The behind-the-scenes Kirkgate Market tour that’s one of the best ‘hidden gems’ in the city

As part of The Guardian’s 10 hidden gems to see during the city’s Year of Culture 2023, Kirkgate Market took the top spot as one of the best things to do.

It’s no secret that we’re a huge fan of exploring the 180-odd stalls that fill up the incredible space, weaving in and out of markets stocking everything from pound cakes to CDs and sushi – it really is the perfect place to pass the time and explore a new side of the city centre.

@thehootleeds SHORT STUFF: Leeds Kirkgate Market 🤩 #leeds #didyouknow #leedsuni #leedscitycentre #leedsleedsleeds ♬ original sound – Thehootleeds

But if you thought you’d explored it all, there’s a special behind-the-scenes heritage tour of Leeds Kirkgate Market that’s a real tell-all.

As Europe’s largest covered market, there’s so much more to explore than just the stalls themselves, find yourself wandering down corridors of traders from years gone by or peer into the future and catch a glimpse of the building work that’s preserving the market for generations to come.

And of course, who could forget a stop at the birthplace of Marks and Spencers – which is actually where the heritage tours begin. Meet by the M&S Centenary clock at midday sharp on the second Saturday of the month and join a small group of like-minded visitors to wander through for an hour and uncover the horrible histories and fascinating facts about Leeds Kirkgate Market.

market stall.
Image: M&S

The free tours were recently acclaimed in The Guardian’s article ’10 hidden gems to see during the city’s Year of Culture 2023′, alongside some of Leeds’ finest street art and popular Headingley event space Left Bank.

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Here’s what The Guardian had to say about Kirkgate Market: “With its art nouveau steeples and domes punctuating the skyline, the Grade-I listed market hall is hardly a shrinking violet. Still, many fail to explore its cavernous interior, with stalls selling everything from vinyl records and yucca plants to cinder toffee, veggie thalis and Yorkshire pudding wraps.

“Excellent monthly heritage tours (free) help visitors navigate the treats on offer, ascend the normally out-of-bounds balcony and hear about the market’s tumultuous past.”

You can find out when the next free Heritage Tour at Leeds Kirkgate Market event is taking place here.

Feature Image – Wikicommons

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