Cardiff has been named the
most cost-effective student city in the UK 2017 by the Natwest Student Living Index 2017 and 16th in the UK for the
best nightlife by the Which University Student Survey.
As the Welsh capital, Cardiff boasts an excellent year-round calendar of events, hosting major sporting events like the recent UEFA Champions League Final, heavyweight championship boxing and annual six nations fixtures, major theatre productions, and big-name touring comedy acts and musicians. Top this off with a variety of quirkier events like street food festivals, pop-ups, and secret cinemas, and you’ll find that there’s always something different to do here.
Cardiff’s big city attitude combined with its small city benefits make it the ideal place to live, work and study.
Student Blogs - Living in Cardiff
When it comes to food, Cardiff has persuaded famous chains like Wahaca and Shake Shack (allegedly President Obama’s favourite burger bar) to ditch bigger cities like Liverpool, Bristol and Manchester and open their first restaurants outside London in the Welsh capital.
If big name chains aren’t your thing, the city is teeming with independent restaurants and takeaways. The Canton, Cathays and Roath areas can cater for anything from a fiendish falafel craving to a deep desire for duck pancakes. For example, Canton’s Dusty Knuckle Pizza has been rated among the UK’s top 25 pizzerias by the Sunday Times, while Cathays boasts award-winning high-end Indian restaurant Mint and Mustard. Meanwhile, Roath is home to the 100% vegan Ana Loka Café Bar – named number one Cardiff restaurant in 2016 by Wales’ national newspaper The Western Mail. Cardiff is also home to a thriving Street Food scene, with dozens of independent vendors popping up in quirky venues like The DEPOT - a 24,000 square-foot derelict warehouse that has been transformed in to a mecca for craft beer and casual dining.
The city also hosts a major international food festival that takes place in Cardiff Bay every summer, as well as the annual Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival and the Cardiff Brewfest craft beer event.
Cardiff has an incredible sporting heritage. You could spend your weekends here watching football at the Cardiff City stadium, international cricket at the SSE SWALEC, ice hockey with the Cardiff Devils in Cardiff Bay and of course,
international rugby at the Principality Stadium. If you’re into mass participation or non-competitive sporting events, the Cardiff 10k and Cardiff Half Marathon are gaining popularity every year, with a new full Marathon planned for 2018. The UK’s only Velothon has also become an annual highlight, welcoming more than 10,000 cyclists to Cardiff to tackle a 140km, traffic-free route through South Wales.
For music lovers, Cardiff has a thriving scene and is one of the best places to live in Wales and the UK. The Motorpoint Arena, Principality Stadium and St David's Hall host all the big-name tours, while medium sized venues like Tramshed and The Globe host a range of artists.
Smaller independent venues like Clwb Ifor Bach, The Moon, Gwdihw and the Student's Union bars are home to more intimate music nights. The renowned Swn Festival takes place every October, promoting new music coming in and out of Wales.
Cardiff has been named 16th in the UK for best nightlife by the
Which University Student Survey. The traditional student areas of Cardiff are found in the suburbs of Roath and Cathays, where there are plenty of pubs, cafes, bars and shops to cater for your every need. Whether you’re looking to watch sport on a big screen with a cheap meal and a drink, or prefer cocktails in a trendy bar and some live music, these areas have something to suit any taste. In the city centre, traditional pubs and craft beer bars sit alongside the larger nightclubs which all host weekly student themed nights and offers, whilst Mill Lane is popular for its stylish cocktail bar scene.
For live music lovers, Cardiff is home to a variety of smaller independent venues, with the Motorpoint Arena and the recently renamed Principality Stadium (prev. Millennium Stadium) playing host to big-name bands and artists. St David’s Hall in the city centre and The Glee Club in Cardiff Bay are great venues for live comedy, and if film is your thing, Cardiff is home to four multiplex movie theatres, and a handful of pop-up cinemas which hold screenings in unlikely venues like Cardiff Castle and even rooftops and basements around the city. For drama and musical fans, the iconic Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay is a world-famous theatre and arts venue, and at the awardwinning Chapter Arts Centre in Canton you’ll find a cinema, contemporary theatre, bar and café all rolled in to one.
Adventures - In the city and beyond
For those seeking adventure within the city, there are plenty of options indoors, including climbing, white-water rafting, ice-skating or swimming in a state-of-the-art Olympic sized pool. But Cardiff also has to be one of the UK’s best-placed cities for easy access to great outdoors. You can enjoy surfing, coasteering or simply sunbathing at world-class beaches, or head to the Brecon Beacons National Park for biking, hiking or horse riding - all within an hour’s drive from the city centre.
student blogger Hannah Soltys and friends got up to one sunny weekend in Cardiff and Barry Island: