Moving to Cardiff
Cardiff became the capital of Wales in 1955 and is the largest city in the country. Over a third of the country’s population live within the city limits. It is home to the National Assembly for Wales, which has been based in Cardiff Bay since it was formed in 1999 and is a popular tourist destination for its beaches and historical buildings. Along with the bordering Vale of Glamorgan, together they contribute an extremely high share of the country’s economic output.
Putting Cardiff on the Map
As the closest capital city to London, which is just a quick two-hour drive away, Cardiff is extremely accessible to England and Europe by road, air and rail. Situated on the south coast of Wales, where the River Taff meets the Severn Estuary, the city is bounded by hills to the north, east and west.
- The city suffers from traffic congestion throughout the day, but ample parking is provided in multi-storey and pay and display car parks. The Cardiff Park and Ride has services to the south, west and east of the city, with additional services available for major events.
- The bus service is the most widely used form of public transport in Cardiff, with buses running extensively through the city, and as far as Barry and Penarth. Trawscymru runs an express service between the airport and the city. Stagecoach connects Caerphilly, Tongwynlais and the Valleys. After 6.30pm on New Year’s Eve, Cardiff Bus offers a free bus services to the public. Now that’s considerate.
- Trains run from Queen Street station to Cardiff Bay, with a few stops in between. High speed train links to London and other British cities run from the main station, along with normal train services to the Vale of Glamorgan and the Valleys.
- Cycling is extremely popular in this very flat city. The Taff Trail provides traffic-free routes and there are numerous bike racks throughout the city. Pedal Power is a bike rental hub.
- Cardiff is a compact city, so walking is a good option.
- Cardiff Boat provides a waterbus service between Cardiff Bay and Bute Park.
- There is ongoing investment in road, air and rail services, including the South Wales Metro.
- Cardiff Airport, a publicly owned airport, is a 30-minute drive from the city centre. It connects directly to many European destinations and a few international cities.
With more green space per capita than any other UK city, this compact city always scores highly in the best British city to live in ratings. Plus, living expenses are up to 80% cheaper than London.
A perfect area for those needing to be at the centre of activity, Cardiff has numerous shops, clubs and restaurants. So, if you don’t mind the noise, with all the amenities within walking distance and in close proximity to the central business district, then this could be for you. Accommodation ranges from terraced and semi-detached houses and apartments, but rentals are more expensive than out in the suburbs.
The recently rejuvenated bay area has undergone more property development than the rest of the city, with newly-built luxury, modern apartments complexes, including Ferry Court – with a gym, pool and leisure centre – and Century Wharf. Cardiff Pointe is even more upmarket, with modern houses and flats along the bay, looking across Penarth Marina, along with other new developments. A large number of restaurants and trendy boutiques, the Millennium Centre, and the Red Dragon Centre makes this neighbourhood very popular with young professionals and couples.
Great beaches, lovely parks and a friendly community have all added up to Barry being voted the best place to live in Wales. Only 7 miles south-west of Cardiff, ongoing, intense regeneration has transformed this town. Boasting six Green Flag parks, including Porthkerry Park, along with Barry Island, and a number of beaches, this is an ideal location for young families. A combination of some of the best schools in Wales and new modern waterfront properties, in a growing business community with independent shops, make this area of the Vale of Glamorgan the happiest place to live in the country, with Barry the best performing local authority.
Voted one of the most fashionable places to live in the UK, Pontcanna has the feel of a village, but within the centre of the city. Popular with some of the famous rugby players, it borders Bute Park, with 130 acres of parkland, and Cooper’s Field, a popular outdoor event facility. Its leafy streets and large Victorian terraces with bay windows attract the affluent, and it is one of the most densely populated areas in the city.
THORNHILL AND LISVANE
To the extreme north of Cardiff, these are the most affluent areas in the city. A great community spirit, sports clubs, country pubs and stunning scenery, a quick 15-minute train trip into the centre make these areas extremely popular. Accommodation includes large period properties, maisonettes and flats.
The unique cul-de-sacs, designed to limit traffic, make Pontprennau very popular with families, and thousands of locals live here. The huge green areas and the large properties, which are mainly detached and semi-detached with gardens, and despite shops being few and far-between, this piece of suburbia is so close to the city that it offers convenience along with peace and quiet.
The birthplace of Roald Dahl, Llandaff fools you into thinking you are in a village, with large green spaces, good schools, the Old Bishops Palace and the Cathedral. Schools such as the Cathedral School, Howell’s School and Sixth Form College, and Hawthorn Primary make this an ideal school catchment area to live in.
Voted one of the best urban areas to live in the UK, it has an eerie past. The Road of the Dead, behind the cathedral, was actually a river where bodies where carried away. A white lady, monks, priests, a faceless man in black, and odd spirit children were all included in the tales, and the adventurous can walk the Llandaff Ghost Walk. Another famous son was Francis Lewis, who’s claim to fame was as the New York representative during the signing of the US Declaration of Independence. Dr Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood have all used the area for filming. It’s a quick stroll to the city centre, although there are more than ample shops making the area independent. The transport connections are handy and efficient.
THE ST MELLONS AREA
Starting life over 2000 years ago as a small commercial centre, with a number of coaching inns catering for travellers using the Old Roman road linking London to Cardiff, the older area is called Old St Mellons, the newer part of town just St Mellons. Much regeneration is taking place, with new developments such as Willowbrook West, and new mixed tenure homes in Clevedon Road and Braunton Crescent. Located in south-east Cardiff, on the way to Newport, the large Tesco supermarket had to ban customers from shopping in their nightclothes in 2010. There are four pubs, including The Fox and Hounds which may be the oldest pub in Cardiff. Transport links are good, with a new, privately financed station opening in 2020.
CATHAYS AND ROATH
Very popular with university students, Cathays is the closest to the campus. Roath has restaurants, bars and cafes, and is popular with young professionals, under- and post graduates and families. Roath Park, with its playground, caters for young children, and the city is a half-hour walk away.
Who Lives and Works in Cardiff
The population is estimated at 361,000, and including the Larger Urban zone, 890,000. The majority population group is white, at around 83%, followed by Asian, Black and Arabic.
The largest city in Wales and the 10th largest in Great Britain, in the 1900s Cardiff’s port was the busiest coal port in the UK. However, today it is a nucleus for white-collar professionals, with the economy based on media, tourism, retail, finance and, of course, construction is booming with the regeneration in Cardiff Bay, the city centre and many suburbs.
In terms of qualifications, Cardiff’s population outperforms UK averages convincingly, with 32% of residents having a degree or the equivalent. The population is relatively young, and there are a number of universities in the region. Population growth is so rapid that a new garden city has been proposed to accommodate the burgeoning populace.
The economy of the area makes up more than 20% of Welsh GDP, and the capital has above-average levels of employment in the financial services sector. Call centres, TV and film, and manufacturing of pharmaceutical products are all well represented. Following national trends, there is a high growth in distribution, transport, construction, banking, insurance, public administration, hotels and restaurants, communication, health and education.
Major corporations are well represented here including Legal and General, Zurich, Confused.com, the AA, British Gas, SWALEC Energy, BT, Principality Building Society, Admiral Insurance and Brains.
The Best Bits
The crime rate is relatively low compared with other major cities in the UK, living costs are lower, green areas are massive and many neighbourhoods have been voted in the top 5 of where to live in the UK. While Cardiff is a small capital city, it still offers indoor and outdoor activities for all age groups. Lonely Planet described Cardiff as the epitome of cool.
- Coastal Spots. Great beaches include Cardiff Bay, Penarth Marina, Bendricks Beach, Barry Island and Porthcawl.
- Huge parks and natural wetlands. Bute Park is the home of Cardiff Castle, with the River Taff running through the grounds. Cardiff Bay barrage is wetlands with a wealth of wildlife. The Victorian Roath Park has a lake, a lighthouse, botanic garden, café, playground, and sporting facilities. In 1897, a mole-catcher was employed to look after the city’s moles.
- Especially for nature lovers, the Taff Trails for cyclists and walkers run for 55 miles through scenic countryside
- There are two museums, one of which is The National Museum with its sublime art collection, a natural history section, geology and archaeology.
- The Wales Millennium Centre, more commonly known as the Armadillo, is ideal for a family night out.
- Previously known as the Millennium Stadium, sponsorship has renamed it the Principality Stadium. This iconic stadium is home to Welsh rugby and is flooded with fanatical supporters on match days. Expertly trained falcons are used to scare other birds away from the venue.
- Cardiff is renowned for its shopping centres, from big name brands to high street shops.
- Captain Henry Morgan was born in Cardiff in the 1600s. He is now a well-known brand of rum.
- Cardiff Castle, located in Bute Park, is an imposing gothic structure which is one of the leading heritage attractions in Wales. It dates back 2000 years and includes both a Roman fort and a Norman keep.
- Despite local beliefs, Cardiff does not have the highest rainfall in Wales, Swansea does.
Bringing the Kids
Cardiff is the ideal place to bring up children. The great outdoors and very good schools make this an enviable relocation destination. The state schools here operate on the catchment system, so it is vitally important that housing is found in the school of choice’s catchment area.
- The city is home to four universities and various colleges, evidenced by the skilled and qualified workforce.
- Two highly regarded state secondary schools, Cathays High and Cardiff High, are amongst the 15 to choose from. State schools are free of fees.
- There are over 30 state primary schools.
- There are 5 dual stream schools, teaching in both English and Welsh.
- Eight independent schools include Howell’s School (for girls) and Llandaff Cathedral School. The private schools are costly, but have a high standard of education.
- Three International Schools offer the InternationalBaccalaureate, catering for children who are either short-stay relocations or already studying in this educational stream.
Relocating to Cardiff
Wales’ capital city is a cultural centre with great schools, a good choice of accommodation and neighbourhoods, is one of the best places in the UK to live, has a vast selection of indoor and outdoor activities and a lovely coastline. The highly skilled workforce is a product of the excellent universities within the city, resulting in a thriving economy with strengths in finance, construction, media and retail. Escape from the city at weekends to the nearby Brecon Beacons, Monmouthshire, Caerphilly or one of the nearby seaside towns.
However, every relocation comes with it stresses. Employing the services of an area expert relocation specialist will help smooth the way to a successful, stress-free move for the whole family.
Average Monthly Rent - Cardiff
|1 bedroom in City Centre||£693|
|1 bedroom Outside of Centre||£529|
|3 bedrooms in City Centre||£1,192|
|3 bedrooms Outside of Centre||£875|