On a mission to put science at the heart of Welsh culture, Techniquest is the UK’s longest-established science centre. Packed with more than 120 exciting exhibits, not to mention a super Science Theatre and Planetarium, you’ll find lots of family friendly fun on offer at this museum. Founded in 1986, by Professor John Beetlestone and his colleagues from Cardiff University, Techniquest was first located near Cardiff Castle but after a couple of successful years it moved to a bigger and better site in Cardiff Bay. From the very beginning this centre has pushed the boundaries with its interactive exhibits which are designed and built in Cardiff. They’re so good that they even get sold and transported to science centres around the world.
Try your hand at some mind-boggling experiments, uncover the technology behind some engineering wonders, take a trip into space and get up close with distant galaxies - at Techniquest you can discover all this and much more. On a quest to find out more about this spectacular science centre? You’ve come to the right place. Get the lowdown with our guide to one of Cardiff’s top attractions. And don’t forget, there’s a Premier Inn just around the corner ready to welcome you and help get your scientific discoveries off to a great start.
With a regular roster of permanent exhibitions, as well as plenty of new shows and experiments on offer, a trip to Techniquest always offers something to amaze. Want to find out what’s on? Here are our top picks.
The Big Machine
The largest exhibit that has ever been installed at Techniquest, The Big Machine is a unique hands-on opportunity to discover more about engineering. You’ll work as a team with other visitors to operate an Archimedes screw, rotating a giant wheel, hoisting winches, moving conveyor belts, to name just a few of the activities.
See the stars as never before as you take a journey through space and get a close-up look at distant galaxies, fantastic planets and cool constellations in Wales’ only digital Planetarium. These fascinating presenter-led shows offer a chance to discover the amazing stories behind familiar night sky sights.
Science Theatre shows
Every season you’ll find a different show on in Techniquest’s Science Theatre offering daring demonstrations and exciting experiments. Recent shows have included Air-Mazing, which explore what different gases make up the atmosphere and what they can do, and Splendiferous Science celebrating 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl with spectacular experiments inspired by the work of the Cardiff-born author.
Since Techniquest first opened over 4 million people have spent fun-packed days at the centre. So, what should you expect on your visit. Read about the facilities on offer and other important information here.
Welcoming visitors throughout the year, Techniquest is open 10am to 5pm on weekends and bank holidays, and seven days a week during local school holidays. At all other times, the centre opens from 9.30am to 4.30pm between Tuesday to Friday during local school term time. The only other days Techniquest is closed is on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
As the centre is under cover you won’t need to worry about the weather, but during peak times it can be popular. Be aware that the queue to get in may extend outside the building. Once you’re inside and have your Techniquest wristband, you’re free to come and go all day. Why not pop out and explore Cardiff Bay, have a spot of food and make a real day of it?
If you have any questions, you can contact the centre on 029 2047 5475.
Techniquest offers interactive experiences that are accessible to all. The centre has disabled parking and easy wheelchair access, including a lift to all parts of the building, as well as a disabled toilet on each floor. There’s also a limited number of wheelchairs that can be borrowed. In the Science Theatre and Planetarium there is a hearing loop system to help those who use a hearing aid or loop listener. And don’t forget, all essential carers of disabled visitors get free admission to the centre.
A small number of Techniquest exhibits are not suitable for use by anyone with a pacemaker or other implanted medical device. These are indicated by a warning symbol on the exhibit label. Staff are on hand with a warm welcome and to offer assistance to visitors. If you want to chat about anything before your visit, you can contact them on 029 2047 5475.
If you’re visiting Cardiff with little ones you’ll find plenty of special events designed to keep them busy. Once a month during term time, Techniquest has a themed Toddler Day where pre-school children have their run of all the exhibits and can enjoy special activities. If your children are in the Brownies, Beavers or Cubs, be sure to check out the special evenings run twice a month. From stargazing to astronomy, these after hours events offer activities specially designed to complete certain badges.
Eating and Drinking
Situated in the bustling Cardiff Bay area, you’ll find plenty of food and drink options in and around the centre.
If you want to make the most of your day in Techniquest, why not grab some quick food in the café, where you’ll find a selection of sandwiches, crisps, chocolate, sweets, hot and cold drinks. If you’d prefer to bring your own food, you’re welcomed to bring it into the centre or have a picnic on the benches outside. As your wristband lets you in and out of Techniquest all day, why not explore the many eateries in the Cardiff Bay area. Bayside Brasserie offers a choice of seating indoor and outside all with a perfect view over the bay so you can watch the sunset while you enjoy some delicious classic seafood and meat dishes.
Need a break to refuel from all those exciting experiments? Techniquest’s café offers a range of teas and coffees, as well as plenty of cold, soft drinks. If you’re heading out of the centre for a drink, you’ll find lots of bars nearby. Take a stroll to the edge of the waterfront at Cardiff Bay and you’ll find The Dock. Buy a glass of wine or some large sharing cocktails and while away the hours taking in the view of the bay. Take a trip to the nearby Wales Millennium Centre and you’ll find a choice of three bars. Head to level 4 for Horizons bar which has windows that not only offer a great view, but form the wonderful lettering on the façade of the building.
With hundreds of years of history as a busy hub of industry, Cardiff’s docklands have been transformed into the city’s go-to tourist destination. Head to Cardiff Bay and you’ll find everything from an entertainment complex and comedy club to craft workshops, museums and galleries, as well as the Welsh Assembly Government’s debating chamber.
Take a walk to the north east of Techniquest and you’ll arrive at the Wales Millennium Centre. With a wide range of performances, events and exhibitions, the centre has quickly established a reputation as one of the world’s iconic arts and cultural destinations. With everything from blockbuster West End musicals to opera and ballet, as well as music, contemporary dance, stand up comedy, art exhibitions and workshops. There’s something for everyone here.
Getting to Techniquest
Sitting on the edge of bustling Cardiff Bay, you’ll find plenty of transport options near Techniquest.
If you’re driving to Techniquest, the Q-Park car park on Pierhead Street is an 8 minute walk away. Open 24 hours and with over 1,000 spaces, you can pre-book your parking and receive a 15% discount.
If you’re getting the bus from the town centre take the Cardiff Baycar shuttle (route 6) from Cardiff Central Station. The bus runs every 10 minutes and the journey takes just 8 minutes to arrive in the bay.
If you’re getting the train to the centre, the nearest station is Cardiff Bay. Exit the station onto Bute Street, bear right onto New George Street and then Stuart Street and you’ll arrive at Techniquest in around 8 minutes.