Those new to the City of Castles generally find the cost of living in Cardiff to be reasonable, particularly when compared to other major UK cities. It's estimated that the cost of living in Wales is, generally speaking, more than 15 percent lower than the cost of living in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland. So while Cardiff may be the most expensive city in Wales, it's a great deal cheaper than the likes of London and Edinburgh.

Cost of accommodation in Cardiff

Most aspects of life are affordable in Cardiff, but the cost of accommodation is a sore point as rental and purchasing costs are continually rising. These price hikes are occurring all over the UK but are especially pronounced in Wales. Still, accommodation prices here are generally more economical than in other major UK cities and well below the cost of housing in other capital cities.

New arrivals unsure of where to start should consult with a local estate agent, who will know the general price differences between areas and will have insider knowledge on bargains and new developments.

Cost of transport in Cardiff

Cardiff is a fairly small city, and it's not strictly necessary to own a car, though it might be a good purchase for new arrivals intending to explore the Welsh countries or parents who need to cart the kids around.

The cost of public transport in Cardiff is reasonable, and between the bus, train and metro, the system is generally sufficient for most people's needs. Cycling is also a popular – and affordable – way to get around.

Cost of groceries in Cardiff

One of the benefits of living in Cardiff is the cheap and easy access to high-quality local dairy and meat products. This limits the need to purchase pricey imports.

The cost of groceries can vary widely and largely depends on where a person shops. Shoppers heading to high-end supermarkets like Marks & Spencer and Waitrose can expect high prices for even the basics. Many people prefer mid-range supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons, which offer a good balance of cost and quality. Good savings can be found at discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Cardiff

Cardiff's stunning natural splendour provides plenty of free entertainment to locals, be it in the form of hiking or picnicking in its many green spaces or a crisp seaside stroll. These activities are best on sunny days, but even when the wet weather drives everyone indoors, there are still many options, including visiting museums, galleries, indoor markets and local historical sites, all of which aren't too hard on the pocket.

Of course, Cardiff also has much to offer when it comes to shopping, nightlife and dining out, but the cost of these pursuits can add up quickly and should be budgeted for carefully.

Cost of education in Cardiff

There are several well-respected public and private schools in Cardiff. While private schools charge fees and tend to be pricey, public schools can be attended for free. Some parents choose their future neighbourhood based on the nearby schools, since catchment areas determine admission priorities. Naturally, the best schools are often in the most expensive neighbourhoods.

Cost of healthcare in Cardiff

Healthcare costs in Cardiff, as with the rest of the UK, are significantly mitigated by the NHS, which provides residents with free access to essential healthcare services. Expats who establish permanent residence in Cardiff will find this one of the most financially relieving aspects of British life. Non-UK nationals intending to stay for more than six months are obliged to pay a health surcharge as part of their visa application. This surcharge, a sum in the lower hundreds, must be paid irrespective of whether one opts for NHS services or prefers private healthcare.

For those from countries where private health insurance is the norm, the NHS can mean a substantial reduction in annual healthcare expenditure. Those opting for private healthcare in Cardiff will encounter costs comparable to private medical services in other UK regions. 

While private insurance premiums and out-of-pocket payments can be a burden, private healthcare offers swifter appointments and a broader range of choices in specialists and treatments.

Cost of living in Cardiff chart

These are the average costs for Cardiff in November 2023. Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreGBP 1,660
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreGBP 1,100
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreGBP 810
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreGBP 680
Food and drink
Dozen eggsGBP 2.63
Milk (1 litre)GBP 0.80
Rice (1kg)GBP 1.76
Loaf of white breadGBP 0.98
Chicken breasts (1kg)GBP 3.55
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)GBP 10
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantGBP 60
Big Mac MealGBP 5.92
Coca-Cola (330ml)GBP 1.68
CappuccinoGBP 3.07
Bottle of beer (local)GBP 1.71
Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)GBP 0.28
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)GBP 23
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)GBP 121
Taxi rate/kmGBP 1.18
City-centre public transport fareGBP 2.20
Gasoline (per litre)GBP 1.51

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