For a more personalised love spoon, go to Ken’s online shop, where Ken sells the spoons he made himself. He became interested in the craft through his father and grandfather. They made walking sticks and the like with branches from Ceredigion.
If you’re coming to Cardiff and want an authentically Welsh gift or a unique memento of your visit, then look no further…
Wally’s is a delicatessen selling speciality and luxury foods from all over the place, but it has a section devoted purely to products made in Wales: strong cheddar cheese, Bara Brith (traditional bread with dried fruit), jams, cockles, laverbread (made of seaweed), beer and ales. There’s lots to choose from, so you can take the taste of Wales home with you.
Carving ‘love spoons’ is a folk craft which originated in the seventeenth century. They were usually given to a woman by her suitor to prove to her father they had carpentry skills and could provide. Symbols incorporated onto the spoons meant different things, bells for marriage, a horseshoe for luck, a cross for faith. Although they originally had a practical purpose, they’ve become decorative. The tradition has roots in other parts of the world, but they are mostly associated with Wales. You can learn about the meanings behind different symbols and buy one to take home with you from this shop. Plus, they sell other souvenirs too, such as clothing, rugby shirts and crafts.
Caban sells Welsh books and resources, perfect for if you speak Welsh or are learning. If that is not the case but you still want to buy a souvenir, they also have a great little gift section of lovingly made items from Wales, such as creatures made out of Welsh blanket trimmings and Welsh slate coasters. The shop is small and unassuming, about a 30-minute walk from the centre in residential Pontcanna.
National Museum Wales stocks loads of great Welsh gifts. While some items might relate to the exhibitions, there are also carefully selected Welsh goods, such as celtic jewellery, books on Welsh artists, miniature food sets and ceramics. The museum shop is on the pricier end of the spectrum, but there is guaranteed to be a big choice.
Even if you’re not on the hunt for souvenirs, the Natural Museum of History is worth a visit. It’s an open air museum with farmland, over forty original buildings from different historical periods, relics of traditional Welsh life and more – all about a 20-minute drive from the city (you can also take a bus). The gift shop sells all sorts of things, from books, mugs, prints and jewellery to stationary and home furnishings.
The main market in the centre gives you lots of choices under one roof. Not everything on sale is designed to be a gift or souvenir of course, but if you look around you’ll find plenty of items which could only be bought in Wales, such as freshly baked Welsh cakes, salt or seaweed from the Welsh coast or lighters bearing the Welsh flag. Have a look around while experiencing Cardiff city life.
Craft in the Bay is a place for artists and craftspeople to display and sell their work. Found in the Cardiff Bay area, it is near landmarks like the Wales Millennium Centre and the Welsh Assembly Building. The building is a reworking of an industrial warehouse, a sympathetic reconstruction which earned it a place on the shortlist for a RIBA award. The building is sectioned off into bays where different craftspeople’s work is exhibited. Contact the organisers if you’d like to buy a piece.
This farmer’s market is held every Sunday morning from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. Sellers really care about their produce, which shows in the quality. Stalls change, but you can generally count on there being veg, cakes and breads, cheese, charcuterie, alcohol, spices, honey, crafts and blankets. You can have breakfast or lunch while you shop.
Cardiff Castle is right in the centre of town and is well worth a visit for things like its Arab Room, Animal Wall, tours and decor. You can go to the gift shop without paying the fee to enter the castle. It sells things inspired by the castle’s collections and history. There’s jewellery, postcards, costumes for kids, stationery and crafts.