Cardiff is a great destination for a spot of retail therapy, but sometimes it’s nice to get away from the big name brands and corporate chains.
Discover something a little different by heading into the old arcades and quirky corners of the city centre, says WOW247’s City Editor, Jane Cook.
Here, she shares ten of the best independent/boutique shops in Cardiff.
Music & Literature
Based on the first floor balcony of Cardiff Central Market is Kellys, Wales’s largest vintage record store. Since opening in 1969, they have specialised in selling pre-owned, rare and collectable vinyl. A wide selection of collectable CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes are also available, and the staff are always helpful, knowledgeable and friendly.
Cardiff Central Market, Central Square, Cardiff CF10 2AU, kellysrecords.com
This delightfully traditional second-hand bookshop in Castle Arcade boasts an impressive range of subjects and genres, spread over three cosy floors. Past editions of comics and magazines dating back to the 80s make for fascinating reading during a leisurely browse, and you can bring your own unwanted books in to sell or exchange, too.
Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BW, troutmarkbooks.com
Despite moving premises four times in the last 120 years, Spillers has always been situated in the centre of Cardiff, and is officially the oldest surviving record store in the world – as such, it’s a musical institution in its own right. Over the years, they have stocked various genres of music in different formats (starting with wax cylinders in 1895, whatever the heck they were), but these days they pride themselves on their diverse and eclectic selection of music on both CD and vinyl.
Unit-31, Morgan Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1AF, www.spillersrecords.co.uk
The Brogue Trader
This small, family-run business is an absolute must-visit for any gentleman with a penchant for fancy footwear. Set up by ex-car salesman Christian Macnamara in 2012, The Brogue Trader is famed locally for stocking beautiful hand-made men’s shoes from upmarket brands like Loake, Herring, Oliver Sweeney, Crockett & Jones, Sebago and Trickers. Oh, and they’ve recently become the official outfitter for the Welsh International rugby team.
27A Morgan Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1AF, thebroguetrader.com
This brightly coloured boutique in High Street Arcade specialises in ’60s, ’70s and ’80s vintage clothing. Vintage tees, dresses and plaids sit alongside quirky accessories and collectibles, and each item is apparently hand-selected for the store. Over the years they have become known in my mind as the go-to place in Cardiff for summer cut-off denims, and in winter, a really quirky statement knit.
26 High Street Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BB, facebook.com/pages/Hobos-Cardiff
This modern and minimalistic ladies fashion boutique opened in late 2014, and quickly established itself with a reputation for stocking quality, on-trend clothing from unique, small brands. Each piece is hand-picked to tie into the themes of modern detailing and eye-catching design, with items ranging from cool daytime separates to party pieces for special occasions.
10 Morgans Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1AF, renatestore.com
CFQ / The Castle Emporium
Cardiff Fashion Quarter (or CFQ as it’s commonly known) is soon to be renamed The Castle Emporium – presumably thanks to its location just opposite the beautiful Cardiff Castle clock tower, and a shift in focus to include traders from other areas rather than just fashion. Comprised of a collection of small independent stores, this unexpected little space situated on trendy Womanby Street is great for picking up one-off pieces and second hand bargains.
Womanby Street, Cardiff, CF10, facebook.com/CardiffFashionQuarter
Selling everything from second-hand books, vintage clothing, and furniture to collectible records, army surplus stock and a huge range of Victorian taxidermy, this emporium of vintage curiosities covers three floors of a converted red-brick warehouse. More recently, it has also been used as a pop-up events venue, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for information on Motley Movies – the rooftop cinema event which takes place every summer.
West Canal Wharf, Cardiff, CF10 5DB, jacobsmarket.co.uk
Claire Grove Buttons
Claire Grove is one of Cardiff’s best-known independent shopkeepers, specialising in selling quirky, collectible beads and buttons from all around the world. Once described as “the most ridiculous retailing idea to come out of the 1980s”, Claire – who is also an artist – has now been delighting the people of South Wales with her unique collection for more than 30 years.
45 Castle Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BW, clairegrove.co.uk
I loves the ‘Diff
Memorabilia from this award-winning, cult brand is becoming as collectible as it is treasured. With merchandise ranging from clever ‘Taffywood’ slogan mugs and tees, to drone photography of each Cardiff postcode, there’s something to pull at the heart strings of anyone who has ever called Cardiff home. So powerful is their influence, their tweets were used by clever marketing bods to adorn the hoarding outside the Capital’s brand new Wahaca restaurant whilst it was still being built. Tidy!
Online only: ilovesthediff.com
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