Shop Like a Local in ... Wales

In this Yahoo Travel column, we scout out what to buy around the globe. These are the places where insiders go to find their treasures — and the best deals. After all, who doesn’t want to know how to shop like a local? 


Cardiff Market in Wales (Paula Bailey/Flickr)

When you think of Wales, you don’t necessarily think of shopping. But there are gems to unearth and local flavors to be had. Here are some great Welsh towns to shop and what to buy.



Shopping at Abergavenny Market Hall (BazzaDaRambler/Flickr)

Each town in the Welsh countryside has its own market, and Abergavenny in southeastern Wales is no different. For some uniquely Welsh bites, Abergavenny Market Hall on Cross Street is the place to go. (The town even has a food festival there every year.)


Welsh cakes for sale at Abergavenny Market Hall (Leah Ginsberg)

There, merchants gather with tables full of wares, including fresh, seasonal, local fruits and veggies, area delicacies like wonky-looking meatballs (called faggots), Welsh cakes (dense, sweet tea cakes with raisins), and bara brith (or speckled bread, a spiced fruit cake loaf).

Just down the street from Market Hall, also check out the Marches Delicatessen at 16 Nevill St., where you’ll find award-winning local cheeses. The majority of the shops food is sourced directly from producers around the Welsh Marches. Snap up artisanal creations like Celtic Promise, an unpasteurized, washed rind cow’s milk cheese from nearby Ceredigion; Mouldy Mabel, a cow’s milk blue cheese from Carmarthenshire; or Golden Cenarth, a pungent, nutty-flavored organic cow’s milk cheese. The store also sells Welsh favorites like flavored salt (seaweed salt and pepper salt are two winners).


Fascinators at Alison Tod (Facebook/Alison Tod)

Of course, there’s also fashion to be had in Abergavenny. Check out Alison Tod’s hat shop at 13 Cross St. — royals and celebs have been known to wear the Abergavenny-based designer’s creations. And hit Homes of Elegance at 7 Mill St. for rustic-meets-modern furniture that’s totally unique.



The quaint bibliophile town of Hay-on-Wye (Sean Beesley/Flickr)

This town in eastern Wales is all about books. It’s famous for its yearly Hay Festival, a literary festival, and the shops in town largely cater to the theme. The best and biggest bookstore is Richard Booth’s Bookshop at 44 Lion St. (and it also has the best loo, as the Brits say). It sells a wide variety of new books, as well as used and vintage editions. Plus, there’s a cinema and a café.


The Murder and Mayhem bookstore (Leah Ginsberg)

Murder and Mayhem at 5 Lion St. is dedicated solely to murder mystery books — and the decorations around the shop are fun: The Hound of the Baskervilles is painted on the outside wall of the shop, and there’s a faux outline of a dead body on the street in front of the bookstore and also inside. And don’t forget to stop at the “honor” bookshop at Hay Castle. Browse the lovingly tattered tomes that line the walls, take what you like, and leave the appropriate amount of money behind in the red box by the stairs.

When you’ve had your fill of books, head to the Hay Makers on St. John’s Place, a local artists’ collective. Wool (a Welsh staple with all those sheep) and silk scarves, ceramics, note cards, and prints are just a few of the things you can buy.

And for those eclectic whatnots from vintage clothes to industrial light fixtures to wool socks to secondhand furniture — plus great coffee to boot — stop by the Old Electric Shop.



Queen Street (Jon Candy/Flickr)

Cardiff, on the coast of south Wales, is one of Britain’s top shopping destinations. On the main drag, Queen Street, you’ll find everything from chic designer stores (like Hugo Boss and Armani) to trendy chain stores (Topshop and River Island) to boutique brands. Check out the Brit designers, including Cath Kidston for patterned sweaters and dresses and Vivienne Westwood for over-the-top designs, and don’t miss one of Kate Middleton’s faves, the always understated and chic Reiss shop.


Cardiff Christmas Market (Mark Turner/Flickr)

But during the holiday season, go to the Cardiff Christmas Market for original gifts (or goodies for yourself). Open until Dec. 23 in the heart of the pedestrian area of Cardiff City Centre, the market features vendors selling everything from art to artisanal soaps to toys. Go for Welsh specialties like slate products (the country has some of the best slate in the world), Welsh love spoons (intricately carved wooden spoons that were traditionally presented as a romantic gift), and, of course, wool goods.

Check out more Shop Like a Local!

How to Shop Like a Local in Seoul 

How to Shop Like a Local in County Kerry, Ireland

How to Shop Like a Local in Mumbai

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