Monday 23 May 2016

Leeds: Magnificent Victorian Shopping Arcades

This spring I spent a week in Yorkshire, visiting Leeds and then York - exploring both cities and visiting lots of museums and other interesting historic bits and pieces along the way.

One of the highlights of my trip to Leeds was the Victoria Quarter, which is home to three Victorian shopping arcades.


There's Thornton's Arcade, which was built in 1877 and was the first of Leeds' arcades (at one time there were eight!).

If you look closely at that photo, you might be able to just make out the clock at the far end of the arcade - it's decorated with four figures from the book Ivanhoe (including Robin Hood and Friar Tuck) who strike the bells every quarter of an hour. Sadly, I didn't time my visit quite right and missed this!

Next there's Queen's Arcade, which was built in 1889.


Both arcades have some lovely decorative ironwork, and are filled with a mix of independent shops and well-known chains.

And last but by no means least is the County Arcade. Built between 1898 and 1900, this is a large and very splendid arcade!

There are some lovely and very smart arcades in London but I've never seen one quite like this before. I mean, just look at it! Isn't it fabulous?

 There are glazed domes...


... colourful ironwork, decorative tiles, symbolic mosaics...

... golden shop signage, balconies, marble columns...

... and sunlight streaming in through pane after pane of glass.


Even the floor is gorgeous.

The shops themselves are all pretty fancy as well, with a whole host of luxury brands to choose from.

This is somewhere that's definitely worth a visit, even if you're just planning on window-shopping!

Want to read more about my trip to Leeds? Click here to read about my walk along Leeds' waterside.


Ariadne said...

What gorgeous arcades!How do they manage to keep those window panes so clean I wonder!AriadnefromGreece!

Peonies and Pennies said...

How lovely, Leeds is on our list for visiting next year. My Grandparents were born there and I want to go and see their home. I will certainly be visiting the arcades whilst we are there.

Joanka-Z said...

I must visit each of these amazing places! :)

Eleanor said...

I wish I'd known you'd be up here - I live in Leeds and would've shown you round! You found some great arcades, but you missed the Grand Arcade at the bottom end of town - it's got some great independent shops selling handmade things and lots of super indie restaurants. You'll have to come back! xxx

Bugs and Fishes said...

Ariadne - the glass looks lovely and clean, doesn't it? Very well looked-after.

Peonies & Pennies - what a nice idea for a trip! I hope you'll enjoy your visit to Leeds and these fab arcades :)

Joanka-Z - aren't they great? :)

Eleanor - Ah, that's so kind of you! A friend did act as tour-guide for me but sadly there wasn't time to see everything as I was only in the city for a couple of days. I will definitely have to make sure I visit the Grand Arcade if I make a return trip!

Jacqui Wise said...

Love the mosaics.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Aren't they fabulous? :) So much detail everywhere!