Cardiff city centre is a large and sprawling area that spreads out from Butetown in the south to Cathays Park in the north, and from Canton and Grangetown in the west to Adamsdown in the east. However the principal shoppings streets in Cardiff are Queen Street, which provides connections to the major shopping arcades of the St. David's Centre, Queen's Arcade and the smaller Capitol Centre, and St. Mary's Street, which is also known for its nightlife. There are also numerous arcades and alleys that house some more smaller, specialist shops. The city centre is going through a number of redevelopment projects that include the huge St. David's 2 project which will extend the shopping district southwards creating 100 new stores and a flagship John Lewis. Cardiff is expected to enter the top 5 of places to shop in the UK, upon completion of the St. David's 2 development, behind only the West End of London and Glasgow.
Queen Street and vicinity
Queen Street (Welsh: Heol y Frenhines), after which a local railway station is named (the station is actually on Station Street), is the main pedestrianised shopping street in the city. Originally called Crockherbtown, the street was renamed in honour of Queen Victoria in 1886. The junctions at either end of the street look somewhat distorted, since until 1974 vehicular traffic was permitted along its length. It meets Newport Road at its eastern end, Duke Street at its western, and Park Place approximately half-way along. Further down Park Place is the New Theatre, Cathays Park and a number of buildings owned by Cardiff University (most notably, several entire terraces). A local landmark is Principality House, head office of the Principality Building Society. To the north, running parallel, is Greyfriars Road (the name refers to the site of an old monastery), a traditional office location that has recently seen conversion to bars, apartments and hotels as offices move to the new business parks on the edge of the city, or to the better connected southern end of the city centre.
St. Mary Street and the vicinity
St. Mary Street (Heol y Santes Fair) and High Street (Stryd Fawr). The former street is named after the 11th century church of St. Mary, the largest in Cardiff until it was destroyed by the Bristol Channel floods of 1607. Today the stretch of road is the home of a number of bars, night clubs and restaurants, including the Cardiff Hard Rock Cafe, as well as branches of many major banks. Also fronting onto the street is Howells Department store, which stretches from just after the market building to the corner Heol-y-Cawl Street. The street is usually closed south of the junction with Wood Street at weekends, to allow the efflux from night clubs and pubs located in that part of the street to clear. It is seen as a challenge to have a pint and a shot in every pub/bar on the right side of Saint Mary Street. The Prince Of Wales (a J D Wetherspoon establishment) is a particular problem, both due to its high capacity, and its main frontage onto Wood Street (which stays open). At the northern end of the street is Castle Street, site of Cardiff Castle. To the south is Cardiff Central station.
Caroline Street is a major link between two of the busiest streets (St Mary Street and the Hayes). The street has been a host to all kinds of stores but, more recently, has been taken over by chip and kebab shops, and as such is commonly known as Chip Row, Chip Alley, or Chippy Lane. This resulted in the street's busiest hours being between 11pm and 2am: popular among the post-pub and club crowd, often leaving the street looking like a sea of polystyrene containers. Around 2003, the north side of the street was redeveloped after the demolition of the old Brains Brewery: in its place were luxury flats encircling the Old Brewery Quarter, where new shops and eateries were erected. The pavement on the street was re-tiled as part of this development - the south side of the street remains largely "unspoiled" by improvements.
Called Yr Aes in Welsh, this is where the local department store Howells (part of the House of Fraser group) can be found. The Hayes also used to house another department store , David Morgan which is currently being developed into luxury flats. The record shop Spillers Records claims to be the oldest in the world, dating back to 1894, although it has only occupied its present premises on The Hayes since the 1940s. There is also the old library (now a pub and wine bar), and a statue of the anti-slavery campaigner John Batchelor. The Welsh Baptist chapel Tabernacl was first built in 1821 and remodelled to its current form by the architect John Hartland in 1865. The shopping portfolio of the Hayes is currently being upgraded to include new stores, including a flagship Borders Books and luxury apartments. The Hayes is currently under renovation for the St. David's 2 project, aimed at developing the area for businesses and the city's new Central Library.
A well-known national landmark is St David's Hall - a large concert hall and exhibition centre, which frequently houses major acts; most famously, it is also home to the Cardiff Singer of the World competition.
This area is also famous for its elegant Victorian arcades which join some of the main streets. These include Castle Arcade, Queens Arcade, Duke Street Arcade and Morgan Arcade.
Scenes of BBC's Doctor Who and Torchwood have recently been filmed here.
This major road leading East from the city centre towards the neighbouring city of Newport has been one of the prime office locations of central Cardiff since the 1960s. Some of the original buildings have recently been converted from office use to residential (e.g. The Aspect, Admiral House) or hotel use including the MacDonald Holland House. Occupancy of the remaining commercial property has increased, reflecting a shortage of office space in the city and there is now little scope for further conversion. To the North of the road lies Tredegarville, originally an upper middle class residential district, but now a focus for accountancy and law firms and private medical and dentistry practises, although some substantial residences remain.
Custom House Street/Bute Terrace/Adam Street
These two roads have traditionally formed the southern and south-eastern boundaries of the central business district of Cardiff, and in recent years have seen a great deal of new development with much due in the next few years. Recent developments such as the 23 story Altolusso apartment complex, and the Big Sleep Hotel are set to be joined by (from east to west), a new 11 story office building (on the site of the old Central Hotel - destroyed by fire in the early 2000s); the Meridian Gate development (consisting of 11-story apartment block and a 20-story Radisson SAS Hotel); a new John Lewis department store as part of the St. David's 2 shopping expansion; Harlech Court (consisting of apartments and a rooftop restaurant); the University of Glamorgan's new Creative Industries campus; and 3 further residential towers (of up to 13 stories) with lower floor retail and commercial use.
A relatively new addition to the city centre, this development (started in 1999) extends the central business district south of the mainline railway. Eventually the main development will include approximately 500,000 square feet of office space, of which approximately 175,000 square feet is complete (housing Eversheds, Allied Irish Bank and ING Direct) and a further 190,000 square feet is under construction on a speculative basis. The initial masterplan suggest that the final phase, yet to be commenced, will also include hotel and residential use; this may be useful in increasing pedestrian footflow on the square itself which is currently underused and rather windswept. Nearby offices on Tresillian Way (housing The AA, and Lloyds TSB Black Horse finance amongst others) plus further potential developments have turned the area relatively quickly into one of the largest office locations in central Cardiff; within a few years total office space in the area will exceed 1 million square feet.
Wood Street is home to Cardiff Central Bus and Railway Stations and has bus stands running along the length of the street as well. It is also a gateway to the Millennium Stadium. Although there aren't many shops here, there is the large Vue cinema, next to the stadium and the tall Southgate House which houses the Cardiff offices for the Armed Forces.
Mary Ann Street
Cardiff is on the Maesteg Line
Cardiff is on the Merthyr Line
Cardiff is on the Rhondda Line
Cardiff is on the Rhymney Line
Cardiff is on the South Wales Main Line
Cardiff is on the Vale of Glamorgan Line
Museum: National Museum Cardiff
Theatre: New Theatre