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Call Leeds home? Or maybe you’re planning a staycation there sometime soon and are keen to support the city’s local businesses? Luckily for you, Leeds is jam-packed with incredible independent retailers and restaurants.
As well as providing a great experience, shopping, dining or drinking local allows you to give back to the city’s community. There are so many options in Leeds to put on your bucket list, too! Here are just ten of our favourites:
If you’re craving some independent retail therapy, where better to go than the Leeds Corn Exchange? The beautiful Victorian building sits at the heart of the city’s shopping district and it describes itself as a “beacon of creativity shining against the mainstream”.
Leeds has no shortage of locally-run cafés where you can get your coffee and cake fix. This includes the wonderful Mrs Atha’s. The cosy spot has been run by the same family for years and prides itself on using local suppliers where possible for its tasty food and drink.
Settle down in the café’s homely interiors and order up a strong cup of coffee, a homemade cake or a delicious dish from their tempting lunch menu.
Fan of designer threads? Accent Clothing is one of the longest-running independent stores in the city and a fantastic place to pick up some stylish new clothes, shoes and accessories. The family-run shop in Queen’s Arcade stocks dozens of iconic brands, including men’s and women’s wear from the likes of Barbour, Edwin, Armani and Scotch & Soda.
Another must-see destination for independent shopping in Leeds is the beautiful Grand Arcade. It’s one of the oldest covered shopping streets in the city and is packed with locally-owned stores and businesses.
Take a stroll through the Victorian arcade and look out for charming shops like Our Handmade Collective which sells a range of quality handmade gifts and goods.
If you can’t resist a good food stall, you’ll find several at Leeds Kirkgate Market. The Victorian complex is one of the largest indoor market spaces in Europe and it houses stalls selling everything from gifts and jewellery to mouth-watering street food.
Music lovers will be in heaven at Jumbo Records. The effortlessly cool store sits inside the Merrion Centre and is the city’s leading record store. Why not spend an hour or two browsing shelves stacked with hundreds of records from every genre imaginable? There’s also a whole load of music merch and posters.
After some tips on what to listen to next? Ask one of Jumbo Record’s friendly team members who are all music aficionados.
Homemade focaccia, pasta laden with rich sauce and some of the dreamiest Italian desserts imaginable await at Sarto. The locally-loved pasta restaurant is tucked away on Duke Street and it’s one of the top independent businesses in Leeds.
Sarto’s speciality is fresh homemade pasta, and you’ll find delicious options to suit meat-eaters, veggies and vegans. The bar staff also make a mean negroni if you’re craving a refreshing cocktail.
Both comic collectors and fans of reading will love a trip to OK Comics. The award-winning indie store is one of the best places to browse and buy comics in Leeds and you’ll find it handily located in Thornton’s Arcade.
Spend time perusing the shelves to find both old and new graphic novels, comic books and comic magazines. The shop stocks popular and rare options, plus you can even sign onto their free subscription service if you’re a fan of a particular comic book series!
Beer-lovers will likely have heard of this Leeds-born brewery! Northern Monk is located across two sites in Holbeck where the team create the brand’s award-winning craft beers and ales. Visit the brewery’s tap room – the Northern Monk Refectory LDS – at the Old Flax Store for a pint and some delicious food from the ever-changing selection of local food vendors.
If you’re keen to be more eco-friendly, where better to shop in Leeds than Ecotopia? The zero-waste store in the Central Arcade sells a range of organic produce, from kitchen cupboard essentials to healthy snacks. Ecotopia is plastic-free so you’ll need to bring your own containers or use their paper bags. You’ll also find they sell a selection of eco-friendly household cleaning products, shampoos and soaps.
Ready to plan your trip to Leeds? Check current government travel guidelines before you travel. If you can, try to travel during off-peak times and buy tickets in advance to book a seat. And remember, when you’re ready to get going, we’re here for you.