Christmas shopping in Leeds: the Knightsbridge of the north
Whether you’re a last minute, one stop shop Christmas shopper, or a self-confessed shopaholic, Christmas shopping in Leeds offers something for every taste and budget. Boasting over 1000 different retailers ranging from budget brands and charity shops to exclusive boutiques and designer names, it is no wonder Leeds has been named one of the best cities for shopping in the UK. Even with this range and variety of shops, the centre of Leeds is compact and convenient enabling you to easily potter between the range of shopping centres, historic arcades and quirky markets. There is also a great range of accommodation in Leeds making it the perfect destination for a city break, but if this still hasn’t sold you, check out ‘5 reasons to visit Leeds’ for more information.
Where to go for Christmas shopping in Leeds?
In the heart of the city is Trinity Leeds. This state of the art shopping centre opened in 2013 and has over 120 stores set over 3 floors, making it the largest shopping centre in the city. Here you’ll find a wide range of high street names and brands all housed under one impressive glass roof, including Marks and Spencer, Topshop, Primark and Next. The centre also has a great range of coffee shops, restaurants, and bars to keep you fuelled and an Everyman Cinema where you can catch all the latest film releases. Over the festive period the centre is adorned in twinkly lights and an in impressive 60 ft tall Christmas tree to help you get in the Christmas spirit.
Opening hours: Shops are open Monday – Saturday 9am – 8pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm
The restaurants, bar and cinema are open later into the evening.
Perfect for: convenience with everything under one roof and high street brands.
Straight from the Trinity centre, you can head onto Briggate. This pedestrianised street makes a convenient place to shop in Leeds and is aligned with eateries and high street brands, including House of Fraser, Debenhams, JD Sports and Zara. The department stores here are great for Christmas shopping and offer an ideal place to pick up a wide range of gifts including cosmetics, clothing, homewares and toys. Briggate is also one of the oldest streets in Leeds and was once the scene of many markets and merchant houses. The street is still home to many impressive historic buildings and quaint yards that link to some of the striking arcades.
Opening hours: Times vary from shop to shop but most are open Monday – Friday 9.30am – 6pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm
Perfect for: Department stores.
No shopping trip to Leeds would be complete without visiting Victoria Leeds. Home to Victoria Gate and the impressive Victoria Quarter this is the perfect place to spend some time browsing an array of gifts and trinkets in unique boutiques and more exclusive stores. Known as the Knightsbridge of the north this is the perfect place for designer shopping and is even home to the first Harvey Nichols store outside of London. Many of the shops here are housed in pretty Victorian arcades with glass roofs and striking architecture. You’ll even find Britain’s largest stained glass window adorning one of the ceilings. Victoria Leeds is appealing all year round, but it is particularly stunning in December when it sparkles with lights, decorations and Christmas trees making it a truly memorable place for Christmas shopping in Leeds.
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 10am – 7pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm
Perfect for: Designer shopping and boutiques.
Kirkgate Market in Leeds is one of the largest covered markets in Europe and set in an impressive grade 1 listed building that dates back to 1857. Here you’ll find a vast array of stalls selling everything from fresh food, fabrics and haberdashery, fashion, flowers and hardware, to name a few! Kirkgate Market was even the birthplace of the Great British institution ‘Marks & Spencer‘. This iconic store began as a penny bazaar run by Michael Marks, at Kirkgate market back in 1884.
The wide range of stalls and traders make Christmas shopping at Kirkgate market perfect for picking up some bargains and unique gifts. It is also the ideal place to shop for those that enjoy crafting or giving more personal presents as you will find some great inspiration and creative ideas on the craft and haberdashery stalls.
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 8am – 5.30pm
Perfect for: Bargains and stocking fillers, crafts and creative gifts.
The Merrion Centre is Leeds’ longest established shopping centre and was a key focal point of the city when it opened in the sixties. Although now often overlooked in favour of the modern Trinity centre, it is still a key shopping destination in Leeds and is particularly popular with those on a budget. It has a wide range of popular discount stores and charity shops, as well as a supermarket, bowling alley and selection of cafes, bars and restaurants. From the 16th November, you’ll also find Santa’s grotto, as well as a free festive adventure trail guiding you to the big man himself.
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 6.30am – 9.30pm, Sunday 10 am – 6pm
Perfect for: Discount shopping and charity shops.
Leeds really does boast some of the most stunning shopping areas in the UK, and Leeds Corn Exchange is definitely up there as one of them. The striking oval, the Victorian building is home to around 30 retailers and pop up shops, and offers a great mix of vintage finds, crafts, record shops and fashion. Leeds Corn Exchange is the go-to place for independent boutiques and more unique items. All set under a stunning dome roof, it is the perfect destination to pick up some rare gifts and stocking fillers when Christmas shopping in Leeds. There is also a tempting range of food and drink stalls that will tickle those taste buds, and regular fairs and events are held throughout the year.
Opening hours: Monday – Wednesday 10am – 6pm, Thursday 10am – 9pm, Friday – Saturday 10am – 6pm, Sunday 10.30am to 4.30pm
Perfect for: Vintage treasures, records and unique items.
Leeds’ Grand Arcade is one of the oldest shopping arcades in the city and exclusively features independent retailers. It is an ideal place to shop in Leeds for those looking for alternative items and gifts that you can’t find in traditional high-street chains. Whether you’re looking for bespoke clothing, freshly roasted coffee or a gift for someone who has everything, the Grand Arcade is the place to go. Also, keep your eye out for the quirky ‘Potts Grand Arcade Clock’ which has been in the arcade since 1898 and has recently been painstakingly restored to its former glory.
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 11.30am – 5pm, Sunday 9am -4pm
Perfect for: unique gifts, trinkets and coffee lovers.
No Christmas shopping guide would be complete without mentioning a traditional German Christmas market and this is no exception. Christkindelmarkt is held every year in Millennium Square, Leeds and is the perfect place to soak up the seasonal atmosphere while enjoying a Glühwein and bratwurst! You’ll find over 40 wooden stalls offering everything from food and drink to crafts, decorations and trinkets. It even has a traditional carousel and range of entertainment scheduled which is bound to get you feeling festive.
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 10.30am – 9.30pm, Sunday 10.30am – 7.30pm
Perfect for: Food and drink, crafts and soaking up the festive atmosphere.
Our serviced apartments in Leeds are ideal if you are visiting the city for a shopping break over the festive period. Browse our full range of Leeds apartments here. If you fancy a Christmas getaway and are looking for inspiration, we have a great selection of ideas on where to spend Christmas in the UK here.