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Now in most cities you have a large shopping centre and we don’t want to toot our own horns, but we think Cardiff is one of the best. It’s huge for one and the shops are different sizes, meaning there are the usual huge high street stores, but also smaller ones (notably our two European favourties Kiko and Mango). Inside, there is also plenty of choice when the shopping tires you out and you need to eat. Plus, there are over 180 shops including a five-storey Primark for the students who love a trend but have no dollar.

Info: 029 2036 7600 /


Queen Street runs along St David’s and houses some huge brands, Office, Lush, Zara and Topshop to name a few, plus they are all huge stores. There are some smaller, independent fashion boutiques that are very affordable and in a student’s price range. Also, be sure to visit Queen Street at Christmas time, the lights go up, the huts come out and the Christmas market will be in full swing- your one-stop shop for family Christmas presents and as many German sausages as you can handle.


Around the city are arcades weaving in and out of the central streets. In them you can find coffee shops, quirky shops, a bath bomb shop (note that Miss Patisserie is worth a visit) and best of all, independent fashion shops. Now you know straight away that means pieces of clothing that are different to what the high-street shops have in store. Whether you’re looking for a vintage sports jumper or a fun top to wear to the SU, the arcades have so many options, we guarantee every time you go there you’ll bag a steal!



This one is often overlooked as it is on the outskirts of the shopping area, however it has a huge H&M in it, a Boots, Phase Eight, and Hobbs, as well as some smaller shops like Ganesha Handicrafts (the best place in town for jewellery- they stock handicrafts and silver jewellery from India and Nepal), so pop in and get some hoop earrings because I guarantee you’ll be wearing them a lot at uni.

Info: 029 2034 5428 /


Okay, one side of this street may not be to everyone’s taste and certainly not to everyone’s budget, but it’s a good one to take your mum to, I’m sure you’ll agree. The Hayes is adjacent to St David’s and has been pedestrianised recently, making it a stunning walkway for shoppers. It mainly consists of designer shops including Vivienne Westwood, Molton Brown, Jo Malone and Kurt Geiger. It’s also a good place to go when you need a little bit of motivation to do some uni work. On the other side, you have student faves like Urban Outfitters and Jack Wills.

Info: 029 2039 4858


Spillers Records is the oldest record shop in the world. Yes, that’s right. Established in 1894 by Henry Spiller, it’s moved home a few times, but wherever it goes, it always stocks the best collection of CDs and vinyl of most genres, and takes its helpful and knowledgeable staff with it.

Morgan Arcade, Cardiff. Info: 029 2022 4905 /


With branches in both Cardiff and Swansea, Hobo’s is one of the best value shops for money for vintage clothing in south Wales. Its tiny home in High Street Arcade in Cardiff gives it a cosy atmosphere for browsing for your next favourite piece, including vintage jeans and cut offs, dresses, accessories, and statement knits.

High Street Arcade, Cardiff; Oxford Street, Swansea. Info: 029 2034 1188; 01792 654586 /


Based in Cardiff, Bristol, and Exeter, Sobey’s is yet another vintage shop in town worthy of your shopping trip. Follow them on Instagram (@sobeysvintage) to keep up with the latest items in stock, as it regularly refreshes its stores with all kinds of wacky styles and vintage gear that you definitely need in your student wardrobe.

Morgan Arcade, Cardiff. Info:


Award winning menswear fashion boutique Moustache is for the fashion-conscious man about town. It sells heritage brands and designer clothing from the likes of Barbour, Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger. Perhaps worth a visit when that student loan comes in.

Cradock Street, Swansea. Info: 017 9241 8083 /


Hidden in the depths of Cardiff’s coolest street lies a collection of Cardiff’s coolest shops. Firstly, grab a flat white from Outpost coffee (some of the best around with very friendly staff), then mooch your way through the vintage clothes, skateboards, art galleries, records, bespoke jewellery and ceramics on offer from a range of independent sellers. A bright and airy space spread over two floors, the Castle Emporium is a lovely way to kill an hour or two (or three).

Womanby Street, Cardiff. Info:


As students, you’ll rarely have enough in the bank to warrant even venturing inside, but if you’re after a particular spice, preserve, meat, cheese, or any kind of imported good, Wally’s huge range of international foods will blow you away. The family run business also features a quaint Viennese coffee shop upstairs to take the parents when they visit.

Royal Arcade, Cardiff. Info: 029 2022 9265 /


A delightfully quirky second hand bookshop whose walls are covered in literally thousands of books, Troutmark is easy to lose yourself in on a rainy afternoon. With everything from poetry and literary criticism to comic books from the 80s, readers of all levels will appreciate the wholesome nature of this friendly bookshop.

Castle Arcade, Cardiff. Info: 029 2038 2814 /


If you’re looking for a gift for a loved one, Bellorama should be your first choice in Swansea. It sells bath bombs, candles, photo frames, mugs and other novelty gifts, so finding that perfect something for that perfect someone here is easy.

Plymouth Street, Swansea. Info: 016 3969 8597 /


This vintage shop sells the waviest garms at reasonable prices, with a chilled out vibe and relaxed staff. Perfect for your hipster friends, Blue Honey doubles up as a music collective that sells a great stock of vinyl. On the weekend you can expect after-hours parties in the shop, or find staff DJing at 10 Feet Tall.

High Street Arcade, Cardiff. Info:  029 2022 7974 /


Having just re-opened under new ownership, this little bookshop is a gem. Not only an array of books, Cover to Cover also sells quality gifts like stationery, mugs and accessories. It’s cute and charming, and situated in the heart of mumbles, looking over the Gower Peninsula.

Newton Road, Mumbles, Swansea. Info: 01792 366363 /

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