Bute Park is a major park in Cardiff. It comprises 130 acres of landscaped gardens and parkland that once formed the grounds of Cardiff Castle. The park is named after the 3rd Marquess of Bute, whose family owned the castle.
Bute Park flowers
Every year Bute park hosts events varying from small gatherings, fun runs and charity walks, to major events like the RHS Show. Whatever time of year you visit, there’s lots to discover. Here’s our top picks of the fantastic all year-round attractions.
Unrivalled in the UK for the number of rare and significant trees it contains, Bute Park’s arboretum is of national significance. Throughout the park you’ll find over 3,000 catalogued specimens, including an interesting mix of rare and ornamental trees.
From the horizontal bars to the hyperextension bench, head to the Blackfriars Friary Fitness Trail to get your pulse racing. Prefer to get on your bike? Take to the Cycle Trail to explore the park. With a Woodland Play Trail for the kids, a QR Code Trail to uncover the park’s heritage and Sculpture Trail to explore the arty side of nature, there are plenty of different routes for you to try.
The water body along the western edge of Cardiff Castle is known as the Mill Leat. A ‘leat’ is a name for a man-made water body, in this case it was created to power a mill. In the mid-19th century a dam was installed transforming the Leat into an ornamental pond and moat.
Bute Park has everything you need for a perfect day out, including plenty of excellent facilities.
Open in all seasons, 365 days a year, from 7.30am until 30 minutes before sunset, you can take a trip to the park whenever you visit the city. If you’re staying in Cardiff in the winter, a commuter access route between the Fisher’s Bridge and Millennium Bridge entrances is open until 7pm each evening. Within the park, set behind a garden wall constructed with reclaimed bricks, the Education Centre is open to the public every day, from midday to 3pm. Here you can find out more about the park, pick up maps and use the facilities which include free Wi-Fi, toilets and a baby changing space.
Across 130 acres that once formed the grounds of Cardiff Castle, you’ll find a variety of landscaped gardens, woods and parkland, as well as an Education Centre and three cafés. You can enter the park from a number of different directions, across bridges and through historic buildings. Choose from the Blackweir Bridge on the northern end of the park, the entrance in Castle Street, the Grade II listed West Lodge Gate, Fisher’s Bridge in the east, the North Road entrance by Cardiff Castle and Cardiff Bridge at the southern end of the park. Whichever bit of the city you’re coming from, you’ll find an entrance nearby.
A lot of effort has been made to make Bute Park accessible to everyone. The North Road, Sophia Gardens or Pontcanna car parks have disabled spaces and free parking with a Blue Badge. You’ll find disabled toilets in the Education Centre, set within the park. There are lots of wide, level paths throughout the park, which makes getting around easy, particularly for wheelchair users or those with limited mobility. You’ll find these hard surface paths marked on all maps throughout the park. Be sure to pick up a map from the Education Centre so you can plan the best route for your visit.
If you’re visiting with little ones, be sure to check out the Woodland Play Trail. Hidden in the woods behind the Summerhouse Café, you’ll find 11 outdoor play items that are perfect for youngsters or the young-at-heart. Two upside down trees mark the start and finish of the trail and you’ll discover plenty to keep the whole family entertained in between. Whether you’re balancing, climbing or learning about the wildlife, you’ll find fun along the way. Remember to be careful when on the trail and make sure all children are supervised so everyone stays safe.
Eating and drinking
After a busy day in the park you’ll be ready to reward yourself with some food and drink.
There are plenty of perfect picnic spots throughout the park, but if you don’t feel like bringing a basket you’ll find three great café ready to serve you. Near the Education Centre you’ll discover the Secret Garden Café. This outdoor eatery offers tasty food in a quiet courtyard area with views of climbing roses, grass lawn and the flower border. Take a trip to southern end of the park for Pettigrew Tea Rooms. This vintage-style tea room offers indulgent ‘high tea’, wonderful cake and, of course, lots of loose tea. And it’s all served in elegant surroundings with lovely views over the river Taff. Head to the Summerhouse Café for hot and cold food in a beautiful seating area overlooking the herbaceous border. If you’re visiting in summer, spice things up with some BBQ food or cool things down with an ice cream.
If you’re looking to quench your thirst with a soft drink or a cup of tea, one of Bute Park’s three cafés – the Secret Garden Café, Pettigrew Tea Rooms and Summerhouse Café – are ready to take your order. If you’d like to relax in a traditional pub after your day in the park, you’ll find lots of choice nearby. Head to the west of the park and you’ll come across Y Mochyn Du. This spacious pub sits next door to the Glamorgan cricket stadium, is decorated with sporting memorabilia and offers a great of choice of ales, lagers and ciders from Wales and around the world. If you’d prefer a more modern, buzzing bar, take a trip south of the park to The Three Rivers. Offering pub classics and bar snacks in a friendly atmosphere, with a dance floor as well as live sport on big screens, there’s something for everyone in this bar.
Near Bute Park
As the old grounds of Cardiff Castle, Bute Park is perfectly located to explore all that this great heritage spot has to offer. With Roman ruins, a medieval keep and gothic palace packed with opulent apartments, as well as the museum of Welsh soldiers, you’ll find out all about the history of the area. Follow the River Taff south and you’ll arrive at the Principality Stadium. Also known as the Millennium Stadium, this is the national stadium of Wales and home of the Welsh national rugby team, as well as being a music venue for huge artists like Madonna and Beyoncé.
Getting to Bute Park
Whether you’re travelling by car, train, bus or boat, you’ll have no trouble getting to Bute Park. And if you want to arrive at the park in style, the water bus stop is at the southern end of the park near Cardiff Bridge. The service runs to Cardiff Bay between 10am and 5pm.
There are a number of pay and display car parks available near Bute Park. The closest are in Sophia Gardens, Castle Mews and North Road. These include free disabled parking with a Blue Badge.
Located right in the centre of Cardiff city, there are several bus stops situated along Castle Street to the south of Bute Park and along North Road to its east.
If you’re arriving by train, the closest entrance is West Gate at the southern end of the park. It’s a short 10 minutes’ walk from Cardiff Central station and 15 minutes from Cardiff Queen Street.