How big is Cardiff? Plus some interesting facts

What is the population of Cardiff, how big is it and what’s special about it?

Cardiff is the capital of Wales and the country’s largest city with a proud and rich heritage. It was only a small town until the early 19th century, but its prominence as a coal port helped its expansion. The current population of Cardiff in 2023 is 488,000, an increase of 0.62% from 2022. The city has a population density of 6,400 people per square mile (2,500 per square kilometre) and covers a total area of 140.3 square kilometres. 

Located in the South-East of Wales, Cardiff is the eleventh largest City in the UK. The city is the commercial, cultural and retail centre for Wales and the focus of inward business activity and investment. It’s also the political centre, home to the Senedd, the seat of devolved government. 

Wales Millenium Centre
Featuring the Wales Millenium Centre at Cardiff Bay.

Interesting facts about Cardiff

  1. Interestingly, the first £1 million deal was closed in the Cardiff Coal Exchange in 1907. 
  2. More than 18 million people visit Cardiff each year, which makes it the 6th most popular alternative tourist destination according to National Geographic.
  3. Cardiff is home to 3 castles – the most famous being Cardiff Castle situated in the city centre, the others include Castell Coch and St Fagan’s Castle
  4. Cardiff is home to the World’s oldest record store, Spillers Records which goes all the way back to 1894. 
  5. The world-famous children’s author Roald Dahl was born and bred in Cardiff, growing up in Llandaff and christened in the Norwegian Church Arts Centre in Cardiff Bay. 
  6. Cardiff City FC are the only non-English football team to win the FA Cup in 1927. 
  7. In 1905, it was ranked as a city and in 1955 proclaimed the capital of Wales, making it one of the youngest capital cities in Europe, an event celebrated by the Empire Games in 1955 (now known as The Commonwealth Games). 
  8. Cardiff was the first Fairtrade capital in the world. 
  9. City of Arcades – Cardiff has the biggest concentration of Victorian, Edwardian, and modern-day indoor shopping arcades in the UK. 
  10. Henry Morgan, better known as Captain Morgan (the famous Rum) was born in Llanrumney, Cardiff in 1635. 
  11. Cardiff is home to blue self storage, the UK Container Operator of the year 2023
Cardiff City
Featuring the Principality Stadium in Cardiff City Centre.
Womanby street in Cardiff
Featuring Womanby Street – one of the oldest streets in Cardiff.

A city filled with people from all walks of life

For more than 200 years the city has welcomed workers from across the globe. Today, the city is home to over a hundred different nationalities with a broad range of language skills. Companies based in the Capital Region report a good experience in recruiting multi-lingual workers. 

Cardiff has a very diverse population with a history of trade connections, post-war immigration and international students who attend university. Adding to the city’s rich diversity, Cardiff is home to two Cathedrals (Llandaff Cathedral and St David’s Catholic Cathedral), many mosques, synagogues, and temples welcoming people of all faiths. 

There is also a Muslim population of about 4%, which is well above the Welsh average and the UK average of 2.7%. Interestingly, Cardiff has the smallest percentage of people over 65 living in Wales at 13% which gives it a younger mobile workforce than other areas. 

A growing, thriving and creative city

Cardiff is a member of the Core Cities UK, an alliance made up of 11 cities (consisting of Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield). Its mission is to unlock the full potential of our great city regions to create a stronger, fairer economy and society. It’s the fastest-growing UK Core City and its wider Capital Region with a population of 1.5 million is projected to grow by more than 20% over the next 20 years. The Cardiff-Newport metropolitan area has a population of 1.1 million.

The city’s growth is supported by its world-class universities and highly-qualified graduate workforce, great connections with the rest of the UK and Europe, and a business community that includes major companies, entrepreneurs and innovators who are amongst the best in the world. 

Students filming in Cardiff
Students filming at Fforest Ffawr in Cardiff.

The heavy industry of the past has given way to flourishing service and knowledge-driven sectors. The city’s recent development has seen internationally competitive clusters emerge in the financial, creative, life sciences and advanced manufacturing sectors, with some of the UK’s leading businesses in these sectors calling Cardiff home. 

The growth of the city’s creative and digital sector is also driving the city’s resurgence. Cardiff places culture, creativity, and innovation front and centre because the city believes that the challenges it faces will be best met with creative solutions.

Cardiff is benefitting from continued investment in the city infrastructure, including a £1bn investment in a South Wales Metro which will see more frequent, more reliable, and faster trains accessing nearly 100 stations across a network that has Cardiff as its core. Cardiff is a major centre for television and film production (home to Dr Who, Sherlock and Torchwood) and is the Welsh base for the main national broadcasters.

Quality of life is a big pull when attracting businesses to Cardiff. Residents consistently rank the city as one of the best European cities to live in. Befitting a capital city, Cardiff is home to world-class sporting and cultural institutions and has a growing reputation as a first-class destination for leisure, culture, retail and business, hosting the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final, Rugby World Cup, FA Cup Finals, IAAF World Marathon, Volvo Ocean Race, a NATO Summit and world-renowned artists such as Beyonce and Harry Styles.  

If you’re looking to visit or move to Cardiff, and are in need of short-term or long-term storage we can help. Contact us, we’re a friendly bunch! 😊


blue self storage is more than just a storage provider, we care about our customers and community so we’ve put together a series of insightful guides after many queries about the ins and outs of Cardiff.

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