Independent shopping in Wales
Wales has countless inspiring and unique independent shops. Some have become synonymous with the town or region (who doesn’t associate Hay-on-Wye with books?) and some are lesser known but equally inspiring. This is just a tiny taste of what we have to offer. Welcome to retail therapy for the discerning.
City centre shopping
Royal Arcade, Cardiff
Shopping in Cardiff, Wales’ capital city, doesn’t have to mean large department stores and high street giants – of course they’re all there, but so too are a host of independent, quirky and unique shops in Cardiff’s six historic Edwardian and Victorian arcades. Head to the Castle Quarter and the Morgan Quarter and shop for everything from traditional Welsh textiles and love spoons, gifts, clothes and jewellery – and visit Spillers Records (Est.1894), the oldest record shop in the world.
Swansea has much to offer the keen shopper, including the biggest indoor market in Wales home to over 100 stalls. Where better to sample a range of internationally renowned Welsh delicacies including laverbread, an edible seaweed, welshcakes, and cockles from the tidal Penclawdd Sands. Fresh fish here is especially good, as are Gower vegetables and locally reared lamb and beef.
Chic and fashion
Heavenly Chocolates, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire by discover carmarthenshire
The ancient market town of Llandeilo, in the heart of Carmarthenshire’s lovely Tywi valley, is a highly chic shopping destination. Twisty turny streets are home to innovative, exciting and independently owned boutiques and galleries. A shopping trip to Llandeilo is sure to uncover something unique and there’s not a high street chain store in sight.
One of South Wales’ most fashionable places, Cowbridge is often referred to as a department store on one street as it’s stuffed with unique, family-owned shops selling designer clothing, jewellery, leather goods, crafts and antiques. With more independent boutiques per square mile than any other town in South Wales, a visit is essential.
Cowbridge High Street, Vale of Glamorgan
For truly authentic Welsh traditional jewellery head to the historic market town of Tregaron in rural Ceredigion. There, in the Celtic Design Centre, the Rhiannon Welsh Gold Centre produces beautiful traditional jewellery in pure and mixed Welsh Gold. Commissioned by royalty, governments, archbishops and even for Welsh national stamps, you can see the jewellery being handcrafted in the workshop on site.
Craft and local produce
Let’s begin in the little town of Narberth in Pembrokeshire. It’s something of a gem and the perfect place to indulge your love of arts and crafts – offering a range of independent and diverse shops full of art, pottery and antiques. Narberth is a creative hub and fast becoming the arts and crafts capital of Pembrokeshire.
Behind the imposing 13th century castle and magnificent town walls of Conwy lies a quirky range of independent shops offering unusual and distinctive products. A visit to Trefriw Woollen Mills in the Conwy Valley offers a chance to buy genuinely local products including Welsh cloth, flannel and tapestries, and don’t leave without a trip to the Potters’ Gallery in Conwy which showcases the work of 20 regional craftsfolk.
Farm shops offer fresh local produce
Set in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, The Welsh Venison Centre is an award-winning family run farm shop. Supplying local Welsh venison, pork and lamb to some of the famous local restaurants and many further afield, this is the place to visit to pick up some of the best farm produce Wales has to offer.
Wales is full of award-winning farm shops and the Rhug Estate Organic Farm shop in Corwen is well worth a mention. It sells over 2000 products from organic meat to artisan Welsh cheese and hampers. A permanent presence at London’s Borough Market, get the goodies at source in their beautiful oak and cedar built farm shop here in North Wales.
Literary the best for books
Any town twinned with Timbuktu and known as the ‘town of books’ is worth a visit for curiosity alone. Hay-on-Wye was a quiet run down market town in 1962 when Richard Booth opened his first bookshop. It is now a Mecca for book lover’s worldwide, hosts the famous Literary Festival every May and is home to thirty major bookshops selling second hand, rare and specialist publications.