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A snapshot of... Wales

  • June 22, 2018

Wales is a country in the South West of the United Kingdom and is popular for its beautiful coastline, mountainous national parks and distinctive Welsh language. The capital of Wales is Cardiff which is a coastal city with an extensive array of bars and restaurants and a city full of history and culture.

In this blog article we provide you with the four regions of Wales, living costs of Cardiff and Swansea, reasons to live in Wales, information on NHS Wales and some fantastic things to do and see in the country.

Regions of Wales
North West

In this region you will find Snowdonia, a National Park and smaller towns and villages.

North East

This area of Wales is home to the towns of Wrexham and Flint.

Mid Wales

Mid Wales includes the seaside university town of Aberystwyth and the National Library.

South West

The National Botanic Garden of Wales, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the city of Swansea are located in this region.

South East

This region is home to the country’s capital city, Cardiff, as well as Newport, Merthyr Tydfil, and Caerphilly.

Where should I live?

Cardiff has a population of over 348,000 and this swells to an additional 50,000 each day as commuters enter the city.

Cardiff is one of the greenest cities in the UK, with parks spread across the entire city but the most popular being Bute Park located right in the city centre. Also sitting in the centre, is Cardiff castle and Principality Stadium – the National Stadium. Cardiff is also regularly voted one of the top UK shopping destinations as it has over 100 shops to choose from in St. David’s shopping centre and a number of historic shopping arcades.

Cardiff Bay is a popular tourist destination as it is home to the National Opera based at the Wales Millennium Centre which hosts regular music and theatre productions. The Welsh National Assembly is also located next to the water, along with an array of restaurants.

Did you know in 2011 Cardiff was chosen as one of the 10 best places in the world to visit during the summer by National Geographic Magazine – the only UK location to be featured.

Average Living Costs in Cardiff

85sqm rental home £600-950
Utilities for a 85sqm home for two people £150
45sqm studio rent £680-1100
Utilities for a 45sqm studio for one person £100
Monthly public transport ticket £45
Pub food for two £20
Average terraced house £196,000
Average semi-detached house £239,000
Average price of flat £144,000


Moving to the South West side of the country you will find large areas of rural landscapes and amazing coastline with vibrant city life. The largest city, Swansea has a multicultural population of over 239,000 and has two universities. It is also the home to Liberty Stadium, where you can watch Championship football with Swansea City and the Ospreys Rugby Union team.

This area of Wales is best known for its scenery. Here you will find the Gower Peninsula near Swansea, and the UK’s only coastal National Park, Pembrokeshire Coast. The National Botanic Garden of Wales is also found in this area.

Furthermore, you can also get ferries to Ireland from Fishguard and Pembroke.

Average Living Costs in Swansea

85sqm rental home £870-12000
Utilities for a 85sqm home for two people £160
45sqm studio rent £740-1100
Utilities for a 45sqm studio for one person £80
Monthly public transport ticket £45
Pub food for two £20
Average terraced house £111,000
Average semi-detached house £145,000
Average detached house £220,000

Living in this region will also give you access to Swansea Market which is the largest indoor market in Wales – right next door to a five mile long beach.
Top Five Reasons to live in Wales

  1. Beautiful scenery – 26% of Wales is designated as a National Park or area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  2. It’s cheaper than England – The average cost of living in Wales is considerably lower than the UK average. The average cost of a property in Wales is £144k compared with the average UK cost of £216k.
  3. Beaches – Wales has over 150 stunning beaches, which offer views of Whales, seals, sharks and an assortment of birds.
  4. People – Fun fact! There are 3 sheep to every person in Wales. Nevertheless, the people in Wales are friendly and welcoming to newcomers.
  5. Happiest place to live - In a 2017 survey of more than 17,000 people by Rightmove, which asked people how happy they are with aspects of where they live, this is how they voted for the happiest places to live in Wales.

NHS Wales

The National Health Service is Wales’ largest employer. There are over eighty hospitals spread across the country.

Working for NHS Wales will bring you plenty of benefits including:

  • Annual Leave – You will receive a generous annual leave allowance of 27 days a year plus bank holidays, this rises to 29 days after five years and 33 days after ten years of service.
  • Flexible Working – NHS Wales appreciates that there is more to life than work and so they offer a flexible working policy to help you balance your home and working life. This includes working from home, part-time hours, career breaks and flexible retirement.
  • Pension – If you join the NHS pension scheme the Trust will contribute 14.3% towards your pension.
  • Childcare Vouchers – NHS Wales offers all employees who have children, membership to the childcare vouchers scheme.
  • Health and well-being – NHS wales cares about their employee’s physical and mental health. And so you will have access to health and well-being initiatives including discounted gym membership.

Fun things to do and see in Wales

  1. Snowdonia National Park

Snowdonia National Park is often called Eryri by many Welsh people close to the Park which is roughly translated as “the place of the eagles”. The park has almost 1000 square miles of unspoilt beauty; Snowdonia National Park has the tallest mountain in all of England and Wales, and is home to the most endangered species of bird-of-prey, red-kites.

2. Visit little Italy

In the North-West coast of Wales, Portmeirion is a beautiful village designed to replicate beautiful Italy. Tourists often visit for a couple of nights to explore the area and the village is world-renowned for its pottery and designs.

3. Kayak with Puffins and Dolphins at Pembrokeshire National Park

Pembrokeshire National Park can offer you rugged cliffs, sandy beaches and wooded estuaries covering a total of 243 square miles and even sights of puffins and dolphins.

4. Visit Caernarfon Castle – where the Prince was crowned

This castle is almost 1,000 years old and is one of Wales’ most impressive castles and is protected by UNESCO.

This castle was also used as the Royal venue for the investiture of Prince Charles as “The Prince of Wales” in 1969
5. Try the fastest and longest zip line in the world

Velocity 2, located in Penrhyn Quarry in North Wales lets visitors travel from 0 – 60mph in under 10 seconds before reaching the top speed of 125mph – equal to the legal limit for standard trains in the UK, and 5mph faster than the speed at which you fall when skydiving.

To book your adventure click here.


If you are an international doctor who wants to relocate to the UK and work within the NHS send your CV to [email protected] – and we will be happy to help you. In addition, if you would like support form an online forum of other IMG’s join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor.

References (2018). Home | [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Jun. 2018].

Hand Luggage Only. (2018). 15 Magnificent Things to Do and See in Wales – The Most Magical Country in The World! [online] Available at:[Accessed 22 Jun. 2018]


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