Groceries and bigger buys change hands every day at Kirkgate – Europe’s largest covered market. An attractive option for shoppers on the hunt for bargains.
If it’s posh food and high end stores you’re after, Leeds’ outdoor markets probably won’t be high on your list for a day of shopping in the city centre. However, for many, the huge, constantly evolving retail space provides opportunities for food from around the world, inspiration for an evening meal, and bargains galore. The trading stalls spill out of the back of a beautiful Victorian central market hall, selling everything from groceries, fabric and cake-decorating equipment to CDs, bikes, and woolly hats.
The largest covered market in Europe, with millions of visitors every year, Kirkgate is a place to meet, eat, and haggle. Traders’ voices fill the air as they try to outdo each other on the price of meat, fish and vegetables – all of vastly superior quality and much cheaper than any supermarket offerings. As well as its reputation for inexpensive fresh produce, the market attracts plenty who visit only for its cafés and takeaways that fill the air with enticing aromas.
The Moroccan Café Moor is one of the better-established and renowned eateries, selling superb snacks, pastries, herbal tea, sandwiches and olives from a beautifully decorated stall, alongside stands offering Polish cakes, jerk chicken, and falafel burgers.
Concerns over food miles, uncertain wages, and supporting local businesses are big news in the 21st century, and there’s indication that Britain’s buying habits are moving back to the days of small basket, seasonal shopping with trusted retailers. The thriving, traditional Kirkgate Market is a great discovery for cash-savvy students, as well as those looking to make or mend, get their hair styled, experiment with alternative cuts of meat, or pick up a unique and wallet-friendly gift.