Student life in Cardiff

The city-region is an academic centre of excellence with over 86,000 students


Cardiff is the capital of Wales and the focal point for devolved Government and decision-making. It is at the heart of a city-region of 1.4 million people and recently topped the list of the UK’s most transport-friendly cities.

The city-region is an academic centre of excellence with over 65,000 under-graduate students, 12,000 post-graduate students, 6,000 overseas students from over 100 countries across the world,  three major universities.

When Cardiff students graduate, they like to stick around. That’s because Cardiff is a growing, exciting, young city. Employers know it, too. That’s why they look to the city to recruit the best graduates.


Cardiff is an exciting, modern European capital city, which punches well above its weight for its size. The city was recently described as the ‘epitome of cool’ in the renowned Lonely Planet travel guide and as a top travel destination by National Geographic Magazine.

As one of Europe’s youngest capitals, it packs all the benefits of a major cosmopolitan destination into a friendly, affordable and easy to navigate space and is a great place to live as a student.

An impressive civic centre with wonderful buildings, including the National Museum of Wales is surrounded by acres of parkland, a thriving city centre, a brand new shopping and entertainment centre and Victorian boutique shopping arcades, world-class sporting stadiums, and a lively Cafe Quarter which stretches down to a stunning waterfront area with bars and restaurants at Cardiff Bay.

As the Welsh capital, Cardiff boasts an excellent, year-round calendar of events and culture; from theatre, comedy and concerts to music and food festivals and major sporting events.

Its big city attitude combined with a small city’s benefits makes Cardiff the ideal place to spend your university years.

Traditional student areas in Cardiff are Roath and Cathays – where there are plenty of pubs, cafes, bars and shops. Whether you’re looking to watch sport on a big screen with a cheap meal and a drink, or prefer cocktails in a trendy cafe with live music, this is an area which caters for every taste.

Social Scene

In the city centre, pubs and bars sit alongside super-clubs which all host weekly student nights and drinks offers. Cardiff’s ‘Cafe Quarter’ on Mill Lane is popular for its stylish late-night bar and restaurant scene.

Whether tapas, fajitas, steak, sushi or a full Welsh breakfast is your thing, you won’t struggle to find something good to eat in Cardiff. From waterside fine dining in Cardiff Bay, to independent cafes and restaurants in Roath and Cathays, Cardiff is a great, affordable city to enjoy eating out. Cardiff is also home to a major international food festival every summer in Cardiff Bay.

For music lovers, Cardiff has a thriving scene. The Motorpoint Arena and Millennium Stadium host all the big-name tours, while smaller independent venues like Clwb Ifor Bach 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.

St David’s Hall in the city centre and the Glee Club in Cardiff Bay are both great venues for live comedy, and if film is your thing, Cardiff is home to 3 mulitplex cinemas as well as a fantastic independent cinema with bar and cafe at the award-winning Chapter Arts Centre.

Beyond the City 

Cardiff has to be one of the UK’s best-placed cities for outdoor activities. With Wales’ coastline being named as ‘the greatest region on earth to visit in 2012’ by travellers’ bible Lonely Planet, Cardiff students can enjoy surfing, sailing or sunbathing at world-class beaches within an hour’s drive from the city.

In-land, the Brecon Beacons are stunning areas for mountain biking, hiking or horse riding and again are only a short distance from the city itself. Indoor climbing centres, white water rafting and ice skating are also all possible in the city.

Cardiff is also home to an excellent selection of sporting events, from international cricket at the SWALEC stadium, to rugby and football at the Millennium Stadium and Cardiff City Stadium, as well as the annual Speedway motorsport and Wales GB Rally.