It’s an architectural delight and a historical gem, but how much do you really know about what lies inside Leeds Corn Exchange?
Something’s afoot at Leeds Corn Exchange. The stunning Grade I listed building has undergone a cool transformation, so now you’ve got another reason to go. Inside, among the colourful doorways, you’ll find the poetry of local legend Ma Maposa hand-painted onto the inner circle, while the latest light installation from Output Arts promises to take you on a magical journey through the changing of the seasons. But they’re not the only cool finds hidden away in Leeds Corn Exchange…
1. On The Wall
If your home is crying out for a boost of colour, On The Wall has all the prints, posters and photography you could ever wish for. Specialising in the unique and alternative, art-hungry browsers can choose between categories like vintage comics, contemporary art, film, music and natural history – all in superbly stylised form. In need of a gift? They also offer a whole range of greetings cards that seriously trump any mundane high street offering. There’s a bespoke framing service too, so you can preserve your most treasured pictures in style.
2. The Great Yorkshire Shop
Celebrate the best of Yorkshire’s culture, history and quirks with one-off gifts straight from the heart of God’s Own Country. The Great Yorkshire Shop is the place to revel in the glory of our fine county. From ‘chuffin’ ‘ell’ Christmas ornaments to ‘ay up!’ mugs, Yorkshire Rose beanie hats to locally made honey and jam, it’s a must for anyone who wants to share the Yorkshire love far and wide. This is a treasure trove of local goodies and, as you might expect, you’ll find some right gradely customer service here too. Well chuffed.
3. King Koby
Masters of the chop, King Koby is your go-to barbers for top quality cuts, friendly staff who know their stuff and a buzzy atmosphere that’s been honed through years on Leeds’ hairdressing scene. Inside it’s undeniably cool, with old-school barber seats and eclectic artwork covering every inch of the walls, but it’s far from exclusive. You can expect great conversation and a chilled vibe alongside your top-notch trim. Just make sure to book in advance – these guys are very popular.
4. All Blues Co.
If you have a passion for men’s fashion, let it fly wild and free at All Blues Co. Owners Faz and Mano are the perfect people to wax lyrical with as you browse their range of high-quality clothing, much of which can’t be found anywhere else. This is a far cry from the mass-produced, high street outfits – All Blues Co. was born out of a love for hand-crafted garments that tell a story. These guys know precisely where the clothes they sell come from, how they are made and why they chose them. Their passion is infectious and the insight is admirable.
Named after the Japanese phrase ‘Miyuki-Zoku’, which was used to describe the first teens to adopt the preppy, Ivy League style of dressing, MKI is a fashion brand known for its quality. The aesthetic is still preppy but also classic and clean, with hoodies and sweaters among the standout pieces. Now shipping all around the world, MKI’s concept store remains true to its roots in Leeds Corn Exchange by stocking designer wear (both their own label and additional brands like Comme des Garçons) but without the hair-raising price tag.
In need of a pre, mid or post-shop pick-me-up? Enter Humpit and enjoy their stellar offering of creamy hummus, freshly-made pittas and toppers like mushrooms, falafel, salsa and all manner of moreish pickles. Now boasting five venues across the north of England, Leeds Corn Exchange was Humpit’s original home where it first set up shop as a humble pop-up back in 2014. Years later, it’s still a firm favourite and the Corn Exchange’s shoppers can’t get enough of their homemade hummus – vegan-friendly, incredibly fresh and deceptively filling.
7. Simcha Gallery
Bespoke, handcrafted jewellery from the hands of owner, Stephen Roper, is what’s on offer at Simcha Gallery. And while Stephen might be the name behind the exquisite rings, earrings, bracelets and broaches here, there is someone else who deserves some credit – his Mum. Anne Roper passed on her design and craft skills to her son when he was a youngster, and together they continue to share their talents with Leeds residents in the form of lovingly-made jewellery, individual commissions, up-cycled pieces and unique textiles like scarves, hats and purses. A true family endeavour.
8. Ragdoll Nails
For a much-needed bit of pampering, this independent nail salon on the balcony level of Leeds Corn Exchange is a gem of a find. Step away from the hustle and bustle outside and enter Ragdoll Nails’ cosy, classy, light-filled space. There are just a couple of manicure stations and the focus is all on personal care and attention. The friendly staff are masters of creative design and their hand-drawn nail art is particularly impressive. Tell them what you like and watch them create something completely unique just for you.
9. Little Leeds Beer House
All that browsing can be thirsty work, so the Little Leeds Beer House on the balcony level will be your oasis in the desert. For a small space, they manage to pack in a heck of a lot of craft beer. Swing by and cast your eyes upon rows of bottles, cans and even four ever-changing draught lines to fill your growlers from. From IPAs to stouts, you can have it all as you sample beers from all around the world and pick your faves to take home. The staff are more than happy to help too, so you need never sup a sub-par pint ever again.
10. The Plant Point
Calling all green-fingered fans – The Plant Point in Leeds Corn Exchange is about to become your new favourite spot in the city. This family-run joint is a breath of fresh air from the moment you step foot through the door and enter their jungle-esque world of hanging baskets, climbing vines and potted delights. For newbies, there are plenty of popular, easy-care houseplants to take home, but the more adventurous can stretch their wings with something a little more unusual. The beauty of The Plant Point is that the owners have exceptional knowledge, so you can chat through tips and techniques that will ensure your own home jungle remains a plant paradise.
Cover image © Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Katie Nicole.