Top 5 Things To See In Leeds

Leeds is a vibrant city and has a whole host of places to see and experience, here are the top 5.

1. Victorian Arcades

Leeds’ shopping scene is most iconic for its historic arcades that have stood proud since the 1800s. Originally, eight arcades were built throughout the city until 1900, but only four now remain. The Queens Arcade, Thornton’s Arcade, Grand Arcade and Victoria Quarter host luxury shops and impressive restaurants, with the original architecture still prominent throughout each arcade. From independent boutiques to big high street names, there’s something on offer for everyone.

2. Kirkgate Market

First opened in 1822, Kirkgate Market is best known as the founding location for UK retail giant, Marks and Spencer, and has since become one of the most iconic buildings in Leeds. The market has been the city’s essential shopping destination for over a century, with stalls selling a whole range of fresh ingredients including local meats and seafood as well as fashion, jewellery and homeware boutiques. In recent years Kirkgate Market has seen the arrival of a new food hall, welcoming cuisines from all around the world and becoming a hotspot for street food in Leeds. For the second consecutive year, Leeds Kirkgate Market was voted ‘Britain’s Favourite Market’ at the Great British Market Awards in 2017 and with over 800 stalls, it is the largest covered market in Europe.

3. Corn Exchange

Designed by Cuthbert Brodrick, Leeds’ Corn Exchange is one of the three remaining corn exchanges in the whole of the UK, making it a fascinating piece of the city’s history. With noticeable rosettes above the top windows, this design can also be found in Leeds Town Hall and has become Cuthbert Brodrick’s hallmark on both of the buildings. During 1915, the Corn Exchange was originally used for business transactions and negotiations between the corn dealers and merchants, but as trade declined, the building was threatened with demolition. In 1985, the contract was won to turn the dome building into a shopping centre, and five years later reopened to reveal a host of independent boutiques and an exhibition space, now used for fashion and music events.

4. Leeds Art Gallery

Leeds Art Gallery features a wide collection of 19-20th century artwork, recognised by the British government as a collection of “national importance”. Opening in 1888, the gallery was originally paid for by public subscription in honour of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. One of the most famous paintings on display is “Scotland Forever”, the 1881 oil painting by Lady Butler, depicting the start of the Royal Scots Greys Cavalry charge at the Battle of Waterloo. In 2007, extensive renovations were made on the Victorian building to help preserve its heritage, opening up the magnificent Victorian tiled hall.

5. Water Taxi

If there’s a free service to be taken advantage of within the city it’s the Leeds Dock Water Taxis. Running every 20 minutes, both ‘Twee’ and ‘Drie’ operate daily between Leeds Dock and Granary Wharf, giving easy access to the south entrance of the train station. The Leeds Dock Water Taxis give you the opportunity to travel through the city and experience Leeds from a different perspective. Sailing along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, those who may have been visiting the Royal Armouries Museum on Leeds Dock can opt for a more scenic route back to the heart of the city and explore the restaurants and bars that Granary Wharf has to offer on the way.