Most of the city centre looks like a huge shopping centre. We saw many stores at the main commercial street which is Queen street but also all around the city centre of Cardiff we saw many arcades, most of them full of small stores covering a wide range of products (food, clothing, jewelry, books, souvenirs).
So, we just walked in some of them as we were using some of the entrances to pass through some blocks and I guess during the rainy months that will be very handy :)
Royal Arcade (pic 1) was an arcade that we passed by more than once. It was built in 1856 (the oldest of the city)
Castle Arcade is a small Victorian arcade that dates from 1887. It’s located opposite Cardiff Castle with some small stores, the most interesting is the cheese shop with the café inside
Of course the women will go crazy at St Davids mall(pics 2-3-4), a huge structure (actually there are 2 different malls) covering several blocks with numerous stores inside. Not my cup of tea, I get bored with these places where you have a variety of shops in one location, but you can spend days there if you want but it’s better to leave your credit card at home. I noticed even some sculptures inside (pic 3) but the security came and told me that it’s not allowed to take pictures!
John Lewis Cardiff(pic 5) is another big store, we bought some perfumes from there but we didn’t really check the other parts of the store.
This is a great little shopping arcade opposite Cardiff Castle. The traditional victorian arcade contains a wealth of shops such as a cheese shop, a cake shop, book shop, and even a violin makers workshop on the upper balcony! So whether you want to explore some traditional souvenier shops or sample the amazing array of cheeses at Madame Fromage, you will love this little arcade!
What to buy: Madame Fromage is a great cheese shop with its own cafe. The book shop also looked fantastic but unfortunately it was closed when we went.
By way of update on this tip, I returned in April 2009 to discover that this shop has closed down and I was advised that the whole chain of stores has closed. What a pity.
In its place I would recommend Anne Harvey across the arcade.
I'm not a skinny girl and I was therefore thrilled to discover Elvi in the St David shopping mall. I was drawn by the very glamorous looking clothes in the window and once inside I stayed because of the clothes and the more than helpful staff.
There was a very large selection to choose from in various different styles. All items were well cut and they were slimming - especially a black floor length evening dress complete with swirling panelled skirt.
Perhaps it was because there was a fashion show in the Mall, but the shop offered jugs of orange juice, sweets and bars. If nothing else it was an encouragement not to feel you have to starve to fit into these gorgeous clothes.
They signed me up to their club and gave me a card which entitled me to a 10% discount off the price of all my purchases. I was delighted.
There are lots of arcades in Cardiff - those roofed alleys with tons of shops and sometimes multiple levels. I can't name them all or tell you which ones to visit, but if you just walk around downtown you'll see lots of side entrances to them. I have included a link to an article describing some of them. They are generally clean, bright, and spacious.
What to buy: We found Troutmark Books in an arcade there, which may be one of the coolest used bookstores ever, along with many other varieties of shops selling things like ethnic food, collectibles, gaming paraphernalia, and designer clothing.
What to pay: The prices are generally reasonable,not over-inflated like London.
Since the centre of Cardiff is a pedestrian shopping area, all kinds of shops are within easy reach. There are the arcades like Queen's and St David's and Morgan's, streets like Working Street, malls like Capitol and much much more.
Chain stores like Marks and Spencers [a very large one], Bhs, Next, Debenhams, Primark, T K Max, Zara........
What to buy: whatever takes your fancy
What to pay: normal high street shop prices
Not quite Bologna, but Cardiff is known for its covered shopping arcades. These onbviously make perfect sense, considering its rains quite often in Wales. You can shop in the dry!!
The earliest is Royal Arcade, built in 1856, which links St Mary Street to The Hayes. Most of the others also date from the second half of the C19th.
Off the top of my head, I can think of seven covered arcades in the centre of the city. Of course there are also three large modern indoor shopping centres too.
The arcade I visit the most is the Royal Arcade - there is an excellent health food shop, an art suppliers and a cake shop, all of which I often frequent.
My favorite arcade is probably Castle Arcade, which joins High Street to Duke Street. At one end there are some superb trendy clothes shops and at the other a Welsh food restaurant. There are also balconies along either side with smaller stalls and offices.
What to buy: You can buy almost anything in Cardiff's arcades!!!
Good trendy clothes shops in Castle Arcade and excellent shoe shops along High Street Arcade.
Several good cafe's in Morgan Arcade.
What to pay: These are busy city centre shops and usually good value.
Apparently, Cardiff is known as the 'City of Arcades' and there's a network of excellent Victorian arcades dating back a century or more.
The main arcades can be reached from St Johns Street, High St, Duke St or St Mary Street. Each arcade is home to an array of independent shops offering bits ‘n’ bobs for the home and top-notch fashion. Cool.
Check out the High Street and Duke Street arcades for a fetish fumble
Cross the road and head down the Castle Arcade.
If you’re still standing at this point, walk back to St Mary Street and towards the bus station to find the Morgan and Royal Arcades. .
Go back out onto St Mary Street and turn left into the Royal Arcade. .
Other arcades not to be missed out are the Oxford Arcade off the Hayes and the Dominions and Andrews Arcades off Queen Street. Shop ‘til you drop.
The main shopping streets are St. Mary, High, Castle, Duke, and Queen, plus the Hayes. Most of this area has been made into a pedestrian mall, with trees, shrubs, and gracious Edwardian arcades. These arcades, a dozen in all, are the most famous shopping precincts in all of Wales. The best known is the Castle Arcade, constructed in 1887. The interior has a fascinating first-floor wooden gallery with a wooden second floor overhanging it. Dating from 1858, the Royal Arcade is the oldest of the city's shopping arcades. Look for the original Victorian storefronts at nos. 29, 30, and 32. The Morgan Arcade from 1896 is the best preserved. Note the first-floor Venetian windows and the original slender wooden storefronts such as nos. 23 and 24. All in all, the arcades stretch to a length of 2,655 ft. in the city.
The old/modern arcade are the very good places to spend a day to do some shopping or just hanging around. No matter what's the weather, you can always enjoy the shopping inside the arcades.
What to buy: Modern Arcade (Queen Arcade & St. David Arcade):
You can find everything you want in the arcades. Many well-known brands fashion stores, clothes, shoes, bags, Men's clothes, art, local craft (love spoon), gifts, jewelry, music, stationery, bath and beauty (Body shop), flowers and childern's clothes(Mother care), toys and games. When your tired, also you can find food and drink (supermarket & starbucks & McDonald & Burger King, etc.)
The old arcades (Royal arcade, etc.):
You will find many classic book stores, small cafe, restaurants, home furnishing and also gifts, local craft, jewelry, etc.
What to pay: Cash, Credit Card and Traveling Check
In the centre of Cardiff you will find the shopping area and arcades. There are various different kind of shops to go to. I liked them all.
The Castle Arcade is one of a few remaining Victorian arcades in the city. It was constructed in 1887, there are some nice shops and a couple of good looking Cafe's (especially the Cheese shop.)
Lots of old and new arcades, they are great, you can find old shops, modern stuff, second hand ...
Cardiff is incredible if you like shopping