Reasons to love Cardiff

A capital city with art, culture and sport at its heart, there are so many reasons to love Cardiff.

  • Top 4 Students' Union in the UK (Which? University Student Survey 2016).
  • 1st Cardiff is the UK’s most affordable university city (NatWest Student Living Index 2017).
  • Top 100 in Shanghai Ranking world university league table (August 2017).

1. The capital is our campus

Cardiff University is at the heart of a thriving and growing capital city. Bursting with culture, cuisine, architecture, entertainment and history, Cardiff was ranked the third best capital city in Europe in 2016 alongside Copenhagen and Stockholm.

The city centre stretches from the ancient fort of Cardiff Castle to the ultramodern Cardiff Bay waterfront. Explore boutique shops in the winding Victorian and Edwardian arcades or find your high street favourite in the impressive St David's Centre.

Our campus sits within the city centre in the beautiful civic centre. With wide tree-lined avenues and elegant Portland stone buildings, it's an inspiring place to study.

Cardiff is one of Europe's youngest capital cities - small enough to be friendly and big enough to offer the best of living in a major city.

The Complete University Guide 2017

2. World-leading research

We are in the top tier of Britain's research universities and are a member of the prestigious Russell Group. We are ranked second nationally for research impact, and in the top five for research excellence in the UK.

We've been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes (which recognise world-class excellence in UK Higher Education) and are home to a huge cohort of distinguished staff, including two Nobel Prize winners and 12 Royal Society Fellows.

Our researchers are working to tackle major challenges facing society, the economy and our environment. Read more about the impact of their research.

3. Our star alumni

Jamie Roberts graduating
Wales and Lions rugby player Jamie Roberts graduating with his medical degree.

From politicians and journalists to scientists and innovators - many well-known faces have been through Cardiff's corridors. Our alumni include BBC broadcaster Bill Turnbull, National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke, Money Saving Expert founder and journalist Martin Lewis OBE and former President of Beijing Normal University Professor Zhong Binglin and many more.

Our Honorary Fellows include the likes of Sir Patrick Stewart, Jeremy Bowen and Carol Vorderman.

4. Top teaching

Stepping into a university that provides innovative, exciting teaching across the disciplines, it's hard not to feel the buzz. A Cardiff education is unique and personable; students are taught and mentored by tutors and lecturers who are world-leading experts.

Our courses prepare you for an exciting future - 95% of graduates enter employment, further study or both shortly after graduating (HESA Destination of Leavers in Higher Education survey 2015/16). Find out more about your career prospects.

  • 30,480 students
  • 95% in employment or further study
  • 84% student satisfaction

Cardiff University is among the best in the UK for preparing graduates for the workplace.

Times Higher Education - Global University Employability Ranking 2016

5. Bute Park

View of Cardiff Castle from Bute Park
View of Cardiff Castle from Bute Park

A 130 acre back garden, Bute Park lies in the heart of Cardiff behind the Cathays campus.

With the River Taff flowing alongside, it is the perfect mixture of tranquillity and wide open space, ideal for relaxing (or running) on a summer's afternoon.

The size of 75 football pitches you'll find lots to do and see in the park with trails to explore, historic landscapes, sports pitches, an arboretum and horticultural features.

Walking around the outside of the park past the Castle see if you can spot the famous 'Animal Wall' with stone animals including a lioness, bear, sea lion, wolf and a pair of apes.

Exploring other parks in Cardiff could take you the full three years of your degree. A must-do activity is renting a boat on Roath Park lake during the summer.

6. On the doorstep to wild Wales

Walker in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Pen-y-Fan, from Cribyn
Walking in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Pen-y-Fan.

A wealth of treasures lie just beyond Cardiff's borders, a unique part of the world asking to be explored. You'll find incredible beaches, countryside and mountains.

A trip to Barry Island is a must, a destination for 'Gavin and Stacey' fans and beachgoers alike. Take in the sea air with a walk on the beach, eat fish and chips on the seafront and maybe have a game of crazy golf!

The rugged Brecon Beacons National Park offers incredible walks, views and outdoor pursuits. The 886m summit of Pen y Fan is the highest point and gives spectacular views of the entire National Park.

You can also visit Dan-yr-Ogof, a 15km long cave system, one of the most extensive in Western Europe or perhaps explore the nine waterfalls in the Vale of Neath. The landscape painter Turner travelled here to paint Aberdulais Falls.

7. One big film set

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson outside Main Building
Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson outside 'Rathbone Place' - otherwise known as Main Building, Cardiff University.

One of Cardiff's fastest growing industries is TV and film. The BBC has built a large drama studio in Cardiff Bay which is home to a number of shows including 'Dr Who', 'Sherlock' and 'Casualty'.

In February 2017 it was announced that our School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies will be moving to a state-of-the art building in a new development alongside the BBC.

The unique architecture of the University campuses make it a prime filming location. Our buildings are featured in scenes of  'Doctor Who' and 'Sherlock' - in one episode of Dr Who a lecture theatre represented the interior of the White House - and our exterior has been used to masquerade as a number of other institutions and universities.

If you're lucky you might spot a dalek or two around campus...

8. Rugby days

Inside Principality Stadium
Wales playing England during the RBS 6 Nations tournament (image taken from Visit Wales)

Rugby is part of the lifeblood of Cardiff; you can't miss it. A festival atmosphere descends during the annual Six Nations tournament, as Wales' visiting rivals take them on in their hometown.

The Principality Stadium is a famous part of the Cardiff skyline. It is unusual in being a 73,000-seater stadium but located in the city centre. The stadium also hosts big-name concerts and more unusual sporting events, like monster trucks and speedway.

You can also watch a variety of other sports in Cardiff - including football at Cardiff City Stadium, ice hockey in the Bay and cricket at the SWALEC Stadium.

You can take part in many sports yourself in Cardiff - even white water rafting at the International Sports Village.

9. One of the best Students' Unions in the UK

It's official - Cardiff University's Students' Union is one of the best around. It offers the best student experience in Wales and is ranked 12th in the UK (THE Student Experience Survey, 2015-16).

Home to over 200 student societies and 60 sports clubs, a free employment service and the beloved Taf bar, the Students' Union caters to every student's needs across the board from studying to socialising.

As a student-led, independent part of the university, the Students' Union represents students and provides a diverse and inclusive range of activities and services. It has a base on both the Cathays and Heath Park campuses.

10. A city that loves running

Mo Farah speaking to South Wales school children before the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff.
Mo Farah speaking to South Wales school children before the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff.

Cardiff hosted the 2016 World Half Marathon in partnership with Cardiff University. 25,000 runners, including four times Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah, took part in the event which was supported by staff, students and alumni.

Cardiff boasts plenty of other events for all levels of runners - a weekly 5km parkrun takes place in Blackweir Fields. There is also the famous Cardiff Half Marathon, the second largest race of its type in the UK.

Don't forget your running shoes!

Experience Cardiff for yourself

If you want to explore Cardiff yourself and find out why Cardiff University is so special, why not come along to one of our Open Days.