Castle Quarter Arcades | History

The Castle Quarter Arcades are a historical part of Cardiff’s architectural and retail heritage, spanning 131 years of public service since doors first opened in 1885.


The Castle Quarter is comprised of 3 outstanding Victorian and Edwardian arcades, all located within a short distance of Cardiff Castle – Castle Arcade, High Street Arcade and Duke Street Arcade.

Originally home to many specialist shops of the era – drapers, apothecaries, tailors, jewellers and fortune tellers – the Castle Quarter has grown and adapted to the needs of a modern shopping environment without losing any of it old world charm.

Castle Arcade, built in two sections during 1882 and 1889, is known for its striking central junction. From here the view of the iconic Cardiff Castle is framed perfectly through the Dutch renaissance-inspired archway.

This North/South section was designed by local architect EWM Corbett, and the East/West wing, slightly different in character, was designed by S Rooney. The Castle Arcade also houses its iconic balcony, splitting the retail floors over two levels, and incorporating public walkways which you are welcome to wander and explore. There are two staircases leading to the balcony, one on each wing, with wonderful opportunities to photograph the mirrored arches at each end.

High Street Arcade was the first from the trio to be completed in 1885. Inspired by the popular gothic architecture of the time, it was designed by Peter Price who began by constructing the Albert Chambers –  a striking architectural feature that echoes the Byzantine style.

Duke Street Arcade was a later addition in 1902, making it the only Edwardian arcade in the Castle Quarter trio. Its addition also made Duke and High Street Arcades the only adjoining arcades in Cardiff.

Castle, Duke and High Street Arcades all boast private chambers that are now in use as offices, studios and residential suites.

castle arcade 2