Cardiff has plenty to entertain those who travel with the shopping bags in tow. Locals often call it the "City of Arcades", meaning you can delve down centuries-old alleyways that are bursting with boutiques and jewellers and vintage clothes emporiums, all while sampling locally roasted coffee beans and hopping independent brunch venues.

    You can also discover colossal shopping complexes in Cardiff – some of the largest in Wales, in fact. They offer up medleys of high-street names and chic department stores, all wedged right into the heart of the country's busiest, buzziest metropolis. Check out our guide to the best places to go shopping in Cardiff.

    1

    St. David's Dewi Sant

    The beating heart of Cardiff’s shopping scene

    • Shoppers

    St. David's Dewi Sant is one of the largest combined shopping centres in the Welsh capital. It sits in The Hayes, a bustling corner of Cardiff’s downtown. There are several entrances, each leading to wide and airy concourses with soaring ceilings and spacious arcades.

    Because it's the city's principal shopping complex, you can expect to see many flagship shops. The large John Lewis department store sits on 1 end of the main drag, offering bespoke home furnishings, electronics, and a whole load more. But there are also West Coast surf shops, paper stores, sports outfitters – just to name a few. 

    Location: Bridge Street St David's Dewi Sant, Cardiff CF10 2EF, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9.30 am to 8 pm, Saturday from 9.30 am to 7 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)2920 367600

    Map

    photo by Tiia Monto (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    2

    Castle Arcade

    Artisan stores among wrought-iron balconies

    • Shoppers
    • History
    • Photo

    Castle Arcade is a prime example of the historic covered walking streets that make Cardiff's shopping scene so eclectic. One of many in the city, this retail alley weaves through the buildings from Cardiff Castle – hence the name – to High Street.

    Along the way, strollers will be treated to a medley of artisan bakers and food stores. Delicatessens tout local South Wales treats – think lava bread and Welsh cakes. There are coffee shops with aromatic in-house beans. Don't forget to note the lovely iron balconies that jut from the stores overhead. They date back to the late 1800s.

    Location: Castle St, Cardiff CF10 1BU, UK

    Open: Monday–Wednesday from 8.30 am to 6 pm, Thursday from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm, Friday from 8.30 am to 6 pm, Saturday from 8.30 am to 5 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm

    Map

    photo by Ham (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    3

    Duke Street Arcade

    Cafes and barbershops meet in a Neo-Gothic passageway

    • Shoppers
    • History
    • Photo

    Duke Street Arcade sits under the gaze of Cardiff Castle's crenulated walls and towers. Formally opened in 1902, it's a place that artfully fuses heritage and retail therapy. It's in the capital's downtown, between the hubbub of the High Street Arcade and Duke Street itself. 

    Look out for the elegant painted floor tiles and the grand turn-of-the-century roofing, a fine mix of filigreed metalwork and skylights. When it comes to the shops, get ready for a few boutique travel agents and some excellent homegrown cafes, where bookworm students and Cardiff locals often go for a natter.

    Location: Duke Street, Cardiff CF10 1BA, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm

    Map

    photo by No Swan So Fine (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    4

    High Street Arcade

    Foodies and vintage fashion fans will love it

    • Shoppers
    • History
    • Photo
    • Food

    The High Street Arcade cuts through the heart of the shopping-rich Castle Quarter. Built and opened in 1885, it's one of the oldest covered retail strips in Cardiff. It shows, too, with vintage storefronts framed by carved wood and paned windows.

    You can also find boutique barbers, where hipsters sit to have beard trims, as well as traditional British tearooms offering stacks of sugared Welsh cakes. High Street Arcade also happens to be a hotspot for retro wear – we highly recommend Hobos.

    Location: High Street, Cardiff CF10 1AW, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm

    Map

    photo by David Wilson (CC BY 2.0) modified

    5

    Queen Street

    Cardiff's bustling shopping artery

    • Shoppers

    Queen Street brings big-name stores, electronics outlets and fashion brands to the centre of Cardiff. It runs all along the north side of the Castle Quarter, linking Cardiff Castle itself to the A4161 in the east. Along its length, you'll encounter a range of recognisable spots to shop.

    Marks & Spencer sits in one corner, opening onto food halls laden with champagnes and compotes. Nearby, JD Sports flaunts fashionable footwear for sports fans. Topshop and Zara also beckon with several floors of the latest threads. On top of that, you'll find a few gastropubs and welcoming Italian eateries for when lunchtime swings around.

    Open: Queen Street, Cardiff CF10 2UD, UK

    Map

    photo by Jon Candy (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    6

    Capitol Shopping Centre

    Two floors of shopping and plenty of food

    • Shoppers

    The vast retail space of the Capitol Shopping Centre has capped off the end of Queen Street since it first opened its doors in the 1990s. Back then, it was known for its huge media and CD emporiums, with names like Virgin taking centre stage for those after the hottest chart hits and movies.

    A refurb in 1999 brought the modern design still seen today. Meanwhile, the shopping lineup has shifted to focus on surfwear, fast fashion, home furnishings, and jewellery. Capitol Shopping Centre also comes with a range of quick dining options that are excellent for on-the-go bites.

    Location: Queen Street, Cardiff CF10 2HQ, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 8 am to 8 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)2920 345428

    Map

    photo by EG Focus (CC BY 2.0) modified

    7

    Royal Arcade

    A historic walking arcade in Morgan Quarter

    • Shoppers
    • History

    Royal Arcade lives up to its name with beautiful Neo-Gothic interiors, wrought-iron decorations and vintage storefronts that'll surely have the camera a-clicking. Found in the chic and stylish Morgan Quarter, it's the oldest walking arcade in Cardiff, dating back to 1858.

    Inside, there's a range of interesting stores to match. Antique dealers are tucked into the alcoves on 1 end, their shelves brimming with faded portraits and age-stained candelabras. Jewellers sparkle at the other end, with trinkets and diamonds dangling in the windows. Between them are spice-scented Vietnamese kitchens and artisanal burger outlets.

    Location: Royal Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1AE, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm

    Map

    photo by Mario Sánchez Prada (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    8

    Morgan Arcade

    A prestigious setting for boutique stores aplenty

    • Shoppers
    • History
    • Photo

    Large shop windows and fairy lights invite strollers into the Morgan Arcade. It's a prime example of the sort of classic retail thoroughfares that cut through the centre of Cardiff. You can find it by walking just to the south of The Hayes, one of the main plazas in the capital.

    You're likely to be instantly impressed by the curved facades and their lovely Venetian-style brickwork. Above them are delicate glass roofs that stream natural light down onto the shops. Shopping-wise, come here for Doc Martens outlets, illustrators' workshops and tailors, just to name a few.

    Location: Morgan Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1AF, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm

    Map

    photo by Heikki Immonen (CC BY 3.0) modified

    9

    Queens Arcade

    From home-furnishing departments to cookie stands

    • Shoppers

    Queens Arcade is joined at the hip to the larger St. David's Dewi Sant complex. It's got a hodgepodge of shops in a less-grand, more casual setting. It's actually a connecting mall, placed conveniently between Queen Street and Working Street.

    From a circular hub in its centre, the arcade radiates to the north, south and west. It covers 2 floors and boasts a cocktail of interesting outlets. There are cookie stalls next to catalogue retailers, and coffee emporiums next to stationery shops. Generally speaking, the places in Queens Arcade tend to be a little cheaper than in the next-door St. David's.

    Location: Queen St, Cardiff CF10 2BY, UK

    Open: Monday–Wednesday from 9.30 am to 5.30 am, Thursday from 9.30 am to 7 pm, Friday from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)2920 223581

    Map

    photo by Tiia Monto (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    10

    McArthurGlen Designer Outlet

    Everything's reduced at this sprawling outlet centre

    • Shoppers

    The McArthurGlen Designer Outlet is the place to go for high-street fashion names at affordable prices. It's around a 30-minute drive to the west of Cardiff, with the M4 motorway connecting you straight to the outlet centre.

    Everything from Clarks shoes to Vans skate and surfwear mingles in the seemingly endless concourses of McArthurGlen. You'll also find cosmetics shops like Boots and Welsh-grown ceramics sellers like Portmeirion. There's also a multi-screen cinema and a vast food court. It's got enough to warrant a whole day out from the Welsh capital.

    Location: Derwen, Bridgend CF32 9SU, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 10 am to 8 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1656 665700

    Map
    Joseph Francis | Contributing Writer

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