Shopping in our Cities
The university city with its historic atmosphere has two modern shopping centres – the Deiniol and Menai, and boasts the longest high street in Wales. The shopping centre offers a good mix of national stores and smaller local shops.
Cardiff is a shoppers' paradise. Designer brands, major chains and dozens of independent shops and boutiques in the city’s network of Victorian and Edwardian arcades have helped Cardiff build a reputation as one of the UK’s top shopping destinations. For all you need to know about shopping in Cardiff, go to Visit Cardiff.
Newport has plenty of well-known chains and local shops including Friars Walk, a multi-million pound shopping centre with 30 shops, restaurants, an eight-screen cinema and onsite parking. There’s also the Victorian indoor market with over 60 good quality stalls including award-winning butchers, fishmonger, fresh fruit and vegetables and homemade cakes. It’s the only place in Newport to try freshly made Welsh Cakes! You’ll also find clothing, gifts, cafes and the oldest record shop in Newport! For more information, see Shopping in Newport.
On March 14th 2012, St. Asaph was awarded City status as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Its main shopping hub is The Tweedmill Shopping Outlet on the outskirts of the city.
A tiny ‘city’ more like a small village. This place in Pembrokeshire is special. St Davids is stuffed full of little art shops, galleries and tea rooms. And of course a cathedral, with its very own refectory selling home made food, made with local ingredients.
Galleries include Oriel Albion Gallery and Oriel-y-Felin Gallery. For Welsh produce, visit St Davids Food & Wine, and Chapel Chocolates is a family run business selling handmade Welsh chocolates. Find unique gifts at Jalimali whose accessories are designed and produced by local craftmakers in Nepal, India and Thailand. Whitesands Shop & Café has everything you need for a day at the beach – wetsuits, bodyboards, beach shelters, chairs and more. They also stock a range of clothing from brands such as Saltrock, Plain Lazy, Tucagua and Black Salamander.
Swansea has lots of big high street names as well as independent boutiques, specialist shops and traditional arcades. Quadrant Shopping Centre is worth a visit and Swansea’s indoor market is the biggest in Wales. It is home to over 100 stalls. Try a range of Welsh delicacies including cockles from the tidal Penclawdd Sands and laverbread, an edible seaweed. Fresh fish here is especially good, as are locally reared lamb and beef, Gower vegetables and local cheeses. Follow the aroma in the market to sample freshly baked Welsh cakes. Go to Visit Swansea Bay for more information.
Market towns in North Wales
Corwen is a great place for finding quality gifts and souvenirs. Corwen Manor is a craft centre with a workshop making candles. There’s Welsh gifts including lovespoons and other hand-made products from North Wales, a wool shop and of course a huge range of novelty candles made in Wales. Light snacks and drinks are available in their café.
Just a 5-10 minute drive from Corwen is Glassblobbery. They have all sorts of handmade glass sculptures including animals, flowers, dragons and sea creatures. Other gift ideas include jewellery and ceramics by other artists and craftsmen. You can watch the glass sculptures being made at the workshop by appointment. There is also a café next door and ample parking facilities for coaches.
The award winning Rhug Estate Farm shop sell over 2000 products, from organic meat to Welsh cheese to hampers, many of which are local, produced on their farms or organic.
Mold has over a hundred independent shops and a good selection of big high street names. It’s a fair-trade town with many shops and cafes selling Fairtrade products. Enjoy the hustle and bustle at Mold market - the biggest and best market town in North Wales. Street markets are held every Wednesday and Saturday with over 70 stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, meat, crockery, clothes and plants. There’s also an indoor market open Monday to Saturday and a farmers market every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month. A great opportunity to taste local food and drink before you buy. In September the annual Mold Food Festival takes place, with stalls and exhibitions.
Ruthin’s historic market town offers a variety of stores and unique shops from beauty and fragrance, fashion, soft furnishings to Welsh books and gifts. For arts and crafts, Ruthin Craft Centre has a gallery of quality art and craft which is open 7 days a week. Cefyn Burgess is an international textile artist and has his own unit within the craft centre. The centre also has three galleries, six artist studios, retail gallery, education and residency workshop and café with courtyard terrace.
The unique Wayfarer Wool shop is very quirky. It’s a tiny shop with a black and white timber and packed with hand made items.
Just two miles from Ruthin you’ll find Homewood Bound Collections selling stylish furniture and beautiful things for the home including gifts, collectibles and antiques.
Market towns in Mid Wales
Aberaeron is a lovely harbour town with colourful Georgian houses. For Welsh gifts visit Seld. Find clothes at Steil. Naturally Scrumptious is a popular deli and café bar offering a wide range of local, regional and international deli products. There’s arts and crafts in the Tourist Information Centre, with a different artist exhibiting every month. It’s also one of the locations for Taith Gelf Ceredigion Art Trail – ‘Open studios’ around Ceredigion.
You’ll find high street stores and a good selection of independent shops and original boutiques in this university town. For antiques, visit The Furniture Cave which also sells paintings by local artists and Welsh pottery. Aberystwyth Arts Centre is home to the University’s collection of ceramics and also sell ceramics. The International Ceramics Festival is held here every 2 years. The Photography Shop, (featured in the crime drama ‘Hinterland’) sell local photos on canvas and Oriel Y Bont Framing shop sell works for well known locally based artists. Pollys (and Ollys for the boys) are popular clothing and accessories shops and Her Dandy Wolf sell vintage style clothing, cards and house accessories. Find unique gifts at Dots. For Welsh gifts browse Siop Inc, Siop y Pethe and the shop at the National Library of Wales. If you’re looking for books then Ystwyth Books has over 80,000.
Brecon has a good selection of independent retailers as well as high street stores. Find a special gift at Beacons Crafts selling quirky china sculptures and locally handmade things. Clarke’s Toy Shop is a popular and historic shop and pick up some top class country and formal clothing at Aiden Sweeney. Ardent Gallery has an excellent selection of artists including pieces from nationally recognised artist Timmy Mallett to local artists such as Allan Morgan.
You’ll find high street shops and a number of good independent shops in Cardigan, including an old fashioned sweet shop, traditional ironmongers, and Mundos which has a good range of locally relevant gifts and home décor. A visit to the castle is a must and it has a small shop. The Guildhall and the Guildhall market are also worth a visit. There are a number of galleries too.
With the River Usk, Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons National Park and Crickhowell castle close by, the town is a picturesque stop for shopping. The town has a number of independent shops, restaurants and pubs and was awarded the title of the UKs best high street in 2018 by Great British High Street judges. Natural Weigh is a plastic free, organic, additive-free health food shop. Both Nicholls and Webbs are department stores selling a range of products, and visit Book-ish for a good book as well as coffee and cake in their café.
This historic town was once the meeting place for Owain Glyndŵr and the gaols have been converted into shops and coffee houses. The character and architecture of the town makes this an unique market town. You won’t find many chain stores in Dolgellau but there is a good selection of independent shops from local butchers and bakers to maps and outdoor gear. There’s Waterloo and Siop Medi for gifts. You’ll find Welsh souvernirs, Clogau Gold and exclusive Carrie Elspeth “Made in Wales” jewellery in Waterloo. Siop Medi is a quirky design-led shop offering unique top end products from Wales, Scandinavia and beyond. It’s owner, Nia Medi, is an actress, novelist and ex-designer on makeover programme, Real Rooms for Pebble Mill. Tŷ Siamas, the National Centre for Welsh Folk Music has a music and gift shop, selling CD’s, musical instruments, gifts and more. It also houses a multi-media musical exhibition, café and bar and holds live music concerts in the auditorium.
Hay-on-Wye is world famous for its annual Festival of Literature and also for its books - from which it derived its name 'The Town of Books'. There are millions of them, and they are everywhere. The castle's a book shop, the cinema's a book shop, the fire station's a book shop, the alleyways are book shops. It’s not just books that can be picked up here though. Hay Deli has a fine selection of delicatessen and whole foods bought locally. The End specialises in French linen, quirky one off antiques and interesting goods. Number Two sell a good selection of high quality clothes and find unique hand made jewellery at Satori. Hay houses a varied selection of small shops - The Hay Makers with their quality crafts; Jones Home Hardware for that special piece of kitchenalia or exploring the Hay Antique Market.
Lampeter is the place to visit for Welsh quilts and blankets. You will find The Welsh Quilt Centre in the town centre. Just a 10 minute drive from Lampeter is the Jen Jones Welsh Quilts and Blankets shop in Llanybydder. Heading towards Tregaron and approximately 15 minutes drive from Lampeter is Jane Beck Welsh Blankets. It’s also worth visiting Tregaron, well-known for the Rhiannon Welsh Gold Centre - a shop, gallery and jewellery workshop.
You’ll find Teifi Harps here. It’s not a shop but a workshop with a show-room and they can take pre-arranged visits.
Market towns in South West Wales
Narberth is stuffed full with potteries, galleries and antiques shops. There are a couple of antique shops, one of which is more like a co-operative; with goods from a number of dealers all displayed in the same building. The other is more like an old museum; full of amazing stuff like original, hand-embroidered four poster bed hangings. The home of Sara Lloyd-Morris is in Martletwy, not far from Narberth. Sara makes contemporary hand jewellery and runs jewellery making courses.
Carmarthen is the oldest town in Wales and offers the perfect shopping mix of traditional and new with arts and crafts, high-street stores and independent shops such as Pethau Bychain. The Merlins Walk shopping centre has over 20 shops with names such as Argos, Saltrock, Game,TK Maxx and Animal. There’s also over 20 shops including Debenhams department store, a cinema and restaurants at St. Catherine’s walk.
The indoor market built with Welsh Pennant stone and slate, has over 60 traders selling traditional and contemporary goods and handicrafts. The farmers market takes place on the 1st and 3rd Friday each month.
You’ll find a small variety of national stores in Haverfordwest town centre with further stores in Withybush Retail Park. Smaller local traders include Vincent Davies department store, Welsh Bakery, Bosanquet jewellery gallery, The Sheep Shop (welsh gifts), Bonkers Ladies Fashions, Creative Café (pottery café) and Roch James Butcher.
The Riverside Market has a variety of stalls selling cds, army surplus, bags, models, craft supplies and meat. The Farmers’ Market on the Riverside Quay takes place every Friday, selling local produce - meat, vegetables, cheese and dairy, plants, bread etc.
Llandeilo is a shopping hot spot, with lots of stylish galleries and boutiques. It has quaint little shops such as Toast, which has now expanded to open branches in London, Harrogate and Oxford. It sells clothes, shoes and accessories as well as home wears such as bed linen and soft furnishings. Heavenly, a miniscule shop on the High street is famous for its handmade chocolates and ice creams made from local organic milk and cream. The flavours range from the classics to peanut butter and Mississippi Mud Pie – you can even make your own flavour! Fountain Fine Art and the Bridge Gallery are found across the road and sell the work of local artists with an ever changing exhibition of new works. Peppercorn which sells a great selection of cookery paraphernalia all housed in a grade II listed building which used to be an ironmongers. In keeping with the theme the shop stocks a range of kitchen wear and gadgets. Its interior has many of the original fittings and fixtures dating back to the 18th century.
More on shopping in Llandeilo.
Market towns in South East Wales
Abergavenny is home to the famous annual Food Festival where visitors can purchase and taste local produce. Here you’ll find department store Nicholls and a great selection of local shops. There’s two award winning butchers, Rawlings and Neil Powell. Marches Deli sell local food, beers, wine and spirit and you will find beads and pastries, a selection of cakes, handmade soft-serve ice cream and coffee served at The Angel Bakery. Find Welsh themed gifts at Y Fenni Gifts and browse That's Lovey That for unusual gifts. The Tuesday market in the Market Hall is well known as one of the major markets in Wales. Craft Fairs and Antique Fairs are also held here. Just a few miles from Abergavenny The Old Forge Crafts sell locally made crafts and Welsh gifts.
Cowbridge has lots of trendy shops offering designer labels and is referred to as a department store on one street. It has more independent boutiques per square mile than any other town in south Wales. It was awarded Wales' 'Rising Star High Street' by the Great British High Street in 2018. Visit Cowbridge Guide and Cowbridge Fashion for inspiration.
Reviewed January 2020