I’ve been living in London for the last few weeks, studying at the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as part of my elective placement. It’s been really interesting and I’ve been making the most of being here, filling my evenings and weekends with all that the city has to offer. Of course London is a place that seems to provoke a marmite sort of reaction. People either love coming to visit and can’t wait to move to there, or hate the crowds and are deterred by the inflated cost of living. I think I’ve developed a more balanced perspective. To have such a wealth of culture and things to do right on your doorstep is amazing, but when you’ve paid nearly £6 for a pint and your head is stuck in someone’s armpit on the tube home, it’s not quite so exciting.
So there have been plenty of times where my mind has wandered back across the Severn Bridge to the green green grass of home, which has led me to compile a list of all the things I think Cardiff has to offer the prospective student. I’ve had a fantastic time over the last 6 years and think it’s a great city to live and study in. It will always be the capital city for me.
Cardiff has a very active music scene, mainly centred around Womanby Street in the city centre. There’s always local bands playing throughout the week and Clwb Ifor Bach and Gwdihw are reliable venues at the weekend. There’s also Swn Festival, a music festival that take place every year across multiple venues in the city. The variety of music on offer means that there really is something for everyone.
Many would argue that Cardiff is the one true home of rugby and it’s easy to see why. Match day in the city centre has a real festival atmosphere and the opportunity to see a game at the Principality Stadium should not be missed. There’s also the Cardiff City stadium, the SWALEC cricket stadium and an international swimming pool and white water centre at Cardiff Bay. There are loads of student sport societies too, many of which you might not have had the opportunity to try before. Some of my housemates have taken up things like water polo and ultimate frisbee to name but two!
As a capital city, you’re never short of things to do. Chapter Arts Centre has a gallery, art house cinema and theatre. There’s also the Sherman Theatre and Millennium Centre, where you can usually get a good student discount on tickets to see shows. Aside from that there’s the National Museum and although it may not be top of the list for all students, on a rainy day when funds are a bit low, its free admission should be taken advantage of. Cardiff Castle is free for residents too.
Even on a student budget, the occasional bit of retail therapy is necessary. All the usual shops can be found in the St David’s Centre but more unique to Cardiff are the rows of Victorian arcades, home to lots of independent shops and cosy coffee houses. There’s also Cardiff Market where you’ll find basically anything you can think of.
5) The Surrounding Area:
If you ever feel that the need to ‘escape the city’ there’s plenty of places in South Wales to do so. Perhaps if you grew up in the area it’s not as exciting, but everyone knows that sunny days in Cardiff should always be seized upon, whether it’s walking up a nearby hill or mountain or a lazy day on the beach! Ogmore is one of my favourite beaches but Barry Island is always good fun and only a short train ride away.
This is just a small selection of what’s on offer for students living in Cardiff and discovering new things to do and places to visit is a really exciting part of moving somewhere new.