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Cardiff Area Guide: Cardiff City Centre

Mill Lane

The wonderful city centre is the heart of Cardiff; if there’s an event happening in the city, chances are it’s happening in the city centre. While the centre area has a more retail, commercial and tourist focus, it has become a thriving place to live for people who want to be in the heart of all the action.

The city centre is designed for people on a slightly higher budget, and rents tend to be on the higher end of the scale, but if you’re looking for a beautiful flat, the positives outweigh the negatives.


Cardiff officially became anointed as a city by Edward VII in 1905. While it may be hard to believe now considering how much of a transformation the city centre has undergone, it was quite an unloved area until relatively recently.

During the 1960s, city planners were completely unimpressed with how the city looked. This was due in part to WWII. During the war, Cardiff avoided most of the bomb damage that other major UK cities experienced, as such, money wasn’t pumped into the city to rebuild and redevelop, unlike other cities that had been bombed. However, it was during the 60s that several plans were laid out to truly modernise the city.

During the 70s and 80s work began on the building of St David’s Centre and St David’s Hall, while focus was turned to Queen Street during the mid-80s, transforming it into a shopping hub. The Mill Lane café quarter and the Millennium Stadium were built during the 90s, giving the city centre some of its largest sights and much-loved attractions, and since then, the city has continued to thrive and develop until it became the city we know and love today, and even now it’s still changing!

Things to do

There’s so much to do in the city that we’ve already written several blogs about all the weird and wonderful things that you can see and do, and we still haven’t covered everything that the city has to offer!

Whether you like the cinema, theatre, going out for a drink, having a hearty meal, trying something new, or just relaxing in some beautiful greenspace, the city centre has literally something for absolutely everyone, not matter what hobbies or experiences you love!

Where to shop

If you enjoy shopping, then living in the city centre will be a dream come true for you!

The Old Library Cardiff

You will be living right next to the city’s three main shopping streets: Queen Street, St Mary’s Street, and the Hayes, where you’ll find all the major retail stores, along with metro versions of several supermarkets (you’ll have to go further afield to visit a full-sized supermarket).

Along with the shopping streets, there are several shopping centres including Queens Arcade and St David’s 2, which is next to the second largest John Lewis outside of London!

If that wasn’t enough, there are also several Victorian arcades which are filled with more niche businesses as well as quaint tearooms. Cardiff really is a shoppers’ paradise!

Transport links

Unsurprisingly, being the city centre and being the hub of activity for the city, this area has plenty of transport links.

Not only does almost every Cardiff Bus journey at some point go through the city centre, meaning you have fast and easy access to all other Cardiff neighbourhoods, but there are also two train stations making travelling within Wales, and even further, a breeze.

You’ll have less luck if you’re a driver, as while there are decent road links, parking cannot be guaranteed, and traffic can be a nightmare, especially during term time and the morning and evening rush hours. And don’t even think about driving into the centre when the rugby is on! Go on, we dare you to try it!

However, if you’re feeling luxurious, you can always catch a Waterbus to Cardiff Bay!

The city centre is only a viable living situation for those living as a couple or professionals on a higher budget, the rent prices are likely to make students wary of the area. That said, the rent prices are justified from the sheer atmosphere that surrounds you, being able to fall out of bed and into your favourite shop as well as how nice the properties themselves are!

If you’re interested in finding out more about any of the neighbourhoods in Cardiff, see our area guides. If you’re looking to rent a property in Cardiff, then visit us in branch in Cathays, or contact us.

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