Lingering in Leeds!

The breathtaking ceiling in the Victoria Quarter

The breathtaking ceiling in the Victoria Quarter

I seldom pay more than a flying visit to the city of Leeds, but recently I had cause to wonder why. Never much of a shopper, I’m happy to let life flow around me as I absorb the architecture. Strolling through the city with my son, I was left far behind when we came upon the Victoria Quarter.  Here is just a glimpse of what I saw before I scurried to catch up.

Click on a photo to open the gallery

How about this for a ceiling?

How about this for a ceiling?

The wrought iron was spectacular too

The wrought iron was spectacular too

Down at ground level wasn't shabby either

Nor was ground level too shabby

All of the top names in the world of designer clothes are here, so if you are a shopper you will undoubtedly be in heaven.  County Arcade, Cross Arcade and Queen Victoria and King Edward streets were linked together to form the Victoria Quarter in the 1900s. Theatre architect Frank Matcham was responsible for the design, which no doubt accounts for its drama,  lavishly using faience and marble.  The Empire Palace Theatre was originally part of the development, since replaced by Harvey Nichols department store.

Nothing stops in the world of design and Victoria Quarter is currently undergoing a new phase. Me, I was swept on past beautiful Kirkstall Market to the newer kids on the block, Trinity Centre.

Looking up in the Trinity Centre

Looking up inside the Trinity Centre

Are you a tennis fan?  Crossing town we came upon on open air big screen, and my son remarked that if Murray makes the final it would be a great place to watch the match.  Given current weather conditions that would seem like an excellent idea, but my husband, whose birthday it is that day, was less than thrilled with the suggestion.

Federer, wilting in the heat?

Federer, wilting in the heat?

Right on his doorstep, brand new First Direct Arena is eagerly awaited.  A hot venue for summer!

But I can’t help hankering after the old.  I looked wistfully up at remnants of the old Leeds.

I'd be happy with a home like this

I do hope it will last!

So what did you make of Leeds?  A thriving modern city these days.  I hope that Dawn will enjoy adding it to her collection at A Lingering Look at windows.  This month she looks at windows that aren’t windows any more!


  1. I love Leeds arcades, I was once of the huge numbers of students! The city was just turning itself around when I was there, and so I remember the pre-glass days of the Trinity Centre and when the Victoria Quarter went through the early 1990s rehaul. In fact some of the student on my course helped with the marketing! I love returning, and am lucky enough to still have friends who live there.

    1. It used to be a place I only ever went to for cheap Christmas shopping, Becky, but it certainly covers all ends of the spectrum now. My son is very happy there. (he’s working at Leeds Festival next weekend and has packed the wellies and tick socks for all the mud that’s likely to be about. 🙂 I expect to come home to lots of washing!)

  2. Beautiful architecture! The arcades seem similar to the Parisian galeries, only grander. Belated birthday wishes to Mike! 🙂

    1. Thanks, darlin’! You’re very kind 🙂 And huge thanks for all the time you’ve spent here today. These have been likened to the famous ones in Milan, and apparently there are some beauties in Brussels too. I must get out more 🙂 🙂

  3. Leeds has undergone such a transformation since I lived there (for 12 years when I was growing up). Now when I go back on family visits, I’m amazed at what they’ve done to the place. The Victoria Arcade is a wonderful place in which to browse and shop (I don’t need any encouragement to shop!) and the Trinity Centre …well people come from all over the country to shop there. I also love the way they’ve cleaned up the Victorian facades – the Art Gallery is well worth a visit and has a good cafe/self service restaurant. Thanks for sharing Jo – another place close to my heart! 🙂

    1. I’m not at all familiar with the Art Gallery, Rosemay. I’ll have to look that one up. I just spotted Leeds Museum this last time we were there and that looked wonderfully impsosing. I suggested to James we’d have to do a ‘home swap’ one weekend so we can have a better look around, because we’re always just passing through. More often he comes home with the washing! 🙂 Do you still have family/friends there? I guess so. 🙂

      1. The Art Gallery is at the top end of The Headrow Jo – I only went there for the first time last year on one of my trips (my dad suggested it)! Yes I still have family in Yorkshire though my parents now live in Harrogate not Leeds. My sister lives in Leeds though so I come in to see her. My aunt lives in Burley In Wharfedale and my brother in Bingley so I always come to Yorkshire when I’m in the UK! Is your son studying in Leeds? It’s become a much more vibrant and trendy place since I lived there (not linked I’m sure!) 🙂

    2. He’s finished Uni and is working/training in Audiology, Rosemay. He did consider Manchester but he likes ‘the vibe’ in Leeds. Thanks for the info. 🙂

  4. Wow! Leeds has changed such a lot since I was last there when I was only 21. I’m amazed at the beautification which has taken place. Great photos of the wonderful architectural detail, Jo.

    1. The arcades have been there all along but I didn’t know Leeds well and wasn’t aware of them, Ad. I think they’re doing a grand job on beautifying right now 🙂 Thanks, darlin’. 🙂

    1. It’s a city that used to be quite down at heel, Paula, but the modern architecture compliments the old very well. I keep saying to my son that when he comes home for the weekend, me and Mick should pop down to Leeds (now that he has a rather nice flat, at last 🙂 ) Many thanks! Relaxed weekend for you?

  5. Only been round the ring road jo Lol … It certainly has an awful lot on offer though for a visit from your pictures ! Tiring isn’t it no matter how much one wants to explore cities … plenty of choices for coffee I’m sure ! I’d probably have given the dechchairs a miss like others in that blistering heat last week mind 😉

    1. We stopped by the canal for a bite to eat, Poppy, and there was just a hint of breeze. We’d already done the hard work of moving James from a tired old house to a flat. NOT the weather for it, but definitely tennis weather 🙂 Happy weekend, Pops! Thanks for stopping by. Any cool plans?

      1. Canal side dining was the answer after * the move .. oh how many times I’ve been involved in that scenario .. nice to help the youngsters settled . I’m Inbetween getaways here Jo … it feels like wash ‘n go 😀 Back from a few days in Sussex and off to Cornwall a morrow . There’s just no stopping the click of that camera shutter for me 🙂 You a good one too x

    2. It’s ‘wash n go’ every time James comes home! 🙂 There seems to be 3 times as much this weekend with all those cupboards we emptied out. Cornwall would be bliss! Enjoy, Poppy 🙂

  6. I’ve always liked Leeds, especially for the Victorian architecture. I worked there quite a lot and one of my jobs was writing a history for the county archaeology department of the development of the city. I doubt I’d recognise it now though! Certainly don’t recognise the sound of the driving problems, always pretty easy back in the last century …

    1. It’s a good looking city but until this move James lived in fairly down at heel studenty accommodation. With one way systems and not driving there often we always struggle to find him. 🙂 And it’s gridlocked around rush hour. Not everyone likes city life but when you’re trying to get in or out of it, you wouldn’t think so!

    1. Ooh- let’s not go there! 😦 Happy to have you back, Sue 🙂 I haven’t been following your adventures(apart from Machu Pichu 🙂 ) due to the heat (that’s a new excuse!), laziness, and an overcrowded schedule, but I’ll come and have a catch up soon. It must have been amazing! 🙂

      1. No no need to feel you have to catch up. Drop in any time and it’s always a pleasure to have you visit. It was an astounding trip and we may need a vacation to recover. 🙂

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