Over the past few decades Cardiff, the capital of Wales, has transformed itself from a dingy industrial port city to one of Britain’s leading urban centres.
This metamorphosis was partly driven by the total architectural overhaul of the ‘Cardiff Bay’ area, once the city’s docks. It’s now an ultramodern waterfront that is home to the Welsh Assembly and the Millennium Centre arts complex. Further landmark projects in the Bay area, including the Cardiff International Sports Village, a BBC drama village and a new business district, have helped the city attract international trade, business and tourists.
Cardiff has a well-respected research University, world-class opera and theatre as well as excellent road and rail access to the beautiful walks and beaches of the Welsh countryside, including Cosmeston Country Park. Add to this its affordability – rents, food and entertainment offer good value when compared to many other major UK cities – and it’s easy to see why Cardiff is becoming an increasingly desirable place to study abroad or work abroad.
What is the Cost of One Month of Housing in Cardiff?
Between £400 a month for a shared dorm in a hostel to £1,000 for a self-contained apartment.
The good news is that, compared to many other cities in the UK, Cardiff has lots of reasonably priced accommodation with some landlords targeting the city’s large student population.
Staying in a central hostel like Nomad, 11 Howard Gardens, expect to pay around £12 for a bed in a shared dorm or £18 for a private room. AirBnB has private rooms in shared houses from £25 night. Self-contained flats are available from £250 per week. Abbey Hotel, Pontcanna, offers double rooms from £200 a week. The Gumtree website is a good place to start looking for places to stay.
Cardiff University offers spaces in its student accommodation during vacations. Single en-suite rooms are available from £30 a night. Check the universityrooms website for further details.
What is the Cost of Transportation for One Month in Cardiff?
About £120 if you are just travelling by bus within the city
Buses: Buses are the most extensive form of public transport in Cardiff. Most single fares are £1.80 with ‘short hops’ charged at £1. You can buy a ticket from the driver but make sure you have the correct money as no change is given. Travel passes work out cheaper than a single ticket to some destinations. A ‘Day To Go’ ticket is £3.60 per day or £15 a week. There are discounted fares for those under 19 years of age.
Bikes: Cardiff is a very flat city making cycling popular. The charity ‘PedalPower’ offers bike hire for £20 a day for 2 days and £10 for each day thereafter.
Trains: Cardiff Central station provides services linking the city with other parts of Wales and the rest of the UK including London and the North of England. Travel after 0930 and before 1600 to get the cheapest fares. There are also smaller stations located at Cardiff Bay and Cardiff Queen Street.
What is the Cost of Food for One Month in Cardiff?
Budget £250 for meals mostly cooked at home with the odd lunch and drinks out
Shopping in supermarkets, expect to pay just under £1 for a pint of milk, £1.20 for a loaf of bread, £6-7 for a bottle of wine and £2 for half a litre of local beer. Drinking and eating out, you will pay £2.50 for a cappuccino, £3.20 for a half litre of beer and about £15 for a 2 course meal with drinks at a mid-range restaurant, eg The Conway, 58 Conway Road, which offers a simple but tasty menu including soup from £4.50 and a range of baguettes for £5.50.
Popular pubs include The Claude Pub, Albany Road, Roath which has some excellent live music nights and The Crwys, Crwys Road, Cathays.
There are some great local fruit and vegetable stalls and markets which offer good value seasonal produce including the huge indoor Cardiff Market, Market Street. Riverside Market is held every Sunday morning on the Fitzhamon Embankment (opposite the Millennium Stadium) with stallholders selling local cheeses, meats and baked products.
What is the Cost of Entertainment for One Month in Cardiff?
Cardiff has a huge amount to offer across the whole range of leisure activities.
The Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay (nicknamed ‘The Armadillo’ due to its copper-coloured dome) hosts a wide range of concerts and performances with regular free events. If you’re a student you can join the SHIFTT scheme to get access to discounted last minute tickets.
Welsh National Opera. Wales is considered by many to be the UK ‘home of opera’ and none is more distinguished than the WNO, based at the Millennium Centre. Tickets available from £18.
The National Museum Cardiff is on the edge of the beautiful Bute Park. It’s an imposing building with different exhibitions aimed at art lovers and natural history enthusiasts. Entrance is free.
Cardiff International White Water is situated on Watkiss Way, Cardiff Bay and offers indoor surfing (from £22.50 ppn), zip line (£10 ppn) and rafting (£40 ppn). Equipment and instruction included in the prices.
The Doctor Who Experience is housed next to the BBC studios where the TV series is filmed in Port Teigr. It contains memorabilia and an ‘interactive’ adventure with the Doctor. Tickets are £14 for adults with students receiving a 20% discount.
There are many vibrant contemporary music venues including The Live Lounge, 9 The Friary, which offers student deals with reasonably priced food available.
Want to Study Abroad in Cardiff?
Cardiff University is listed amongst the top 5 UK universities for research excellence. It also has a specialist and respected course in journalism. Undergraduate course fees start from £14,000 per annum for overseas students.