From Super Furry Animals to Shirley Bassey, Griff Rhys Jones to Rob Brydon, Cardiff has produced some of the brightest lights in the world of entertainment. Fancy soaking up some of that star-studded heritage for yourself? When you’re staying at one of our Cardiff hotels, you can! So check in, relax and read our guide to the best music, comedy, dance and theatre venues to help you plan what to see and where to go. You’ll never be bored in this town!
Entertainment in Cardiff
Gig-lovers in Cardiff are spoilt for choice when it comes to venues. Not only are there huge stadiums where you can rock out to some of the biggest names in pop, you’ll also find more intimate venues that let you get closer to the on-stage action. And the Premier Inn Cardiff City Centre is close to them all. Clean, comfortable and peaceful, it’s great place to drift off while you wait for the ringing in your ears to end!
Formerly the Cardiff International Arena (CIA), the Motorpoint Arena has hosted everyone from chart-toppers like Mariah Carey and Katy Perry to local opera star Katherine Jenkins - and a whole lot of fans, too. With room for up to 7,500, the Arena hosts a huge number of different stars and shows each year.
The Principality Stadium, previously known as the Wales Millennium Stadium, is the national stadium of Wales and the home of the Welsh national rugby team. As you’d expect from a venue of this size, the stadium has played host to lots of large scale events – from the Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics to top international stars, like Madonna and Beyoncé.
Housed in an old tram depot, Tramshed is a music and arts venue in west Cardiff. This large industrial space now plays host to everything from rock, punk, soul and reggae stars, to massive club nights. As well as a huge range of shows, this versatile space is also used for film screenings, food and drink festivals and even fitness classes.
There’s no better place than Cardiff to watch actors treading the boards. Each year, its theatrical calendar is packed to the brim with drama, musicals, family shows and festive pantomimes.
Opening in 2004, the Wales Millennium Centre has quickly established itself at the centre of Cardiff’s creative scene and become one of the country’s most iconic arts and cultural destinations. From its dramatic exterior, which has featured in Torchwood and Doctor Who, to the blockbuster dramas, opera, ballet and musicals you’ll find inside, the centre is well worth a visit if you’re a theatre fan. And, by booking into our Cardiff City South hotel, you’ll just be a short stroll away from all the on-stage action.
The New Theatre is a striking city centre landmark thanks to its red-brick, curved entrance topped with two small dome turrets. Since it first opened in 1906, this Victorian variety theatre has seen some of the country’s biggest names tread its boards in dramas, musicals, comedies and shows. This includes national treasures Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Vanessa Redgrave and Anthony Hopkins.
With its twin-auditorium, the Sherman Theatre is two venues in one. Inside the distinctive metal façade, you’ll find a larger main theatre, alongside the smaller studio or arena. This producing theatre has a mission to make exciting theatre by Welsh and Wales-based artists. Over the years they have developed award-winning shows which have travelled the country and beyond.
From opera to orchestra, Wales has a rich classical music scene and is well-known for producing some of the world’s best-known performers, such as Katherine Jenkins and Dame Gwyneth Jones.
Undoubtedly, the best place to see opera in Wales (and maybe even the world) has to be the Wales Millennium Centre. This state-of-the art performing arts centre in Cardiff Bay hosts many operas annually, and is home to both the Welsh National Opera and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Other world-class classical performances can be enjoyed at St David's Hall, a performing arts venue in the centre of Cardiff. But, although it’s best known for hosting the Welsh Proms, International Orchestral Series and BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, it’s not all classical in this venue. You’ll also find a calendar packed with jazz, pop, dance, musicals and light entertainment.
Since hosting the Olympic football during the 2012 games, Cardiff has built up a reputation as a sporting capital thanks to its fantastic facilities and excellent events. With world famous stadiums for rugby, football, cricket and athletics, Cardiff has everything ready and waiting to give sports fans something to cheer about.
Home to Cardiff City Football Club and the Wales national football team, you’ll find plenty of top notch sporting facilities at Cardiff City FC. Hosting over 30,000 cheering fans, you’ll find an electric atmosphere if you decide to take a trip on match day. If you’d rather explore the stadium when it’s slightly quieter, go behind the scenes with a tour. Follow in the footsteps of your sporting heroes by going pitch-side, visiting the dugout and even taking a seat in the changing rooms.
The undisputed national game of Wales, catching a rugby match is a must-do for any sports fan visiting the Welsh capital. Cardiff Arms Park, also known as The Arms Park, has been home to the Cardiff Blues since a stadium was first built on the grounds in the late 1800s. As one of the few professional rugby teams and winners of the Anglo-Welsh Cup and the European Challenge Cup, you definitely won’t be disappointed with this team.
Previously known as Sophia Gardens, the SSE SWALEC is famous for hosting some of sport’s most prestigious contests. Whether you’re visiting for a test match, a county cricket game or an evening of t20, you’ll get a warm welcome at this stadium. Home to Glamorgan County Cricket Club since the sixties, take a tour of the stadium and explore its history through some fascinating memorabilia and players’ stories, as well as seeing behind the scenes in the hospitality area.
Cardiff has a cracking line-up of shows, events and festivals on offer, whether you like to party, sample local produce or curl up with a good book.
Every August Bank Holiday weekend, Cardiff celebrates its LGBTQ+ community by hosting a three-day Pride Big Weekend. Whether you’re taking part in the carnival of colour that is the Pride parade or joining the revellers enjoying the funfair rides and some of the UK’s biggest names in music on the City Hall Lawn, you’ll find a great atmosphere. Plus there's a welcoming crowd of more than 200,000 people all partying together in Cardiff.
The biggest free food festival in Wales takes place every July in Cardiff Bay. Over 100 local, national and international producers descend on the city to show off their incredible range of independent, artisan wares in the annual Food and Drink Festival. Explore the stalls in the Producers’ Fayre, try out delicious samples and buy a variety of food and drink from the Farmers’ Market. Still feeling peckish? The Street Food Piazza cooks up a riot of tasty treats for you to tuck into.
Launching in 2016 with a dream line-up covering fiction, sport, history and current affairs, Cardiff Book Festival is a must for literary lovers. Taking place at the end of October in venues across Cardiff, including Central Library, Yr Hen Lyfrgell and the Angel Hotel, this festival gives you a chance to see a different side of the city. Previous highlights include a Roald Dahl walking tour and a panel discussion of one of Agatha’s Christie’s best loved characters, Poirot.
The country that gave us Rob Brydon and Rhod Gilbert, Wales takes its comedy very seriously indeed - and Cardiff is the best place to see it in. While huge headliners such as Jimmy Carr and Chris Rock can be seen at places such as the Motorpoint Arena, there are still plenty of great venues if you prefer a more intimate setting to see your favourite funny performers.
Opened in 2001 in the buzzing surroundings of Cardiff Bay, with its array of bars and restaurants, the Glee Club is the perfect place to see the best comedians, music and spoken word performances. Previous acts on the bill here include comedians like Michael McIntyre, Alan Carr, Sarah Millican, Jack Whitehall and music acts like Laura Marling, Cerys Matthews, Gruff Rhys and The Staves.
Often voted one of the best places to drink in Wales, Porter’s is a bar and much more. This lively venue has something different on every evening. From comedy and quizzes to open mic and bandaoke, you’ll find something to watch every day of the week. And if you get bored of the show, there’s even a crazy golf course to keep you entertained!