Living in Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay essentials

Facilities & Services: hospital, police & schools

Nearest Hospital

Heath Hospital

Location: Heath Park , Cardiff , CF14 4XW
University Hospital of Wales - 15-20 minutes by car

Local Police Station

Cardiff Bay Police Station

Location: James Street , Cardiff , CF10 5EW
Open 24/7: 7 days a week


Fitzalan High School

Location: Lawrenny Avenue , (Canton & Leckwith) , Cardiff , CF11 8XB
Millennium Centre to the school Drive Time: 17 minutes

Ninian Park Primary School

Location: Virgil Street , (Leckwith/Canton area) , Cardiff , CF118TF
Millennium Centre to the school Drive time: 11 minutes

Mountstuart Primary School

Location: Adelaide Street , Cardiff , CF10 5HB
Millennium Centre to the school Walk time: 6 minutes

St Mary The Virgin Church In Wales Primary School

Location: North Church Street , Cardiff , CF10 5HB
Millennium Centre to the school Drive time: 4 minutes

St. Paul's Church in Wales Primary School

Location: Oakley Place , Grangetown , Cardiff , CF11 7EU
Millennium Centre to the school Drive time: 7 minutes

Darling Buds Nursery

Location: Seaway House , 55 Bute Street , Cardiff , CF10 5AH
Millennium Centre to the school Walk time: 3 minutes

Grangetown Nursery School

Location: Avondale Road , Cardiff , CF11 7DT
Millennium Centre to the school Drive time: 5 minutes

Busy Bees Nursery school

Location: Eastmoors Road , Ocean Park , Cardiff , CF24 5XH
Millennium Centre to the school Drive Time: 4 minutes

Getting around Cardiff Bay

cardiff bay aquabus


Aquabus provides an hourly waterbus service travelling from Mermaid Quay to Cardiff Castle via Penarth. Catch the Aquabus on Mermaid Quay get dropped off outside the Millennium Stadium in the heart of Bute Park!


Cardiff Bay stretches right to the boundary of Penarth. It’s supported by great road links which sees regular Cardiff Bus services supporting the Mermaid Quay area right over to the Sports Village.


Cardiff Bay has its own rail station, with a regular service shuttling back and forth from Cardiff Queen Street station, but is only around 30 minutes walk from Central Station.

Major Road Links

The A4232 is known as the link road for Cardiff Bay which takes you from the City Centre, via Mermaid Quay directly to the M4. From there you can be in London in two hours. That’s if you want to leave?

What's on in Cardiff Bay

cardiff bay millennium centre

Wales Millennium Centre

Location: Bute Place , Cardiff Bay , Cardiff , CF10 5AL
Ever visited the Sydney Opera House? Well, you may not need to because ‘Old South Wales’ has the Millennium Centre... or if you want to risk the pronunciation... Canolfan Mileniwm Cymru. It’s an iconic and inspiring live events building. Erected as a symbol of the newly developed Bay and opened by Her Majesty The Queen in 2004, the centre, which looms over the bustling Lloyd George Avenue and the lively Mermaid Quay, has quickly been established as an international landmark for arts, theatre and music. Its post-modern design with the poetic and very Welsh prose scribed onto the face of the building further aids the feature in keeping its nationalism and Celtic heritage, which could have easily been lost in its innovative and uncompromising structure. The Welsh inscription on the front of the Millennium Centre is "Creu gwir fel gwydr yn ffrwnais awen", which roughly translates to "Create truth like glass in inspiration's furnace", to accompany the English text "In these stones horizons sing". You can expect tapping feet at a West End Musical, high emotions at a ballet or busting moves to some live hip-hop: there is something for everyone found at The Millennium Centre. It doesn’t always cost either – there are plenty of events on that won’t cost a penny, so students take note! Not a bad place to have on your doorstep if you’re living in the Bay.

cardiff bay white water centre

Cardiff Bay International Sports Village

How do you fancy the idea of white water rafting on a Sunday to shake off Saturday night’s party? Or perhaps you can show Torvill & Dean how it’s done and showcase some of your moves on the ice? Cardiff International Sports Village already offers so much and there’s a lot more to come. The site currently has a 50-metre (164 ft) Olympic standard swimming pool, a white water canoeing and kayaking centre and an ice rink. Upon completion it’ll also have an indoor snow centre with real snow for skiing and snowboarding, as well as a hotel. Finish this off with more bars and restaurants and it’ll be difficult to ever leave. Cardiff International Sports Village is a self-funding regeneration program and one of the requirements of the program is that the infrastructure and sports & leisure facilities are funded through the commercial elements, hence the hotel, restaurants and bars. Through the development of Morrisons, located close to Cardiff International Sports Village and Toys R Us the necessary funding for further infrastructure has been obtained.

The Red Dragon Centre

Location: Hemingway Road , Cardiff , CF10 4JY
The Red Dragon Centre, with its unusual design and central location is the host of many different entertainment venues and eateries including Old Orleans, Bella Italia and Cadwaladers. Evolution nightclub (extremely popular with the younger Cardiff residents), Hollywood Bowl, and the Odeon Cinema are the main attractions. If you aren't feeling hungry, or just want to party there is a whole host of exciting bars with good atmosphere and dancing. Try Ba Orient for cocktails and glamour, Salt Bar for cheesy classics or City Canteen for cool retro DJ-ing. With all of this on offer on your doorstep, Cardiff Bay is a bustling, trendy place to live. Contact our Cardiff Bay office for a list of properties to rent in Cardiff Bay.

The Channel View Centre

Location: Jim Driscoll Way , Grangetown , Cardiff , CF11 7HB
The International Sports village is round the corner, but if you’re looking for somewhere closer or different, you may want to see what the Channel View Centre has to offer. The Channel View Centre depends on the Cardiff Council, which means fairs are more than decent, that’s a nice incentive to get moving! The Centre offers badmington courts, a fitness suite, a dance studio, a climbing wall, among other things. There are loads of things on the programme, from aerobics to yoga. If you want to try TRX or the famous kettleballs in Cardiff Bay, you can also do it there!

The Cardiff Bay Water Activity Centre

Location: Jim Driscoll Way , Grangetown , Cardiff , CF11 7HB
Right by the Taff river, The Cardiff Bay Water Activity Centre is based at the Channel View Centre. Now is the best time to learn rowing! You start inside and after a few introductory lessons you get to go on the river. Friendly team, great fun!

Vitality 4 less Gym

Location: Atlantic Wharf Leisure Park , Hemingway Rd , Cardiff , CF10 4JY
The Red Dragon centre boasts everything, from bowling and cinema, to restaurants… and a gym! Find there a state-of-the-art gym with qualified personal trainers to help you get healthier and fitter.

Cardiff International Pool

Location: Olympian Drive , Cardiff , CF11 0JS
Located on Olympian Drive, the state-of-the-art complex includes a ten-lane competition pool, a leisure pool, flume rides, waterslides and a gym. For relaxation, there’s a sauna and a steam room in the spa - and if you’re feeling confident in the Cardiff weather, there’s also an optimistic sun-terrace!

Cardiff Ice Arena

Location: Empire Way , Cardiff , CF11 0SP
Part of the 'Planet Ice' group of arenas and home to the Cardiff Devils ice hockey team, the arena runs skating sessions for children of all ages and offers birthday parties and disco sessions.

Eat in Cardiff Bay

Yakitori #1

Location: Unit 10 , Mermaid Quay , Cardiff Bay , Cardiff , CF10 5BZ
Yakitori #1 offers an extensive menu of modern Japanese cuisine, featuring sushi, rice, noodles, fish and grilled meats – all prepared with the freshest of ingredients. Why not try a traditional Japanese dish you’ve never tasted before? The restaurant’s extensive dishes are designed to be enjoyed individually or shared.


Location: Unit 26, Mermaid Quay , Cardiff , CF10 5BZ
Located just opposite the Wales Millennium Centre, Demiro’s has an extensive menu with dishes from Italy, Spain & Wales. Offering more than just a quick pre-theatre dinner, the atmosphere is relaxing and your food comes with singing waiters!

Duchess of Delhi

Location: 6 Bute Crescent , Cardiff Bay , CF10 5AN
The restaurant is beautifully decorated with vibrant colours and antiques. Duchess of Delhi serves South Asian and Indian dishes that you won’t find in your ordinary takeaway shop. Nepalese Gorkha Lamb and Sri Lanka Crab curry are highly recommended.

Fabulous Welshcakes

Location: Mermaid Quay , Bute Street , Cardiff Bay , CF10 5BZ
Can anything beat the taste of a simple, freshly baked, crumbly, buttery welshcake? The answer is no when you are at Mermaid Quay. The welshcakes are handmade in the shop, you can also buy a gift bag full of tasty welshcakes for friends and family!

The Tiger that lost its stripes

Cardiff Bay has brought a whole new dimension to our enjoyment of the city

View of Cardiff Bay and Millennium Centre “When the sun is out and the nights are long, there is no better place to be than sitting in the Bay with a cool breeze off the sea,” says Dr Rhys Jones, Cardiff University lecturer, BBC presenter and Bay resident. “It’s got a fantastic variety of restaurants, bars and some interesting niche shops. It reminds me of Lisbon, actually.”

These days, homes populate former wasteland and there are spaces for leisure where once was great commerce, industry and toil. It’s almost impossible to imagine the vast smoky docks, as rough and ready as the Bristol Channel’s currents – said to be reminiscent of raging tigers and the reason for the fierce, romantic name ‘Tiger Bay’.

“James Street, the one-time hub of dock life, pulsed with vitality,” wrote famed Tiger Bay poet Harry ‘Shipmate’ Cooke. “Tall buildings full of clacking typewriters, clerks, shipbrokers, agents and things maritime. At street level, shops of every degree, elbowing each other for attention.”

These days James Street is a shadow of its former self, and the evocative Tiger Bay all but extinct. But the splendour of the Nineteenth-Century façades still display the wealth and power that rose here thanks to the export of coal.


In the years after the Industrial Revolution, vast quantities of coal and iron ore were brought to the port from the Valleys by canal and steam locomotives. By the turn of the Twentieth Century, Cardiff’s docks saw more traffic than New York, exporting more coal than any port in the world. The peak, in 1913, saw nearly 11 million tonnes of Wales’ black stuff shipped to meet the world’s demand for fuel. By 1920, there were 122 shipping companies based here.

As we exported raw materials, so we imported people. One of the oldest multi-cultural communities in Britain, people of 45 different nationalities could once be found in the tightly-packed homes and boarding-houses of Butetown and Tiger Bay.

But the rise of oil and cheap German coal meant that things were on the slide long before the depression of the 1930s. A post-war slump in coal demand meant that by 1964, coal export had ceased, and the demolition of the old housing began in earnest. Today, only Roath and Queen Alexandra docks are still in use, handling 2.1 million tonnes annually.


Cardiff Bay Development Corporation was established in 1987 to oversee the redevelopment of some 2,700 acres of derelict land. In 2000, the creation of the 500-acre freshwater lagoon at the mouths of the Taff and Ely rivers was vital for Cardiff Bay’s successful rebirth. The £220m, 1.1km Barrage that joins Queen Alexandra Dock with Penarth Head comprises five sluice gates, a fish pass and three locks, and is a fascinating feat of engineering. The result: no more tidal mudflats.

“We were all worried about the installation of the barrage and the effect on local wildlife,” says expert Dr Rhys Jones. “Of course, Cardiff was created by reclaiming saltmarsh, so it’s nothing new for the area. These days, I regularly see foxes, rabbits and a variety of interesting birds, including long-tailed tits and even waxwings. Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve is a freshwater marshland and I’ve seen some fantastic birdlife there.”


You don’t have to be eagle-eyed to notice Cardiff Bay’s industrial past in the public art and the rusting remnants littering the cityscape. “The Cardiff Bay Development Corporation must have wanted the history of the Bay to show through; there are anchors, mooring bollards, coal scoops, and a big old crane left around the place,” says Alex Martin, who commutes from Danescourt by bike to work at County Hall.

Cardiff Bay view from aboveIconic buildings help to put Cardiff Bay on the map. “I’ve recently taken up photography,” adds Alex, “and the history of the Bay is one of the things I like to show. I like to walk past the Wales Millennium Centre, the Senedd, Pierhead Building and Norwegian Church to take photos on sunny days.”

Impossible to ignore, the gleaming, shell-like Wales Millennium Centre will have been open ten years this November. “The WMC is now the most visited indoor tourist attraction in Wales, and no picture of Cardiff’s skyline is complete without the silhouette of the famous ‘armadillo’,” says Christian Torkington, founder and director of Guy Christian hair salon.

“Being so close to the capital’s most iconic businesses and buildings bring lots of footfall,” says Christian, who recently chose the Bay to open his second branch. “I love the architecture and vibe of the Bay – there’s so many creative people mingling around, it’s a real hub of activity. It also gives Cardiff a very cosmopolitan feel that would be hard to achieve without its existence.”


The economic boom of the early millennium saw the meteoric rise of apartment complexes and a buy-to-let free-for-all. Award-winning planning consultant Adrian Jones slated Cardiff Bay as the “worst example of waterside regeneration in Britain”, but those who live and work in the Bay are never so damning. Parking issues aside, people love it.

Karime Hassan, a prison officer and part-time rugby player, has fond memories of Cardiff Bay before Cardiff Bay. “The old feeling of the docks was special, and there are still some pockets of it,” says Karime, who spent a lot of his childhood at relatives’ homes here. “As a child, I used to love the Butetown Carnival even more than weddings – it was the highlight of the community’s year.”

These days Karime lives around the corner from where he attended St Cuthbert’s Primary School in its original Pomeroy Street location. “I still feel that the benefits of the Cardiff Bay development outweigh the bad,” he says. “Old Tiger Bay has a rich history, and after a lot of recent change it does seem to be settling down.”

There are more changes on their way, in the form of BBC’s Roath Lock studios, media developments in Porth Teigr, and the £250 million Cardiff Pointe waterfront project in the International Sports Village.

After the doldrums of the recession, plans for Cardiff Pointe’s 798 new homes are a welcome sign of a re-found confidence. Included in the scheme is a 3000-seat ice arena and a real-snow indoor ski slope. “As a keen skier and ice hockey fan, I can’t say that it doesn’t excite me to know that those new facilities will be on my doorstep,” says local resident Joe Bonney, who works at a marketing company in Mount Stuart Square and has lived in Cardiff for nine years.

“Living in the Bay is great, it’s like you’re in your own bubble: good shops, plenty of nice restaurants, and it’s a beautiful place to walk around. It’s got everything the city centre has, but with a nicer backdrop – and soon, an indoor ski slope!”

Did you know?

  • The world’s first £1 million cheque was signed in the once-mighty Coal Exchange, which in 1886 had more than 1,500 cigar-smoking, be-hatted members.
  • “One of the things I love about the Bay is the extensive outside gym, free to all users. The parks join up so that park gym apparatus can form part of a circuit. You can jog around and stop off at a rowing machine, elliptical runner or bench press as the go. How many areas of Cardiff can say that?!” – Dr Rhys Jones
  • In 1910, Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s British Antarctic Expedition embarked from Cardiff aboard the SS Terra Nova (though Scott was not aboard). Cardiff raised £2,500 for the expedition, more than any other city.
  • Cardiff Bay is modelled on Baltimore’s successful Inner Harbour redevelopment scheme. Planners and councillors visited many times, and in 1994 they took along the BBC Welsh National Orchestra... perhaps in case they ran out of conversation?
  • These days, St Cuthbert’s Primary School is located on Letton Road, named after Tommy Letton, or ‘Uncle Tom’. Born in 1901, Tommy ‘The Fish’, as he was also known, was one of the Docks’ famous characters – he spent more than 40 years selling fish from a barrow. How many streets have been named after fishmongers? But then, how many fishmongers have been instrumental in creating a park, as Tommy did? Hamadryad Park was named after the HMS Hamadryad, the old ship-hospital for seamen.
  • The area south of Clarence Road, between the Taff and the old Glamorganshire Canal, was once called ‘Rat Island’. Delightful.

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CPS Homes last edited this page on 07/10/2019. All details listed were correct at the time of publishing. Reviewed every six months.