Leeds is famed for its shopping but there are some stores that even the most seasoned shoppers might not have been to…
You’re unlikely to miss any of the stores in Trinity Leeds – thousands of people walk past them every day. But what about the ones tucked away elsewhere, the small shops, the independents, the unique little finds that you may have to walk further for, but will be glad you did? Here are nine of them – how many have you been to?
1. North Star Coffee
You’ve probably already heard of North Star, they’re Leeds’ first micro-roaster, making some of the best coffee around. You’ll find it in many of the city’s independent coffee shops – but you can also buy it to make at home. In fact, they have their own little store and coffee shop at Leeds Dock where you can pick up a bag of freshly roasted coffee, alongside tasty treats from Noisette Bakehouse and all manner of other locally-made, ethical eats. They also hold cuppings (coffee tastings), courses and industry talks – so get involved.
North Star Coffee, Unit 33, The Boulevard, Leeds Dock, Leeds, LS10 1PZ.
2. The Allotment
Central Arcade probably isn’t the first place you think of when it comes to shopping. Despite being opposite the entrance to Trinity Leeds, it’s not really taken off and many of the units are still empty. However, if you wander upstairs, you’ll find a menswear brand that’s as cool as a cucumber, with a slew of designer brands you’ll be proud to have in your wardrobe. We’re talking Comme De Garçons, Won Hundred and BLK DNM, among many others. Check it out next time you’re in town.
The Allotment, Central Arcade, 16 Central Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DX.
Lower Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LY.
3. Bop DJ
One for the budding DJs among you, BOP DJ is the last word in music tech. They sell everything from synthesisers and sequencers to microphones, mixers and audio interfaces, with a range of used equipment available for competitive prices. Like a car dealership, they offer part exchanges if you want to cash in your old DJ equipment. You’ll have to hunt out the store though, it’s hidden under the arches, opposite the beautiful Leeds Minster.
Bop DJ, 2 Church Walk, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EG.
4. ID Aromatics
You’ve probably been past ID Aromatics a hundred times – but have you ever been inside? It’s one of the oldest stores in Leeds, having opened in 1983, and offers all the essential oils you could ever want. From bubble bath to joss sticks, floral waters to massage oils, they have it all – and the staff really know their stuff, so if you have any questions about aromatherapy, give them a shout. They make their own oils, creams and lotions too – you can even make requests, if you want something specific.
ID Aromatics, 12 New Station Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DL.
Set up by Claire Douglas in 1989, a woman who trained in jewellery design and silversmithing herself, Argent showcases the best in British design alongside a handpicked collection of international designers. You’ll find it tucked away in Thornton’s Arcade, amidst the Victorian grandeur. It’s the kind of place where you’re encouraged to ask questions – all their staff are trained in jewellery design, and if you can’t find what you want, you can have it made, as they work with local designers on bespoke jewellery.
Argent, 16 Thornton’s Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LQ.
6. Taste the Orient
You may be more accustomed to eating Asian food out than cooking it yourself, but Taste the Orient opens up a world of opportunities. They stock all kinds of hard to find ingredients, from fresh veggies like choy sum, jack fruit and lemongrass to chilled items like wonton pastry, char siu and sea kelp. They also have an off licence, well stocked with beer and wine, if you want to create a completely authentic experience.
Taste the Orient, 117-119 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7PJ.
7. Leeds Civic Trust Bookshop
You’d be forgiven for never knowing this little shop was here. It’s tucked away, off the beaten track on Wharf Street and looks like a throwback from the past, with its old school shop front. Inside, you’ll find everything from books to postcards and pictures, with all the Civic Trust’s publications, alongside a host of books about Leeds and Yorkshire. They have both new and second hand items, so look out for rare finds – and remember to bring cash, because they don’t take card.
Leeds Civic Trust Bookshop, 17-19 Wharf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EQ.
If it’s skate gear you’re after, there’s no better place to go than Welcome in Thornton’s Arcade. It’s owned and run by skateboarders, so you’ll be in good company. Downstairs, it’s all about what you’re wearing, with t-shirts, hoodies, hats and shoes from brands like Thrasher, Palace and Vans. Upstairs is something different entirely – here you’ll find a collection of skateboards with bright, colourful designs from the likes of Enjoi, Girl and Heroin.
Welcome, 22 Thornton’s Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LQ.
9. The Great Yorkshire Shop
Hidden away at the back of Leeds Corn Exchange, you may not have discovered The Great Yorkshire Shop yet. As the name suggests, it’s all about the county we call home, and showcases the work of designers from all over the region. You’ll find everything from Birdhouse Tea Company loose tea, made by mother and daughter team Julie and Rebecca English in Sheffield, to male grooming products from Apothecary87 in Doncaster.
The Great Yorkshire Shop, Ground Floor, Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BR.