Student City guide: Cardiff

What’s the big draw?

The Welsh capital is a cheap and cheerful place to visit. There are often good alternative music nights and festivals like Sŵn, which has previously hosted Beirut, The Cribs and Alt J among others. Cardiff is small enough that the majority of clubs and bars are within walking distance of each other but big enough to still feel like you’re in a major city. 

What’s the night-life like? (gigs, bars, clubs)

Putting aside the standard Oceana and Revs, Cardiff is home to a series of independent clubs and bars. Clwb Ifor Bach, or the Welsh Club as it is fondly known, holds Aperture Dubstep nights on a Friday, indie music on Saturdays and a variety of gigs throughout the year. Bands that have played there include Pavement, Blood Red Shoes and Foals.

Opposite Clwb is the Full Moon Club, which opened two years ago. As well as hosting bands and regular club nights, it also does an open mic night called ‘The Electric Cwtch’. For those in search of a double and mixer for under £2, look no further than Metros. The rock metal club, also known as ‘Sweatros’, stays open until 4am and hands out free slices of buttered toast as it reaches the end of the night.

If you’re feeling slightly classier, head to Buffalo Bar or 10 Feet Tall for some 2-4-1 cocktails. The basement of 10 Feet Tall, Undertone, features the 90s Hip Hop and RnB night, Bump & Grind.

What can you do in the day? (cafes, restaurants, shops and facilities)

Now that Cardiff City Football Club is in the Premiership, sports fans may enjoy going to watch their matches at Ninian Park football ground. The Millennium Stadium in the city centre is also worth a visit, though it can get unbearably crowded when the rugby is on.

There are lots of little arcades in the city with independent stores and restaurants, such as Restaurant Minuet in Castle Arcade, which used to be owned by the cheery Marcello who sang along to opera CDs while preparing your Penne all’Arrabiata. In Morgan Arcade, you can find Spillers Records, the oldest record shop in the world, where you can purchase tickets for concerts in the city.

For shopping, check out the Cardiff Fashion Quarter in Womanby Street, home to twenty independent traders of vintage clothes and handmade gifts. In Cathays, Milgi Lounge is the perfect place to go for lunch with friends. It has vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, and cutesy, kitsch indoor decorations. You can also rent out the yurt in the heated garden for private parties.


Where’s the best place for to live?

Roath is about a fifteen minute walk from the centre of town and even has a park with a lake that you can go boating in. Although there are a lot of large family houses on one side of it, the other side, next to Cathays, is full of students and has variety of pubs, shops and cafes.

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