10 things to do in and around Cardiff on Saint David’s day

History of St David

On the 1st March every year marks the death of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales. He was born in Caerfai, in South West Wales in the 6th century. St David was believed to be the son of St Non and the grandson of Ceredig ap Cunedda, king of Ceredigion. He founded a Celtic monastic community in Pembrokeshire, which is where St Davids Cathedral stands today, in what is officially the smallest city in the UK.

It is believed that St David died on the 1st of March. He was canonised by Pope Callixtus in the 12th Century and we have celebrated St Davids Day ever since!

The city is set on a colourful coastline, featuring St Davids peninsula and two stunning beaches. If you want to explore St Davids, there are many tourist attractions related to the Patron saint, such as St Davids cathedral, the oriel y parc gallery, Bishop’s Palace, St Non’s chapel, the pretty cove of St Justinians, Whitesands beach, and boat trips to Ramsey Island that attract visitors from all over the world.

Traditional festivities to mark St Davids day include eating traditional Welsh food such as Welsh rarebit and wearing traditional Welsh dress. Many people wear a symbol such as the daffodil, or the leek, which is St Davids personal symbol. School children dress up and take part in school concerts or eisteddfodau.

St Davids day is not a national holiday, though there are calls to make it a recognised bank holiday in Wales. 

Alongside baking some Welshcakes and proudly donning your daffodil or leek, there are many fun things to check out in and around Cardiff, from exploring national heritage sites, to learning more about Welsh culture and history. Here’s our pick of the best!

Cardiff National Parade

The largest St Davids day parade in Wales takes place in the capital every year. The parade is a non-military celebration of Welsh heritage and culture, and creates a sense of festivity in the centre of the city. It begins by City Hall from 12pm, and the procession finishes outside St Davids Hall at around 2pm, where the national anthem is sung. Definitely worth a visit to see the Welsh themed costumes and experience the party atmosphere.

Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle is the biggest castle in Wales, built in 1268. Windsor is the only castle in the whole of Britain that is considered to be bigger. It’s massive walls, towers and six gatehouses were combined with sprawling water defences to cover 30 acres.

It is famous for it’s size, it’s large scale use of water for defense and it’s impressive leaning tower. It is also one of the mightiest medieval fortresses in Western Europe.

Caerphilly Castle host a custodian led walk and talk tour around the grounds, as well as talks about St David and card making and craft activities in the lead up to the 1st March. They also have a dragon’s lair at the castle with a 13 foot long storytelling dragon which the kids are sure to take great delight in!

Castell Coch

Castell Coch, meaning Red Castle, is said to rise up from the surrounding Forest Fawr like a vision from a fairy tale. Located above the village of Tongwynlais in South Wales, it is a 19th century Gothic Revival castle, built by John Crichton- Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute and architect, William Burges.

They used the medieval remains of the original castle, dating back to the 11th Century, as a basis for the design. The castle is now controlled by Welsh heritage agency Cadw. The surrounding Castell Coch beech woods contain rare plant species and are protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

On St Davids Day, you can hear the story of St David and enjoy some live Welsh folk music at the castle. Alongside this, there are a number of kid friendly activities taking placing from the 25th February, including face painting, daffodil making and craft and storytelling.

National Museums

There a number of fantastic museums in and around the capital city that are all a must visit on St Davids day, or any other time of the year!

You can take a walk through Welsh history at the National Museum Cardiff, in the fascinating “Evolution of Wales” gallery as well as exploring the impressive array of Welsh art they have on display.  Situated in Cathays Park, the museum is great for children too with many interactive elements to explore, including the very popular dinosaurs and woolly mammoths . You can explore 100 years of the BBC in Wales through their current BBC 100 in Wales exhibition, which showcases how broadcasting has evolved over time through technology, programmes and costumes of the past through objects and archive footage.

You can celebrate the beginning of spring at St Fagans Museum of history by welcoming the lambs being born on the farm there. The open air museum is Wales’ most popular heritage attraction and guides you on a trip through Welsh history. The museum has an array of historic buildings, including farmhouses, chapels, a castle, woolen mill and even Iron Age roundhouses, offering an insight into how Welsh people have lived and worked throughout the centuries.

The National Waterfront Museum in Swansea tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales, now and over the last 300 years. They are throwing a free St Davids day party featuring performances from the Swansea rock choir and a film screening of “Chwedl Dwr” that tells the story of forgotten fairytales from the West Wales waters.

National Trust Sites

There a number of beautiful National Trust sites around South Wales that are worth a visit on St David’s Day. Whether you want to learn more about the history of the sites, or marvel in the beauty of the Welsh countryside, there is something suitable for everyone, and all are lovely to visit with young children.

Dyffryn Gardens spans over 55 acres in the village of St Nicholas. You can enjoy the splendid Edwardian gardens and impressive Victorian mansion as well as the glasshouse home to tropical plants and cacti, and a natural playground.

Tredegar House in Newport is described as a 17th Century architectural wonder of Wales. It has a plethora of formal gardens, parkland and meadows to explore as well as a rich and interesting history of the house and it’s residents.

Lanlay Meadows is an untouched pre-war meadow in the valleys of the Vale of Glamorgan, a haven to all sorts of wildlife including kingfishers and otters. A tranquil and rural setting perfect for nature lovers and walking enthusiasts.

St Davids Day Run

The St Davids Day run takes place at Cardiff castle every year to mark St Davids day. You can choose to complete a 2km family fun run, 5km or 10km run which are all affiliated by Welsh Athletics. The race begins in the grounds of the picturesque Bute Park and passes many of the city’s landmarks. You can even choose to complete the run in St Davids Day themed fancy dress.

St Davids Hall

St Davids Hall is Cardiff’s most central concert venue and Wale’s largest performing arts venue with the most diverse artistic programmes, covering everything from classical, folk, opera and punk! It features a 2000 capacity concert hall, visually stunning auditorium and one of the best acoustics in Europe.

The venue will be hosting an evening of stirring Welsh song, with big name musicians and orchestras playing Welsh favourites. You can join the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC National Chorus of Wales for the St Davids Day: Welsh Myth and Legend – Past and Present event on the evening of the 1st March.


A fantastic way to celebrate what Wales has to offer is to explore the beauty of the stunning Welsh coastline. South Wales is home to many miles of coastal path that will reward you with breathtaking views.

Rhossili Bay Beach in Swansea has been voted as the third best beach in Europe and the ninth best in the world, and for good reason! Described as a walkers dream, at low tide, you can walk across the bay and there are many walking routes to explore. The beach is also perfect for playing beach games, and paddling, or swimming if you’re brave enough to face the cold waters at this time of year. The near by cosy cafe The Lookout is a must visit for a meal with a view.

If you wanted somewhere a little closer to Cardiff, then Penarth is ideal for an afternoon trip. It has a pebbly beach, Victorian style pier and art deco pavilion and some fantastic restaurants and cafes stocking locally sourced food.

Barry Island beach is another great choice, only 11 miles drive from Cardiff with good pubic transport links. Recognisable from the famous television series “Gavin and Stacey” you can visit many familiar locations from the show, including Gwen’s house, the arcade where Nessa works and Boofy’s, the fish and shop on the seafront – tidy!

Eating and Drinking

Visit Cardiff Bakestones in the indoor market and see the Welsh cakes made right in front of you! The family run business have been making the famous Welsh snack for over twenty years. You can try the traditional Welsh cake or discover one of the many other flavours they bake, such as chocolate, white chocolate, lemon curd, jam or coconut, as well as a vegan version.

If you fancy something savoury, then the Welsh rarebit or Welsh salt marsh lamb chop at The Potted Pig is an absolute must. Located in a former bank vault beneath the city, the restaurant is popular for it’s atmosphere and dishes made from the finest seasonal produce.

If beer is your thing then, Tiny Rebel on Westgate Street is stocked with an impressive array of Welsh beers and ciders, alongside creative burgers and live music. Tiny Rebel are a brewery from Newport and currently the youngest and only Welsh brewery to win Champion beer of Britain award.


Shop Wales situated on Castle Street is a must visit for all of your St Davids Day costumes, props and foods. The independent family run business stocks some lovely high quality gifts and homeware, perfect for treating a special Welsh person in your life.

Historical Wales, conveniently located opposite the castle, is another essential shop to visit for all your Welsh themed souvenirs, clothes and gifts.

Cardiff Indoor Market is a haven of local charm and independent retailers, selling everything from records to traditional Welsh cuisine. A thriving lively market that’s been in the same location for over 100 years.

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