By Sarah Jane Outten
It’s no secret that I love Cardiff. Our city is so diverse and rich in culture that there really is something for everyone. We are blessed with an army of entrepreneurs that are varied and brave. This is good news for Cardiff, they encourage our city to grow, and we have so much on offer here that our fair city is one of the most sought after in the UK.
What makes Cardiff particularly special is the fact that despite its ever changing face the original heart of the city still remains. It has maintained a strong heartbeat, one that is taken care of by its very own Cardiffians. Right in the centre of the city is Cardiff Castle, a beautiful specimen of years ago and a starting point for discovering ‘old Cardiff’. Just footsteps away from the castle are the network of Victorian arcades, bursting with shops, cafes and deli’s not to be missed. If you’re looking for a unique shopping or eating experience, you’re in the right place. If it’s been a while since visiting the arcades I urge you to plan your next trip.
Once you have made your way through the beautiful winding ways of the arcades it won’t be long until you reach the pinnacle of ‘old Cardiff’. Sitting like a proud old lady in the heart of the city is Cardiff’s Indoor Market. She is just as beautiful as she was back in 1891, when she was first opened. This fabulous Victorian market traded as a farmers market and has continued to grow over the years. There are two floors inside, with the upstairs working its way around the edge of the market and featuring a stunning Victorian balcony.
Trading is still thriving today, the market is a bustling hive of activity where you will find Cardiffians from all backgrounds selling and buying. There isn’t much that you won’t find here. Of course you can do a traditional market shop and fill up on fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread, meat and fish. The second hand bookstall is one of my personal favourites, it’s great to stop and have a browse. The fabric supplier at the centre of the market holds fond memories for me, as I used to purchase bits and bobs for my GCSE textiles projects. There was always plenty of help and advice on hand.
I love the varied spices that are available, in just the amounts that you need. If you fancy a taste of the Mediterranean why not sample some Turkish delight or baklava. Actually if you can walk past without wanting to taste it you have amazing willpower! Greeting cards, hardware, jewellery, luggage, accessories, Welsh gifts, clothing and confectionary are all here too, so there really isn’t any need to visit a large supermarket.
One of the oldest stalls is Ashton’s Fishmongers. They have been trading at the market for over 100years, their fish and seafood is always popular with shoppers. It’s probably because they have one of the largest selections anywhere for miles. Just looking at the display of fish and seafood available is a joy. The traditional fishmonger seems to be disappearing from our high streets so it’s a testament to Ashton’s reputation that they are still here after so many years.
Cardiff’s Indoor Market is a special place, not only because it is packed full of independent traders but because it has soul. The roots of Cardiff are imbedded within this building. As Cardiff has grown and expanded it has done so around this ‘old lady’, she is standing her ground and going nowhere, and rightly so! She means so much more than just a place to shop. This is a place for local people and friendly characters to meet and greet each other on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter if you’re a regular to the market or a new face, you are made to feel that you are part of something. A community, filled with a wonderful Welsh spirit that we Cardiffians are known for.
Cardiff Indoor Market opening times are Monday to Saturday 8am to 5.30pm.