*Updated February 2020*
Cardiff, the capital of Wales is a vibrant, growing city, but it was also my home for 3 years. During the time I lived in Cardiff, I spent many hours wandering around the charity shops and trying to find a bargain. Here is my guide to the best places to charity shop in Cardiff.
In the UK we use the phrase “Charity Shop”, rather than Thrift shop (or Op shop as they call it in NZ).
The rise of second-hand clothing
Since I first wrote this article, the war on fast fashion has started and now it is a lot more fashionable to wear second-hand clothing. I completely support this, it’s great to see so many people thinking more sustainably about the clothes that they wear.
The fast fashion industry is problematic, as 85% of textiles in the US are not recycled meaning they often won’t breakdown in our lifetime. Majority of textiles are made with plastic derived material and this is a pollutant to oceans/seas but also won’t break down easily.
There is also the issues of the human cost to the fast fashion industry, in 2013 at the Rana Plaza factory collapse – over 1100 people died and 2500 were injured while making textiles for the west. This was not just an isolated incident, numerous factory deaths have happened across the world in the pursuit of fast fashion. Stacey Dooley Investigates series have covered a couple of different horrifying areas of the fast fashion industry. Also, check out this article from the New York times about fast fashion.
So, it’s obvious that if you can try to shop for clothes more sustainably – but where can you shop for good bargains in Cardiff?
During my time living in Cathays, I must have visited Albany Road twice a month – I love this place for a good walk around the charity shops. Arguably, it is the best place to find a good charity shop in Cardiff.
Along Albany Road, there are about six or seven different charity shops – including YMCA, British Heart Foundation and Tenovus.
All of these charity shops are of a relatively similar size but have a wide array of different clothing – YMCA is great for finding fancy dress for university socials too. Every Wednesday you say many different students trawling through the shops to find costumes or parts of outfits! (One day I got a giraffe tail in tenovus for a costume for 50p)
On Albany Road is the Holy Grail of charity shops. The YMCA £1 charity shop. I have loved this place since I first discovered Albany Road in my first year! At one point it had a refit and became a normal charity shop with varying prices, but it soon went back to £1. In fact today it was 99p!
I have found some interesting clothes in there, including a pair of Nike Leggings that I wore in Tanzania and for about a year afterwards – eventually, the elastic died and I had to recycle them.
The only downside of the shop is there is no changing room so you have to guess. They will return/exchange items though so it’s not all bad! To me, this is the best charity shop in Cardiff.
Cardiff City Centre
In the City centre, I have two favourite charity shops to visit. On the Hayes, there is a lovely Ty Hafan which often stocks sports clothes at really good prices and they also have great sales. (I think there was once a 50p sale rail – where I bought 3 different rugby shirts)
Ty Hafan also has another shop in the castle arcade which is called Emporium. This is a vintage/retro charity shop so the items are a bit pricier but great if you like a vintage style.
Scope has a charity shop in the city centre along with Oxfam’s books and clothing shops.
Cowbridge Road East
Another great street of charity shops in Cardiff is along the Cowbridge Road E – The area past St Davids Hospital has 8 other charity shops. Here you can find Marie Curie, BHF, PSDA, Cancer Research and Mind.
Cardiff’s Biggest Charity Shop
A new charity shop that has opened recently, is in City Link Retail Park on Newport Road. The new cancer research store has rail upon rail of second-hand clothes along with excess products from supermarkets.
The pricing at this charity shop is at £3, £2 or £1 which is great for the pocket!
I really miss living and shopping in Cardiff, I hope that this is a useful guide to other people looking for the best charity shops in Cardiff.
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Until next time,
The Great Ambini
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