Sunday, January 06, 2013

UK: Leedsify: Leeds City Markets – Europe’s largest covered market

Leeds City Markets also known as Leeds Kirkgate Markets is located in the Leeds City Centre – right near to important landmarks like “Corn Exchange” and “Leeds Minster”.

The Markets existed as open markets way back in 1822 and over the past two centuries, they have been re-constructed and re-architected multiple times to become the markets that they are today. The external facades and entrance to the markets do give a preview to the rich legacy that these markets carry on today. Undoubtedly, they are one of Europe’s largest covered market.

From an accessibility perspective, the Leeds Train Station is about 5 minute walk away and the Leeds Coach Station and local Leeds bus stations are just nearby. There is also a huge Multi storey National Car Park right besides it, in case you want to drive down for shopping. There are multiple entrances into the Leeds City Markets.

The Leeds City Markets – are more than a century old and are part of the Leeds City Council. They are managed pretty well as the markets were very clean and even the Toilets were spic and span. One can find everything there in the markets – everything from fresh fruit, vegetables, meat & fish, handicrafts, hookah’s, clothing, flowers or other unusual crafts, handicrafts and gifts.

Was surprised to find Lord Krishna and Radha's potrait outside one of the shops, with other religious artefacts of Islam and Christianity. Leeds in its own unique ways showcases its role of a cultural melting pot in Yorkshire.

Hinduism, Christinianity and Islam co-exist peacefully

It is highly unlikely if one doesn’t find what one is looking for in this market, if you walk across all the 800 stalls and rub shoulders with one of those 100,000 visitors who visit the Leeds City Market every week! You can even have food in the various local restaurants, which tempt you with their decor and choice of menus!

A variety of options for clothes shopping is very tempting.

And while you are doing that, don't forget to look towards the ornate decorations at the roof, which in some way stand testimony to the cumulative history of 2 centuries of the Leeds Markets!

Another interesting piece of information is that the renowned retail outlet from UK and now the world over - Marks & Spencer, was actually founded in Leeds City Market here.In 1884 when Michael Marks, a Polish refugee opened a market stall in the open market here , with the slogan ‘don’t ask the price, it’s a penny’.The Marks & Spencer's heritage is marked by the Market Clock in the 1904 hall which bears the shops name. This clock was unveiled in 1984 to celebrate the centenary of Marks & Spencer.

In the times of major supermarkets like TESCO, ASDA, Co-operative etc the Leeds City Markets give an easy alternative to one to “buy local produce” and hence support local farmers and markets. 

The open market just behind the covered side of the Leeds City Markets are famous for good vegetables (cheaper than your supermarkets),  clothing, accessories, DVD’s and VCD’s, tobacco and hookah and other unusual crafts and handicrafts. 

I would recommend you to spend at least 2-3 hours in these markets and be a part of the history these markets are creating for the past two centuries and enjoy the local shopping experience and observing local people from all walks of life making their buying choices, especially on a Saturday morning! 

I am sure it will make you take a walk down memory lane and remember similar markets back home in India or your home countries!

1 comment:

european destinations said...

Thanks for a great post ! Being a self proclaimed foodie, I love visiting food markets abroad !