What Is Student Life In Cardiff Like? | The ULTIMATE Guide 

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Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, is a popular student destination with a rich cultural heritage, a variety of activities, shopping and dining opportunities, and great nightlife in its vicinity.

Don’t just take our word for it though, Cardiff is rated Number 11 in the UK on the student crowd university rankings. It’s no wonder that more than 30,000 students come to study at Cardiff’s four leading universities.

Are you anxiously waiting on your conditional offer from Cardiff University come August? Or maybe you’re considering applying for the next academic year and are searching to find more about the city?

Well, whatever it is, we’re here to discuss what student life in Cardiff is really like!

Cardiff city

Cardiff Nightlife

Is the student nightlife in Cardiff any good?

Something that most students look for when they’re applying to universities is what the nightlife is like within the area. Whether it’s a city or a town, it’s a given that students want to be able to party and dance the night away in bars and nightclubs. We’re with you on that!

Cardiff is a lively city, home to some great student nights, delightful bars, and live music spots which will have you crawling to your morning lectures. The choices are endless within the city, so no matter what music you’re into, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the Welsh capital.


Retro is one of Cardiff’s most popular clubs, their weekly event ‘Pounded Wednesdays’ has the best first-year student vibes with three floors of music from the 90s to the present day.

Let’s be honest, we all love singing our hearts out to nostalgic songs we heard growing up – It’s a staple of university life.

student night out

The Live Lounge

The Live Lounge is one of the best bars in Cardiff with live music from bands and artists until midnight and DJs until 4 am, as well as Happy Hours between 5 pm -10 pm every day (Hangover pending). A visit here is a must to experience Cardiff student life.

Some more of our faves include The Cardiff Stable which boasts yummy pizza and an array of beers, make the most of the £10 Pizza & a Pint deal!


Another Cardiff lover of ours is Gassy’s, a friendly bar that hosts bottomless brunch, quiz nights, and karaoke nights with student-priced drinks.

Now you’ve had a glimpse into Cardiff nightlife to prepare you for freshers week, check out our recommendations for the 8 Best Pubs In Cardiff You Need To Visit here.

Restaurants in Cardiff


Checking to make sure there is good food on offer before moving to Cardiff? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We all love some good scran but ensuring it’s within your budget when studying can prove to be difficult.

Eating out with friends and taking a break from learning is one of the best things about living in Cardiff, and here’s why.


DEPOT is a venue home to street food in Cardiff, if you love tasting an array of scran by local vendors from Thai food to Mexican food, this is the place for you. DEPOT has lots of craft beer, cocktails, and music for you to enjoy as well as hosting events from Bingo to Gin discos.

This place is especially good if you have a bunch of people who can’t decide which food they fancy, they can have it all!

Purple Poppadom

Purple Poppadom is a must for curry lovers moving to Cardiff, with beautiful Indian dishes featuring a British twist, all for an affordable price.

The menu has a mixture of curries with different colours, spices, and flavours, it’s no surprise the restaurant won Best in Wales at the British Curry Awards 2021. Mmmm!

There are so many amazing food selections within Cardiff that will make your mouth water at the thought, so let’s stop there before we all get hangry.

eating out with friends

Things to do in Cardiff

Cure that boredom

The great thing about starting uni is you should have loads of free time on weekends whilst you get the hang of things in the first few months. Keeping busy won’t be hard in Cardiff, with loads of different indoor and outdoor activities on your doorstep.

go karting day out

Let’s get exploring!

Cardiff’s TeamSport Go Karting

You can and your friends can be the next Lewis Hamilton for a day at Cardiffs TeamSport Go Karting! If you’re a thrill-seeker or you just fancy doing something different with your uni mates, then having a race at Go Karting is a must.

With student discount available if you bring along your student ID card, get some laps in, set a new personal best & have some fun racing against others!

We’re all a bit competitive, aren’t we?

Infinity Trampoline Park

Infinity Trampoline Park is another fun activity that is affordable, you’re looking at about a tenner for an hour. Although, it’s always worth mentioning your student status to see if you’re entitled to any money off.

Bounce around in this parkour-inspired, freestyle indoor trampoline park. There is also a basketball area, foam pits, and dodgeball for all you big kids to enjoy.

Don’t get us wrong, we love a night out but for that adrenaline rush during the day, an activity like this will have you jumping for joy.

Infinity Trampoline Park

Culture and history in Cardiff

Fancy a Slice of Welsh History?

If you want to learn more about the culture and history of Cardiff, then there are plenty of museums and galleries to visit. Some are even free entry, so you can have a fab day with your new friends, and you don’t even have to worry about money.

The Cardiff Story Museum

The Cardiff Story Museum is located in the city centre within the Old Library a Grade II listed building. The museum features tons of information on the history of the south wales city so you can learn all about the background of your new home, with a varied programme of temporary exhibitions taking place.

Off The Wall

Another cultural hub you have to visit whilst living in Cardiff is Off the Wall a gallery, which showcases contemporary modern art, which is affordable to all.

Whilst we don’t expect you’ll be purchasing some art for your uni accommodation walls, it’s a great space to enjoy modern art displays.

Cardiff is also home to tons of castles and green space so there are excellent walking opportunities in the Welsh capital, which aren’t a far stroll at all from the university campuses.

Cardiff docks

Shopping in Cardiff

Shop till you drop!

Cardiff is full of shopping opportunities so you can splash the cash when that first student loan drops (exciting, right?).

Once you’re all settled into your student accommodation, you’ll most likely be needing to make a shopping trip for your food essentials and any other bits you forgot to bring with you.

Whether that be command strips for your photos, a bathroom mat, or a new outfit for your first night out, there are plenty of shops to choose from in Cardiff.

Remember to make the most of your student status to get money off fashion, make-up, games, and other buys within Cardiff.

St. David’s Shopping Centre

St. David’s Shopping Centre is Cardiff’s biggest retail hot spot with over 150 brands to explore from Urban Outfitters to Foot Locker. Student lock in is a student-exclusive shopping event held at the shopping centre at the beginning of each academic year. The event features discounts, giveaways, and competitions so make sure to attend to get some steals.

St. David's Shopping Centre

Queens Arcade

Queens Arcade located in the heart of the city is a popular shopping destination because of its mix of unique independent retailers and big brand stores that feature inside. There are also plenty of food and drink places for that all-important refreshment break.

Cardiff’s Indoor Flea Market

Your shopping day wouldn’t be complete without going to Cardiff’s Indoor Flea Market. If you get bored of highstreets shopping then definitely take a trip here to discover vendors selling antiques, collectibles & vintage clothing.

If you’re looking for some cool artwork to put up in your student room, then this is the place to go to find some retro pieces that will have everyone asking about!

Cardiff Indoor Market

Not only are there many social spaces within this south Wales city, but there are also fantastic universities that not only will give you a great education but will also offer you great support whilst you are studying.

A night out at the student union or joining a society is a must-do in university culture so get involved when you arrive in Wales.

You’ve reached the end; we hope you’re well informed on what student life in Cardiff is like and are looking forward to attending uni in the city. If you liked this blog, then go read our Simple Guide to Making Friends with Flatmates!