|| As you’d expect from a capital city, Cardiff is a shopper’s dream, with everything from big department stores, like Debenhams, and the world’s largest Next, to smaller specialist stores and designer boutiques.
With most of the central shopping area made up of pedestrian-only streets, covered shopping areas, and quaint Victorian and Edwardian arcades, you can stroll around the shops at your leisure.
Cardiff has a number of shopping centres and arcades that are packed to bursting with a mix of high street, designer and independent stores.
The Capitol Shopping Centre [map] provides two floors of great retail therapy, from fashion shops such as H&M and Benetton, to well known stores likes Virgin Megastore and Vidal Sassoon.
One of the oldest shopping venues in the city is St David’s Centre [map], which offers an immense choice of high street names for clothing, jewellery, books, music, toiletries and general household goods.
Debenhams and Marks & Spencer occupy one corner, while the shopping centre is now linked to the newer and very fashionable Queens Arcade [map], which offers several trendy boutiques, computer shops and classy coffee houses. The Queens Arcade is home to familiar names including Next, French Connection, Whittards and The Pier, but it also has designer jewellery at Julie Emmanuel and the American cookie store, Millie's.
Morgan Arcade, which runs between the buildings of the David Morgan department store, is one of several beautiful Victorian shopping areas in the city centre. Shops of all kinds – some retaining their Victorian frontage – line both sides of the arcade, including the highly popular Woodies Emporium, a designer outlet that has something for both men and women. This shop stocks an extensive range of men’s clothing such as Hugo Boss and Armani along with a smaller range of womenswear, which includes Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Sticky Fingers.
Nearby, Royal Arcade is lined with a range of shops, such as home furnishings store Melin Tregwynt, which has received coverage in glossy magazines since Catherine Zeta Jones bought some of their products to remind her of home while she’s in America.
In between the Royal and Morgan arcades you’ll find the huge David Morgan [map] department store, which spans three linked buildings via numerous stairways. If you’re souvenir hunting the Welsh goods section on the ground floor, or the general giftware section on the top floor, are good places to find something special. There are also large departments of men's and women's wear, household goods, perfume, cosmetics and haberdashery, with designers such as Jaeger, Wallis and Planet just a few of the top names on offer.
Another of the city’s famous department stores is Howells of Cardiff [map], a House of Fraser department store in St Mary Street, which houses designer outlets including Joseph, Dolce & Gabbana, Paul Costelloe and Pied á Terre. It also has an excellent beauty department selling products by Benefit, Aveda, Darphin, Malika, La Prairie and Molton Brown, along with the usual well known cosmetic giants.
In the heart of the city centre you’ll find two of the most popular shopping arcades, High Street and Duke Street. These arcades, which run into each other, are full of funky and unusual shops, including Nice, which sells all manner of modern things for the home, from inflatable chairs to enormous fur beanbags.
Buzz [map], Cardiff’s wildest shoe store, also has two outlets in High Street Arcade, and there is also a great vintage clothing store selling 70s items and a joke shop selling wigs, itching powder and false blood close by.
Cardiff also boasts the world’s oldest record store, Spillers Records [map], so whatever it is you’re looking for you’re sure to find a shop selling it in Wales’ capital city.
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