Leeds: the Knightsbridge of the North
Leeds is considered by many to be the North’s equivalent of Knightsbridge. Being a city that is both stylish and sophisticated, it is no real surprise that this is reflected in its shops. The city’s shopping credibility was mainly influenced by the opening of a Harvey Nichols store in Leeds in 1996, which was the first regional store outside of London to be opened.
As well as the world famous Harvey Nichols store, British designers including Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith have stores in Leeds and they can be located in the Victoria Quarter, which is home to a number of shopping arcades.
Leeds also has a thriving student community which is fuelled by the three universities, Leeds Trinity University College, The Met and LU. Students from the three universities live right across the city from the suburbs of Headingley and Horsforth to the vibrant Leeds city centre flats where there are many new and old conversions to fit all styles and budgets.
Within the five miles of high street shopping available in Leeds there is 4.3 million square feet of purely retail space. These include one of Britain’s greatest pedestrian shopping areas, five indoor shopping centres and a number of attractions dedicated to fashion.
Granary Wharf does not exactly offer a traditional shopping experience; instead there are a host of market stalls situated underground. The market-place stalls sell a vast range of things including Moroccan furnishings and handmade crafts from Egypt. The area also has a number of restaurants and authentic cafes.
The Queens Arcade
Leeds has strong roots from the Victorian era and this arcade reflects this significant period of revolution in British history. A mosaic floor was fitted in 1994 when the arcade was fully refurbished and it is now home to some of Leeds’ most loved shops.
The Corn Exchange
Independent clothing designers are housed under the roof of this building which in fact has a Grade 1 listing. There are open cafes to relax in whilst enjoying the award winning architecture. As a cultural building, the Corn Exchange is not only a place to shop but exhibitions, shows and music events are also hosted at this venue.
Kirkgate Market has recently been named the North’s best market which is situated in renovated Edwardian buildings. A number of chefs, authors and food experts decided to award this market with the title. There are more than 800 traders at the market which is most famous for selling ornamental dragons. From basic to exotic foods, there is not much that this market does not have.
As previously mentioned, the Victoria Quarter is the destination for the rich and famous of the North. Although it does house some high end designers, the area also has high-street designers and stores. These range from Harvey Nichols that sells Prada and Chanel to Ted Baker amongst other mid-range designers.
The Headrow has undergone a £100 million development that boasts some of the best brands in retail. There are also a number of bars and nightclubs as well as a cinema, fitness club and hotel.
White Rose Shopping Centre
On the south side of Leeds you can find the White Rose Shopping Centre, which has two floors that have large stores including BHS, Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Next, Primark and Sainsbury’s among over 100 other stores. The food court is also ideal, mainly serving fast food. The centre conveniently has 4,800 free car parking spaces.