Travelling to Cardiff
There are a number of ways to travel to Cardiff via train and coach.
It is approximately 150 miles (240 kilometres) from London to Cardiff, and 50 miles (80 kilometres) from Bristol to Cardiff.
When to arrive
If you have applied for University accommodation, you will be able to move into your room in University residences during the enrolment period. You might be required to self isolate when you arrive, for more information head to the Self isolating pages
If you are planning on living in private accommodation, we recommend you arrange this before you arrive.
Flying to the UK
There are a number of airports in the UK to choose from. Depending on which country you are flying from, we would recommend one of the following.
Most of our international students arrive at Heathrow Airport, which is around 18 miles/29 km southwest of London and around four hours from Cardiff. Most international airlines will fly into Heathrow and therefore usually has the most competitive fares.
If you're coming from mainland Europe, you may find Bristol Airport more convenient, as it is 50 miles/80 km from Cardiff. If you are arriving during the day, it will take around two hours to travel from Bristol airport.
There are a few things you need to be aware of when you are clearing immigration such as which documents you need to bring, which channel to pass through in the customs hall and what to do if problems arise.
If you're arriving in the UK from a country outside the European Union (EU), you must declare any cash that equals the value of 10,000 Euros or more to customs officers.
Cash not only means currency notes and coins, but also banker’s drafts and cheques of any kind, including travellers’ cheques. You will find the relevant forms to fill out at ports and airports.
Transport to Cardiff
The University will be running a coach collection service from Heathrow Airport and Bristol Airport and a smaller collection service from Cardiff Airport. Bookings for this service will open in early September.
Depending at which airport you arrive at, there are a number of ways to travel to Cardiff.
The cheapest way to travel to Cardiff is by National Express Coach. Coaches leave approximately every hour, with fewer coaches leaving during the night.
A single journey from Heathrow to Cardiff is approximately £34–£45 and takes about three hours and 30 minutes.
You can buy your ticket online or at the National Express Booking Office in Heathrow Airport. Follow signs for the Central Bus Station from the arrivals into terminals 1, 2 ,3 and 4. If you are arriving into terminal 5, check at the information desk.
Train travel is more expensive than travelling by coach and you'll have to change trains.
Take the Heathrow Express train from Heathrow Airport into Paddington Station in London. Trains leave every 15 minutes from all terminals at Heathrow to London. Once at Paddington, you'll take the train to Cardiff. On weekdays, the train to Cardiff from Paddington leaves every 30 minutes.
A single journey from Heathrow to Cardiff will be £65–£205 and the journey time is two hours. You can buy tickets online (it’s cheaper in advance), or at the ticket office at the railway station in the airport.
Travelling by taxi is a very expensive option and not advisable. A taxi to Cardiff from Heathrow would cost around £200.
Bristol International Flyer bus service is a dedicated bus service that runs every 10 minutes from the airport to Bristol Temple Meads train station. The fare for this journey is £6.
Once at Bristol Temple Meads, the train service to Cardiff Central Railway Station runs every 30 minutes. A one-way ticket costs around £15.
The Bristol International Flyer also makes a stop at Bristol Bus Station, where you can catch the National Express coach service to Cardiff. Coaches run far less frequently than trains – around every two hours – and tickets cost around £10.
A taxi from Cardiff Airport will cost around £33 and can be hired from the Flight Link taxi office inside the arrivals area or booked in advance by phoning +44 (0)1446 728500.
You can also take the Cardiff Airport Express, which runs every 20 minutes, seven days a week. Tickets start at £5 each way, and the journey to Custom House Street in Cardiff city centre takes 40 minutes.
The train will drop you off at Cardiff Central Railway Station, and National Express coaches will now drop you off at Sophia Gardens.
From here, it is recommended you take a taxi to your accommodation. Taxis from either of these locations will cost about £5-£12 depending on the distance to your accommodation and how much luggage you are carrying.
There are taxis easily available from outside the railway station, however you would need to book a taxi from Sophia Gardens. Always take a taxi that is registered with Cardiff City Council. Their license is yellow and should be displayed at the back of the taxi. The taxi driver should also have their license with their photograph displayed in the taxi.
Always find out the price of the journey before you get in the taxi. Always pay for the journey when you have reached your destination, never at the start of the journey. We would recommend you wear a face covering whilst in the taxi.
We would recommend booking through Dragon taxis either over the phone 02920333333 or visit their website: https://www.dragontaxis.com/locations/cardiff/
Arriving early or late
Your room in University accommodation may not be available before the recommended date of arrival. If you intend to arrive in Cardiff before this date, you will need to contact the Residences Office. If you are likely to be arriving after the recommended date of arrival please email email@example.com.
If you are arriving late or out of hours you need to log onto your Cardiff Student Portal (SIMS), select ‘late arrival’ and choose your specific arrival date/time. You will receive a confirmation email which details what to do when you arrive.
Arriving out of working hours
If you arrive unexpectedly late in the evening or early in the morning and you have not been able to inform Residences of your late arrival, you should go directly to the Security Office next to the Psychology Tower opposite 51 Park Place, or contact them via the details below. The Security Office will then arrange for you to be let into your University accommodation.