Cardiff is truly the wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to shopping. There’s the assortment and choice of all the big name retailers you’d see on the likes of London’s Oxford Street, but with a fraction of the hustle and bustle. In the midst of it all lies the enormous Saint David’s Centre, one of the biggest shopping malls in the United Kingdom. And let’s not forget the array of independent shops that line Cardiff’s historic Victorian arcades. With all this in mind, it’s plain to see why Cardiff is a shopper’s respite.
But what about those with an eye for the rustic, timeless classics? The shabby chic? The dapper? If you look in the right places, Cardiff is a treasure trove of vintage finds. Everything from vintage clothing, accessories and trinkets to vinyls, collectibles and furniture can be found squirrelled away in this city – here’s a handy guide to vintage shops in Cardiff, in no particular order. Happy rummaging!
This pre-1800s warehouse is an eclectic three stories of pure vintage beauty. Intermingled with a fascinating selection of antique items (typewriters, top hats and Victorian taxidermy), this is truly the local’s choice when it comes to vintage rummaging. With over 30 stalls, there is something for everyone here.
You’ll see poppin’ 70s rockabilly dresses, waistcoats, bracers, fur coats, punk rocker outfits – you name it, it’s there. The whole experience makes for a fantastic, lazy Saturday stroll around the building with friends, trying on anything and everything. It’s also a guaranteed way of ensuring you never turn up on a night out with the same outfit as your mates!
Where: West Canal Wharf, Cardiff, CF10 5DB
Hatt’s Vintage Emporium
Proudly branding themselves as “Traders to the Dandy”, Hatt’s caters to the city’s gentlemen whom seek a touch of ‘refinement’. Sourcing British-made heritage and vintage clothing of the highest quality, this diamond in the rough of Cardiff Market draws in the passersby with an array of fine clothing and curios, including vintage tobacco pipes, cameras, gorgeous pocket watches and old-school straight razors.
The manager, one Stuart Albert, is an unbelievably courteous and helpful chap, and his passion for interacting with customers and his knowledge of his wares is unsurpassed.
Hatt’s also buys and sells with the public – just the other day I traded a waistcoat that’d been gathering dust in my closet for a beautiful cravat. Here is without a doubt worth a visit if you have any inclinations of being a well-dressed chappie, which Stuart can certainly assist you with.
Where: Unit 14, Cardiff Central Market, Central Square, CF10 1AU
Little Shop of Vintage
A tiny hidden gem on St. Mary’s Street that’s easy to overlook, but should you venture inside you’ll be greeted by a charming interior filled with vintage trinkets and homewares, along with homemade candles and décor that aren’t technically vintage, but are nonetheless charming. And more taxidermy. I’m not sure what it is with vintage shops and taxidermy.
But the real fun is downstairs in the basement…Amble downstairs and you’ll be greeted by a humble selection of quality clothing, hand-chosen by the staff. Waistcoats, Levi’s, petticoats, fur coats, scarves, vintage air hostess uniforms, cowboy boots…
Just this week on a chance visit, I scored a gorgeous pair of Kurt Geiger blue suede shoes for £20 – now that’s a steal. There’s also loads of memorabilia that’d make your grandmother swoon with nostalgia.
Where: 11 High St, Cardiff, CF10 1AW
Hobo’s Vintage Clothing
Popular amongst Cardiff’s university students (and Cardiff’s hipsters), possibly because of the 10% student discount, this is the home of the 70s, 80s and 90s. Words like ‘groovy’ and ‘Back To The Future’ spring to mind upon entering this psychedelic dream – just look at all those colors!
The shop is filled to bursting with retro and vintage sweaters, second-hand Levi’s, baseball caps, colorful bag packs, accessories up the wazoo, and some rockin’ denim and suede jackets. There’s a small selection of vintage cameras and lunchboxes, and even a £10 Converse shoe bin, amongst a host of Sex Pistols paraphernalia.
All this combined with the hallucinogenic music that the staff blast makes for a trippy, ‘far out’ visit to Hobo’s indeed.
Where: 26 High Street Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BB
The Pumping Station
Wander ever so slightly outside the city center and over towards Penarth, and you’ll encounter the illustrious Pumping Station. This is the go-to for vintage homewares, above all. A true IKEA of brass door handles, stone sculptures, grand pianos and carpets. Don’t forget the big glass cases of taxidermy badgers and foxes. When you tire of browsing, there’s a pleasant little café there to get your wits about you before diving back in.
Where: Penarth Road, Cardiff, CF11 8TT
Little Empire Vintage
Housed in a tiny shambles of a stall in Cardiff Market that provides scarcely enough room to swing a cat in (I do not condone swinging cats), I highly suggest opting to visit the shop’s pop-up stall in Cardiff’s Saturday Street Market instead, where the clothes are arranged in a more accessible, less chaotic fashion.
Where: Cardiff Central Market, Central Central Square, CF10 1AU
Princes and Paupers
This quaint little shop is a little off the beaten track, located in the elusive Castle Emporium. Much like Hatt’s, Princes and Paupers is directed towards men looking to up their ‘dapper-game’. The sheer overwhelming masculinity of the store can be felt a mile away with its rustic, log cabin décor and earthy, time-worn aromas. Whilst there isn’t much of a selection of clothing, there is an interesting variety of beard oils, bow ties, bracers, neckerchiefs, and other gentlemanly accessories. They also create custom waist-coats to order.
Where: The Castle Emporium, Womanby St, Cardiff, CF10 1BS
Feature Image: thebudgetfashionista.com