Cardiff - the city, Postgraduate life

Student life for postgraduates at Cardiff

If you are starting your postgraduate studies or planning to come to Cardiff to study and need some insights on what to do once you are here, take a look at what our postgraduate ambassadors recommend:

“As a city, Cardiff is close to perfect as it gets for students. Coming from a village originally, I found it large enough for everything I needed, but not so big as to be overwhelming. The close proximity of the city centre to the university means that work opportunities, shopping areas, restaurants and coffee shops are all within a fairly short walk away. For sport, Cardiff is one of the best cities in the country. I do a lot of running, and could not have asked to have come to a better place to be able to do that regularly. There are two large parks, Bute and Roath, close to the student area of the city. Cardiff Parkrun, which takes place in Bute Park weekly, is one of the most popular parkruns, regularly pulling in numbers of more than 800. There is no better motivation for getting yourself out of bed and fit than having such competition!” Andrew, MA Ancient History
“Cardiff is a great place to be a student. Although it is the capital of Wales, it is not a large city, which means most things are within walking distance. It is also very cheap by UK standards. Rent is low and so are other living costs. I also like Cardiff because of its surrounding areas. Within half an hour I could either be looking out to sea in Penarth or climbing a mountain in the valleys. The centre is very compact and filled to the brim with bars, restaurants, cafes and shops. A nice thing to do is simply walk through all the arcades and the Cardiff Market. One of my favourite places in Cardiff is an arts venue called Chapter. It has a cinema and does performances and things, but I like it mainly because of the bar area which is large and has a nice ambience. It’s also a nice place to study in the daytime. Walking or cycling along the river Taff is also a nice thing to do and you can eventually wind up at Castle Coch, a fairly like castle. I would also recommend visiting LLandaff village, which is the oldest part of Cardiff. It has a Cathedral, ruins of an old palace, and a nice quaint high street. Insole Court, a nearby mansion, has recently been renovated and is also a nice place to wander.
The Brecon Beacons are about an hour from Cardiff. There are some good mountains and waterfalls to explore. Not too far from Swansea is the Gower Peninsula, which is perhaps my favourite place in Wales. It has some glorious beaches such as Rhossili and Three Cliffs Bay and never seems to be overcrowded. Even further along the coast is Pembrokeshire which is really beautiful and there are many places in the North to visit such as Snowdonia.” David, MSc Data Science and Analytics
“Cardiff is a wonderfully vibrant city with fantastic shopping centres and a multitude of places to dine out, plus the civic centre and museum right next to the university buildings in Cathays Park. If you live and study in Cardiff there are so many great places to go; excellent Chinese restaurants in Canton, great local pubs in Cathays with a warm and friendly atmosphere, a huge cross section of live music for a host of different musical tastes plus first class entertainment venues for musicals, dramas and comedies. There are many great green spaces; Roath Park Lake is beautiful whatever the season and has been our family favourite for over thirty years offering picnic spots (ideal for studying outdoors and away from the crowds) and the all-important walk around the lake to feed the ducks and geese.
Cardiff is a mix of old and new linking history with contemporary development, thriving yet adapting to meet the needs of its population. To me Cardiff is a city that has seen it all through more than one thousand years of history but is still driving forward to make tomorrow even better.” Hayley, MA Medieval British Studies
“I live just across the Cathays-Roath border off Mackintosh Place and it is a marvellous location! A short walk to campus, with lots of weird and interesting shops nearby, a bit more cultural activity and of course the lovely park. Both areas are brilliant for student life, socially and amenity-wise! As for studying off-campus, that’s not really my cup of tea! I’m mostly in one of the libraries, as I find them calm and all my resources are at hand (I have to do an awful lot of dipping into various books briefly). Nonetheless, in warmer months I enjoy doing my reading in the War Memorial section of Cathays Park. It is my favourite place in the city. Quiet, peaceful and beautiful, time flies there and it makes dense readings a doddle.
When not studying, there is plenty I enjoy doing. I’m big into music, and there are marvellous live gigs on most weeks, as well as an incredible underground dance music scene, which I am a constant patron of! Aside from that, running in Roath Park, larking about in the beer garden of the Pen and Wig, and shopping in the numerous charity shops on Albany Road. The city is the best city in the world! It has become home.” Joseph, MA History
“The most wonderful thing about living in Cardiff is that everything is on your doorstep and you can just walk to it! In the city centre there are eight Victorian and Edwardian Arcades full of quirky shops to explore when you need to take some time off from studying. Definitely try Science Cream in the Castle Arcade, where they freeze your ice cream in liquid nitrogen in front of you. Though be careful in Troutmarks: with three floors of second hand books it can be easy to lose a few hours. If retail therapy isn’t your thing, Cardiff is full of green spaces where you can take a walk or relax, which is especially handy when most student houses don’t come with gardens. Bute Park is a fantastic place to get away from the library in summer, take your books with you and catch up on some research in the sun. For more the more adventurous there are plenty of walks and trails just outside of Cardiff, such as the Brecon Beacons. If you’ve ever fancied walking under a waterfall I’d definitely recommend the four waterfalls walk which is absolutely spectacular.
National Museum Cardiff is one of my favourite places to explore, it’s a two minute walk from the SU and free entry, so it’s great when you need a few hours to take your mind off the workload. The Davies Sisters Collection contains fifteen pieces of Monet’s work, including his waterlilies. Or St. Fagans just outside of Cardiff is like taking a step back in time. Historic buildings from all over Wales have been moved there and you can wander around them while finding out more about the history of Wales.” Morgan, MSc Conservation Practice