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Living in Cardiff
Croeso i Caerdydd! That’s ‘Welcome to Cardiff’ for all you students from across the border. There are two universities here: Cardiff University and Cardiff Metropolitan University.
If you aren’t a Welsh speaker, not knowing the language is really no reason to be put off coming to Cardiff. All the road signs are bilingual, as are the important notices, and after a few days you’ll be so used to it you’ll forget it was ever any different.
With two universities here it's no surprise to find a competitive spirit in Cardiff. The immense Millenium Stadium is the home of the national football and rugby teams, but also hosts Boxing and indoor Rally Driving events. It may not be the prettiest track in the world, but it’s worth it to find a venue where you won’t be trouble by Wales’ notorious rain.
In its spare time the stadium doubles as a concert venue for world class music acts. It sits a street away from the central train station and is only a short bus ride from even the furthest campus. Cardiff is pretty compact so even though there are some good bus and taxi companies, for the most part everything you’ll need is within walking distance.
Just up the road from the Stadium is Cardiff castle, which every student really should visit at least once during their stay. Going up the Norman keep, the big old turret on the mound, will give you a great view not just of the site but of a good part of Cardiff as well. If you like castles there’s actually quite a few in the surrounding area, so take some time to explore. There’s also the Senedd for all you politics students. The Welsh National Assembly meets here and parts of it are open to the public, so if you’re the kind of person who wants to make a difference, this could be a great place to start.
Something else every student needs to explore is Caroline Street, also known as ‘Chip Alley’. This little road is the go-to spot for post-night-out fast food and takeaways. Knowing how to find it is a matter of basic student survival.
Don’t be surprised if you spot a TV crew wandering around the city centre. The BBC has used Cardiff as the set for a lot of shows, like the hospital drama Casualty, and the sci-fi duo of Doctor Who and Torchwood. Yes, you really can go and stand on Torchwood’s ‘Invisible Lift’ if you like. It’s in Roald Dahl Plass… Or is it?
The nearby Red Dragon Centre offer shopping, cinemas, and some slightly less geeky entertainment.
A good place to hang out if you find yourself at a loose end is Bute Park. It’s a big enough space to pack summer studying or sunbathing alongside ball games and Ultimate Frisbee. Sometimes there’ll be events or performances happening here too, including the annual fireworks display Sparks in the Park so it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Food and Drink:
- Brains: Brains isn’t a place, it’s one of Wales’ trademark beers. It was originally brewed in Cardiff itself, although you can now find it all over the country. You can’t say you’ve been to Cardiff if you’ve not tried a Brains.
- The Old Brewery Quarter: If you just can’t decide where to eat, the Old Brewery Quarter houses a wide range of popular cafes and eateries. If you still can’t decide, it also backs conveniently onto Chip Alley
- Mr G’s Soul Kitchen: This Caribbean restaurant is just by Cardiff Bay, and serves up a mouth watering menu that will fill your stomach without breaking your bank account.
- The student clubs are centred around Castle Street and Greyfriars Road. GLAM and Revolutions are chic venues for the discerning student partier, offering regular themed nights and drinks deals.
- Other clubs and bars in the town are around St Mary’s Street in Cardiff centre. Locals recommend Clwb Ifor Bach for an evening away from the classic student-style night out.
- It’s rare that you’ll need to get somewhere in central Cardiff that you can’t walk to, but if that famous rain catches you out, club together with your mates and get a lift home from Cardiff Cabs.
Read Cardiff Reviews
Again, Cardiff is known for its cheap accommodation, not only when it comes to the halls, but also the rent is in most cases reasonable. There's a lot of places where you can eat out and enjoy good food, usually for a really good price. You can either go to town where you find the most popular chains of restaurants, such as Wagamama, or stay near the campus and enjoy Hogwurst's famous milkshakes and hot dogs. If you're staying in Cathays then the number of options is overwhelming. The place is full of cheap take aways and restaurants. Nights out in Cardiff are always fun, and since the city is full of students, it is usually quite cheap to go out. With St David's Shopping cetre being 10 mins away from the main building, you get the access to the most popular shops, but also you get to go to the Arcades, where you can find more vintage shops, or just less known shops. With everything being there just a few minutes away, you don't really need to use public transport much.
5 stars for all! Everything about living in Cardiff is fantastic, it's small enough that you can walk pretty much everywhere but there are buses for when you're feeling lazy! The St David's shopping centre is HUGE and has everything you need. Their food court provides a closely grouped variety of different food options, but there are restaurants spread over the city. The club nights are fantastic with plenty of places to choose from, or if you want a more classy night you can choose to have a candlelit dinner by the Bay!
I have fallen in love with Cardiff, I graduate this summer and have decided to stay in the city to lice and work, as there is so much to do and there is something for everyone, I don't drive but it is easy to get around via public transport
Fantastic city, at first you may feel overwhelmed because of the size of it but once you have settled in for a while you will realise that it is actually quick and easy to get to many of the different parts of the town.
Cardiff is an absolutely fantastic city - coming from Manchester I was amazed about how much it had to offer. It is a compact city but has so much to do e.g cinemas , ice rinks , white water rafting and even a snow dome in the next few years ! Cardiff is also incredible for sport - every year is the 6 nations rugby which is mental and the champions league final will be held here in 2017. The nightlife speaks for itself , its unreal- its big , its crazy but its still safe! Well worth a trip to see what the city has to offer !
Cardiff is an amazing city, from the skin tingling atmosphere that game night brings, to the liberal rally's on divided social issues. You never know you may also see an impromptu marching band! The city is diverse and vibrant with a constant mellow buzz to it. However cost of living is an issue for me personally as I hail from the north where things are dirt cheap - so it does feel extortionate paying £3.79 for a korma, what's the deal cardiff?! Other than that the place is fantastic, can't get enough of it!