A variety of accommodation is available at Cardiff University at different prices. The majority is self-catered, but some also offer part-catered or catered. Similarly, some offer en-suite facilities, whereas others have shared bathrooms. All rooms have internet access.
It’s situated very, very close to the main university campus, next to the Music Department and near the humanities and law buildings, etc. The Students’ Union is just a short walk away, as is the city centre. Useful for those who just want to roll out of bed in the morning.
Aberdare has its own library and common rooms. There is also a reception, The Lodge, where visitors must sign in and out.
Colum Hall is a self-catered en-suite accommodation situated on Colum Road, which is the main thoroughfare for Talybont residents and, as a result, can get very busy during the day and occasionally noisy at night. There's a lot of traffic too. But it is less than 5 minutes from the main campus and 15 minutes from the town centre, making it more convenient than Talybont. There is a Lidl, a sandwich shop and a typical student pub, the Woodville, nearby.
The residence is divided into 14 flats of 8, in 2 adjacent buildings, making 112 rooms in total. The rooms are fairly small, but with a large desk and a decent amount of storage space, and each room has a network connection point. The kitchens are fully equipped and have a lounge area in addition to a high table that seats 4.
Gordon Hall is a part/self-catered accommodation located in-between the Computer Science building and the Engineering/Physics department (that also contains the Trevithick Restaurant), situated in a quiet residential area. It has 91 single study bedrooms, 80 of which are ensuite, with shared kitchen facilities on each floor. There is a definite community feel, and people living in Gordon Hall regularly go out in large groups. For those that want it, an evening meal is provided Monday to Friday in the Trevithick Restaurant.
Roy Jenkins Hall
Roy Jenkins is a small, self catered hall, split into two parts. One building has flats for couples, whilst the other has 6 flats of 5 single rooms, mostly filled by first years.
There are two flats to a floor. Each flat has a kitchen with a oven/grill/hob, microwave, fridge and freezer. Kettles, toasters and irons are not provided, but there is a Henry hoover and an ironing board. (Warning: the hoover smells really bad.) There are 10 good-sized cupboards, which makes it 2 each, plus a drawer each and also some large shelves on half of one wall. The fridge has 5 shelves, lots of door space and 2 drawers. The freezer is a chest freezer. There is a table with 5 chairs. There is also a noticeboard with important information. There are no ensuite rooms in Roy Jenkins and the bathroom facilities are shared between the whole flat. There is a room with a sink, a room with a sink and a toilet, and a room with a sink, toilet and shower. There are no sinks in the bedrooms. The showers and cookers are electric. The shared facilities are cleaned regularly.
Bin bags and recycling bags are provided. These are to be taken into the bins in the car park. Everything can be recycled together except for glass, for which there is a separate bin.
The bedrooms are a good size (larger than Senghennydd, slightly smaller than Cartwright, for example) and have lots of storage space. There is a large desk, which runs almost the length of one wall. This contains 3 long drawers and a double cupboard. Above, there is shelf space. There is a double wardrobe with some shelves inside and a double cupboard on top. There is a cupboard by the bed. There are 6 plug sockets in the room: 3 by the desk (along with the ethernet cable socket) and 3 by the wardrobe. However, there are no sockets near the bed, which means if you want a bedside light or to charge your phone next to you as you sleep, then you will need to bring an extension lead. There is also a large noticeboard above the desk, space underneath the bed and a bin.
4 of the 5 bedrooms in each flat are at the back of the building, and overlook the car park. The other room - the lowest numbered in each flat - faces Crwys Road, which can be quite busy. The road cannot really be heard from the back, but it can be from the front.
Mail is delivered every day (except Sunday). It is posted through a letterbox and lands in the hallway, to be collected by the recipients, rather than delivered to each flat. Parcels are delivered also. If they don't fit through the letterbox and no one is around to let the postman in, then they are taken to the sorting office.
There are no laundry facilities at Roy Jenkins. These are located at Cartwright Court, which is about a 10 minute walk away. The laundry room contains 3 washing machines and 4 dryers. One washing cycle costs £2, one drying cycle costs £1. It takes 40 minutes to wash and 50 to dry. You could walk back to Roy Jenkins, then return, then walk back, then return, then walk back... You could take a book or some work and something to sit on. You could go during the day and visit Albany or City Road or fight a coffee shop. Or make friends with someone in Cartwright and go to visit them. There are bike sheds in the car park of Roy Jenkins. There are a number of parking spaces, and permits can be obtained.
Roy Jenkins is situated on Crwys Road. It is directly opposited a Co-op (with a busy cashline) and down the road from a Spar. There is a Domino's and a Pizza Hut Delivery 30 seconds away. There are numerous other takeaways along the road. There is a post office down the road as well. There are also some shops and newsagents about a minute up the road, and the halls are about a 5 or so minute walk from Albany Road and City Road, which contain many shops and banks, including a Tesco and Natwest. There is a bus stop near to Roy Jenkins, which has regular buses to the city centre (though it's quite possible to walk there in under half an hour). However, there are no direct buses to the university. It's a 10 minute walk on average to the Humanities building, slightly shorter to Optometry, and slightly longer to Law, Psychology, Music and the main building. It's about a 10 or 15 minute walk to the Union. Cathays train station is next to the Union, with local links. There are 2 train stations in the centre with national links.
Some useful (or not so) pieces of information: the cookers in flats 2 and 3 (and quite possibly the other flats too) seem to be on a slight slant. Be aware when cooking pancakes. Bring waterproof shoes as it will rain and if you don't have a car then you must walk to the university and you will have to sit in a lecture with very wet feet. As has already been mentioned, the hoover smells rather bad and bring an extension lead. Hangers are not provided.
Roy Jenkins is a lovely hall in a very convenient location. It is very small with only 30 people (excluding the separate couples section), which makes it quite quiet and cosy. There are far fewer fire alarms than in other residences (a real plus). The rooms and the kitchen are a very good size, much larger than some other halls. They are also cleaned regularly.
Senghennydd Court is a part/self-catered accommodation close to the main campus area and Students’ Union. Also very close to the town centre.
Just over 600 students live at Senghennydd Court. For undergraduates, there are ten houses which are divided into flats for five people. Each flat has a shared bathroom and kitchen/living area. All the bedrooms have internet connection points.
There is an evening meal option available at the Trevithick Restaurant provided from Monday to Friday.
There are a few Welsh-speaking flats.
Affectionately known to some people as ‘Senghetto’, just as Talybont North is sometimes known as Talybronx.
Senghennydd Hall is a part-catered accommodation close to the main campus area and Students’ Union. It is also very close to the town centre.
There are just over 100 rooms in this hall so there is a real community feel. If you do feel the need to meet more people, Senghennydd Court is very close by with the hundreds of people there!
Each flat has a kitchen/living area. All the bedrooms are ensuite (with proper showers!) and have internet connection points. The rooms are a good size although there isn't much storage space. The laundrette is across the road at Senghennydd Court.
The evening meal is at the Trevithick Restaurant, but it isn’t known for being particularly good! They provide evening meals Monday to Friday during term time (served between 4.30 and 7pm)
There are three residences at Talybont, which is the largest of the university’s self-catered accommodation. Talybont North, Talybont South and Talybont Court. Talybont Court is the newest residence and opened in September 2005.
All rooms are single occupancy and have en-suite facilities. As of September 2006, all rooms have internet connections.
Talybont has its own bar, the Talybont Social. On site, there are also laundrettes, a shop and sports facilities.
Talybont is close to a large Tesco Extra; the nearest residence to it is Talybont North. Close to Tesco, there is also a drive-through McDonalds.
Talybont North consists of 15 houses. These houses are split into flats, each with 6 bedrooms. All bedrooms have en-suite facilities and network connection point. Each flat has a communal kitchen/dining room.
The bedrooms in houses A-R are slightly smaller than those in S-Y. Therefore, they are slightly cheaper. Room 6 in houses A-R is offered at a further discounted rate as the rooms are a smaller, irregular shape.
Each room contains ample storage space - desk, lots of shelving, drawers under the bed and a wardrobe with shelves in too. Hangers aren't provided for you and you have to bring your own duvet and pillows(if you want more than one). Your room has a large notice board as well, but bring drawing pins!
The bathroom is more of a 'pod' than a proper bathroom, as you'd be expecting considering how many students have to be accommodated here. The bathroom isn't very big but contains a toilet, shower, mirror, sink and about 3 shelves for your toiletries etc with a hook on the door for towels to be hung on. The shower has isn't in a cubicle or sectioned off, but the bathroom doesn't get very wet unless you're really splashing about in there!
There's a network connection point and a cable is provided for you to connect it up to your pc/laptop. The internet's easy to get on to and doesn't take long to set up, there's normally few glitches in the first few days when they're sorting everything out and everyone's starting up but it's fine from then on.
My kitchen (House Y, first floor, flat 5) contains quite a large table, 4 chairs, 2 comfy chairs, bin, oven, freezer and fridge, microwave, extractor fan, mop and dustpan and brush and drawers and cupboards. Altogether, there's enough room for all your food, cutlery, plates etc so long as you don't come with LOADS. The fridge and freezer are smaller than those in Talybont South, although there's only 2 less people, so you can't go buying too much refrigerated/frozen stuff as you have to remember you're sharing that space with 6 people.
Each kitchen in Talybont North varies slightly, as I have friends in house V who have a slightly smaller kitchen table which is wider and know other people in different houses, e.g. M, who don't have the same type of chairs in the kitchen. But all in all, the general layout is the same.
House Y has rooms that are slightly bigger than the rest of the houses (A-R) and room 6 in House Y is the same size as any of the other rooms in the flat. I find that they're large enough, as I expected something MUCH smaller and was pleasantly surprised. :)
Each bedroom has a radiator which can be turned on/off accordingly, obviously. The heating is switched on from 1st October to 24th May from 6.30-9.30AM & 4.30-11.30PM Mon-Fri and then 7-11AM & 3PM-11.30PM Sat & Sun. There are recycling facilities on site, the sports centre (which is very cheap and covers a huge range of activities and sports) and the Talybont Social Centre which is a bar and dance floor with pool tables, quiz machines, poker table and lots of sofas and serves food at decent prices(£5 for a sunday roast, £4 for a general meal) as well as doing club nights every other week on Fridays, which are really good fun.
The Social is open from 5pm-9pm every day but opens 12pm-9pm Wed, Sat and Sun. It serves a range of foods and caters for vegetarians and vegans too. You can choose from salads, baguettes, wraps, burgers, steaks, roast dinners, a huge range of side dishes e.g. sauces, garlic bread, onion rings, pasta and the list of desserts is put up on the blackboard each day. It's a great place to start a night out or even good for just spending a quiet evening playing pool or relaxing with friends and meeting new people if you don't feel like going all out that particular night.
Every 2 weeks Daydream comes to the Social, which is a great night out with a DJ and dancing til 12.30AM. Drinks are quite cheap at the weekend but more expensive in the week. E.g. I paid £2.70 for an Archers and Lemonade last night, but Friday nights they're normally £2ish. Obviously, they're much cheaper in the Union(normally £1.25 there, ranging to £1.75 on some days). Bottles are normally £1.50-£2 and shots are about a pound. Salsa dance classes are held in the social on Mondays and are a free first lesson and then £5 for the next 5 weeks.
The only problem with Talybont is that it IS rather noisy. Students come back at all hours of the morning, although it's usually worse on weekends. Once you get used to it, it's really not that bad, but it can be annoying if you're up early the next day. That said, security always patrol the site, and you can ring them if people are being too noisy non-stop and they'll come sort it out. Laundry washing facilities are on site. It's £2 to wash clothes and 50p to use the tumble dryer I believe, although they're really not very good tumble driers, so most people in my flat/house have bought clothes horses and air their clothes on them with the heating on so they dry faster. There are also tumble dryers that charge £1 and are much better.
Your key opens your house door, mailbox, flat door and your room door, and if you put it in any other lock, it'll break. (or so we're told) Your room doors stay open until locked again though, although flat and house doors don't.
Ok, so on to the more important stuff!
You can have a really good night out and about 8-10 drinks (depending on what you're drinking) for £15 max. That's including buying a ticket to get into a union event, otherwise it's about £10-12, which is pretty decent, considering you'd normally spend MUCH more than that back home on a night out no doubt!
You can walk pretty much anywhere from Talybont. Tesco Express from Talybont North is only a 5 minute walk, Tesco Extra (also on the way is McDonalds) is 10 minutes and is entirely safe. There's bicycle sheds here and locks available at a discounted price from the union if you want to leave your bike outside your house. The Union is a 20-25 minute walk down a straight road, so it's not that hard to get to. Town is about 30 mins give or take, but there are bus stops all the way down the street which cost £1.50 for a single.
The Heath Park Campus is 20-25mins from Talybont North and the other campuses that are near the union (e.g. Julian Hodge building, Music, Psychology etc) are about 20 mins as well. The engineering, physics and computer science department is quite far from Talybont, it's a 40 min walk, but there is a cycle track if you want to cycle. Singles are £1.50 if you would rather take the bus. All day rider tickets will take you anywhere in the city that day and cost £3, so are pretty useful if you plan on doing a lot of bus hopping some days. Buses only take exact change, so I always make sure I have a good bit of change on me every time I go out, just in case I need it.
Local chinese take-aways deliver to the gate near Tesco, opposite McDonalds. Domino's pizza deliver free to Talybont and give 20% student discount. You always get new flyers with money off and information about what's on in different places that week, which is useful.
Taxis - taxis are normally pretty expensive..but if you have to get one sometimes, then you have to get one! So here's some info - there's quite a few different taxi companies here in Cardiff. Normally I use Dragon taxis, but there's also a taxi firm called Ladybird which is female only taxis with female drivers. I haven't actually used this yet, but obviously it's a good idea for girls if they're alone and need a taxi home ASAP. (029 2075 0176) Taxi from the union back to Talybont is a fiver and it's about the same price to the Heath. Taxi back from town/to town is more, normally £8-10.
After having spoken to other students, it seems that Talybont has the best atmosphere out of all the accommodations. Although Senghennydd and others are closer to the union, Talybont has the sports centre on site and a bar with lots of stuff going on all the time, so you'll never be bored if you choose to stay here - be that in North, South or Court!
There are 27 houses in Talybont South. Flats house 4, 6 or 8 bedrooms. All bedrooms have en-suite facilities and network connection point. Each flat has a communal kitchen/dining room. The flats are of varying quality, as some have not been renovated since being built (House 14) whilst others have Taly South is a 20 Min walk from the city centre. it is between the taff trail and the train line and has its own shop however residents seem to go to baby tesco and big tesco insted as it is cheaper.
There is also a Doorbell on each flat and a Intercom system for the door
Talybont Court is the newest of the Talybont accommodations. It opened in September 2005, although it wasn’t without its teething problems, including a bit of flooding.
There are 3 houses, divided into flats for 5-7 students. All bedrooms have en-suite facilities (with a PROPER shower!!) and network connection point. Each flat has a communal kitchen/dining/living room. Taly court has its own laundrette and there are lifts for when you are carrying heavy bags of shopping/moving in.
The rooms are bigger than the rest of Talybont and there is a much bigger kitchen/living room. The kitchen has a big upright fridge and a big upright freezer so there is plenty of storage space.
Court is generally not as sociable (and therefore noisy) as the rest of Talybont (the big heavy doors make it difficult to just knock on the doors of other flats as they just don't seem to hear you!) but it is in a great location. The sports facilities of Talybont are close by, as are the endless parties which go on there! In the other direction, most of the university buildings are within a 15 minute walk.
It has been discovered that due to poor foundations parts of Talybont Court is slowly sinking into the ground! This is unlikely to affect anyone in the short term (they're not going to let anyone live somewhere that's unsafe, but it means they might have to rebuild parts of it in the future.
Whatever anyone says about it, I think its a much nicer place than Taly (you'll find there's a friendly rivalry because they're the two biggest halls).
Firstly, its on top of a hill, which is a pain if you walk or cycle. There are 91 parking spaces, and you need a permit to park. There is a big, secure cycle rack too. Uni Hall is composed of lots of different buildings. All have internet connections, but here's a lowdown on each of them.
One of the more bleaker halls externally, has had recent refurbishment of the kitchens, with new table chairs and work surfaces, as well as improved shower facility's and improvement to desks in the room. Usually has 11 people on the third and second floor due to a single en suite, whist having 10 people on the bottom floor. Noted as one of the more social accommodations due to the number of people, so can be a bit louder.
I am currently living in Nevern 5. The main thing going against Nevern is its appearance; yes it does look like a prison. However the rooms are spacious with decent sized windows, a sink, a large desk and a good amount of storage space.
Nevern is split into five different buildings each with three floors; there is a flat on each floor. The flats on the ground floor have 10 rooms, while the first and second floors have 11 rooms (one room is an en-suite).
The kitchens and bathrooms were refurbished this year and so were the hallways and rooms in blocks 1, 2 and 3. Nevern 4 and 5 are being completed this summer apparently. Although from what I’ve noticed the only difference seems to be the colour of the walls and slightly nicer carpeting.
A bonus is that since Nevern is split up there are hardly ever any fire alarms, as the alarms only go off in the building they started in. However be warned if you have a room overlooking the courtyard noise is an issue, especially at the weekend. Some rooms also have a lovely view of a brick wall. All in all Nevern isn’t too bad; it’s the people you live with that make it.
- another edit 08/2011*
I also lived in Nevern 5. Its a horror when you first move in but its not so bad once you get used to it looking like a prison. They do have fire alarm tests every week (i think it was every wednesday at 10am for us) but don't worry, they usually say you don't need to move! I just lay in my bed until it stops ;)
The Kitchen was actually quite nice since it has been refurbished however because it was so new, they had forgotten to actually fit our plumbing so when we first moved in, the sink drained into the cupboard instead of going through the pipes and we ended up flooding our kitchen. Oh and if you have stuff that needs fixing throughout the year, you should write a letter form each of the people in your flat detailing everything and they will do it quickly, otherwise they will put it off for as long as possible.
Oh and some of the chairs in the bedrooms are really old so as soon as you move in, make sure you check it out and if its not good/broken etc tell them immediately. They promised to replace my chair but never did even after i moved out.
All in all, its not so bad, as long as the people you are with are good- thats the main thing!
- Edit 06/2013*
This hall gets a lot of hate from people who dont live there. Its recently been refurbished and is just as good (in terms of quality) than taly south, whilst also being bigger, allowing for better pre-drinks! Its also really social, with 11 people per floor with 10 on the bottom floor. In my flat and the floor below we just kept our front doors open so everyone could just go up and down between flats easier. It was also really common for us to have pre-drinks with onwards of 15 people on a typical friday night out. The showers are a bit glum looking but they trap the heat so you can make it like a sauna haha! The rooms themselves are alright, the bed is a bit shit so i recommend a mattress cover as it will save you so much hassle! Also you want to put your pillows away from the curtains as otherwise the gap between the curtains and the window wake you up too early due to light shining on your face. So many people got annoyed that they only realised you could avoid that, when it was the week before leaving. Good desk space and good sink and storage facilities.
Does look a bit ruff from the outside, but it doesn't really matter as you dont look at it that much. All in All, ive found uni halls to be just as social as taly south, for just a fraction of the price (paid like £60 a week which is so much saved!) also really close to all the other accommodations in uni halls, so really easy to meet people.
Refurbed three years ago, big flats, good kitchens. Noisy stairs though, you don't want a room by the stairway. Nice en-suites though.
Refurbed last year. Good en-suites, very light because of big windows, which afford awesome views of the city, especially towards the top. Kitchens have two ovens and the usual fridge freezers. There is a nice place to sit with tables etc.
There are 9 Bedrooms on each floor and 9 Floors in total. There are two lifts; one which goes to odd-numbered floors, and another for the even-numbered ones, and one staircase. All rooms have network connection points. Though at 3am when the fire alarm goes off you cant use the lifts so be prepared for a long walk if you are on the top floor.
Completely refurbed this year I hear they'll all have en-suite.
Garden Wing consists of three flats, one on each floor. Each flat houses 13 people. There are two kitchens in each flat, one is used by 8 people and the other by 5. The 8 person kitchen is slightly bigger than the other. There is one bathroom in each flat with 3 showers and 4 toilets in each... But there are never any queues! The bedrooms are really big... I think the biggest out of all the university owned residences in Cardiff and really light (they have a massive window). There is also a sink in every room and lots of storage space (cupboards,a massive wardrobe and space under the bed). The views are also really nice looking over the garden and you can see all the way to the bay. Its always keep really warm and although things always seem to break, they usually get fixed quickly! A bit about Uni Hall itself...although its further away from university, you get bigger rooms for a cheaper price, it has lovely grounds/gardens and a tennis court. If you have a bike there's a secure area to keep it and it only takes about 10 mins to get to the heath and 15 on bike. There is also a fab atmosphere but its not too noisy in garden wing usually as it sits out away from the other buildings! There's a social room with tvs, xboxs and pool tables and a free bus to both the heath and main university campus which is brilliant when its raining! There's loads of free parking around if you want to bring a car and the neighbourhood is lush! Although other people say it full of people who went through clearing... I don't have anyone in my flat. Generally I think Garden Wing's great!
East Wing and Ty Gwyn
I lived on the first floor in East Wing last year. The rooms are big, apparently bigger then Talybont and definatly bigger than tower. The kitchens were nice and big too. Despite the fact that the building itself is pretty ugly, the inside is surprisingly nice and if your looking for space, its definately bigger than Taly. There are disadvantages to being in University Halls, its on top of a massive hill and the bar was closed a few years ago. Its largely full of clearing or insurance students (like me). However, almost all the people I met at University Halls last year enjoyed it and were glad to have been placed there. I definatly had a unique experience, although I am glad to be living closer to the uni next year.
I lived in Ty Gwyn last year, there are two sizes of kitchens either end. One end is a huge kitchen, and the other were about half the size but still a good size. The rooms are without ensuite but they have a sink and mirror and are big with fairly big windows. There are three floors in this building but ground floor is only half the size of the two upper floors. There is one room on the ground floor that is bigger than all the other rooms for some reason. Ty Gwyn is right opposite the entrance to the bar, so if (like me) your room is outside the bar you can get a lot of noise from people going in and out on busy nights, but I was usually at the bar, so it didn't bother me.
Edit*** East Wing- Rooms are the largest on campus, predominantly bluely decorated inside. Blue walls, blue carpets, blue blinds. In each room you've got your bed, a sink with a mirror, a wardrobe with overhead storage, a desk and a small shelf set attached to the wall. Personally, I didn't have enough storage space. The rooms may seem a little outdated, but many of my flatmates have made theirs look lovely. On the two upper floors there are two kitchens, 5 or 6 toilets and 6 showers between 18 people. Not 100% on the ground floor. As previously stated, the bar has been closed although is being re-done this year and is located directly inbetween Ty Gwyn and East Wing. There is a bus that runs every hour into the Uni itself and just two minutes away from town (the engineering building). There is also a 52/52A bus that runs every 15 minutes through the week and takes you directly into town. Its an amazing place to be and everyone is friendly, just beware that the fire regulations mean that if someone has burnt their toast in tower East Wing too has to be evacuated. #EasyWing.
Kitchens-cosy, small, large tables take up a lot of room, though they make an awesome living space.
On one side is a dining room/living area with low chairs and a big table and chairs. There is also a stand up fridge/freezer. Most people put their shared TV/Hifi/DVD player on there (a lot of flats had a TV-I took a spare one for the kitchen cos I had one in my room too).
The kitchen is utilitarian, grey, heaters work arbitrarily-off all winter on all summer. They turn on and off as they pleased and there seemed no way to turn them off. All white goods varied in age, most of ours were replaced during the year because they broke-the only thing that didn't was the fridge/freezer which was new anyway. Ovens are electric, you also get one fridge, one freezer, and the aforementioned fridge freezer. There's plenty of storage-we all had two cupboards each, and usually used one for pots, pans and crockery, and one for food.
Rooms-8 per flat, all the same (exactly the same). They're long and narrow, and next door ones mirror each other (ie my flat had the bathroom on the right, next door it was on the left). Layout in my flat was bathroom on the right, then the bed, with a shelf over the length of the bed. On the left was a huge wardrobe, then the desk, which was huge. There are six power sockets around the room. Decor is a horrible green-its dark and you need the light on pretty much at all times. However, posters greatly brighten things up. The walls around the desk and bed are made of pin-board material, so all notices and posters can be affixed with drawing pins. The light is a harsh strip light, I used some lamps dotted around the room instead. All windows open two ways-wide open and narrow. Don't push the button in! This locks it! Windows have blinds but they are a bit narrow, letting light in. There are curtain rails though and a few students brought curtains.
Bathroom-one word-tiny. About the size of two phone boxes side by side (in fact less than that). Good powerful shower, no issues with hot water, no shower curtain though. Sink, mirror, small shelf and toilet. Difficult to keep clean.
The staff are friendly and generally efficient with repairs and stuff. It took four weeks to get the broken oven replaced though, but only one for the broken freezer.
Uni Hall Bar
The bar was closed a few years ago. There are two vending machines in the reception area, which are pretty handy, but not really enough for a balanced diet (which involves going to the shops down the hill)
The bar is good, wide range of drinks on, all your main brands, not cheap though, certainly not as cheap as the union. £1.60-£2.50 for pints, £2 for bottles, £2.20 for double and mixer. Two bandits, quiz machine, jukebox, two pool tables. The food it sells is pretty rubbish though-you're best advised to order delivery from nearby takeaways. There are no takeaways nearby though, generally delivery from those in Penylan and Roath is free for orders over £7. I recommend Pizza Time (Crwys Road- 029 2038 8788), and to avoid City Pizza. [The bar has since shut down.]
Uni Hall Facilities
On site laundrette has eight machines and eight dryers and is most busy at weekends. I used it after midnight because you'd never have to queue. Wash £1.50, dryer 50p per half hour. Dryers are inefficient and need replacing though.
OK off site-free buses run to the campus hourly once lectures start, dropping off at Taly, Aberconway, Union, and engineering buildings. They will not drop anywhere else, even if you ask nicely, which is a pain because they run along the main shopping street in Roath (Albany Road).
The public bus to town is the 52/52A/55, and from town goes towards Fishguard Road, or Cyncoed. Current fares for Cardiff Bus are £1.80 (single) and £3.60 (day to go). They only accept EXACT change, and don't give change, so BE PREPARED. Note, however, that you can now download the Cardiff Bus 'iff app' to your phone, and pay for tickets via this - I think buying via this method also entitles you to small fare discounts.
Shopping: local supermarket is Tesco Metro on Albany Road, which I found was more than adequate. Next door was an Iceland and a greengrocers too. The bus stop is right outside Tesco so usually I'd walk there and get the bus back. About a 25 minute walk from Halls is Colchester Avenue, where there is also a A gym, Lidl, Sainsbury's and Morrisons. If you drive there's a huge Tesco Extra which sells EVERYTHING by Talybont. It's about five mins drive from Uni Hall.
On Albany Road there are: two video rentals, lots a takeaways, a woolies, several banks so you'll be ok. Albany Road is ten minutes walk from Uni Hall. The nearest cashpoint to Uni Hall is at Barclays on Wellfield Road, which is just off Albany Road. The nearest shop to Uni Hall is the Lady Mary Stores, which sells a lot of stuff-newspapers, milk, booze. Ian and Chloe who work their are really friendly and cool. To get to the Lady Mary exit Uni Hall by the back gate, turn right down Brandreth Road, and the shop is at the bottom of the Hill. You'll pass the nearest post box here too.
When you go they'll ask you to join a surgery. I joined Penylan surgery because I heard its better than Roath House. I saw two doctors during the year and they were both awesome, friendly people. Getting an appointment is a pain-eleven days for non-urgent, but if you phone early you can get same day for an urgent appointment.
Near to Uni Hall is Roath Park, which is nice for footy, rugby and running and it has a good lake.
Last but not least, don't forget to make friends with Bob (Roberta) the Cat, who will be seen begging for food and mewing around Uni Hall. She's initially very shy, but will come if you offer her food.
Student Houses: Colum Road
Being in a student house is very different to being in halls, but not necessarily in a bad way. There are often a lot of international, or erasmus students in these houses which can causes problems with language barriers, but all the students I have met have been extremely nice. As with flats in halls, it really is luck of the draw as to who you're put with.
There are quite a few houses on Colum road, they're very close to the Humanities, Julian Hodge and Law buildings and only a few minutes walk from Lidl [a student paradise]. They vary in size from about 4/5 rooms, up to 11. Those with 11 bedrooms tend to have two kitchens, one on the ground floor, one on the top floor. There are three bathrooms, with showers.
The houses are getting very old, the residences management for Colum Road are helpful [ask for Sue, she talks a lot of sense and has power] but the houses are a bit of joke, if we're being honest. There's a handyman who comes and fixes things which is useful, and security is on the phone 24hours a day which is superb and they respond within 10minutes of you phoning. Generally the cleaners are okay but can be strict about the kitchen and communal areas and we had a few issues with them not fulfilling their side of the contract, but once we'd had an adult conversation with management, that was sorted out.
Being in a house can seem difficult at first, during freshers you might feel a bit excluded as the different halls often have quite a strong identity about them, but you can use the house as a talking point! They're also not all bad, many visitors from halls came in and exclaimed how much room you get and how private it is. Colum Road is noisy as it's a main road, and at night you get all the students heading back to Talybont after a night out, if you're at the front of the house but at the back, it's silent [something you really appreciate come exam time!] You also don't have to deal with the dreaded firealarms at all hours, or some neighbour causing you trouble - you'll get to know everyone in your house really quickly, so if they're making noise it's easy enough to go up and knock on their door which is more difficult for individual flats in halls.
One thing you do have to remember, however, is that you're living on a residential street, not in a student village type environment. The majority of houses around you are other student houses and 2nd and 3rd years renting, but there are some non-student residences and so you do have to be considerate. People with young children, babies etc don't appreciate being woken up at all hours - they know security's number and they WILL call them, and then your party will get shut down in a matter of minutes and you'll get a firm warning the next morning.
The nearest laundry is Aberconway, only 10minutes walk form the furthest houses. There it's £1.50 for a wash and 50p dryer. For doctors, the best one to sign up to is Cathays Surgery [go as soon as you can, their books fill up fast] but they really are superb. I've seen three of their doctors and they have all been excellent and you can get an appointment for a few days time, or even the same day if you're lucky and they've had a cancellation.
The best thing about the houses is their positioning. Depending on where they are on Colum Road, it can be a 5-10 minute walk to either end. It takes 15-20 minutes to town and less than 10 to the union. You're in the centre of student-ville and although you might not feel as integrated as those in student halls, remember there are a lot of student houses on the road. Some of the best friends my house and I made were by turning up at other houses doors and seeing who lived there.