Cardiff City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 17, 2008

belfastimage200Almost all of the adjectives commonly used to describe the major cities of the world have been attributed to Cardiff at one time or another, and as much as it pains us to use them again, words such as “unique”, “distinctive”, “charming”, “vibrant”, and “exciting” are really the only ways one can describe this amazing city. The good news is that Cardiff does indeed live up to the hype, and even a few days visit will convince you of that.

The city of Cardiff is part of the Eurocities network of cities. It is located in the county town of Glamorgan.

This capital of Wales has recently entered a period of new growth and development that is set to make an already excellent city even more remarkable. The city has so many things to do and sights to see that it would be impossible to experience them all…although you will certainly have fun trying! From playing sports to dining, from bar hopping to exploring the city’s many cultural attractions, everything you could possibly feel like doing, you can do in Cardiff.

Residential Places in Cardiff

When looking around for residential property in Cardiff, you have a choice of living in the Bay area, the East side, or the West side of the city, these latter two areas being separated by the river Taff. The residents of these three districts will all tell you that where they are is the place to live in Cardiff, but all three are generally good choices for residential neighborhoods, and you certainly have a lot of affordable choices for housing in whichever area you eventually decide on. This is often in the minds of returnees to the country, as indicated by an expat in the Britain Expat Forum last September 13, 2009:

I’ve been told belfast, cardiff, manchester, glasgow, leeds, liverpool are all nice.

The East side is comprised of the Roath, Splott, and Cathays districts, and the residential structures here are mostly flats and houses for rent. The West side districts of Pontcanna, Canton, Grangetown and Riverside contain mostly rental properties with plenty of families and long time local residents. The Bay area is the newest area that has been earmarked for development, and many of the newly constructed flats here are intended for rental.

Where to live in the county has been shared in the Britain Expat Forum last September 2, 2008:

I live 40 mins away from Pontypridd in the Rhondda Valleys, I hope you have webbed feet cause its just awful here right now tooo much rain! Just thought I would let you know of the 10 most expensive areas in Pontypridd lmao and how many sales there have been in the past 2 years so here we go:
1 Heol Y Foel, Llantwit Fardre 2 £337,500
2 Heol Dowlais, Efail Isaf 3 £335,333
3 Taff Street, Pontypridd 3 £330,833
4 Meadow Brook, Church Village 10 £328,872
5 Parc Nant Celyn, Efail Isaf 5 £294,390
6 Common Road, Pontypridd 2 £275,000
7 Hospital Road, Pontypridd 2 £267,500
8 Hafan Heulog, Coed Y Cwm 2 £264,250
9 Barnard Way, Church Village 23 £259,681
10 Nant Y Felin, Efail Isaf 2 £257,500

Cheapest in the past 2 years are:
1 Porcher Avenue, Glyncoch 3 £43,667
2 Cadwgan Terrace, Pontypridd 2 £48,085
3 Ivor Street, Pontypridd 2 £52,000
4 Pearson Crescent, Pontypridd 3 £59,000
5 Upper Alma Terrace, Pontypridd 2 £59,250
6 Penygraig Terrace, Ynysybwl 2 £61,000
7 Manor Court, Church Village 4 £61,125
8 Garth Avenue, Glyncoch 9 £62,731
9 High View Way, Pontypridd 4 £64,375
10 Maindy Court, Church Village 3 £64,500

As for the price of living well lets just say it isnt cheap I do hope you have a good amount of money saved up as Pontypridd isnt cheap in itself! Buses are pretty regular from Pontypridd town center as for anywhere else you’ll just have to hope their running on time! Jobs here are well non existant at the moment so I hope you have a Job waiting for you because otherwise you will have a loooooooong struggle. Rents are few and far between because many people are now renting because of the credit crunch and Pontypridd is a student hotspot sooo very very hard to get a nice rented house, the Uni is in Treforest but students are even moving into places like Rhydfelin, Hawthorn, Churchvillage, Llantwit Fadre and into Pontypridd! soo as you can imagine not too many rental properties will have survived the student rental rush! Personally I would have started your search before now not that I’m trying to be funny or put you off but this is a really bad time to be moving anywhere in the UK.

Hospitals and Universities of Cardiff

There are currently seven hospitals in the city that serve under National Health Service Trusts. They are: Barry Hospital, Cardiff Royal Infirmary, Llandough Hospital, Rookwood Hospital, St David’s Hospital, University Dental Hospital, University Hospital of Wales and Whitchurch Hospital.

The University Hospital of Wales, often known simply as “The Heath” or the “UHW”, is the third biggest hospital in the country and is where most accidents and emergencies medical cases are handled.

The University Dental Hospital handles all types of dental services including dental emergencies, and St. David’s Hospital is primarily responsible for the care of children and elderly patients.

Many parts of the Cardiff Royal Infirmary were actually closed down in 1999, but the west wing still provides clinical services, as well as genitourinary medicine and rehabilitation treatment.

In addition to the NHS trust hospitals, BUPA also has a hospital in Cardiff, which can be found in Pentwyn.

There are four major higher education institutions in Cardiff: Cardiff University, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, and The University of Glamorgan. These four universities together have a total of more than 30,000 students.

The city has also 86 primary schools, eleven infant schools, ten junior schools and twenty state secondary schools. There is a whole host of independent schools in the city and notable among them is the Whitchurch High School, Fitzalan High School and the Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf.

Commercial Places in Cardiff

There is no doubt that many of the United Kingdom’s best areas for shopping are in the larger cities such as London, for example. But you may be surprised to know that Cardiff can more than hold its own in this respect having many large shopping centers and department stores that can give even the best shopping capitals of the world a run for their money. The Cardiff City Center is a particularly fertile ground for all your shopping activities and you will surely appreciate the high concentration of different kinds of shops in such a small area.

Many of the shopping centers in the city are concentrated on Queen Street and St. Mary Street. The main covered shopping malls in the area are St. David’s Centre, Queens West, Capitol Centre, and Queens Arcade. These arcades are some of the city’s best shopping havens, containing numerous small shops, boutiques, delicatessens, cafes and bookshops.

There are also two markets in the city center, which are both great places to pick up cheap fruit and vegetables, as well as fresh fish, meat and dairy produce.

Your shopping options are not limited to the city center either. Outside the city, Cowbridge Road East, Canton and Albany Road in Roath carry everything you could possibly need from clothes and bakery goods to meat and grocery items, as well as gifts and greeting cards.

Your options for dining in Cardiff are no less wide ranging with numerous establishments offering cuisine from all over the world. Some of the best restaurants in the city are: Benedicto’s, Akash, Hasapiko Restaurant, The Little Lanterns, Thai House Restaurant, Salvatore, and the oddly named Ha! Ha! Bar & Canteen.

Service Establishments of Cardiff

Beginning with the gas and electricity market deregulation in 1999, Cardiff residents now have the option to choose from a number of gas and electricity service providers in the city and select the one that can provide the lowest rates. Among the companies that provide gas and electricity supply services in the city are: ScottishPower/ScottishPower Manweb, Swalec, British Gas, NPower, E.ON, EBICo, and many others.

Some of the companies that provide broadband Internet service are: PlusNet, AOL, Virgin Media, Sky and Pipex.

There are actually a few websites that can help you choose from a list of water, gas, electricity and even broadband service providers in Cardiff, one of them being www.uswitch.com. Here you can choose a service provider based on price, features and availability in your particular area.

Embassies in Cardiff

There are no less than 11 foreign countries with consular offices in Cardiff. This is the list of the countries and their general location: Denmark, Roath Park; Finland, Chepstow Road, Langstone Business Park; France; Germany, Haywood House, Dumfries Place; Hungary, Windsor Place; Iceland, Palser Grossman; Ireland, Fitzalan Road; Italy, Museum Place; Latvia, Monmouthshire; Belgium, Penarth; and Canada, Rhoose, Vale of Glamorgan.

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