Whether you're looking for gifts to take home, hunting for souvenirs, or just browsing, you'll like the shops of Cardiff. They are many and varied, ranging from a multiplicity of offerings in a modern shopping precinct, St. David's Centre – a stone's throw from the castle – to the stalls of a covered market.
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 number 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 number 23 and 24. All in all, the arcades stretch to a length of 797m (2,655 ft.) in the city.
In the St. David's Shopping Centre is a branch of Marks & Spencer, 72 Queen Street, one of the country's oldest branches of a major chain store, offering clothing with emphasis on British-made goods. A food section contains a range of high-quality specialty items. This is the anchor store in the enclosed centre, which has shops opening off wide walkways.
The best Welsh craft shop in the centre is Castle Welsh Crafts, 1 Castle Street, opposite the castle entrance. Mailing service is available, and VAT-refund forms are available for overseas visitors.
Markets are held at several sites. The Central Indoor Market on St. Mary Street is open Monday through Friday. The Outdoor Fruit and Vegetable Market, St. David Street and Mary Ann Street, is open Monday through Saturday. On Bessemer Road, an open-air market is held on Sunday morning.
For a novel shopping jaunt, visit Jacob Antique Centre, Penarth Road, to see what's for sale from Grandmother Welsh's attic. Perhaps a Victorian fireplace, 19th-century jewellery, antique brass or hardware, pocket watches, and certainly furnishings mainly from Victoria's heyday.
Close to St. David's Centre, the Capitol Shopping Centre along Queen Street is another place to shop for bargains or special gifts. In the complex is one of Britain's best men's stores, Austin Reed, 13-14 The Capitol. With pop music playing in the background, you can also visit Ciro Citterio, 71-73 Queen Street, which has one of the largest selections of men's shoes and suits in Wales. Women find that Jaeger, 12 Queen Street, The Capitol, carries quality apparel made of high-quality fabrics.
At the Martin Tinney Gallery, 6 Windsor Place, a short distance from the Cardiff rail station, you'll find the region's best commercial galleries. Finally, Craft in the Bay, 57 Bute Street, Cardiff Bay, features the largest selection of handmade quality crafts in Wales – baskets, pottery, jewellery, hand-crafted furniture, ceramics and the like.