Shopping Arcades Tour, Cardiff

Shopping Arcades Tour (Self Guided), Cardiff

A city of castles and culture, Cardiff has plenty to entertain those who travel with the shopping bags in tow. The Welsh capital has long been reputed as the "City of Arcades", due to the highest concentration of Victorian, Edwardian and contemporary indoor shopping arcades in the UK. Back in the day, these fascinating, covered pedestrian thoroughfares were designed to enable locals and guests to enjoy indoor shopping without any concern for the weather.

Housed in the walls of Cardiff’s arcades is a maze of independent stores, boutiques and vintage clothes emporiums, as well as hundreds of cafes, bars and restaurants. Nowadays modernized to reflect the vibrancy of life in the city, these independent businesses are at the heart of Cardiff. Here are some of the most notable local arcades not to miss:

Castle Arcade – constructed between 1882 and 1889, particularly famous for its balconies and two large arches mirroring each other; home to an eclectic mix of independent stores like Portuguese bakery Nata and Co, bar Gin and Juice, and Barker’s Tea Rooms sister café Coffee Barker’s;

High Street Arcade – an outdoor shopping plaza, completed in 1885; today has a more contemporary feel with sophisticated cafés and restaurants, as well as barbers and vintage clothing stores;

Duke Street Arcade – one of three shopping plazas in Castle Quarter and the newest of them, finished in 1902; designed in an iconic Gothic style, the building retains many quirky details, including a stunning painted floor;

If you wish to delve deeper into the 150 years of Welsh retail history brought together under the roof of classic Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and to make your shopping experience like no other, take this self-guided walk!
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Shopping Arcades Tour Map

Guide Name: Shopping Arcades Tour
Guide Location: Wales » Cardiff (See other walking tours in Cardiff)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Author: Nick
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Castle Arcade
  • High Street Arcade
  • Duke Street Arcade
  • Queens Arcade
  • Morgan Arcade
  • Royal Arcade
  • Wyndham Arcade
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Castle Arcade

1) Castle Arcade

The Castle Arcade is a historic shopping center near Cardiff Castle. Castle Arcade is nestled between Castle and Quay Streets from north to south and High and Womanby Streets from east to west.

The Castle Arcade was envisioned in 1882 with construction completed in 1889. It is one of the few arcades in the city that is spread over two stories. These are highlighted by upper balconies and the large arches that welcome visitors to the shopping plaza.

Tourists will find a wide variety of shops at Castle Arcade. This includes 30 unique boutiques that feature items like couture clothing, fine crystals, books, tabletop gaming, musical instruments, vintage clothing and costumes. The Castle Arcade also has numerous places to drink and dine. From pastries to cocktails, tourists can have a seat and enjoy a relaxing treat.

Other spots with Castle Arcade include a tattoo parlor and the National Theatre Wales.
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High Street Arcade

2) High Street Arcade

High Street Arcade is an outdoor shopping plaza in Cardiff. It is located opposite Castle Arcade between High and St. John's Streets. High Street Arcade is one of three arcades that make up Castle Quarter along with Castle Arcade and Duke Street Arcade.

High Street Arcade was completed in 1885. It adjoined with Duke Street Arcade upon its completion in 1902, which made it the city's first adjoining arcade.

The arcade was originally a mainstay of those who sought healing and truth. There were numerous fortune tellers along the street as well as apothecaries where shoppers could find tonics and so-called "wonder drugs." The arcade now has 11 unique shops that include a coffee bar, a tea room and vintage clothing stores.

Those who want a lasting reminder of their time in Cardiff can stop by a tattoo parlor at High Street Arcade. The arcade is also home to a barber shop and a gaming parlor.
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Duke Street Arcade

3) Duke Street Arcade

Duke Street Arcade is one of three shopping plazas in Castle Quarter along with Castle Arcade and High Street Arcade. It is the newest of the three, having been built in 1902. It is also the smallest with only three businesses technically making up the area. However, because it adjoins to High Street Arcade, there is a seamless transition between the two that makes it appear larger than it is.

The entrance to the arcade is directly opposite Cardiff Castle. It is notable for the painted floor and stained glass accent windows. Duke Street Arcade was designed in the Gothic architectural style.

Duke Street Arcade is home to a deli and haircare boutiques. There are also art dealers nearby that play a large part in adding to the culture of the area. Duke Street Arcade is a prominent spot for displaying works of art from local students during their end-of-year show.
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Queens Arcade

4) Queens Arcade

Queens Arcade is a large shopping center located on Queen Street. The primary entrance to Queens Arcade is on Queen Street south of The Friary. A secondary entrance is on Working Street.

Opened in 1994, the arcade is one of the newest in the city. It was developed on the site of the two-story Allders department store. It is connected to St. David's Centre.

The arcade has a wide variety of stores within the complex. International chains at Queens Arcade include the hair salon Supercuts, Tim Horton's restaurant and Americandy, which features candy often found in the United States and Britain.

Local shops vary from fine jewelry to handmade Welsh gifts. It is a good place to find clothing, home furnishings, toys and even comic books. Several beauty salons are located within Queens Arcade if you find yourself needing to be pampered. It's also a good place to stop for a smoothie, a bubble tea or a meal.
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Morgan Arcade

5) Morgan Arcade

Morgan Arcade is one of the oldest and the best preserved of the arcades in Cardiff. Located between St. Mary Street and The Hayes, the primary entrance is located on St. Mary. There is also a secondary entrance to both Morgan and Royal Arcades located at Bakers Row.

The arcade was built in 1896 which is seen in the beautiful Victorian architecture. It was originally called the New Central Arcade and was built as part of the David Morgan's department store. Eventually, David Morgan's purchased Royal Arcade and renamed the New Central Arcade to reflect the department store.

Morgan Arcade has almost 30 unique stores that range from well-known brands to local favorites. Some of the international names include Doc Martens, Oxfam Books and Fred Perry. Local stores offers kitchen wares, beauty supplies, clothing, jewelry, chocolates and more.

Table-service restaurants and an award-winning pie shop are great places to get a quick snack or a full meal. Morgan Arcade is also home to a gallery that features photography from all over the world.
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Royal Arcade

6) Royal Arcade

The oldest arcade in Cardiff is Royal Arcade. The Cardiff Arcade Company turned a retired slum house into the city's first arcade shopping plaza in 1858. Along with shops and eateries, the 19th century arcade was home to a free library and the Cardiff School of Art.

Royal Arcade is part of the Morgan Quarter along with Morgan Arcade. The two arcades were founded separately but united when Royal Arcade was purchased by David Morgan's Department Store. The two arcades are connected via Tabernacle Lane.

Royal Arcade is a Grade II listed building. It was fully refurbished in 2008 though some of the first-floor storefronts and Venetian windows were restored. Store number 29, 30 and 32 on St. Mary Street still have the original shop fronts.

There are nearly 30 shops that are currently part of Royal Arcade. Visitors can find jewelers, antiques, vintage collectibles, handcrafts, clothing and a number of restaurants.
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Wyndham Arcade

7) Wyndham Arcade

Wyndham Arcade is a shopping plaza located between St. Mary Street and Hayes Place. Wyndham Arcade is located near the Royal Arcade and Morgan Arcade in the Morgan Quarter. Unlike most arcades that are primarily shops with a few restaurants, Wyndham Arcade is mostly eateries and cafes.

The arcade was built in 1887 by the Cardiff Arcade Company. It was named after Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, 4th Earl of Dunraven and Justice of the Peace for Glamorgan. The Wyndham-Quin family owned a significant amount of land in Cardiff.

The 12 unique shops at Wyndham Arcade include sit-down restaurants featuring cuisines from places like Italy and New Zealand. Those who aren't interested in a meal can check out one of the tea stores. There are also a couple of clothing stores, a nail salon and a music shop. Wyndham Arcade is known for its Cuban cigar shop, Havana House.

Walking Tours in Cardiff, Wales

Create Your Own Walk in Cardiff

Create Your Own Walk in Cardiff

Creating your own self-guided walk in Cardiff is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Cardiff Introduction Walking Tour

Cardiff Introduction Walking Tour

"Cardiff" came from the Welsh word "Caer-Taff" which means "Fort on the river Taff." Cardiff cannot be separated from the Cardiff Castle nor the castle from the city. People had been living in the neighborhood of Cardiff on the banks of the Taff when the Romans arrived and built a fort in 55 AD.

The fortification was strategically located. It was possible to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles