Leeds has been considered a market town since 1207 and generations of independent, risk taking business men have been drawn to the city to trade their cloth, leather and food goods ever since.
Nowhere can this be enjoyed more today than at Leeds Kirkgate Market which attracts over 10 million visitors a year and is the largest covered indoor market in Europe.
With over 600 stalls (400 indoor & 200 outdoor) and 250 businesses, it is a closely guarded gem in the Leeds landscape and provides a great opportunity for independent traders eager to sell a great range of diverse produce.
Voted Best Shopping Centre, 2011 by the Leeds Retail Awards, Leeds Kirkgate Market is the public’s favorite.
The Edwardian market hall is an architectural delight. A revamp of the listed building in 1991, including rrestoration of the lead domes, stonework and pinnacles on the roof, erection of new shop units built in the original style and new toilet facilities, took it back to the glory days of the 19th century.
Today Leeds Kirkgate Market oozes with atmosphere and the imposing and glamorous main Edwardian space is a sight to behold – boasting ornamental wrought iron casings and grand stone archways.
Traders in the market hustle to sell you fresh yam, crab claws and succulent joints of meat in the dedicated fish and game rows. Others offer exotic spices, remote-controlled cars, pet gerbils or the latest must-have shade of lipstick, among many other impressive items.
Shopping at Leeds Kirkgate Market is an exciting, sensory experience. The sights are colourful and varied, stalls piled high with heaps of fruit and vegetables, extraordinary fresh fish, live lobsters and razor clams, the sounds of traders calling out special offers, the banter between the regulars and stall holders, the smell of the flowers and the spices…the butchers preparing cuts of meat, there are stalls dedicated to eggs and even tripe(!) and as for the fruit and vegetables, alongside the apples and pears are moolis, yams, scotch bonnet chillies, fresh mustard leaves, even okra, cassava and plantains… It can be a real education…
Traders love the fresh, the seasonal, the best quality and love to share that with their customers and that means you can easily find out what the best produce is for the time of year.
The outdoor market also hosts a Sunday farmers' market as well as themed open market stalls each day.
Time starved city centre customers can shop & drop their goods (in a refrigerated store in the Indoor Market) for later collection free of charge- great if you want to shop early and pick up after work on the way home.
Leeds Kirkgate Market continues to diversify and 2010 saw the opening of Jamie's Ministry of Food, backed by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
It provides cookery courses teaching people how to make healthy, balanced meals and sources all of its produce form the market.
Come and visit the M&S Market Stall, the birthplace of Marks & Spencer and follow the award winning M&S Leeds Heritage Trail. Winner of the Group Travel Award for Innovation in Tourism 2013. Travelling from past to present, the trail takes you on a journey through the rich heritage of Leeds, and the Victoria Gardens open Christmas market. The trail finishes at the Marks in Time Exhibition at the M&S Company Archive, (White Rose Award finalist for Small Visitor Attraction 2013). Whether you take the trail as a self-guided walk, or book an expert tour guide you’ll be finding out more about the fascinating story of a British high-street favourite that began life at Leeds Kirkgate market.
There’s always something going on; add to that a seasonal events programme from Santa & his reindeers, Moroccan Markets to free School holiday events for children, make sure you visit the market soon to experience real people & real shopping.
Regular shoppers and visitors to Kirkgate Market will have seen that the George Street car park is now closed. The car park closed earlier this month to make way for the new Victoria Gate development. A map showing alternative car parking options for shoppers and visitors to Leeds Kirkgate Market can be found on the next page.
As part of the improvements to this area of the city, the council recently approved a £12.3 million refurbishment of Kirkgate Market. The refurbishment is vital for the markets future; as well as protecting a valuable historical asset, it will bring the building up to modern standards, creating a quality market environment that customers expect while capitalising on the opportunity of millions of visitors coming to the area when Victoria Gate opens.
If you’ve not been to Kirkgate Market for a while or have yet to visit, the market is a shopper’s paradise with fresh food, drink, fashion, jewellery, flowers, hardware and haberdashery on offer. The market team and traders look forward to welcoming you!