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Living in Cardiff?

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Cardiff at a Glance

Living in Cardiff

Living in Cardiff offers the chance to experience both the modernity of the port and the traditional charm of its castles. The city allows expats to enjoy every single aspect of it just by walking. Discover more about the capital of Wales in our expat guide!

The capital of Wales is also the country’s most populous city, with over 350,000 people living in Cardiff. It's the most densely populated of the unitary authority areas in Wales. 

Education in Cardiff

State schools are free for children living in Cardiff. Education is compulsory between the ages of five and 18 in the UK. Families from a Christian background may wish to choose a school affiliated to a church, such as the Mary Immaculate Roman Catholic High School. State schools in Wales teach the Welsh language, but the majority teaches all other subjects in English, with just a minority teaching all subjects in Welsh. 

If you prefer your children to have a private education there is a range of private schools to choose from. For those expats who like a more alternative style of education, the Cardiff Steiner School in Llandaff North follows a Waldorf Steiner curriculum. All schools in Cardiff are assessed by Ofsted, the UK schools regulatory body. 

Cardiff University is based in the Cathays area of the city. It is best known for its medicine, dentistry, nursing and architecture departments. 

Transportation in Cardiff

Cardiff has a good rail network both within the city and for traveling outside it. London Paddington station is less than three hours away by train. Bus services provide transport throughout the city and taxis are plentiful. Cardiff International Airport is situated 19 km (12 miles) from the city center, and can easily be reached by car, or on the special shuttle bus service that operates from the center, which will take you to destinations including Cardiff Central train station and the airport. 

If you wish to drive while you are living in Cardiff you must be over 17 and have a valid driving license. Find out whether your foreign driving license permits you to drive in the UK by visiting the official website.

Culture and Leisure

Cardiff has plenty to offer for expats in the way of cultural and leisure facilities, from the chance to explore the city’s history at museums and Cardiff Castle, to bowling, laser quest, cinemas and more at the Stadium Plaza.

Rugby fans have the opportunity to see teams from all over the world play at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. If you enjoy playing rugby as well as being a spectator, you could play on one of the pitches provided in the city’s parks, or join a local rugby club. The Millennium Stadium is also used as a venue for pop and rock concerts, while another major concert venue in the city is the Motorpoint Arena. If you prefer classical music there is plenty of choice in Cardiff. The Welsh National Opera is based in the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, while orchestras and ballet companies perform at St David’s Hall. 

Cardiff has plenty of retail opportunities, ranging from charming Victorian arcades to stylish modern department stores. The St David’s Centre is one of the biggest shopping malls in the UK, with 130,000m² of retail space. The city also boasts the biggest branch outside London of the popular department store chain John Lewis, and also has a branch of the Swedish furniture store IKEA. Fans of the cult British TV series Doctor Who will love the Doctor Who Experience, which is located in Cardiff, where the series is produced. 

InterNations Expat Magazine