Leeds is a city that certainly has something for everyone. With big destinations including Trinity for high street brands, Victoria Quarter for some high-end luxury and Leeds’ newest arrival Victoria Gate housing some fantastic brands and the largest John Lewis outside of London, shoppers really are spoilt for choice.
Looking outside of those well known brands, we’ve taken tips from locals in the know to dig out those hidden gems – independents where you can pick up something a little bit different to suit the personality of the person you’re buying for, earning you extra brownie points this Christmas.
For art admirers
With its huge array of affordable posters and art prints, you’re sure to find something for everyone at On the Wall in the Corn Exchange. Ranging from music to gaming, film to fashion magazine covers and contemporary art to vintage comics, they also offer a framing service, making life just a little bit easier in the pre-Christmas rush.
ArtOfficial on Kirkgate was set up by famous street artist Bretski and, as well as having art and t-shirts for sale, sells everything they might want to create their own works of art. What’s more they also run workshops, so if you’re looking for a more hands on present idea, this could be the gift you’re looking for.
For music maestros
Jumbo Records in the Merrion Centre is an absolute must-visit to find a gift for a music enthusiast. With its huge selection of vinyl, CDs, music merchandise and even gig tickets, the store’s friendly and super knowledgeable staff will happily chat through what you’re looking for and make spot-on suggestions you wouldn’t have even thought about.
One of Leeds’ most highly regarded stores for music buffs, Crash Records on The Headrow is a stalwart of the city. Boasting a plethora of the best indie, rock and metal vinyl, as well CDs and tickets, its offering has been enhanced with the addition of second-hand music specialists, Wall of Sound Records in its basement.
For vintage and retro fans
Blue Rinse on Call Lane has been a firm favourite of vintage lovers for over two decades. Bursting at the seams with handpicked vintage gems from around the world and transforming old garments into style must-haves, if you’re after ethical fashions, this is the place to visit.
Looking for something for a real fashion lover? Best on Newmarket Street has become a real hit with fashion aficionados, specialising in both interesting and exciting new clothing, but with a real emphasis on reworked clothing, creating one off pieces that are bang on trend.
For literature lovers
If you’re looking for something a bit different for an avid reader, then the Village Bookstore in Thornton’s Arcade is a great place to visit. Regarded as one of the coolest independent shops in Leeds, it has a great selection of contemporary art, design, fashion and photography books and magazines, as well as self-published and small press zines from artists around the world.
Colours May Vary on Duke Street in filled with interesting books, journals, prints, gifts, wrapping papers, homeware and stationery, all hand-picked by the team. The staff are always happy to help with recommendations, so if you’re feeling a bit stuck, then make sure you swing by Colours May Vary.
For craft enthusiasts
Fabrication on Albion Street is a social enterprise project, bringing together local crafters to offer an outstanding array of local crafts, including clothing, jewellery, accessories, art, homewares and beauty products. As well as a huge array of inspired gifts, they also run craft classes – ideal for anyone looking to give an experience this Christmas.
Looking for something to keep their hands busy over the Christmas break? Fred Aldous on Kirkgate has been supplying craft supplies to Leeds’ crafters for more than 130 years. With two floors of gift ideas, stationery and arts & crafts products, it’s a treasure trove for stocking fillers and inspiring gift ideas.
For something sparkly
Aladdin’s Cave in Queen’s Arcade has been selling beautiful vintage and antique jewellery for over three decades. If you’re looking for something a bit special to treat someone close to your heart, their carefully hand-picked jewellery offers an awe-inspiring alternative to the mass-produced items often found on the high street.
On the look-out for a one-off or bespoke piece of jewellery this Christmas? Check out Simcha Gallery in the Corn Exchange, which has a beautiful array of bracelets, brooches, cufflinks, earrings, necklaces and rings, all crafted by owner Stephen Roper.
Specialising in both precious and semi-precious gemstones from around the world, Outrage Jewellers in the Corn Exchange has options for every budget, making it a firm favourite of jewellery hunters in the know.