These two beautiful arcades are the jewels in the crown of Cardiff and home to some of the longest established independent businesses. From jewellers to cafes and shoe shops to fashion boutiques, you’ll be truly spoiled for choice.
Started in 1896, the Morgan Arcade was built to connect the main entrance of the David Morgan department store on St Marys Street, with his other store on The Hayes. It opened in 1899 as the New Central Arcade, running east/west from the Hayes.
After buying the Royal Arcade, the family formed a holding company called the Cardiff Arcade Company, which owned and operated both the Royal and renamed Morgan arcades, which both ran underneath the store.
Built in 1858, the Royal Arcade is the oldest arcade in Cardiff. It is a Grade II listed building. In 1861, a free library was set up by voluntary subscription above the St Mary Street entrance to the Royal Arcade. Before the end of the 19th century the Cardiff School of Art was using rooms above the arcade with students such as J. M. Staniforth (a Welsh editorial cartoonist best known for his work on the Western Mail), and Goscombe John (who was commissioned to design many public monuments and statues of public figures in Cardiff such as the shipping magnate and philanthropist John Cory).
Between 2007 and 2008 the whole site was refurbished by Helical Bar, with the arcades restored. The companies spent many millions on restoring both the arcades, with some first-floor Venetian windows and original wooden storefronts still surviving. The Royal and Morgan Arcades are now appreciated the world over as some of the best preserved of the capital’s arcades.
Creativity is still part of the arcades today…
Set above the Royal and Morgan Arcades in the heart of Cardiff City Centre the Creative Quarter provides a new home for creative and innovative businesses.
Already home to a rapidly growing community of businesses, the Creative Quarter offers very cool, contemporary interiors which also maintain the integrity of the original Victorian architecture.
“The Royal and Morgan Arcades are home to some of my favourite shops in the capital. The St David’s 2 development is impressive, but the old arcades are the real heart of Cardiff. MR
Morgan & Royal Arcades
Entrances on The Hayes and St Marys Street
Cardiff, CF10 1AF