Cardiff is a diverse and cosmopolitan city sandwiched between the mountains and the ocean. With over 80,000 students calling Cardiff home, the Welsh capital is a fantastic city with elite intuitions to study, an abundance of engaging activities such as art, culture, great shopping opportunities, and exciting places to visit.
The beautiful Welsh capital is the perfect place to begin exploring this amazing country. Affordable housing, excellent retail and leisure facilities, exploration of the rich and proud history and incredible places to study are just some reasons why Cardiff is a popular place to live.
The youngest European capital has garnered a reputation for being the most friendly, open and inclusive city. The big city attitude combined with a small city’s benefits makes Cardiff an ideal place to study and live. This blog will deep dive into the fun things Cardiff has to offer.
For starters, let’s explore what’s Cardiff like for students!
What is Cardiff like for students?
Cardiff has been growing its reputation for several years now as a fantastic university city. This stature has helped attract students both nationally and internationally to the Welsh capital. It was recently described as the ‘epitome of cool’ in the renowned Lonely Planet travel guide and a top travel destination by National Geographic Magazine. Students like to stick around Cardiff because it is an exciting, young, and modern European capital city.
Cardiff is an academic centre of excellence and is home to some of the most prestigious institutions with a heavy student population, meaning a hefty dose of vibrant student spirit. The city is one of the most affordable places to live for students. This added advantage makes Cardiff a brilliant place to live. Cardiff also boasts the second-lowest monthly rent of all U.K.’s university cities, which means that your student budget will go a long way.
Apart from the low prices, students won’t be short of things to do. There are vast swathes of shops, pubs, bars, restaurants and nightclubs, and other historical places and cultures to visit and explore. There are also plenty of areas for walks and picnics.
Cardiff area boasts over 330 parks and gardens, which means they have more green space per person than any other major U.K. city. In addition, Cardiff is famous for its nightlife, which is just as well, given that it has the highest concentration of pubs and bars per mile in the U.K.
Students can find accommodation in Cardiff right across the city through Meraki Student. Some favourite student areas in Cardiff are Roath and Cathays – where there are plenty of pubs, cafes, bars and shops. This area caters to every taste.
Cathays, situated in the north of the city centre, is always an excellent spot to start your property search. Other vibrant student areas include Roath and Heath are dotted with an impressive array of independent shops, sought-after eateries and popular student drinking spots.
Home to an energetic city centre, Cardiff’s students are bound to stay busy. Suppose you’re a foodie, fond of nightlife, fancy some adventure and exciting discoveries, or an ardent sports fan. In that case, it’s your time to rejoice in the thriving city of Cardiff, which is loaded with culture, sporting activity, events, historical sights and green spaces.
What is Life Like in Cardiff?
Cardiff has an excellent quality of life with a renowned international reputation, and hence, it is a popular place for both students and professionals to live. The city’s big-city attitude and its small city benefits make it the ideal place to study, work and live. It has one of the highest retention rates for people that stay on and live in Cardiff after their studies.
Cardiff is a fantastic city with a thriving city centre, beautiful buildings, bars and restaurants, shopping arcades, world-class sporting stadiums, a stunning waterfront area, and surrounded by acres of parkland. The city’s impressive range of arts, sporting and cultural venues is within easy walking distance. Cardiff packs all the benefits of a significant cosmopolitan destination into a friendly, affordable and easy to navigate space and is a great place to live.
The vibrant and friendly Welsh capital recently topped the list of the U.K’s most transport-friendly cities. Cardiff Central Train Station is in the middle of the city centre and has excellent transport links to all of the U.K. Cardiff also boasts an amazing, year-round calendar of events and culture; from theatre, comedy and concerts to music and food festivals and major sporting events.
Cardiff has great value locations that deliver fun without the high cost, making it a great place to live.
Here’s our pick of the top things for students to do in Cardiff.
When it comes to Cardiff attractions, visiting Cardiff Castle is the first thing to do in Cardiff. Wales’ top heritage attraction, Cardiff Castle, is a fortress that has dominated life in the city since the eleventh century.
The splendid Cardiff Castle is one of the best-preserved and most visited tourist attractions of the many dozens of the country’s historic castles. This 2,000-year-old Roman fortification is one of the most beautiful and romantic castles. Some of the sections in the castle date back to the 10th century.
You can either buy tickets to enter the castle and the castle museum or just enter the castle grounds for free.
After visiting its magnificent castle, head to Cardiff’s well-preserved and still bustling Victorian shopping arcades.
Cardiff city is also known as ‘The City of Arcades’ because of its beautiful Edwardian and Victorian arcades, which date back to 1885 that now house over 100 independent cafes, bars and shops, making them the top places to visit in Cardiff. The Royal Arcade, built-in 1858, is an excellent place to start exploring the 2,600 feet arcade.
These fascinating, old covered pedestrian thoroughfares dissecting the city centre were built to allow residents and visitors to enjoy shopping indoors. Make sure you visit the Castle Quarter Arcades, Morgan Arcade, and High Street Arcade as you walk through the city.
Wales Millennium Centre
Free entertainment is not to be sniffed at if you’re a student. Located on the city’s waterfront, Wales Millennium Centre is one of the U.K.’s top attractions and is home to the performing arts in Wales.
This landmark building is a constant hive of activity. It stages West End musicals, opera, ballet, circus and contemporary dance, hip-hop and stand-up comedy, art exhibitions and workshops alongside some free performances.
The fabulous music and dance events timetable at the Wales Millennium Centre is well worth visiting. Held here during the summer is the free International Food & Drink Festival.
The Wales Millennium Centre is more than just a performing arts centre. It’s set across five acres of grounds, making for a lovely place to walk around during the day.
The Clink restaurant, which is surprisingly inside a prison, has been named the best dining experience in Cardiff. The Clink is inside HMP Cardiff, a “Category B Local/Training Prison and is the first commercial restaurant to be built inside a British working prison, the only restaurant of its kind in the U.K.
The Clink employs 30 inmates, runs training restaurants in four U.K. prisons, and aims to change attitudes and transform lives through prisoner rehabilitation.
The restaurant opened in 2012 and currently employs about 30 HMP prisoners who work full-time hours as part of a rehabilitation and job-training program. After their release, the affiliated Clink Charity helps former inmates find careers in the hospitality industry.
Cardiff International White Water
The sports enthusiasts and adventure seekers, especially the water sports lovers, have plenty more fun things to do in Cardiff beyond exploring its rich history. Cardiff International White Water was originally built in 2012 for the Olympics. It is one of the coolest attractions in Cardiff and a great alternative activity if you’ve maxed out on castles, museums, and galleries!
Cardiff International White Water is open to any level and offers various experiences and programs for professional and amateur adventurers. So, if you’re a die-hard river rafter looking for a thrill, or just a beginner hoping to take your first paddles in a kayak, everyone is welcome.
One of Cardiff’s most popular outdoor activities is to take a stroll through one of the city’s many fine parks. A favourite among residents and visitors alike is Roath Park, which was established in 1894 as one of the city’s first public parks. The park stands in a beautiful location at the centre of this busy capital city – a stunning sight day and night and has maintained a unique Victorian feel.
Roath Park is a vast space, so expect to spend a few hours exploring this 130 acres of scenic green space. The local inhabitants and visitors can enjoy their leisure time in many different pursuits.
One of the most compelling destinations, Cardiff indeed has a lot to offer to fill up your spare time and ensure that you make the most of your years here. The capital of Wales provides an abundance of opportunities for students who choose to call the city home.
If you’ve planned to study in Cardiff and are still exploring student accommodation in the most desirable areas, begin your search with Meraki Student and enjoy the liveliness and diversity of the city.
Meraki showcases the best and most affordable student accommodations in Cardiff’s best locations, catering to all groups of students.