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List of shopping arcades in Cardiff

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City of Cardiff, city of arcades
The upper level of Castle Arcade

Shopping arcades in Cardiff include indoor shopping centres and arcades in Cardiff city centre, Wales. Cardiff is known as the "City of Arcades",[1] due to the highest concentration of Victorian, Edwardian and contemporary indoor shopping arcades in any British city.[2]

Up until the 1790s there were only 25 retail shops in Cardiff. Most shopping at that time was made from market stalls.[3] The opening of the Royal Arcade in 1858, which was the first indoor arcade built in Cardiff, significantly increased the number of shops in Cardiff.

Cardiff's Victorian arcades have been attracting new shops and customers since emerging from the economic recession. Existing retailers have expanded which demonstrates resurgence of the capital's unique shopping malls, according to the landlords, Curzon, who is responsible for the High Street, Castle, Duke Street and Wyndham arcades. The area around the arcades will be affected by pedestrianisation of High Street in late 2010, to create the £2.5m Castle Quarter. This is expected to attract more shoppers and tourists to the Victorian arcades.[4]

The total length of Cardiff's city centre arcades is 797 m (2,655 ft).[5]

Current shopping arcades[edit]

Victorian and Edwardian[edit]

Name Image Year
Entrances Notes
Central Market 1891 St. Mary Street
Trinity Street
Central Market was designed by the county engineer William Harpur. 349 stalls were in the original layout. The market opened in 1891 and has entrances on St. Mary Street and Trinity Street in the Castle Quarter[6] Central Market is a Grade II* Listed building.

The market consists of two shopping levels, a ground floor and a balcony level which wraps around the market exterior walls on the interior [1]. There is a large H. Samuel clock [2] above the High Street entrance [3], which was presumably donated by the H. Samuel jewellery chain, which once had a store just outside the High Street entrance. Traders in the market offer a variety of fresh produce, cooked food, various delicacies and more durable goods. A trader of note is Ashton's the fishmongers,[7] who have traded in the market since 1866 at the Trinity Street entrance selling a wide range of fresh seafood.

Castle Arcade 1887 Castle Street
High Street
Castle Arcade opened in 1887 and is a Grade II* Listed building. The Castle arcade, as the name suggests, runs from opposite Cardiff Castle to High Street, north of St Mary St, in the Castle Quarter. The arcade has a variety of small boutique shops as well as cafes and delicatessens, and fair-trade and organic shops.[5]

One of the longer of Cardiff's famous Victorian arcades, Castle Arcade is home to a variety of shops selling, among other things, crystals, air pistols, fancy dress, books and clothes. There are several shops on the gallery level.

Dominions Arcade 1921 Queen Street
Crockherberton Lane
Duke Street Arcade 1902 Duke Street
High Street Arcade
Duke Street Arcade opened in 1902 is a Grade II Listed building. Duke Street Arcade joins High Street arcade, and is just opposite Cardiff Castle, in the Castle Quarter. Duke Street Arcade is lined with stores including hairdressers, bridal shops and Welsh gift shops.[5]
High Street Arcade 1885 High Street
St John Street
High Street Arcade opened in 1886 and is a Grade II Listed building. It has entrances on High Street and St John Street in the Castle Quarter. High Street arcade is known for its range of fashion stores which include designer clothes, individual fashions, jewellery and vintage clothes as well as one of the oldest surf and skateboarding shops in Wales, City Surf.[8] One will also find children's clothes and toys, gifts and a New York Deli in the arcade.[5]
Morgan Arcade 1896 St. Mary Street
The Hayes
Morgan Arcade opened in 1896 and is a Grade II Listed building. Morgan Arcade is the considered best preserved of Cardiff's arcades, with first-floor Venetian windows and original slender wooden storefronts. It has entrances on St. Mary Street and The Hayes. It has shops such as The Plan, which specialises in organic and Fair Trade food. Neals yard, next door, sells organic herbal skin care and body care products.[5]
Royal Arcade 1858 St. Mary Street
The Hayes
The Royal Arcade is the oldest arcade in the city, having been built in 1858. It is a Grade II Listed building. Royal Arcade still has some of the original shopfronts at numbers 29, 30 and 32 St. Mary Street. Running from The Hayes through to St Mary Street, towards the south of the city centre, adjacent to the New St David's 2 development, independent shops are found such as Wally's Delicatessen, who have been in the arcade for 50 years, and those specialising in Welsh textiles, gifts and homeware.[5]
Wyndham Arcade 1887 St. Mary Street
Mill Lane
Wyndham Arcade is a Grade II Listed building. It opened in 1887 and has entrances on St. Mary Street and Mill Lane, running parallel to Cardiff's Café Quarter. This Edwardian arcade is home to several restaurants including ASK.[5]


Name Image Year
Entrances Notes
St. David's Centre 1981 Queen Street,
Hill's Street
Working Street
Queens Arcade
St. David's Centre opened to the public in January 1981, although it did not officially open until 24 March 1982. It is joined internally with Queens Arcade. The extension to St. David's Centre (St. David's 2) opened to the public on 22 October 2009. The architects for the project were Benoy and the constructors were Bovis Lend Lease. The development includes the Grand Arcade and Hayes Arcade.[9]
Queens Arcade 1994 Queen Street,
Working Street
St. David's Centre
Queens Arcade opened on 28 April 1994, and was built on the former Allders department store and Queen Street Arcade site. The Arcade has two levels, and is unusual in that the levels are sloped, so that ground floor entrance on Queen Street becomes the upper floor at the Working Street entrance and the ground floor entrance at Working Street becomes the lower floor at the Queen Street entrance.
Capitol Centre 1990 Queen Street The Capitol Centre, which was previously known as the Capitol Exchange Centre, opened in 1990. The Capitol Centre is built on the site of the former Capitol Cinema and Theatre.

Former shopping arcades[edit]

Name Image Year
Entrances Notes
Queen Street Arcade 1866[10] 1987 Queen Street
Working Street
Next to Allders. Both were demolished, then rebuilt as Queens Arcade (above). Included the Washing Institute[11]
Andrews Arcade Queen Street
Oxford Arcade 1970s[12] 2006 The Hayes
St. Davids Link
Queens West Shopping Centre 1987[13] Circa 1994 Queen Street
The Friary
Featured a glass lift looking out over the Friary. This shopping centre still exists, and is shown on maps, but all shops are now entered directly from the street or via escalators, so the mall corridors are now inaccessible. The top floor, which used to be a foodhall, is now entirely occupied by one shop.[14]
Wharton Street Arcade (James Howells) 1924[15] Wharton Street
Dickens Arcade Castle Street Used to include a cafe and a bookshop in the 80s/90s called Paperback Exchange.[16]
Old Arcade 1835[17] Church Street Alongside the Old Arcade pub. The pub was named after this arcade.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Arcades were Victorian version of St David's 2". Media Wales. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
  2. ^ "A world behind the shop fronts; Cardiff is famous for its arcades, but not everyone sees them exactly like Jennie Savage. The artist spoke to Claire Rees about how her passion for the city's forgotten shopping history prompted her to write a book". South Wales Echo. 14 October 2009 – via www.thefreelibrary.com.
  3. ^ "A History 1700s". Cardiff Market. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  4. ^ Bolter, Abby (5 April 2010). "Cardiff's Victorian arcades fight back". WalesOnline.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Quaint Arcades". Why Cardiff. Archived from the original on 10 May 2009.
  6. ^ "Late 1800s". Cardiff Market. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
  7. ^ "Geograph:: Cardiff, Central Market, Ashton's Fish... © Graham Price cc-by-sa/2.0". www.geograph.org.uk.
  8. ^ "City Surf". City Surf. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  9. ^ "ST. DAVID'S 2 MATCHES CITY BLUEPRINT". Capital Shopping Centres. Retrieved 17 November 2008.
  10. ^ "Cardiff Timeline". cardiffians.co.uk. Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  11. ^ "Washing Institute". walesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  12. ^ "The arcase game". Building Design. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  13. ^ "WORLD HISTORY ENCYCLOPEDIA". localhistories.org. Retrieved 13 July 2008.
  14. ^ "JJB sports". americanairlines.wcities.com. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  15. ^ "Records of James Howell and Co Ltd, department store, Cardiff, Wales". archiveshub.ac.uk. Retrieved 13 July 2008.
  16. ^ Kemp, David (1992). "Chapter 5: Cardiff". The pleasures and treasures of Britain. Dundurn Group. p. 210. ISBN 1-55002-159-1. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  17. ^ "Cardiff Centenary Walk". Cardiff Council. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
  18. ^ "Cardiff Timeline". cardiffians.co.uk. Retrieved 2 April 2009.

External links[edit]