Picture credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/417849671675813144/
Cardiff is home to a host of independent shops with some wonderful Christmas gifts on offer. Not only this, but many are situated inside beautifully quirky arcades with cosy coffee shops nearby, making the act of shopping itself a festive tradition to look forward to every year. With the high street taking a real hit following coronavirus restrictions, there’s no time like Christmas 2020 to support independent businesses, so here are 30 of the best shops in the area to inspire you to shop local!
38-42 Royal Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1AE
Offering a wide range of delicious German, Eastern European, Spanish and Italian food products and an impressive selection of alcoholic beverages, Wally’s is a shop I just cannot walk past. From retro sweets for stocking fillers to the Christmas food hamper any recipient will love, Wally’s has something for everyone. Their extensive selection of meats and cheeses would be perfect for Christmas day snacking and feature alongside both international beers and the usual coffee shop drinks on the menu of Wally’s Kaffeehaus upstairs.
The Pen & Paper
13-17 Royal Arcade Cardiff, CF10 1AE
The Pen & Paper stocks gifts for the creative and organised in your life, with art supplies and stationery in every colour and pattern imaginable for adults and children alike. They stock plenty of traditional stocking fillers including jigsaws and puzzle books, alongside high-quality Leuchtturm notebooks to create the perfect 2021 bullet journal. Additionally, if you aren’t inspired to make your own Christmas cards having seen their supplies, you can buy them in affordable multipacks. If you’re an organisation and stationery enthusiast like myself, be sure to leave considerable time for this one given the huge range of pens to test and pretty notebooks to stare at.
The Arcade Vaults
27-31 High Street Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1BB
Need to buy for a gamer but unsure which games they want or already own? A promised trip to the Arcade Vaults allows them to play both retro and modern games to their heart’s content on a variety of consoles. The arcade serves hot drinks and ramen noodles by day, and alcoholic beverages by night with surprisingly low admission prices ranging from just £3 to £6. An affordable bonding experience for you and your gift recipient, it could even be made part of a full day trip by combining it with a voucher for their favourite bar or restaurant.
44 Castle Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1BW
14, Mermaid Quay, Mermaid Quay Shopping Centre, Bute Street, Cardiff CF10 5BZ
You guessed it, Fabulous Welshcakes make fabulous welshcakes. Freshly baked in a variety of flavours, they provide a lovely Welsh touch to a food hamper or could even be gifted alone as a token gift for a teacher, colleague or neighbour. With one location in Central Cardiff and the other in Cardiff Bay, they make for an ideal takeaway snack as you wander around. They also offer some great corporate gifts to give to employees or promote your business, either in professional hamper form or in small bags tied up with a pretty bow!
Gamlin’s Music Centre
56 St Mary St, Cardiff CF10 1FE
The longest established music store in Cardiff, Gamlin’s is great for musical gifts, both big and small. If you’re looking for a main gift, they offer a wide array of instruments for any genre, with a wide price range to cover anything from a beginner’s guitar to a £7000 vintage Fender Telecaster. For a smaller gift or the musician who already owns their dream instrument, it’s worth popping in for some accessories or sheet music.
26 High Street Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BB
Hobos Vintage is a small, colourful shop filled to the brim with vintage clothing and accessories from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Providing purposely oversized cosy denim jackets and retro sweatshirts, Hobos is the perfect place to find surprise clothing, as guessing your recipient’s size is made effortlessly easy. In addition to the clothing, they sell smaller things such as scrunchies, tote bags and cards to complete your gift or stuff a stocking. The patterns, colours, overall eccentric atmosphere and thrift-shop-like rails give this store character, making just browsing here a fun activity in itself.
Rules of Play
29 Castle Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1BW
Rules of Play stock the traditional family board games for Christmas Day entertainment and stocking fillers, in addition to so many others! Here you can find plenty of board games you have never played before, and they even host events to try them out. If you’re shopping for a Dungeons and Dragons fan, this is your go-to.
49 St Mary St, Cardiff CF10 1AU
Cardiff Market has a rich history as the converted site of Cardiff gaol (jail), and before its conversion in 1891 was famously the site of 20 hangings. Nowadays, the site is home to a market with a real community feel, where shoppers walk around munching fresh pastries and perusing the traditional stalls. In addition to affordable edible goods, you may also find fresh bouquets, clothing, craft supplies, electrical supplies and records, before grabbing a coffee, lunch and a haircut all in one place! Take the time to saunter around, and you’re bound to leave with something.
Brooklinde Designer Goldsmiths
20 High Street Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BB
In addition to some beautiful, timeless jewellery on display and ready to buy, Brooklinde offer bespoke pieces designed by one of their resident goldsmiths just for you. It is possible here to find a very wearable, high quality and surprisingly affordable main present for a loved one. Should you be unsure which item to choose, you could settle on a gift card or even restore an old family heirloom as a surprise.
26 Castle Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BW
Your vegan friends and family need not miss out on the Christmassy food-based gifts, and by exclusively stocking vegan goods, Simply V rules out the endless label-checking. Having started out as a bakery, their sweet treats are the main attraction for gifting with enough of a range available to create your own hamper as opposed to cobbling one together from the somewhat limited local supermarket isles. They also stock meat alternatives, dairy-free cheeses, non-perishables and savoury snacks so there’s something for everyone, vegan or not!
7 Morgan Arcade
Record players are making a serious comeback, and the iconic Spillers is the oldest record shop in the world, founded in 1894. Here you can thumb through their impressive vinyl range and pick a couple out as gifts. Spillers has brand name appeal significant enough to sell logo T shirts and tote bags, which could also make for great gifts.
First Floor, The Castle Emporium, Womanby Street, Cardiff
Everyone knows at least one person who can never own enough plants, and Tropingaz has you covered. They make a great housewarming gift and brighten up any living space, particularly for those who live in apartments without an outdoor space. If you’re stuck for which one to choose, you can purchase a gift card online.
The Box Edit Boutique
The Goodsheds, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, CF62 5BE
Goodsheds, Wales’ first Urban high street, provides the perfect home for The Box Edit Boutique. The small box of style offers an alternative to chain store shopping. Their passion for shopping local and supporting independent business is what motivates them to curate a strong collection of womenswear clothing for this vibrant community.
39-43 Castle Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1BW1
For an avid reader, second-hand books offer an eco-friendly alternative to buying new, without sacrificing the feel of a real book as opposed to a tablet. Normalising second-hand gifts could be making a big step for the environment, and you may be lucky enough here to find something rare!
Penny Lane Vintage Boutique
Wellfield Court, 28 Wellfield Rd, Cardiff CF24 3PB
Penny Lane Vintage Boutique has genuine clothing from the Victorian era to the late 1970s. Not only this, but they sell some wonderful retro furniture pieces, homewares, memorabilia, collectables and accessories. There’s such a variety of items, it’s definitely worth a visit as you never know what you may find.
18 Castle Arcade, 21-25 Castle Arcade CF10 1BW Cardiff
Madame Fromage has fresh, high-quality delicatessen which you may buy to take home or eat at their restaurant. Specialising in cheese, they also stock freshly made delicatessen, cake, bread and chocolates. Pick a few favourites for your gift recipient, or purchase one of their pre-made hampers available for delivery.
Cardiff Skateboard Club
Castle Emporium, Womanby St, Cardiff CF10 1BS
Cardiff Skateboard Club is an independent skate shop, with skateboards both simple and covered in artwork. Not only this, but they sell skater style clothing for those who may just enjoy the look, including plenty of the classic oversized T-shirts and beanie hats synonymous with skateboarding.
Camera Centre UK
14-16 Morgan Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1AF
A family run business established in 1977, the staff here have plenty of experience in helping you find what you need. A camera from here would make a nice main present for a photographer, or for those who already own one, you could pick up some accessories.
The SHO Gallery and Shop
Castle Emporium, Womanby St, Cardiff CF10 1BS
Run by two artists, The SHO Gallery and Shop stocks artworks and trinkets for the home, in addition to cute pins and tote bags. Everything here is colourful and quirky in a wonderfully cheerful way. For those who prefer to make their own art, there’s also plenty of art supplies.
Florist 64 & Apothecary 64
7b Cornerswell Rd, Penarth CF64 2UW
Florist 64 has some beautiful floral arrangements available for free local delivery. Flowers are appreciated for any occasion or to make a nice gesture, and their Christmas wreaths, arrangements and centrepieces would make a great contribution to bring to the hosting household on Christmas Day.
It is also home to Apothecary 64, which offer eco, ethical candles and reed diffusers, all fitting the same black and white aesthetic to match any décor. There are winter scents, including the distinctive scent of a fir tree for those rooms the Christmas tree smell doesn’t quite reach, or for those with a fake tree. Pictured are some candle lanterns for something a bit different.
Blanche Bakery and Coffee Shop
16 MacKintosh Place, Cardiff, CF24 4RQ
A twist on the cupcake gift box, some donuts would make a lovely token gift or Christmas Day snack contribution. There’s plenty to choose from, too, with the Christmas selection alone including gingerbread, yule log, chocolate hazelnut liqueur, white chocolate and sugar cookie flavours. They also have an aesthetically pleasing coffee shop where you’ll find both sweet and savoury options on a baby pink menu.
2 Heol-Y-Deri, Cardiff, CF14 6HF
For gifts for anyone including small keepsakes for the home, Nest has unique, often one-off pieces. Their Christmas collection includes cards, decorations and plenty of gift ideas. All year round they sell some tasteful, nice quality gifts your loved ones will actually use, including clothing and accessories along with pamper sets and home items.
The White Daffodil
74 Colcot Rd, Barry, CF62 8HP
Home fragrance is a classic Christmas gift for those who love candles, wax melts and bath bombs. The White Daffodil are eco-conscious, and their candles and wax melts are made from sustainable Cocosoy wax in a variety of scents. Their Christmas collection includes all the usual fragrance gift sets presented with care, as well as the unique idea of wax melt Christmas crackers.
Matthew Jones Ceramics
The Toad, Unit 10, Goodsheds, Hood Road, CF62 5BE, Barry
Matthew Jones’ ceramics are all handmade, making that Christmas mug gift a little chicer and up-market. There are dish sets for those who need a new or better one, and vases to keep forever as the centrepiece of a room.
Flamingos Vintage UK
Capitol Shopping Centre, Cardiff CF10 2HQ
This vintage shop has a twist- it’s the only one in Cardiff where clothing is sold by weight. Vintage pieces are sourced from all over the world in an effort to re-use clothing rather than dispose of it. Located in a large unit at the entrance of Capital shopping Centre, there’s plenty of stock to peruse through and find a pre-loved garment for your gift recipient.
1A Pontcanna Street, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF11 9HQ.
This florist sells not only flowers but their own signature home fragrance products, cards and small gifts too. They offer both fresh Christmas wreaths, and some lovely dried flower ‘everlasting’ ones which are just as pretty. There’s also some adorable ‘jam jar’ blooms available to order for only £14.
Heads Above the Waves
Castle Emporium, Womanby St, Cardiff, CF10 1BS
Heads Above the Waves stocks clothing, hats, badges and other stocking fillers. A non-profit organisation endeavouring to raise awareness of depression and self-harm in young people, shop here and your money goes to a good cause. Plus, their slogans are light-hearted yet may just spark a conversation that makes a difference.
10 Morgan Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1AF
Illustrate’s eco driven collection is made by independent artists from around the world. As well as art prints, they offer their own clothing and accessories, notebooks, pamper items and other small gifts. For every phone case sold, they plant a tree, and they’re not just for iPhone either!
Rachel Hannah Art
I managed to catch Rachel Hannah Art at her run at Cardiff Christmas Market last month, and although she has since left, her work is still available online and pops even more when viewed in person. Available on the site are original floral paintings, prints, calendars and coasters, as well as a good stash of Christmas cards.