Dark Side of Cardiff 

Free Walking Tour 

Cardiff is a young city but one steeped in history and culture. It is also a city which contains a darker edge, a hidden past and a mysterious historical underbelly. The Welsh capital has a long association with murders, slums, disease, hangings, and even ghosts.

From the age of Norman invasion, through the days of the Tudor dynasty, Cardiff may have been a small town but it was a haven for pirates and capital punishment, and the threat of danger lurked around every corner. 


The rapid growth of Cardiff across the 19th century didn't remove that reputation, despite becoming the biggest town in Wales. The success of the coal trade and the influence of the Bute family have given us the city we have today, but the changing face and rapid growth of the city came at a cost, as people lived in horrific conditions, disease and poverty were all around, and a hanging was never out of the question.

On this two hour walking tour around central Cardiff, we will discover the darker side of the city's life, and discuss the welsh capital's history of squalor, death, buccaneers, prisons and perhaps even some sea-monsters. 

On this two hour walking tour we will discuss...

  • Life in Cardiff's slums

  • The Cholera epidemic

  • Medieval humiliation in Cardiff

  • Cardiff's haunted pubs

  • Tales from the Taff river

  • Hangings at Cardiff Gaol

  • Cardiff's Graveyards

  • Wales' most notorious pirates

  • Life in Cardiff's prisons 

  • Public executions

  • Welsh Halloween traditions   

  • and much more...

St John's Church and Cardiff Market, Cardiff
Womanby Street in Cardiff

Cardiff Dark Side Tour

Starting Point 

The Cardiff Dark Side Free Walking Tour will return for Halloween 2021 at the very latest. It is now possible to reserve your place for late October, but other dates may still be added ahead of that time, and beyond. 

The Dark Side walking tour starts from the John Batchelor Statue on The Hayes in central Cardiff (the same starting location of our regular Cardiff free walking tour, & pictured below). Just look out for the green umbrella or green shirt/jacket.  

Booking is essential so please 'reserve your place' on the tour in advance. Tours are also available on request, so please feel free to get in touch to arrange a time and date.  

Children are welcome but please be aware that there will be information relating to executions, murders, hangings, death and disease across the tour. 

The John Batchelor Statue on The Hayes in Cardiff

The Dark Side of Cardiff free walking tour may have limited spaces due to Covid-19. For information regarding our social distancing measures, please read our FAQs

Like our Cardiff, Cardiff Bay and Swansea free walking tours, this tour is free to participate and payments are tips based. 

The Cardiff Dark Side Tour finishes in central Cardiff, around St. John's Church.  

Please keep in mind that this is not strictly a ghost walk or paranormal investigation. Other tours that fit that profile are available elsewhere in Cardiff. Thank you.