Local guide

A Student’s Guide to Cardiff

Our local guide to Cardiff has all the things you need to know to make the most of your new city! Situated in Roath, a quirky part of Cardiff with comic shops, parks, weekly farmers markets, and an art centre you’ll never be short of something to do! Let us show you round…

Uncommon Ground

Uncommon Ground

20 minute walk from Arofan House

This independent, family-owned coffee shop has a passion for coffee and roasts and serves only the finest, freshest and best-prepared coffee in town.

mermaid quay

Mermaid Quay

13 minute cycle from Arofan House

Wine yourself, dine yourself, shop till you drop, or relax to the max down at Cardiff's vibrant waterfront.



18 minute walk from Arofan House

In a café that's name means Family + Friends, you can be sure you'll receive the warmest of welcomes as well as top-notch coffee at kin+ilk.

riverside market

Riverside Market

27 minute stroll from Arofan House

The perfect morning pick-me-up - stroll down to the riverside for the original Cardiff Farmers' Market experience and sample the local produce.

cafe 37

Café 37

11 minute walk from Arofan House

If you like a bargain when it comes to brekkie, Café 37 will not disappoint! The perfect hangover cure.

Clwb Ifor Bach

20 minute walk from Arofan House

This live music venue hosts big named acts along with local rising stars - ranging from rock to dance music!


Glam Nightclub

14 minute walk from Arofan House

Monday blues? Not when you have Jagerfest to look forward to! With 2 floors & a rooftop club - your sure to have a great night!


Soda Bar

21 minute walk from Arofan House

Soda Sunday - If you haven't heard about it, you sure will when you get to Cardiff! This nightclub is situated on a celebrity hotspot Mill Lane!



19 minute walk from Arofan House

Head down here for a perfect healthy lunch! A cosy daytime vegan & vegetarian cafe, situated in the Cardiff arcades.



15 minute walk from Arofan House

A local tea shop by day - an established authentic Indian restaurant by night! This place is UK's first Authentic Chai/Tea House!


Spillers Records

19 minute walk from Arofan House

The oldest record shop in the world! This quirky record shop dates back to 1894 and includes a variety of genres from Hip-Hop to Indie.


Cardiff Arcades

19 minute walk from Arofan House

Here you’ll find six Victorian arcades dating as far back as 1858 including vintage fashion, café’s and jewellers!


St Davids Dewi Saint Shopping Centre

15 minute walk from Arofan House

With almost 200 places to eat & shop including department stores, St David's has everything you need! Known as the city's shopping destination!

Cardiff Castle

20 minute walk from Arofan House

The Cardiff Castle is a must do, situated in the heart of the Capital. Students are able to tour the prestigious Castle for a bargainous £10.50.


15 minute walk from Arofan House

Gwdihŵ (Welsh slang for owl) is a slouchy hangout by day and lively bar by night. It serves an extremely wallet-friendly menu.

Urban Tap House

20 minute walk from Arofan House

Set across two floors of a grand old building, this is the perfect location for any craft beer and burger lovers. Pints start at £3.30, lovely!

Lab 22

20 minute walk from Arofan House

Lab 22 is a small but snazzy cocktail bar with an eclectic, molecular-themed food and drinks menu. Make sure to try the Smoky Jack cocktail!


10 minute walk from Arofan House

You can find EasyGym in the centre of Cardiff, just 10 minutes' walk from Arofan House. Memberships are available for £18.99 per month.

National Museum Cardiff

20 minute walk from Arofan House

The National Museum in Cardiff is a fantastic place to learn a bit of Welsh history, both about Cardiff and Wales in general!

Cardiff University

15 minute walk from Arofan House

Cardiff's main university is just a short walk away from Arofan House.

University of South Wales

15 minute walk from Arofan House

Close to the city centre, this campus of The University of South Wales has all the benefits of being in a major city.

Cardiff Metropolitan University

30 minutes by bus from Arofan House

Being at the end of Llandaff Fields means your commute to university just got a whole lot prettier! Really great in the summer time.

Clifton Surgery

8 minute walk from Arofan House

Being run by the NHS means that this service is free to use if you're a student! Make sure to register with a local GP when you move in.

Student Health Service

15 minute walk from Arofan House

Located on the main campus of your University and operates an appointment and drop-in service. This is a good place to go to for any medical woes!

Buffalo Bar

12 minute walk from Arofan House

This lively bar is close to the city centre so is a great place to start, end or spend the whole evening!

Face 11

20 minute walk from Arofan House

Inspired by the chilled vibes of après-ski, this bar offers up burgers, fries and stone baked pizzas. Great service and an awesome atmosphere!

Wellfield Bookshop

15 minute walk from Arofan House

Pick up a new book here, perhaps a cook book to transform your microwave dinners!

Super Tomato

10 minute walk from Arofan House

Relive your childhood at this amazing store stocking retrogames and consoles.

Coffee Barker

20 minute walk from Arofan House

Set amongst Cardiff's many arcades, this coffee shop is a great place to get a caffeine fix between lectures.

Little Man Coffee

15 minute walk from Arofan House

Roasting all kinds of unique coffee beans and running events every month, Little Man Coffee is a great place to spend some time.

Cardiff Central Market

20 minute walk from Arofan House

Does what is says on the tin, this is the main market in Cardiff. You'll find things you didn't know you needed here!

Motorpoint Arena

17 minute walk from Arofan House

The Motorpoint Arena hosts all kinds of live shows all year round. Be sure to catch big name bands, stand up comedians and sport events here!

The Globe

13 minute walk from Arofan House

This live music venue is practically on your doorstep! Make sure you grab tickets to events here before they sell out.

The Live Lounge

17 minute walk from Arofan House

An all-day music bar that stays open late with DJ sets. This is arguably the top place for music in Cardiff.

Roath Park Lake

30 minute walk from Arofan House

Fancy some fresh air? Roath Park has an amazing lake to help take you out of the city and into a state of relaxation. Also perfect for picnics.

Bute Park

20 minute walk from Arofan House

A large series of adjoining parks right in the centre of the city, with the River Taff running through. Another great place to picnic in summer!

Wales’ largest city definitely doesn’t disappoint, with a ton of exciting things to see and do, from chic cafes and an amazing party scene to cultural hotspots you’ll be proud to show your parents when they visit.

Student life in Cardiff has never been better, with everything right on your doorstep from all three of Cardiff’s universities (Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of South Wales) and our Arofan House accommodation. Explore the city easily on foot or hop on and off one of the regular buses.

Grab a coffee or something stronger


Unwind between lectures and grab a coffee with your friends. Cardiff has so many cafes tucked away on its streets. Stag Coffee is a particular highlight and just a short walk from the University. Not only does the cafe look like a Instagram dream, their freshly brewed coffee tastes a treat. Expect sandwiches and burgers served on chopping boards and milkshakes in milk bottles. iPhone at the ready.

Or on the opposite side of town, among Cardiff’s shopping area on Queen Street, there’s Barkers Coffee House and Little Man Coffee for that much needed pick-me-up when you’re out spending your student loan in St David’s.

Switch to the night scene and Cardiff centre really comes to life, upping the ante for live music events and bars that are easy on your pocket.
If live music is your thing, then Gwdihŵ (Welsh slang for owl) should be your number one choice of an evening, with a constant stream of indie, funk, soul, hip-hop, house and disco nights. Make it a goal to learn how to pronounce the name before you leave university. Another live music highlight is Buffalo Bar. You really can’t beat their 2-for-1 cocktail menu on weeknights either.

For something a bit more chilled, Urban Tap House’s selection of craft beers, ales and ciders is the perfect place to start a pub crawl, or even spend the whole night as it opens into the late hours. More upmarket than your standard pub, the bar is spread out over two floors in a grand old warehouse building and pints start at just £3.30 – bargain!

Not a beer fan? If sipping cocktails is more your thing then Lab 22’s unique and stylish science-cum-cocktail experience is a must at least once – maybe make this coincide with when your student loan comes through though as cocktails can be pricey. Or head to 10 Feet Tall and Face 11 for drinks a little on the cheaper side and happy hour deals.

Get your culture quota


Just a hop, skip and jump away from the main Cardiff University campus, there are no excuses not to visit the National Museum & Gallery and Cardiff Castle. Explore Wales’ historical past with a massive collection of national artifacts and leading art from around the world at the museum and gallery.

Cardiff Castle’s gothic structure looks like something from a medieval fairytale. Take time to tour the castle apartments before climbing up all the steps to look out over the city. There’s even a reduced rate for students so everyone wins.

Or move from history to pop culture and grab a bunch of friends to spend your weekend travelling through space and time at the Doctor Who Experience on Cardiff Bay. It’s a 40-minute walk from the centre but there are strong train and bus routes to get you there quicker.

Sunny study spots


With a jam-packed schedule of socials, don’t forget to take time out to study. Sometimes you really can’t beat the great outdoors over a stuffy bedroom or library. Sophia Gardens and Cooper’s Field are the go-to parks for reading through coursework and revising, so nab a picnic bench or pull up a blanket and study in peace.

Student living in Cardiff


If you just can’t wait to start your student experience in Cardiff then get in touch with our team today. Drop us a line on 0131 2012 440 or pop by our Arofan House accommodation for a tour. As our newest accommodation to come on board, we hope you’ll join us in September 2016.

University in Cardiff not for you? That’s not a problem! We have plenty of equally stylish and comfortable accommodations in other major locations across the UK, including Bristol, London and Edinburgh.