Never been shopping in Leeds? Then you’re missing out, because it’s one of the best places to shop in the UK – and here’s why.
There’s no doubt about it – Leeds is an amazing place to shop. It’s got shops galore, with a vast array of high street and designer brands alongside cool, quirky independents, but why should you choose it over other UK cities? Here are eight very good reasons…
1. The city centre is incredibly compact
Leeds has a fabulously compact city centre that means you’re never far away from the next shop. You can jump from the 120 high street brands that await in Trinity Leeds to the designer boutiques of Victoria Quarter, the independent finds of the Corn Exchange and the traditional stalls of Leeds Kirkgate Market in minutes, which means more shopping on the day and less aching afterwards.
2. The choice of shops is mind-blowing
Over the last few years, Leeds’ shopping scene has exploded. Trinity Leeds opened in 2013, and soon it will be joined by Victoria Gate, which has already confirmed a host of coveted labels, including Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Hackett, & Other Stories, and of course, John Lewis. Between them, they’ve attracted brands that are venturing out of London for the very first time, so as well as offering exceptional choice, you’ll also find shops in Leeds that you can’t find anywhere else outside the Capital. In fact, if you head over to Central Arcade, you can visit the only Denham store in the UK.
3. One-off independents are everywhere
The independents help to make the city’s shopping scene unique, adding their own little twist on the norm, with products you won’t find anywhere else. So if you’re looking for one-off finds, you won’t go home empty handed. Try the Corn Exchange, where you can jump from shop to shop, picking up everything from jewellery to beer and vintage cameras along the way, or venture off the beaten track to visit Lambert’s Yard, where you’ll find a medley of up and coming designers selling their wares.
4. All manner of marvellous pitstops
After a long day of shopping, you deserve a delicious meal, and that’s something Leeds is very, very good at. You’ll find hundreds of restaurants, cafes and bars, all ready to serve you up delicious eats. Try Hepworth’s Deli in Thornton’s Arcade for an all day breakfast that will set you up for the day (the French toast is divine), grab lunch at Humpit, where they make award-winning hummus bowls or nip to Pintura for heavenly tapas served with a hand-crafted menu of G&Ts.
5. Shop in a unique location
Some cities have high streets, others have shopping centres, but in Leeds, we house our shops in the city’s landmarks. You’ll find a stunning array of historic arcades here, with Grand and Thornton’s Arcade both boasting impressive William Potts & Sons clocks, while Queen’s Arcade has bright, colourful shop fronts and the Victoria Quarter is home to the biggest modern stained glass roof in Britain. Even Trinity Leeds, the city’s most famous shopping centre, has won awards for its architecture, which encircles the Grade I listed Holy Trinity Church.
6. There’s something for everyone
Lush, Vivienne Westwood, River Island – Leeds is the perfect girls day out, but believe it or not, shopping in Leeds isn’t just about the ladies. You’ll find a massive stash of menswear brands here, from MKI with its exceptional collection of own brand, locally made gear, to The Traditional Shaving Company, where you’ll find a host of old school grooming products. Got kids? They won’t leave empty handed either, not with the likes of the Lego Store and Mary Shortle to keep them tugging at your sleeves.
7. The perfect post-shopping drinks
What do you do when you’ve finished shopping? Why, go for a post-shopping drink, of course – and you won’t be disappointed by what Leeds has to offer. You can enjoy cocktails with rooftop views at Angelica, The Alchemist and SkyLounge, while beer-lovers will be well catered for, courtesy of Leeds’ obsession with craft beer. Stop at Tapped on the way back to the train station, they have a vast selection of brews for you to work your way through. Alternatively, you can enjoy your beer with Indian street food at Bundobust or meat and cheese boards at Friends of Ham.
8. Unexpected surprises await
Exploring is the key to shopping in Leeds, because you just never know what you’ll find if you venture off the beaten track. Head down Swan Street and you’re likely to stumble upon Global Tribe, a brilliant little shop that sells gemstones, tarot cards and more, while a trip down the river on the Water Taxi will bring you to Leeds Dock, where micro-roasters North Star sell their ethically sourced and home-roasted coffees to take home, from 8:30am to 5:30pm on Thursdays and Fridays.
Trinity Leeds, post-shopping drinks and cover image copyright Contakt Photography.