Eats, drinks, gifts and more – the best places to shop local this festive season
LEEDS is blessed with fantastic independent traders – here’s our lowdown on where to shop local for festive food and drink, and presents for your loved ones, your house and yourself.
Support the local economy and think green this year – avoid gimmicky gifts that will end up in the bin, consider buying secondhand, ditch the plastic packaging and only give things that folk really want, or that will definitely be used or consumed… home-baked goods will mean far more than yet another branded soap set. Give glittery paper a wide berth – instead, try wrapping with fabrics that can be reused by the receiver, like nice tea towels or scarves. This list is by no means exhaustive, but we’re so spoilt in Leeds that we have too many indies to include them all…
Dress you up
Find things to wear and add vibrancy chez vous
Spread across two stores at 9-11 Call Lane, Blue Rinse equals eight floors packed with rail upon rail of one-off vintage treasures, 90s sportswear and exclusive upcycled designs. Established on Vicar Lane in 1987, The Hip Store Leeds stocks classic and contemporary brands – Norse Projects, Patagonia and Red Wings, to name but a few – and is the place to pick up timeless high-quality pieces that will last for years to come.
Up the road in Munro House on Duke Street, you’ll find a satisfying array of prints, books, stationery and homeware at Colours May Vary, where there’s also an amazing selection of independent magazines covering every topic imaginable. You’re sure to find something to suit even the most niche of interests here. Green fingers? The Plant Point is a mini jungle in the Corn Exchange (pictured top), run by two sisters with a love of all things plant related, from potted succulents and cacti to unique blooms to brighten your home.
Another spot for your green needs, Burley Road’s Short Press has a huge range of plants, pots, homeware, ceramics and prints from local creatives – and they’re always ready with tips and tricks to help your plants thrive. Independent Meanwood gift shop Flavour Like Fancy has a wide selection of unique hand-crafted gifts with a focus on Yorkshire-based indie makers of quirky jewellery, homeware, ceramics, prints and much more. A four-minute walk away is Tandem, with a beautiful gallery and shop space where you’ll find artwork, ceramics and textiles – lovely finishing touches for the home – plus a cafe serving hearty food, to fuel you for the next leg…
Let's get busy
Read, listen, taste, do – share experiences with friends and family
Back in the Corn Exchange, another gem is Released Records, selling both new and pre-loved vinyl. You’ll find something to suit any music fan, and if you’re not completely sure what they’ll enjoy most, you can always grab a voucher. Talking of which, gift cards are available at Village Books, an indie bookstore curating a selection of contemporary books and magazines covering fashion, art, food, design and everything in between. It’s conveniently located in the same arcade – Thorntons – as OK Comics, another great spot for picking up some unique reads, while comic and games store Travelling Man is a mere five-minute schlep up Briggate. Here, there’s a range to suit players of all ages, from familiar classics to more complex strategy-based games. You can get stuck into a gift from here with friends and family after the Christmas pud. Perfect!
A voucher for one of the many regular Leeds Food Tours is a great gift for food-loving friends. They’ll get to eat a ton of food, hear unique stories about the vendors and their suppliers, and learn about the heritage of food in Leeds and Yorkshire. Also selling vouchers are both sites of Manjit’s Kitchen. Curry favour with your spice fan friends – who will be able to redeem their gift at either location, the original Kirkgate Market, or the team’s newest place on Kirkstall Road.
Know someone who’s mad about beer? Then how about a brewery tour and tasting session? Usually hosted by me (shameless plug, I know), a North Brewing Co voucher gets you three beers, a chat about the history of the company and a walk through the brewing process.
Feast those eyes
Everything you could wish for on your Christmas table
George & Joseph on Harrogate Road is Leeds’ only specialist cheesemongers. They source the best locally produced Yorkshire cheese, as well as from the rest of the UK and beyond, and you’ll also find a range of crackers and chutney. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time as there’s always a queue at Christmas, but it’s well worth the wait.
Also on Harrogate Road in Chapel Allerton and in Kirkgate Market in town, Tarbett’s Fishmongers are Yorkshire’s largest indie fishmongers, with a broad selection of quality seafood. If you do the traditional fish supper on Christmas Eve, these guys are sure to have everything you could want.
Not exactly Leeds, but Lishman’s Of Ilkley has long been my butcher of choice, and for your Christmas meat (if you’re having any), the journey is worth it with all the joints you could want for Christmas Day, plus all the trimmings: gravy, pigs in blankets, stuffing… You’ll find Neils Greengrocers in Kirkgate Market selling a variety of seasonal fruit and veg, from sprouts to cranberries, while Millies on Vicar Lane has organic offerings from the likes of Whiteleys Farm in Pudsey. If you’re looking for fresh produce with full-on flavour, this is the place to go. Wherever you’re headed, don’t forget to take your own totes to save on plastic bags.
With or without alcohol, there’s something here with seasonal spirit
We’re spoilt for choice with drink suppliers in Leeds, but please remember to only gift alcohol if you know the receiver actually drinks. For your non-drinking pals, check out Dry Drinker for a huge selection of interesting alcohol-free drinks. Latitude Wine on Cherry Tree Walk supplies the majority of your favourite bars and restaurants in Leeds, so where better to pick up your Christmas tipples. The knowledge base of the team is formidable, and their shelves boast an extensive, premium range at affordable prices.
Regent Street’s Wayward Wines sell low intervention wines from small, independent producers so is great for something different that the wine lover in your life probably hasn’t tried before. Horsforth’s Once Upon A Vine is owned by Simon, who has a wealth of experience in the wine industry. You can also pre-order your Christmas cheese for collection from the wine bar and shop, and there's a lovely gift-wrapping option and vouchers, which can be used for purchases or to book a space at one of the regular tasting events.
Proving that marital bliss and co-owning a business can actually work, Richard and Bryony Brownhill of both Little Leeds Beerhouse in the Corn Exchange and Brownhill & Co have meticulously curated a selection of beers from the UK and beyond, to delight even the geekiest of beer fans. Beer Ritz is the longest-established online bottled beer retailer in the UK, but we’re lucky enough to have them at our fingertips with their shop in Headingley. They stock beer from the best-known breweries in the UK, as well as Belgian classics and American staples. Independent family-run Armley convenience store Raynville Superstore specialises in beer, and stocks over 500 UK craft and world beers. You can even grab those household essentials while you’re there. It might be Christmas, but you still need loo roll, after all.
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