As a visitor to a new city, surely the best way to get an authentic taste of local life is by going to a market, with the added benefit of picking up a bargain or something tasty to eat. Here’s our guide to the best markets in the capital.
For a perfect slice of everyday Cardiff life, this thriving city centre indoor market is the place to be. There are little cafes, pet shops and all kinds of food stands as well as clothes, gifts and books all being sold under one roof. You’ll hear the fishmongers advising on their wares, the fruit and veg sellers calling out their deals and see people stocking up on freshly hot-plate-cooked Welsh cakes. Located on St Mary’s Street, one of the main streets in the city centre, you’ll also be perfectly positioned to visit Cardiff Castle from here, as it is a stone’s throw away.
This large old building slightly on the outskirts of the city centre has several floors, a roof terrace and is one of Cardiff’s hidden gems. It used to be a lot busier, but took a hit along with the high street after the economic downturn. However, it’s still chock full of bargains, eclectic garments and beautiful antiques. As expected, the first floor has more furniture. Go up a level or two and you’ll find vintage clothes, one-off furnishings, old military uniforms, stuffed animals and other oddities. There’s also a café and if you’re lucky, the roof terrace will be open, where you can sit and admire views over the whole city. A must-visit.
Taking place every Sunday morning from 10am to 2pm, come rain or shine, this is hands down the best time and place to buy high-quality, often organic Welsh produce while getting to have a bite to eat, something to drink and people watch. The stalls are all set up along the River Taff and there’s plenty to choose from. If you want to get ingredients, there are stalls for spices, farm produce, organic fruit and vegetables, sauces, honey and more. For something to eat on the spot, there’s an amazing curry van as well as soup sellers, vegan stalls, cakes, burgers and more. You’ll also be able to pick up a good artisan coffee.
This flea market has plenty of unique goods you’re unlikely to find elsewhere and you’ll no doubt pick up a second hand bargain. In their own words, they stock: ‘vintage furniture, retro radios, wazzy watches, chiming clocks, gorgeous jewellery, thrifty trinkets, upscaled furniture, military goods, glassware, crockery, silver, gold, smoking pipes, sewing machines, type writers, rocking horses (deep breath!) guitars, amps, movie posters, paintings and more!’
Every year in the run up to the Christmas, the centre is filled with Christmas stalls, this year from 9th November to 23rd December. If you’re visiting between these dates and are looking for a crafted gift, this is the perfect place. From hand painted prints and toys, to scarves, jewellery, liqueur and preserves, there’s always a huge range to chose from. Then there’s the atmosphere to soak up at the pop up bars selling mulled wine and hot chocolate, and the food places selling Bratwurst and fried potato.
St John Street, Working Street, the Hayes, Hills Street and Trinity Street +44 029 2051 4732
Bessemer Road is a fruit and veg market and on weekends, a large and bustling car boot sale with 300 different sellers on average. Held outdoors every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, Bessemer Road Car Boot Sale is found in the Leckwith area of Cardiff. It opens at 9.30am on Saturdays and at 7.30am on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays.
This sweet little market is held year round inside the Mackintosh Community Centre. There’s also a farmer’s market there too, Roath Food Market, which is held just outside and sells organic veg and hot food every Saturday, March to December, from 9.30 am to 1pm. The craft market is made up of local craftspeople selling handmade items including pottery, hand drawn cards and art, honey, handmade jewellery, books, scarves and more.