A Cardiff girl born and bred, there’s lots of things I love about living in the Welsh capital. I could go on all day about why I love my home city so much, so without further ado, here are my top 10 reasons to love living in Cardiff:
We keep it local
It’s surprising how easy it is to take small businesses and shops for granted. From GP surgeries and dentists that help us to stay healthy and well, to independent shops we can turn to for quality products or convenience items, family-run restaurants we can visit for a hearty meal, and legal services we can rely upon when we need advice or assistance (from personal experience, Slater and Gordon are amazing), these brilliant businesses are part of why I love living in Cardiff so much.
In my local area, I love visiting the boutique shops of Waterloo Gardens and the cafes and restaurants of Albany Road. Clifton Street has gone downhill in recent years, but it seems to be making somewhat of a comeback now, with the emergence of Amazonas Portuguese and Brazilian street food cafe/restaurant, Nata and Co Portuguese bakery and a cafe called The Olive Grove which is yet to open (so it remains to be seen what that will be like).
The food is lush
Just thinking about Cardiff’s food and drink scene has me drooling all over my keyboard. From independent, family-run restaurants and popular chains, to quirky street food pop-ups like Street Food Circus and the DEPOT, and markets such as Cardiff Central Market, and RCMA Farmers’ Markets in Riverside, Roath and Rhiwbina), Cardiff has a rich, colourful culinary character, influenced by a variety of cultures and cuisines.
Whether you want to be wined and dined in a classy, gourmet restaurant or slum it on Chippy Lane with a bag of chips and a battered sausage, you’ll never go hungry in Cardiff.
My favourite places to eat in Cardiff include molecular gastronomy Indian restaurant, Moksh in Cardiff Bay, traditional French deli/cafe, Madame Fromage in Castle Arcade, and Grey at the Hilton Hotel.
Lunch yesterday was all about this gooey baked cheese raclette from traditional French restaurant and fromagerie, Madame Fromage in Castle Arcade, Cardiff, served with assorted fresh bread and a vibrant side salad. My friend opted for the mini meats platter, which looked equally appealing. . . . . #raclette #cheese #onion #cheeseconnoisseur #cheesehead #cheesey #cheeseporn #hotcheese #meltedcheese #swissraclette #lunch #madamefromage #fromagerie #frenchfood #frenchcuisine #frenchcafe #frenchrestaurant #cardiffis #cardiff #cardifffoodie #cardifffood #welshfood #foodblogger #eeeeeats #nom #food52 #alwayshungry #feedme #cheeselover #racletteparty
Cardiff has a rich history and culture
If you grew up living in Cardiff, you’ll definitely have been on a school trip to St. Fagan’s National Museum of History at least once. Home to a recreated Welsh village dating from Celtic times to modern day, this working museum is complete with original houses, traditional Welsh shops, farm animals, a pottery, a working blacksmith and more, in the grounds of an awe-inspiring 16th century manor house castle.
The National Museum, next to Cardiff’s City Hall, is also worth a visit. When I was younger, I was fascinated by the shark hanging from the ceiling.
Cardiff is also home to a collection of castles; as well as St. Fagan’s Castle, we have Cardiff Castle, Castell Coch and Caerphilly Castle. Several of these castles feature in fellow blogger, Explore With Ed’s round-up of the best castles in Wales.
The Norman Keep, part of the castles 2,000 years of history. There’s fifty steps but great views! —- #igersCardiff #Cardiff #igersWales #igersWalesCardiff #igersUk #igersTravel #TravelBlogger #TravelBloggers #ukbloggers #historicalplace #TogetherStronger #WalesAdventure #FindYourEpic #discoverwales #loves_united_wales
We’re a friendly bunch
Cardiffians are known for their friendly, welcoming nature. We’re always willing to lend a hand or help each other out in some way. This community vibe is one of the things I love the most about living in Cardiff; as it hasn’t yet grown to the extent of London or even Bristol, it has the attraction of being a lively, bustling city, while also retaining the comforting feel of a small town.
Interesting people live here
Picture it. You’re walking down Cardiff’s Queen Street and all you can hear is drums, but there’s no drum kit in sight. Instead, you see a tall man with dreads dressed in brightly coloured clothing and what appears to be a a scuba diving mask, banging away on the bins. This is Ninjah, and he’s well known locally as the guy who plays the bins.
“I’ve been greeting the citizens of Cardiff because Cardiff, to me, is the number one place on the planet.” “What’s so good about it?” “The people. They’re accommodating, they step back, they look, they listen, especially to the foreigners who come in.” “Who’s the best person you’ve ever met in Cardiff?” “The best person I’ve met in Cardiff is the person who’s being themselves.”
Living in Cardiff, you get to know local characters who are well-known for something or another. Another example is Neville Howard; a pensioner who sings in supermarkets and shopping centres across Cardiff.
Cardiff doesn’t have a great deal of parks and green spaces in comparison to some other big cities, but for what we lack in quantity, we make up for in quality.
Situated in the city centre, next to Cardiff Castle, the beautiful Bute Park attracts dog-walkers and joggers all year round but in the summer, it’s the perfect picnic spot. Roath Park is popular for the same reasons, and it also boasts a large boating lake, children’s play area, botanic garden and cafe. I also love Victoria Park in Canton and I have very fond memories of swimming in the outdoor pool (now filled over and transformed into a ‘Splashpad’) with my brother and sister as a child. Similarly, I can remember playing in Thompson’s Park, Canton and marvelling at its magnificent water fountain.
The music is booming
Live music is huge in Cardiff, with big-name acts like Rihanna, Ed Sheeran and U2 putting in regular appearances at the Principality Stadium and the Motorpoint Arena.
However, perhaps what Cardiff is known best for when it comes to music, is its underground music venues. Although the legendary Toucan Club shut its doors many years ago, The Globe on Albany Road, Roath often hosts authentic tribute bands and indie acts, while Womanby Street is growing increasingly popular as a live music spot, thanks to The Full Moon and Clwb Ifor Bach (a.k.a ‘Welsh Club’).
The architecture is beautiful
From the simplicity of the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay, to the winding walkways and beautiful balconies of Cardiff’s old Victorian arcades; the architecture of some of Cardiff’s best-known buildings is often what draws people to visit the city.
My favourite buildings in Cardiff include City Hall, Llandaff Cathedral, the Old Library and Cardiff Market. Mellissa and Marcus, travel bloggers over at Fly Drive Explore, shared this stunning shot of the iconic Pierhead Building of the National Assembly of Wales in Cardiff Bay.
You’ll never be short of things to do
Living in Cardiff means you’re never far away from an exciting array of attractions and activities, including the UK’s longest-running science centre, Techniquest in Cardiff Bay. This interactive exhibition features a stimulating range of instalments and demonstrations that visitors can engage with.
Theatre enthusiasts can watch musicals and plays in the New Theatre, opt to see an indie production at the Sherman Theatre, or attend a performance in the Wales Millennium Centre.
If you’d rather hit the shops, head to St David’s Shopping Centre in the city centre, where you’ll find over 150 shops, restaurants and cafes at your disposal.
For further ideas on things to do and see in Cardiff, take a look at the Visit Cardiff website.
We’re good sports
Cardiff’s Principality Stadium regularly hosts international and regional sporting events including rugby and football matches, the FIM Speedway Grand Prix and professional boxing matches. For sports fans, this could well be the best thing about living in Cardiff.
If you prefer playing sports to watching them, Cardiff International Sport Village in Cardiff Bay houses a 50-metre Olympic-standard swimming pool, an ice rink, an indoor ski slope and a white water rafting centre.
What do you love the most about living in Cardiff? Let me know in the comment box below – I respond to every single comment!