Travelling to Cardiff
There are a number of ways to travel to Cardiff so that you can start your studies on time.
When to arrive
If you have applied for University accommodation, you will be able to move into your room in University residences during the enrollment period. Once you have settled in to your accommodation, you should start the registration and enrolment process, as well as attend the induction and welcome events.
If you are planning on living in private accommodation, we recommend that you arrive a few days early and book temporary hotel accommodation to stay in while you look for a place to live.
If you have already booked your private accommodation, you'll need to arrange the pick up your keys from your landlord in Cardiff.
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 18miles/29km 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/80km 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
Depending at which airport you arrive at, there are a number of ways to travel to Cardiff.
To make your journey to the city easier, we provide a free airport pick-up service in September. But if you're arriving outside of the pick-up time, it's easy to get to Cardiff on your own. You can get to Cardiff using the following forms of transport.
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 £44–£138 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 £180. This could be an option if there were a few of you travelling to split the cost, but you won't be able to have much luggage.
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 £26 and can be hired from the Checker Cars taxi office immediately outside the arrivals building or booked in advance by phoning +44 (0)14 4671 1747 or by emailing them.
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 until the new Cardiff Central Bus Station opens in summer 2018.
From here, it is recommended you take a taxi to your accommodation. Taxis from either of these locations will cost about £5-£10 depending on the distance to your accommodation and how much luggage you are carrying.
There are taxis easily available from outside the railway station and the coach drop-off point in Sophia Gardens. They can be quite expensive, so sharing with friends to split the cost is a good idea. Always take a taxi that is registered with Cardiff City Council. Their licence is yellow and should be displayed at the back of the taxi. The taxi driver should also have their licence 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. It is a good idea to sit in the back of the taxi behind the driver.
Arriving early or late
Your room in University accommodation will not be available before the recommended date of arrival. If you intend to arrive in Cardiff before this date, you will need to make your own arrangements to stay elsewhere. If you are likely to be arriving after the recommended date of arrival, then please email the Residences Office.
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. The Security Office will then arrange for you to be let into your University accommodation.