Counting some of the best UK universities and colleges within its periphery, it’s got a buzzing student life, with many graduates staying on to find placements after their degree. Young, fresh and funky, Cardiff also offers old school charm – just take a look around the city, and you’ll soon come across architectural treats that range from the ancient (Cardiff Castle) to the altogether more modern (The Millennium Stadium). The former was restored by the prosperous Bute family – once a run-down medieval castle, their savoir faire and sheer taste put both the city and the castle back on the map. The turn-of-century décor found within the walls is worth the ticket alone. Castell Coch is worth a day out as well, located some 3km out of the city – it looks like something out of a Terry Pratchett book.
Cardiff is a brilliant choice if you’re after a bit of greenery too, surrounded by glorious green countryside, you’re constantly close to nature. Bute Park, in the city centre, is a great place to stroll about it, or share a picnic in during the summer months. Cardiff Bay pays homage to the capital’s roots as the biggest coal port in the world, back in the Industrial Revolution age. A mixture of steel and red-bricked buildings, it’s visually stunning; make sure you allow some time to visit the Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre, so as to get to grips with the city’s history and the Bay’s development as the largest port.
The Wales Millenium Centre will be one of the first landmarks to hit you upon entering the city by train, and what a sight to behold! Opened by Her Majesty in 2004, this futuristic Arts centre holds free live performance every lunchtime, and offers theatre, dance and opera concerts throughout the year. Science and technology fanatics can head to Techniquest, holding over 160 techie exhibits to keep even the most avid scientists (or general public) entertained.
The National Museum & Gallery of Wales hold a fine collection of art through the ages, with archaeological and geological exhibitions as well, making it a prime place to visit if you’ve got some spare time. We say spare time, as many of you will no doubt want to make the most of the city’s offerings in terms of retail; Cardiff offers both high street chains and beautiful, ornate Victorian arcade shopping, so whatever your fancy or your style, you’re bound to find something to suit you here.
Being the capital of Cymru has its plus points; the city has many festivals under its belt, of which The Big Weekend, Metro Weekender and Winter Wonderland are certainly not to be missed! Eating out relatively cheaply is quite do-able, seeing as so many students populate the place. Cardiff offers some cute cafés within the shopping arcades, make sure to stop by if only to people watch! In terms of nightlife, it’s definitely the place to be, with St Mary’s Street and Mill Lane offering drinking establishments to suit all tastes. A few quieter options include The Old Arcade and the City Arms. If you fancy greenery, the Welsh, a castle and loads of greenery, this is the place for you!