The Market today
Leeds Kirkgate Market attracts over 10 million visitors a year. Today it oozes atmosphere and the imposing, glamorous main Edwardian space is a sight to behold. Shopping at the market is an exciting, sensory experience. The sights and sounds are colourful and varied, stalls piled high with heaps of fruit and vegetables, extraordinary fresh fish, live lobsters and razor clams, and the sounds of traders calling out special offers, the banter between the regulars and stall holders, the smell of the flowers and the spices…the butchers preparing cuts of meat, there are stalls dedicated to eggs and even tripe and as for the fruit and vegetables, alongside the apples and pears are moolis, yams, scotch bonnet chillies, fresh mustard leaves, even okra, cassava and plantains… It can be a real education …..Traders love the fresh, the seasonal, the best quality and love to share that with their customers.
Today Leeds Kirkgate Market continues to diversify and 2010 saw the opening of Jamie’s Ministry of Food, backed by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. It provides cookery courses teaching people how to make healthy, balanced meals and sources all of its produce from the market. New for this year, Marks and Spencer’s have taken a stall in the market next to the M and S clock. They also run tours from award winning Heritage Trail to Kirkgate Market. The M and S Heritage Trail begins at the M and S company archive before making its way to Kirkgate Market. Here you can explore the development and impact M and S has had on the social history of Britain featuring unique artefacts, historical garments and film photographs from the archive. The exhibition tracks the journey from the Penny Bazaar in Kirkgate Market to international retailer, winding its way down to the market. The Heritage Trail is the winner of the 2013 group travel award for innovation to tourism. The Heritage Trail itinerary can be found at marksintime.marksandspencer.com. Also time starved city centre customers can shop & drop their goods in a refrigerated store in the indoor market, for later collection free of charge, fantastic if you want to shop early and pick up after work on the way home. There’s always something going on in the market with everything from seasonal events to free school holiday events for children. Make sure you visit the market soon to experience real people & real shopping.