Cardiff Calling

By: Amy Lowe Date: 05/07/2019

Cardiff (Caerdydd in Welsh) and the South Wales area is home for most of the team at PDR, so we wanted to know what has drawn people from across the globe to the Welsh capital.

I moved to Cardiff in 2016. I had graduated from the University of Dundee and I knew I wanted to go to a medium sized city that wasn’t chaotically busy but had enough going on for a 20-something young, social professional. Nearly 3 years later and I am still here. 

But I’m not the only one, so I got a few people to share their experiences of life in the area. First up, our Product Design Manager Ben:

“After 2 years of commuting from Bristol – paying the high Bristol rent prices and travel expenses on top, we decided to ignore the stories of fire breathing dragons and eternal rain and move to Cardiff. Having been here 2 years now, it’s been the best move we could have made... big enough to provide plenty of pubs / clubs / restaurants and nightlife yet small enough to cycle around in 20 minutes.  Couple that with Cardiff being one of the most affordable big cities in the UK with plenty of green space / cycle paths and both Surf and mountains within 40 minutes – we love it!
Best city in the UK? I do not know if I am qualified to make that decision but it certainly works for us above the other cities we have called home: Brighton, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Oxford and Bristol.”

Ben’s right, Cardiff is a compact city with lots going on. It is the heart of rugby with the Principality Stadium hosting rugby games and arena tours from the greatest performing artists (Rocketman himself, Elton John, just performed at Cardiff City Stadium). Those match days bring the city to life with the excitement felt by everyone. The Welsh spirit, especially when it comes to Rugby, is incomparable to anything I have ever experienced to do with sport. 

Next up is Jo who is a designer on the Policy team. Cardiff is her hometown and has never left, so if that’s not enough to convince you I don’t know what is.

“Cardiff has many beautiful green spaces; with castles, lakes, rivers and wonderful coffee shops nestled in them or nearby. The food scene is tasty – markets and pop-ups are really helping, plus restaurants with award winning chefs; from pizza to lobster, vegan roast dinners to tacos! Lots of local bars and pubs stock craft produce from local breweries, vineyards and distilleries, with friendly atmospheres and great social activities in most areas (Canton / Pontcanna is probably one of the best spots to find all of these things). Sports-wise, there are so many leisure centres and sports teams as well as independent gyms and running clubs. And, if that wasn’t enough, within about 30mins drive you could be adventuring in the mountains or at the coast. Dwi’n caru Caerdydd | I love Cardiff. (Ok, I’m a bit biased, but it really is a fantastic city!)…”

So, what about working at PDR? Well here is what Piotr one of our researchers had to say about it. 

“Doing research on design management and policies for my master’s back home at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, led me to many interesting publications coming from researchers working at PDR. I was curious to know more about PDR and their work, so I applied for an Erasmus Internship. I spent a very insightful three months in 2013 in this unique place that blends theory and practice and went back to Poland with some great memories of picturesque Wales and friends I made there. I didn’t hesitate when a vacancy at Design Policy team opened and submitted my CV. It was successful and this May I celebrated my five years at PDR! No day is the same, which constantly motivates me to learn and develop. I look forward to the next five years of stimulating work challenges and thought-provoking chats over coffee and cake with PDR colleagues.”

Like Piotr said, as a consultancy every day is different, with a variety of projects there is lots going on all the time. Everyone is kind and supportive and I’ve made friends for life during my time here. But of course making the move can be difficult. Before arriving here I had no idea where to live, how easy it would be to visit other places and how much it costs to be here etc. But as Ben said earlier it is one of the most affordable big cities in the UK. 

The average price for renting a bedroom is £331, compared to Bristol £431 and Camden, London where the average is £1,051 (based on BBC ‘How good is your place for young people?’). Bills aren’t included but that is a pretty good price to be paying, when you compare to other places, each month. 

Travelling from Cardiff

The train links from Cardiff Central to London Paddington are great. There are direct trains that take about two hours into the heart of London. However, the train can sometimes get expensive so there are coaches that can take you to London for pretty cheap prices. We’re also a three-hour train from Liverpool and two-hour train from Birmingham, so are pretty well connected. 
If you have a car, then we are straight off the M4 taking you to West Wales or straight into the heart of London. 

For further afield, we have Cardiff Airport which is about a 30 minute drive away or 45 minute via Airport Bus. From here you can fly to different locations for city breaks whether it be Malta, Faro or even Iceland - it’s got you covered.

But if you can’t find the destination you’re wanting there is also Bristol Airport. With regular, direct coaches from Cardiff which take about an hour and a half you’re good to go. Alternatively, you can easily access Heathrow via the M4.

So from what I’ve said here Cardiff is great. I love it. You may even pick up some of the Welsh language whilst you are here (Cardiff Met offers free Welsh lessons to all staff). Combine the all that Cardiff has to offer with a job at PDR, you will really have it all (or close).