Three months after lockdown began, the shops have reopened with a raft of new safety measures to keep you safe.
If you’ve missed a good old fashioned spree whilst cooped up at home, you’ll be pleased to know that Leeds city centre has reopened and the shops are ready to welcome you back with open arms. Things may look a little different now – masks are mandatory in shops from 24th July 2020 and stores have brought in new measures like one-way systems, clever queuing systems and hand sanitiser stations galore. It’s all there to keep you happy and healthy while you shop, so whether you’re after an all-out binge or an essential shop, here’s the lowdown on what’s open and how they’ll be keeping you safe. Welcome #BacktoLeeds!
Trinity Leeds is home to some of the best-known brands in the city, including Marks & Spencer, Urban Outfitters, Rox, H&M and Topshop, so of course you’re going to want to put this giant on your hit list. From bagging a bargain at Primark to enjoying a beauty blowout at Boots, Trinity Leeds will more than wet your retail whistle. You can even stock up on take-out from foodie favourites like MEATliquor, Rola Wala and Absurd Bird.
Most shops have now reopened, but they have a few new safety measures in place. Entry to the centre will be carefully managed so it never gets too crowded inside, plus a one-way system has been put in place with signs and stickers to help you keep your distance. They’ve also installed hand sanitiser points throughout the shopping centre, so you can keep your hands squeaky clean.
Trinity Leeds, Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5AT. Currently open from 9am to 8pm Monday to Saturday and from 11am to 5pm on Sundays. Please check individual stores for opening hours as they may differ from the centre itself.
Leeds Corn Exchange
A Grade I-listed stunner that’s home to some of the city’s favourite indies, Leeds Corn Exchange is a shopping destination with wow factor – it has a soaring domed glass roof, intricate railings and walls lined with independent traders. From vintage fashion to handmade jewellery, quirky artwork to houseplant heaven, each of these shops offers something utterly unique, so it’s always worth exploring. Top tip – fuel your shop with a giant hummus bowl from Humpit, you won’t regret it.
Filled with character and history, the Corn Exchange has a host of new safety measures too. Some of the outlets here are pretty tiddly, so a dedicated one-way system and safe numbers policy ensures there’s always plenty of room to track down a treasure. You’ll also find hand sanitiser stations, social distancing signage and separate entrance-exit doors here. These small businesses rely on your support, so show ‘em some love.
Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BR. Currently open from 10am to 6pm, Monday to Wednesday and Friday to Saturday, then from10am to 9pm on Thursdays and from 10.30am to 4.30pm on Sundays. Please check individual stores for opening hours as they may differ from the centre itself.
If you’ve been dreaming of an almighty splurge, Victoria Leeds is your one-stop luxury shop. Comprising the stunning Grade II-listed Victoria Quarter and the modern Victoria Gate next door, both filled with designer boutiques, this is the place to treat yourself to one-of-a-kind clothing from Anthropologie, sumptuous skincare from Kiehl’s or even a shiny new Rolex (hey, knowing the time finally matters again). The landmark John Lewis store has now reopened, as has Harvey Nichols, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg with a whole list of stores to visit.
From Victoria Quarter’s glorious stained glass canopy to the high-shine of Victoria Gate, this grand shopping area has always been spotless, but now they’ve introduced a raft of new safety measures. They’ve stepped up the cleaning regime, installed hand sanitiser stations throughout both centres and introduced a one-way system to ensure there’s plenty of space for you to social distance (even as their glorious window displays steal your attention).
Victoria Quarter, 4 Cross Arcade, Victoria Quarter, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6AZ and Victoria Gate, 26 Eastgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7JL. Currently open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Friday, from 9am to 6pm on Saturday and from 11am to 5pm on Sundays. Please check individual stores for opening hours as they may differ from the centre itself.
Right slap bang in the middle of Leeds, this centre has catered for the city’s shopaholics for yonks. They have a handy selection of supermarkets, homeware, fashion, technology and food, all nestled under one roof, and they’ve put new safety measures in place to protect you while you shop. Slather your hands in sanitiser on entry, then let the new one-way system take you past big names like Home Bargains, Superdrug, Boots, Wilko’s and Morrisons. Each store has its own queue system clearly signposted, so you can browse and buy with confidence.
Alongside the classic shops come a range of exciting, and somewhat surprising, independent eateries. Pick up an epic sushi platter with Blue Sakura’s new takeaway service, fuel your shop with a colourful Bubble Tea or whip up your own Asian feast at home with groceries from Sing Kee’s oriental supermarket. If you’re starting to flag, a visit to the Chilli Shop will perk you right back up – it’s a must for spice fanatics.
Merrion Centre, Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8NG. Currently open from 6.30am to 8pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 6pm on Sundays. Please check individual stores for opening hours as they may differ from the centre itself.
Whether you spent lockdown sharpening your gaming skills or roaming the great outdoors, there’s a shop for all tastes at The Core. A veritable gamer’s paradise, Game covers everything from the biggest consoles to the latest titles, plus the chance to trade in those old electronics you found while clearing out your cupboards. Then there’s Blacks, where you’ll find outdoor brands like North Face and Berghaus to keep you kitted out on your adventures.
Footasylum, Matalan and the ever-popular Poundland are also back open, and all shopping centre staff have received additional training, so you can be sure you’re in safe (and sanitised) hands. Social distancing will, of course, be reinforced, and the limited capacity means you’ll never find yourself stuck in a crowd. Hungry? Grab takeaway fish and chips from Graveley’s or gobble succulent flame-grilled chicken from Rooster’s Piri Piri.
The Core, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6JE. Currently open from 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and from 9am to 8pm Sunday. Please check individual stores for opening hours as they may differ from the centre itself.
St Johns Centre
It may not be the biggest shopping centre in Leeds, but St Johns is certainly worth having on your retail radar. This two-storey mall is home to a mix of big and small-time outlets. There’s Bodycare to give you the softest skin and healthiest hair in town, HMV to pimp your record collection and plus-size fashion courtesy of Yours Clothing. Oh, and don’t forget Subway, Poundbakery and Taco Bell for all the obligatory face-stuffing that goes with any good shopping spree.
Sure it’s smaller than some others on this list, but St Johns Centre is just as serious about safety. You’ll find plenty of signs to guide you around the shops and help you maintain a safe distance from other shoppers. Enhanced cleaning practices have been brought in to keep everything spick and span, and you’ll find hand sanitiser stations at every entrance. You can never be too careful.
St Johns Centre, Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8LQ. Currently open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday with late night 7pm opening on Thursday and Friday, then from 10.30am to 5pm Sunday. Please check individual stores for opening hours as they may differ from the centre itself.
The high street
It’s not just shopping centres. The city’s streets are packed with shops ready and waiting to welcome you back. Department stores like Debenhams, TK Maxx and House of Fraser stock everything you need to turn your daunting shopping list to dust in a matter of hours. If your toiletry stockpile is running low, Boots is open for business and Lush has the bath bombs you’ve long been dreaming of.
Sports Direct, Oliver Bonas, Waterstones – all our favourite high street stores are reopening their doors, alongside oodles of independents. with all new safety measures in place. Expect hand sanitiser at entrances, one-way systems to help you social distance and limits on the number of people who can go inside. This may not be shopping as we know it, but every measure they’ve put in place is designed to keep you safe, so you can shop with confidence.
Each store will manage their own queues, but there will also be a team of 12 ambassadors on the streets helping out. Plus, the LeedsBID Street Rangers and council cleaning teams will be stepping up their work to disinfect benches, handrails and street furniture.