Cardiff is a fresh, 21st century shopping experience. Across the city centre's spacious 1.4 million square feet, you'll find Cardiff's shopping centres, markets and high street stores. Big brand shops and well-known fashion houses sit side-by-side with indie pop-ups, keeping things fun for regular shoppers and visitors alike.
Taking it all in
John Lewis and Marks & Spencer have major stores in the heart of the city at the St David's Centre. You can also find the likes of Apple Store, Hollister, All Saints, Jo Malone, Hamleys and LEGO Store. There's a whole wing of the shopping centre dedicated to restaurants, cafes and takeaways, perfect if you work up an appetite.
The new blends superbly with the old; just down the street from St David's Centre lies Cardiff Market. It has traded in one guise or another since the 1700s. For the past couple of centuries, the striking glass-roofed Victorian structure has housed some of the capital city’s most-loved butchers and fishmongers, as well as an array of traditional sweet shops, bakers, florists and small eateries.
There are six Victorian arcades in Cardiff, offering an intimate environment for shoppers who enjoy an alternative to the well-trodden path of the high street. There are over 100 unique shops to check out. The Castle Quarter is made up of High Street Arcade, Duke Street Arcade and Castle Arcade. These are historic structures full of vintage clothes stores, craft shops and coffee shops. If your special interest is food then Loving Welsh Food offer a City of Arcades Tasting Tour - highlighting the vibrant food scene around its diverse shopping arcades. There's the free City of Arcades history and culture guided walking tour with Fogo’s Free Tours, which operates on a 'pay as you feel' basis after the tour.
Just a short stroll away are The Royal Arcade, Wyndham Arcade and Morgan Arcade, full of clothes shops, jewellery stores and eating places. While there are just too many great places to list, it is worth noting that Morgan Arcade is home to a genuine Cardiff institution. Spillers Records first opened its doors in 1894, making it the oldest record shop in the world.
The pleasure of shopping in Cardiff city centre is that it is largely pedestrianised, covering an area that is a comfortable stroll, rather than an exhausting marathon. Queen Street has an array of retail giants, flanked by the Queens Arcade.
There are a variety of seasonal attractions, including the open-air Cardiff Christmas Market on The Hayes, right in the heart of the action. Imagine rows of beach cabins displaying a huge range of Welsh art and crafts and you’re halfway there. With the growth in popularity of the pop-up shop, these spaces have gained a certain street credibility that attracts more stallholders and customers with each passing year.
Away from the city centre there are numerous independent clothes stores, restaurants and bars that are worth visiting in Cardiff's suburbs. To relax and reflect after a hard day’s retail therapy, visit one of the many eating and drinking places overlooking Cardiff Bay. The waterfront area known as Mermaid Quay has become a vibrant cultural centre, thanks to the nearby Wales Millennium Centre.
Still got more shopping to do? Check out our guides to fantastic shopping experiences elsewhere in Wales.