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Living in Cardiff

Living in Cardiff

As the Welsh capital, Cardiff plays host to a wide variety of events. From major sporting fixtures such as the UEFA Champions League Final, Six Nations Rugby, championship boxing and WWE (arriving this September), to major theatre productions, big-name touring comedy acts, and musicians. Top this off with a variety of quirkier events such as music concerts at Cardiff Castle, 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.

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“Cardiff is such a warm and lovely city. The people are nice and welcoming, and the city is so vibrant and affordable especially as a student.

My favourite thing about Cardiff is the parks. Roath Park is a gem, and Bute Park goes on for ages and is so beautiful. Picnics are so much fun!

The nightlife in Cardiff as a student is another highlight, there’s so much to do. Eating out is my favourite and due to the diverse community in the city you get to try different cuisines from all over the world.”

Esther Jibril
BA (Hons) Fashion Design

Eating Out

When it comes to food, Cardiff has options for all budgets, from big chains like Nando’s, Wahaca and Bill’s, to something fancier at the Ivy Cardiff (Ivy Asia is set to open this summer!), or smaller, more intimate independent food vendors like Brother Thai, Nook and Dusty Knuckle Pizza.

The city and surrounding neighbourhoods are teeming with 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, while Cathays boasts award-winning Indian restaurant Mint and Mustard. Meanwhile, Roath is home to the 100% vegan Anna Loka Café. You can grab perfectly brewed coffee from many of the bustling coffee shops in Pontcanna – Lufkin and Ground to name a few!

Cardiff is also home to a thriving street food scene, with dozens of independent vendors popping up in quirky venues like DEPOT – a 24,000 square-foot derelict warehouse that has been transformed into a mecca for craft beer and casual dining – or the infamous Bingo Lingo!

Cardiff Bay also welcomes the Cardiff Food and Drink Festival every summer which sees hundreds of food producers and vendors in the Roald Dahl Plass each year.


“In my opinion, Cardiff has to be the best city to live in as a student! With everything you could want from city life, you also never need to travel far to find peace and quiet and/or a beautiful hiking spot. I’ll never get tired of the picturesque landscapes or acclaimed walking routes on my doorstep.

Also, as an avid sports fan it would be remiss to overlook the electric atmosphere in the city centre on match days! Home to elite athletes from rugby to football to netball, and so on, you’ll never be at a loss for weekend plans.

Not forgetting the many bars, restaurants and entertainment venues, student life in Cardiff is second to none. From the nightlife to the rich cultural heritage, there really is something for everyone in Cardiff.”

Jaiden Denney
MSc Health Psychology


Cardiff has an incredible sporting heritage. You could spend your weekends here watching football at the Cardiff City stadium, international cricket at Sophia Gardens, 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 run every year, with a full marathon just a stone’s throw away in Newport.


Cardiff has a thriving music scene. 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 Acapela Studios, Clwb Ifor Bach and the Students’ Union bars are home to more intimate music nights. The renowned Sŵn Festival takes place every October, promoting new music coming in and out of Wales.


Located in the heart of the city centre, St David’s is Wales’s leading shopping destination, featuring retailers such as Pandora, Apple, and the largest H&M in the UK, to department stores John Lewis and Marks & Spencer. In addition to the shopping centres, Cardiff has seven Victorian and Edwardian arcades, and Cardiff Market, which offers a unique shopping experience.

Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay is the coastal corner of Wales’s capital and only a short bus or train ride from the city centre; you can even walk between the two. Formerly a thriving tidal dockland, famous for exporting Welsh coal to the world, the area is now a vibrant waterfront surrounding the shore of a stunning freshwater lake. Today, Cardiff Bay is known as a popular destination for visitors and locals alike, synonymous with entertainment, relaxation and enjoyment.


Cardiff has a certain notoriety for its nightlife and the bar scene here is nothing short of legendary. Clubbers are often found clustered around St Mary Street, just a short strut from Cardiff Central Train Station, and Greyfriars Road where you’ll find student nights at PRYZM. Those looking for a more sophisticated evening would do well to try out bars and clubs on Mill Lane or the Cocktail Quarter on High Street. Meanwhile, if you have a craving for craft ale, check out the pubs and brewers centred around Womanby Street and Church Street. A trip to Tiny Rebel brewery, just 20 minutes from the centre is a great activity for those looking to try some quirky beers!

See & Do

For live music lovers, Cardiff is home to a variety of smaller independent venues, with the Motorpoint Arena and Principality 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 many 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 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

Green Spaces

Cardiff might be a (comparatively) small city but, when it comes to green spaces, we really do go big. Bute Park (the green heart of the city), right next to Cardiff Castle, is probably the most well-known. Roath Park was one of the city’s first public parks and is famous for its 30-acre boating lake.

Adventure Seekers

Cardiff International White Water is the only facility of its kind in south Wales with great courses for rafting, tubing and stand-up paddle boarding, as well as an air trail and climbing wall. Cardiff Bay Water Activity Centre offers lessons in sailing, windsurfing, rowing and sculling, plus they also offer archery.

Beyond Cardiff

Discover Welsh history at the St Fagans Museum just outside the city centre, or if hiking is your thing a trip to Pen y Fan in Brecon is well worth a visit. Not forgetting Wales’s national coastal path that you can join by foot or bike at many points in the city to explore the stunning coastline. For the Gavin and Stacey lovers, Barry Island is a short train/car journey. Take a trip down west and enjoy popular tourist destination Tenby, enjoy some fish and chips, or head up north to see the beauty of tourist village Portmeirion and Snowdonia National Park.

Aerial view of Cardiff from bay  
Cardiff Bay Barrage  
Extreme sailing in Cardiff Bay  
Crowds in front of Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay  
Senedd building in Cardiff Bay  
Wales Millennium Centre at night  
Jogger runs past Principality Stadium  
Cyclists in Cardiff city centre  
Arcade entrance in Cardiff city centre  
Castle Quarter in Cardiff city centre  
Two people walk through Bute Park  
Crowds on grass in front of Cardiff City Hall