I love an "Awesome Little Shop", they break the monotony of the dull repetition of Poundland, Top Shop, Tesco Express, Primark, Greggs etc and they're generally where you find actually cool stuff rather than the usual junk. I'm very fortunate to live a forty minute drive from Cardiff, which is exceptionally good at giving these shops a home. The arcades contain utter diamonds, and I thought I'd share with you a few of my favourites.
3 Castle Street (Opposite Cardiff Castle.)
This is my favourite cafe in Cardiff. The coffee is delicious, the staff are very friendly (and remember you!) and everything is freshly done on the premises. I remember arriving slightly earlier than they opened one day and not only did they invite me in for a coffee, but the lass was making the scones to bake today. There's no better confirmation that everything is freshly made on the premises! They also have a nice loyalty card where you get a free coffee and cake after 9 purchases. Seriously dump Starbucks, come here.
Rules of Play
29, Castle Arcade
Okay, a small disclaimer - I'm very fortunate to now have a job here, but I have been a customer for a long time prior to this. As you may be aware, aside from Doctor Who my spare time is pretty much taken up with board-gaming and crafting. And this is certainly the place for finding board games. I remember driving home from Chichester one day, a four hour drive, with my boyfriend pleading for us to stop in Cardiff on the way back so he could purchase a game from there. That's the kind of customer commitment they inspire. I am very proud to work where I do. Board gaming is a fantastic hobby to get into, so if you ever fancy a change up from the annual Christmas game of Monopoly do pop in and have a browse!
38-46, Royal Arcade
Wally's is one of those dangerous places to browse for anybody with tastebuds and a wallet in their pocket. A family run business that specialises in food from around the world. They have an amazing selection of goods, including the best Lebkuchen ever (some of my favourite treats), a massive olive bar, Belgian chocolates, different spices, wines, continental breads, meats, cheeses, an American foods section, sections for people with lactose intolerance or looking for low sugar options.
Unit 14, Cardiff Central Market
My boyfriend is a big lover of vintage coats and hats, so when I came across Hatt's while I was wandering around Cardiff Market before I started work, I was delighted. They have a great selection of waistcoats, coats, hats, cufflinks and all kinds of awesome fashion paraphernalia. They always have new stock in, and were a great help when I was looking for something in particular and gave me dates that they would have it by.
The Pen and Paper
13-17, Royal Arcade
In Chichester I used to love a ship called Sussex Stationers; now I've moved and The Pen and Paper has fulfilled my lust for different coloured bits of paper and foam, pens, sketchbooks, ink, pencils and pens and all the different oddments I love cluttering up my house with in the hope that I may sit down and actually make some cards. They've got masses of stock (and loads of knickknacks, which keep calling my name as stocking fillers every time I go in there..)
Anyway, that's a quick round up for now. I'll try and do a few more in this style over the next few months. Enjoy roaming around Cardiff!