Part of the picturesque Vale of Glamorgan, Barry (Welsh Y Barri) is the third largest town in Wales with a population greater than Llantwit Major, Cowbridge and Penarth put together. The county of Vale has a population of 130,690, more than 39% of whom live in Barry.
While the town might not be as well-known as other towns and cities like Cardiff and Swansea, it is well worth considering if you’re planning on moving to UK.
But what makes Barry a great place to move to in the UK? The reasons are plentiful and here are just some of them. The town boasts some of the best-performing schools in Wales, top-quality outdoor spaces, beautiful beaches, good employment prospects, average commuting times, a great work-life balance, affordable housing and a crime rate below the national average.
What’s more, the town was even named Wales’ most desirable place to live and work in 2017. It’s worth mentioning that Barry’s amazing community is as diverse as its people – here you’ll find Blacks, Whites, and Asians.
Whether you’re moving to city name – Barry for a job, retirement or are just considering possible locations for your next move in the UK, there are a lot of things to wrap your head around. How safe are the neighbourhoods? What’s the cost of living? Are there any family-friendly amenities? How’s the transport system? In this post, we provide answers to these questions as well as valuable information you’ll need when planning on moving to UK.
Is Barry a good place to Live?
Barry is an ideal place to live, whether you’re single, a young couple or a family. In addition to being named the most desirable place to live and work in Wales, the Vale of Glamorgan was named the happiest place to live in Wales and Barry was named the top-performing local authority in Wales two years in a row following a study conducted by Centre for Economics and Business Research.
The town residents are generally very nice – people always say hello. Even if you don’t have a social circle in Barry, you’ll feel right at home as the community is welcoming and friendly. The town has all kinds of people you might think of including townies, goths, moshers, and chavs. Then there are gangs in streets and areas like Colcot, Gibinsdown, Cadoxton, and Downtown.
But don’t be alarmed as the town has low levels of crime when compared to neighbouring towns and cities. For instance, only 128 crimes were reported in the Barry in January 2019 which is way low compared to the 171 crimes reported in Cardiff in the same month. Additionally, the violent crime rate and property crime rate are much lower than the national rate. It’s therefore fair to say that Barry is a safe place to live.
Getting around Barry is fast and easy. It has one of the best transport systems in Wales and the town itself is walkable and comfortable to explore by bike. The main forms of public transport are rail and bus.
The area has four railway stations: Barry, Barry Island, Barry Docks and Cadoxton – so hopping on a train is a fairly easy way of getting around town. The trains to and from Cardiff usually run every 15 minutes and the train from Barry station takes about 25 minutes to get to Cardiff Central.
The town is served by Cardiff Bus which operates town circular services as well as to Cardiff City Centre, Penarth, Llantwit Major, and Cardiff Airport. If you’re travelling by car, Barry is best accessed via junction 33 on the M4 which is less than 10 miles north of the town centre. Cardiff International Airport is very close – about five miles from the centre of the town, in the community of Rhoose.
Barry is famous for its excellent Welsh languages schools. It has four secondary schools and several primary schools. The secondary schools are Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg – Welsh-medium school (which was rated very good in its 2009 Estyn inspection), St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School (deemed good in its last inspection in 2011), Whitmore High School, and Pencoedtre High School. The best primary schools in the area, according to the Welsh inspectorate, are Barry Island, Palmerston, Holton, Rhws and Sant Curig.
Situated on the popular Glamorgan Heritage Coast, Barry has long been well-known for its spectacular beaches and cliff scenery. Barry Island, together with the coastline between Porthkerry and the Island itself are also loved by the locals for their splendid beaches and beautiful scenery.
In addition to the beaches, Barry also boasts top-quality parks and outdoor spaces including the six Green Flag parks. There are also beautiful recreational, entertainment and sporting facilities which can be attributed to the extensive regeneration programme which was undertaken in recent years. You’ll also find both modern and traditional places to eat and drink.
Is Barry a good place to Work?
Barry is becoming a good place to live in but it isn’t the best place work. The town, along with other towns in Wales have the highest rates of youth unemployment in the United Kingdom with nearly one in five people out of work.
A report from the professional services firm, Ernst & Young Global Limited shows a huge disparity in numbers of young people aged 16 to 24 being employed across the area. The unemployment rate in Barry stands at 17.4%, which is higher than the UK average rate of 14.4%.
Most Barry residents often move to other cities for job opportunities and to grow their careers in a variety of disciplines. The town is now becoming a “dormitory” for Cardiff and is struggling to attract new businesses and expand existing ones. The town council is taking measures to address the high unemployment rate including providing affordable housing and office space to promote retail business.
The town is also looking to offer paid work experience opportunities to young graduates which could help address the skills gap and reduce unemployment rates.
The main employer in the town of Barry is the manufacturing sector which replaced the large numbers of jobs lost with the decline of older industries such as iron and coal. These main employers are Dow Corning, Cabot Carbon, Western Welding and Engineering, Bumnelly, Jewson Builders’ Merchants, and Associated British Ports Holdings. Another big employer in Barry is the port. The docks and the adjoining industrial area make the largest employment centre in Barry.
The average salary in the town is £19,496 per year.
Is Barry a good place to Buy a House?
Although Barry sits in the administrative centre of Glamorgan, the town’s property prices don’t quite match up. According to Zoopla estimates, the average price of a house in Barry stood at £202,803 in March 2019.
This is an increase of 0.64% in December 2018 and increase of 5.49% since last year. The average price is cheaper than Barry Island (£204,718) but a bit expensive to nearby Cadoxton (£177,623) and Barry Dock (£177,623).
Semis (nice stone-fronted ones) go for about £90,000, detacheds are priced at £150,000 and Victorian villas sell at £220,000. Terraced houses in Barry sell for an average of £155,698 and flats for £136,804. These prices apply to the posh areas like the Knap and the West end which are away from the docks.
Properties like the new “marina” developments are somewhat affordable. For example, a two-bedroom house and a three-bedroom house at the Mariners Point go for £140,000 and £195,000 respectively. You could also buy a three-bedroom house on Palmerston Road for £129,950 and a four-bedroom terraced on Broad Street for £185,000.
If you aren’t looking to buy a house in Barry, renting is a possibility. You can rent out a one bed flat for £500 per month or two bed flat for £625 per month. For a three-bedroom house, expect to pay £850 a month.
Is Barry a good place to Retire?
Being one of the nicest and safest places in the Vale of Glamorgan, Barry makes for a great place to spend your golden years. When you’re moving to city name – Barry, you’ll find nice retirement properties that are affordable and in close proximity to local amenities, shopping centres, and public transport.
A two-bedroom retirement property ranges between £100,000 to £200,000 depending on the type of house. For example, a detached bungalow goes for £190,000, a flat’s sale price is £150,000 and a mobile/park home sells for £130,000.
Is Barry a good place to Visit?
In addition to being a good place to live, Barry is a great place to visit. The town’s rich maritime history, beautiful parks, blissful beaches, shopping centres, and the famous Barry Island resort have made it a mecca for tourists and day visitors every summer season.
When visiting you can choose to have an espresso at Marco’s, watch shows at Wales’ smallest theatre, The Small Space, relive the best of Gavin & Stacey with the bus tour, explore Porthkerry Park, visit the Watch House Bay, hop on the Barry Tourist Railway or get fish & chips at Boofy’s. For some good old family fun, be sure to visit the famous Pleasure Park, the Royal Mint Experience and the Coconuts Play Centre.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.