12 must-see shopping spots in Leeds

University of Leeds
7 min readAug 17, 2021

Bethan Partridge, BSC Sports and Exercise Sciences, Year 3

Leeds is a shopaholic’s paradise, home to big name brands and small independents housed in some of the city’s most iconic buildings. Whether you’re looking to splurge or just take in the atmosphere, here are my top 12 shopping spots in Leeds.

Trinity Leeds is the city’s newest shopping centre, full of big name shops, bars and restaurants.

Trinity Leeds

Trinity Leeds is the main shopping centre in Leeds city centre home to more than 120 high street stores and boutiques over three floors. Home to popular high street shops in fashion, beauty and technology including Primark, Apple, and Claire’s, plus an Everyman Cinema.

Not only does Trinity Leeds boost hundreds of shops for you to choose from but its design and architecture is something to be blown away by. A 40,000 square foot glass dome, large enough to fit the whole Corn Exchange under sits as the centrepiece to the east side of Trinity.

In addition to the vast variety of shops to choose from Trinity Leeds hosts Trinity Kitchen — a collection of popular street food vendors with some as permanent residents and some, often independent to Leeds, acting as guest traders changing every month. You can get to Trinity Leeds by public transport, on foot (about a 15 minute walk from the University precinct) or by car, with bus stops situated on Boar Lane or close by on Albion Street and car parking located in its very own Trinity Car Park.

White Rose Shopping Centre

White Rose is the second-best option for finding all your favourite high street stores under one roof in a quieter and less hustle and bustle environment than Trinity Leeds. This is due to White Rose being located further out of the city in South Leeds. White Rose houses over 100 high street stores including Zara, H&M and Primark, plus restaurants and an 11-screen Cineworld cinema. Access to White Rose is great with over 4,000 free car parking spaces located directly outside the centre, its own bus station linking the suburbs and the city centre.

Leeds Corn Exchange is packed with independent stores and places to eat.

The Corn Exchange

The Corn Exchange is home to a collection of independent boutiques varying from creatives, collectors, chefs and craftspeople exclusive to Leeds. It is not only fashion and handcrafted jewellery boutiques that the Corn Exchange is home too, from Mr Men’s Barbers to On the Wall, a boutique offering a collection of one-of-a-kind prints, to The Plant Point selling quirky cacti and exotic plants. There is something for everyone at the Corn Exchange and what’s even better is that you’re supporting a local business too.

As well as shopping, the Corn Exchange is home to Bruschetta by Food Cabaret and OWT, two unique places to dine with the latter offering a menu suited to late mornings, lunch specials and super favourites. The Corn Exchange is one of Leeds’ most recognisable buildings, with a beautiful galleried space inside. It’s fully accessible and close to public transport, with the Crown Street car park located behind, if you’re planning on driving in. It’s just along from Trinity Leeds, so about a 20-minute walk from campus.

Kirkgate Market is packed with fresh produce, international ingredients and places to grab a quick bite.

Kirkgate Market

Kirkgate Market was founded in 1857 and is now one of the largest indoor markets in Europe home to around 800 stalls of fresh food and drink, fashion and jewellery and hardware and haberdashery. Businesses located in Kirkgate Market represent a wide range of nationalities, often family-led, and home to an Asian Bazaar every Wednesday and a farmers’ market the first and third Sunday of the month.

Traders at Kirkgate focus on fresh, seasonal and quality produce with shopping here often an exciting experience due to the variety of different produce on offer. Not only does the variety and number of stalls make shopping at Kirkgate an experience in itself but this is elevated due to its impressive main Edwardian space with ornamental wrought iron casings and grand stone archways. Kirkgate Market also runs its own programme of events with different markets throughout the week, their latest events calendar can be viewed over on their website. You can also grab some great street food from Indian thalis to authentic Chinese cuisine.

The Victoria Quarter is home to some of Leeds most prestigious stores and some amazing architecture.

Victoria Leeds

Home to Victoria Quarter and Victoria Gate, Victoria Leeds is quickly becoming a very popular place for shoppers in Leeds. Victoria Gate is known for its premium shopping home to brands such as Anthropologie, The White Company, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger and is the location of the largest John Lewis outside of London.

Victoria Quarter is a Grade II listed building home to the largest stained-glass window in Europe with its design representing Leeds heritage within the textile industry. Victoria Quarter is a place of luxury shopping with big name brands such as Vivienne Westwood, Louis Vuitton and Harvey Nichols and is not only grand in the shops it houses but in its impressive architecture and marble structure. Victoria Leeds can be accessed by foot off Vicar Lane and George Street and car parking can be found in Victoria Car Park just behind John Lewis. It’s about a 15-minute walk from campus.

Vintage Shopping

Leeds boosts an impressive vintage shopping scene with a variety of stores located in the heart of Leeds City Centre.

Blue Rinse: Blue Rinse is arguably the place for Leeds Vintage clothing with a wide range of clothing in every colour and style imaginable as well as an abundance of accessories including bum bags and scrunchies. In addition to their sourced vintage pieces, they also boost a Remade Collection whereby they reshape, recolour and rework vintage items to create new pieces in line with current trends. Located on 9–11 Call Lane, Leeds, LS1 7DH.

BEST: BEST is an independent vintage store in Leeds offering new and reworked Vintage clothing. Probably best known for its extensive collection of sourced t-shirts, tanks and sweatshirts with a collection including well-known brands such as Guess, Adidas and Nike as well as themed drops such as USA Pro sports and Nike Team Sport — some of these pieces are not to be missed out on! Located on 22–24 New Market Street, Leeds.

Pop Boutique: Pop Boutique is a chain of vintage stores with sites in Liverpool, London and Manchester offering a variety of different items. They house their retro-inspired own brand pieces as well as more ‘on trend’ styles similar to those likely to be seen in the nearest high street store. Located on 12–14 Central Road, City Centre, Leeds, LS1 6DE.

Two students enjoy a relaxed lunch in the city’s Queen’s Arcade.
Queen’s Arcade is full of boutique stores and cafes, perfect for grabbing lunch or a quick coffee with friends.

Queen’s Arcade

Queens Arcade is a Grade II listed building founded in 1889 with original features including ornate cast-iron arches, a curved balcony and a glass roof and is home to a mixture of big brands as well as a selection of independents. Some of the incredible independents include Accent Clothing who have been in Queens Arcade since 1996 and is a family run clothes shop specialising in designer wear, Olive and Rye an artisan café which serves up incredible freshly cooked food, high quality coffee and homemade treats, and Aladdin’s Cave, a jewellery store offering antique, vintage, and unique pieces. Located on Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6LF

Three students walk through the passageway in Thornton’s Arcade.
Thornton’s Arcade is home to a mix of small specialist independent stores and big-name brands.

Thornton’s Arcade

Thornton’s Arcade was one of the first shopping arcades in Leeds. With its neo-gothic structure, theatrical design and Ivanhoe Clock, Thornton’s is known not only for its shopping. Not only is Thornton’s Arcade home to some great independent fashion and food and drink stores including Kapow Coffee and Open Lifestyle Store (a men’s concept boutique) but it is home to the Welcome Skate Store and OK Comics for all your skating and comics, magazines, and graphic novel needs. Located on Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LQ.

Shoppers browse and dine under the vaulted roof of the historic Grand Arcade.
The Grand Arcade features lots of small stores and cafes, plus a hidden bar under a barber’s shop!

The Grand Arcade

The Grand Arcade is located next to Merrion Street and was designed by Smith and Tweddle in 1897. The Grand Arcade, like the other arcades contains a unique clock — this time Potts Clock — an animated piece in the shape of a castle with two knights situated on the quarter and hour. It really is quite impressive! The Grand Arcade is home to an abundance of independent shops, food and drink and health and beauty stores from Our Handmade Collective selling handmade gifts that you won’t find anywhere else and The Bridal Emporium to Just Grand! Vintage Tearoom and The Domino Club, an underground bar with live Jazz hidden behind Lord’s Barbering. Located on Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.

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