Cardiff, Running Guide, City Guide, Run My City, run to discover, run to explore

I haven’t actually lived in Cardiff very long. I moved here 8 months ago, and what better way to get to know a new area than to explore it through running around the city. Cardiff is the centre stage of my return to running, after 4 years out from a neurological disease. I have to say I am falling in love with the city its certainly a perfect place to run whether you like road, trail or park running.


Zoe McParlin - A State of Health 

Cardiff is the heart of welsh culture, sport and government and has been named the European city of sport twice. The atmosphere in the city centre on a rugby match day is something special. Even if you hate rugby, the atmosphere really is electric, especially due to the main stadium being in the centre of the town. It is has a very good sporting reputation for hosting world-sporting events from rugby, motor-sport, triathlons to cricket.


In 2011 National Geographic even named Cardiff the 6th in the world for tourist destinations.



Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, Running Guide, City Guide, Run My City, run to discover, run to explore
Cardiff Bay



Cardiff or Caerdydd as it is called in Welsh is the largest and capital city of Wales and is the 10th largest city in the UK.  Cardiff has a population of approximately 350,000 people and has a diverse population due to its history in trade and post war immigration.

It was only made the capital city of wales in 1955 and over the last decade has gone under significant refurbishment and development. 


More information about Cardiff

Runner's Paradise

Cardiff is a very green city there is lots of parks and it’s not far to the Brecon Beacon National Park, mountains and Valleys. Therefore there are a lot of great places to run and it offers lots of different locations for lots of different types of running.

There are two Parkruns in Cardiff that are free to enter and run every Saturday at 9am, they are both 5km in distance. The Parkruns are both very popular and there is a real sense of community and support within the Parkrun community.


Check out the website of The Running School. There you'll find detailed information about several local running clubs you can join for a run, such as Les Croupier, Nike Running Club Cardiff or the Cardiff Amateur Athletics Club, who I run for.



Cardiff is full of parks and green spaces and finding a beautiful running route isn't very difficult. My ultimate favourite is running along the bay by the waterfront or along the river. Since August, I have run easily over 500km around the streets of Cardiff and much more on the track. So let me introduce you to my favourite routes:

cardiff bay



  • Category: ROAD
  • Distance: 9.5km
  • Elevation: 63m D+
  • Duration: 50-90mins
  • Download GPS data

Bute park



  • Category: ROAD
  • Start & Finish: Cowbridge Road East/Bute Park
  • Distance: 8.4km
  • Elevation: 53m D+
  • Duration: 40-90mins
  • Download GPS data

roath park



  • Category: ROAD
  • Start & Finish: Ninian Rd/Pen-Y-Lan Rd
  • Distance: 5.4km
  • Elevation: 31m D+
  • Duration: 20-60min
  • Download GPS data


There is a selection of races in and around Cardiff from road and track events to trail, cross country and mountain running. For the full list of upcoming events visit the Welsh Athletic website.

must-see places

More information about

Cardiff castle is the in the heart of the city and is the leading city attraction. The castle was owned by the Bute Family and was home to roman soldiers and noble knights. The castle was donated to the city in 1947. The castle visit includes castle apartments, Norman medieval keep, Black tower and castle battlements. William the conqueror was imprisoned in the fort during the 13th century until his death. The House was built in the 1420s by the Earl of Warwick and later extended and refurbished by the Herbert and Bute family.  

You can go on a guided tour of the castle as an additional extra. The castle is well worth the visit and if you only have time for one attraction in Cardiff this is the one to go to. The castle often hosts events throughout the year from ghost tours, outdoor cinemas, joust competitions and educational events.


Price: £12 - adult

The Nation Museum of Wales was founded in 1905 and houses collections in archaeology, botany, art and natural history. The building used to be a part of the Cardiff Library and admission is free. The museum has a vast art collection that covers over 500 years including different paintings, drawings, sculptures and ceramics.

The museum takes you on a journey through the natural history and evolution of Wales from the big bang to the modern day. They often have different temporary exhibitions on various topics from archaeology, history and art.

The Principality or Millennium stadium has about 1.3 million visitors annually and is primarily a rugby stadium. The stadium hosts international rugby events including the Rugby World Cup, 6 Nations as well as music concerts and other major events such as six FA Cup finals. The stadium holds 53,000 people and has a retractable roof, which makes it the largest football stadium of this type. You are able to go on a tour of the stadium as well and its £12.50 for adults.

It is arguably one of the most iconic buildings of the city and it's not only located in the heart of the city but also considered by many as being the heart of the capital. The atmosphere of Cardiff due to the location and size of this stadium makes an unforgettable experience that is enjoyable even if you're not a rugby fan.

Cardiff Bay has seen significant regeneration over the last few decades, it is created by the Cardiff Barrage which looks over the Bristol channel and is supplied by two rivers the Taff and the Ely. The Bay did have tides, however, it is now controlled through several different locks.

There is a wide variety of attractions and things to do around Cardiff Bay, for example, there is the Norwegian church, Doctor Who experience, the Welsh millennium centre that showcases different shows including the Lion King, ballet, opera etc. Many restaurants and bars are located at the Bay as well and it is often very busy at weekends and evenings.

The Bay and the Barrage is the centre of one of my favourite running routes. It's where I do my long runs every week. You will often pass people on bikes or go for walks enjoying the scenery and there really is something for everyone. You can take a boat trip from the Bay doing sightseeing from the water.

St Fagans is an open air museum set in the grounds of St Fagans Castle, which is an Elizabethan manor house and open to public since 1948. It is wales' most popular attraction and is free to the public.

The museum has over forty buildings to discover including a school, mill, farm houses and chapel all set out from different periods of welsh history. They also have craftsmen in the different workshops that demonstrate traditional skills, for example, weavers, clog makers and blacksmiths. There is also livestock and farming demonstration that you can go watch.

The museum gives the perfect opportunity to step back in time and visit what life really used to be like in Wales throughout the ages. The museum is often host to different events including traditional festivals and farmers markets. 

Cardiff, Running Guide, City Guide, Run My City, run to discover, run to explore, A state of health blog, zoe mcparlin

I’m Zoe, I'm 23, a runner and chronic pain survivor. I am currently working as an osteopath in Cardiff. I started my blog as a way to share information about different conditioners as well as about my running journey.

When I was 18 I was diagnosed with a rare pain condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. I went from being our typical sporty teenager that loved running to being on crutches, having 4 operations in 4 months. I was given a 3 percent chance of ever having a normal life and I am convinced that education kick started me in the right direction. I never thought I would be able to run again and now back to running and loving every minute of it, it's becoming a real addiction. If I can achieve what I never thought was possible then why can’t you? I hope to use my medical knowledge, experience as well as the latest research to help others achieve what they never thought was possible.


Find out more about my journey on

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