The Welsh capital may be small, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in culture, lush open green spaces and one of the best independent shopping scenes in the UK. Home to Shirley Bassey, the oldest record store in the world and a coal exchange turned Hotel, there are so many reasons to visit the ‘Diff but we want to honour the hundreds of epic indies that have taken stock here.
We can’t think of anywhere better to splosh the dosh this Crimbo so we’re gonna let you in on a few local Cardaffian secrets and spill the beans on which indies to head to this winter.
Kicking off the tour are Cardiff’s most iconic indie shopping areas, The Arcades. Head here for those weird and wonderful gifts that you’d have a fat chance of finding on the high street. There are seven Victorian and Edwardian arcades in total, housing over 100 independent stores. With so many tempting shops to choose from, we’ve rounded up just a few of our favourites.
In Castle Arcade head to Madame Fromage, they stock over 150 Artisan and award-winning cheeses. Or head to Morgan Arcade and pay the oldest record store in the world a visit. Spillers Records stocks vinyl, gig tickets and, of course, their famous band tees.
When you’re getting peckish, you need to head over to the Royal Arcade and duck into Wally’s Delicatessen where you’ll find everything from Biltong to Stollen. They also do a top-notch festive hamper.
Waterloo Tea have grown to gargantuan sizes over the past few years, now with six stores across Cardiff and Penarth. The Wyndham Arcade branch is our favourite though and stocks the most incredible range of high-quality teas from all over the world. They also serve the scrummiest brunches, perfect to set you up for a day of retail therapy.
Let’s explore The Castle Emporium next. Wriggle your way over to Womanby Street when you’re in search of trendy threads. Formerly an Art Deco cinema in the heart of Cardiff city, it is now a thriving indoor market filled with unique independent businesses. From eco-friendly bridalwear to homemade ceramics, there’s an eclectic mix of goods to be unearthed. The SHO Shop, Kathryn Lewis Ceramics and Faded Studios are good places to start.
The last stop on this indie shopping tour is Canton’s Bone Yard. Picture this - an old scaffolding yard, 10 converted shipping containers and a pizzeria. This is exactly where Cardiff’s first shipping container community resides. Housed in the shipping containers are artists, makers and crafters whipping up all manner of creative treats. They hold regular market events and the next one is lined up on the 14th Dec - expect deep-fried mince pies, mulled wine, vintage clothes, lantern making workshops and wood-fried pizza from Dusty Knuckle.
So there you have it, this is our guide to the best of indie shopping in Cardiff. There are of course tons of other awesome businesses that we haven't mentioned, so get out there and get exploring!