Cardiff’s seven historic arcades have been attracting shoppers for over a century and today (19 June) FOR Cardiff has launched a campaign to raise their profile and establish Cardiff as the City of Arcades.
FOR Cardiff is asking residents and regular visitors to Cardiff to support the campaign and vote for their favorite store, eatery, bar, barber shop or hotel that can be found within the nearly 800 metres of arcades.
The most popular businesses will be included in a Top 10 City of Arcades list and will feature in the advertising of the second phase of the campaign, when it’s rolled out in Bath, Bristol and Cardiff in September. The £75,000 advertising campaign will include billboards, bus rears, digital screens and online advertising.
FOR Cardiff is looking for the most interesting stories and people behind the businesses in the Arcades. These stories will help sell the city and all it has to offer in comparison with other shopping destinations.
The seven arcades in the city centre are: Castle, High Street, Duke Street, Royal, Morgan, Wyndham and Dominions.
Executive Director of FOR Cardiff Adrian Field, said: “The Victorian and Edwardian shopping arcades are the jewel in Cardiff’s crown. They offer a shopping experience like no other with an eclectic mix of over 100 businesses, the majority of which are independents, nestled amongst some of the biggest names on the high street.
“Our remit at FOR Cardiff is to transform Cardiff city centre, making it more welcoming, vibrant and influential. We want to put Cardiff firmly on the independent shopping map and in doing so encourage more people to choose it as their shopping destination to increase day and overnight visitors to the whole city and boost the local economy.
“We want Cardiff residents and visitors to tell us which arcade businesses are their favourites and help us choose which ones we should be shouting about.”
A new website thecityofarcades.com will act as the hub for all information about the arcades featuring a story from a business within each. One of those is Steve Barker, owner of Coffee Barker, Barkers Tea House and Gin & Juice in High Street and Castle Arcade, he said: “What sets us apart is the Castle, the heritage and history of the city. People can spend a day at the Castle or Principality Stadium, shop at some great independent stores, have a meal and a coffee here in the afternoon and then in the evening come back and enjoy a couple of drinks.”
With new eateries and cocktail bars opening nearby, Steve is certain that Gin & Juice, and the surrounding businesses, are part of a renaissance for The Castle Quarter as a destination for visitors to the city. Steve explained: “The arcades are becoming the top evening destination in the city. They’ve always been for people who are looking for what’s new, something more than what you find on your average high street.”
Ashli Todd, owner of Spillers Records since 2010, said: “It wasn’t my intention to take over the running of the family business. I asked for money for the cinema with my friends and my dad said I could either clean out the chickens we kept in a shed or come and work in the shop for a few hours, so obviously I chose the shop. The rest as they say is history!”
“The arcades are the best kept secret in Cardiff. Not only are they visually beautiful they are crammed with a wonderful variety of independent businesses. You can go from an independent coffee shop, to an independent clothes shop and obviously see us, you could literally just stay within the arcades. For people who like supporting local independents, this is where you’ll find them in the city.”
Do you shop or visit any of these arcades?
Voting is open until the 22 July 2018. To vote for your favorite arcade business to help them secure a spot in the City of Arcades Top 10 and help raise their profile, visit thecityofarcades.com
For more information on FOR Cardiff, visit: forcardiff.com
Built in 1887, Wyndham arcade runs from St Mary Street to Mill Lane. Originally, the arcade played host to 35 shops and cellars. Now a bustling street of activity, the arcade houses a variety of eateries as well as several independent eclectic shops and beauticians.
Dating back to 1858, Royal arcade is the city’s oldest arcade. Starting life as a retired slum house, the Royal Arcade was brought to life by The Cardiff Arcade Company and became the first full scale shopping centre in the city. As much a hub of culture now as it was 150 years ago, the arcade has a variety of alternative coffee shops, cafés and delicatessens, alongside several quirky independent clothes stores, jewellers and photography shops.
High Street & Duke Street Arcade
The first of three arcades that now make up Castle Quarter, High Street Arcade was completed in 1885 and then Duke Street was finished in 1902 creating Cardiff’s first adjoining arcade. Designed in an iconic Gothic style of the time, the building is particularly striking. Once home to a sea of apothecaries and fortune tellers the arcade now has a far more contemporary feel with sophisticated cafés and restaurants, as well as barbers, skate shops and vintage clothes stores.
The third of the arcades making up Castle Quarter is Castle Arcade. Sitting on the opposite side of Cardiff’s high street facing High Street & Duke Arcades, Castle Arcade was constructed between 1882 and 1889. The arcade is particularly famous for the balconies that split the shops across two floors and two large arches mirror each other on either end of the arcade, seen perfectly from the second floor.
Built in 1896, Morgan Arcade is arguably the best preserved of all the arcades. Also situated along St Mary Street weaving through to The Hayes, the arcade contains luxury boutiques, stores and eateries and makes up the Morgan Quarter alongside Royal Arcade. With a mix of famous brands and independents, Morgan Arcade has a lot on offer including well known shops.
Constructed in 1921, Dominions is the newest of all the arcades. Situated on the busy Queen Street, it is the smallest of the arcades but by no means the least impressive. Luxurious architecture intertwined with contemporary fittings make this the place for a pretty picture.