Caerphilly County Borough and visitors can explore the exhibitions, research family history and discover the Victorian winding engine. The Winding house offers a varied events programme including walks, talks, family fun days, crafts and story telling. For groups of 15+ tours are available on request - there is a small charge for this. A museum shop and cafe can be found in the glazed atrium.
National Museum Wales
National Museum Wales consists of 7 museums across Wales, all are free entry:
- National Museum Cardiff
No other British museum offers such a dazzling range of displays on art, natural history and science as you find gathered under one roof at the National Museum Cardiff. The collection of Impressionist paintings is especially impressive!
- St Fagans Natural History Museum, South Wales
This is one of Europe's biggest and most exciting open-air museums. Centuries of Wales' tradition, culture, industry and costume are gathered together in a hundred acres of beautiful countryside. The National History Musuem gives you the chance to travel from the Celtic village of 2,000 years ago to a miner's cottage of the 1980's.
- Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenavon , South Wales
Winner of the prestigious Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year in 2005, Big Pit is a real coal mine which educates and entertains all ages. Most recently, winner of the 'Sense of Place' award in the National Tourism Awards for Wales 2010.
- National Wool Museum, Drefach Velindre, South Wales
The National Wool Museum re-opened in 2004 following major re-development. Discover why Drefach Felindre was once the centre of a thriving woollen industry in Wales.
- National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, South Wales
The National Waterfront Museum is designed to celebrate Welsh history, culture and achievement and to tell the story of Wales' industrial and maritime heritage and its role in shaping today's economy and society.
- National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, South Wales
Today at the Roman Legionary Museum Caerleon, you can learn what made the Romans a formidable force and how life wouldn't be the same without them.
- National Slate Museum, Llanberis, North Wales
The National Slate Museum is a working piece of history. The story of slate is told within the Victorian workshops where most of the machinery and plant is preserved in its original condition and skilled craftsmen demonstrate traditional skills of splitting and dressing slate every day