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VICTORIAN CONNECTIONS

Leeds may be a modern city, but the Victorian past is still easy to find!
Victoria Quarter - Hannah Webster for VisitLeeds  - interior

 

Harewood House was recently used as a filming location for ITV’s show-stopping drama ‘Victoria’.


Between March and October 2017 explore Victoria - a costume exhibition. Alongside dresses worn in the series, you will be able to enjoy a behind the scenes look at how great houses like Harewood prepare for filming and see objects owned by Queen Victoria herself.


A young Princess Victoria visited Harewood House in 1835 shortly before her coronation, and the grand country house is still lived in by her direct descendent. Marvel at the breath-taking Lancelot “Capability” Brown landscape and acres of formal gardens, enjoy tea on the idyllic Terrace, or take in the splendour of the State Rooms filled with original Chippendale furniture.

 


When you’re in Leeds, stay outside and enjoy the majestic and awe-inspiring architecture. Leeds is an impressive city and there’s plenty to see just by walking around…

VICTORIAN SHOPPING QUARTER

 

The Victorian Shopping Quarter is an area of Leeds city centre where you will find Victoria Quarter, Victoria Gate, Kirkgate Market and The Corn Exchange.

 



Victoria Gate, Leeds’ newest retail addition, is a 21st century, elegant arcade that adds to the rich history of retail in Leeds. The flagship John Lewis store has a striking facade drawing on Leeds’ textile heritage, prevalent in the Victorian era. The modern design of Victoria Gate takes its ispiration from the Victorian shopping arcades for which Leeds is renowned.

 


The Victoria Quarter Arcades have a rich history dating back over 100 years. In 1900, famous theatre architect, Frank Matcham designed these elaborate Victorian Arcades. He used rich marbles, mosaics, wrought iron and carved mahogany to create two streets, an arcade and the Empire Theatre (now the site of Harvey Nichols).


A restoration project in the 1980s ensured the preservation and regeneration of this historic area. This included Brian Clarke’s breath-taking stained glass roof, which runs the full length of Queen Victoria Street and is the largest stained glass window in Britain! You can still see the restored original features of the Victorian era in the stunning building.


The Victoria Quarter is now a unique lifestyle and leisure destination, home to more than 70 of the world’s leading designer brands such as Harvey Nichols, Louis Vuitton, Liz Earle, Paul Smith, Mulberry and Vivienne Westwood.

 


Kirkgate Market is without doubt one of the most recognisable and best loved landmarks in the city. The majestic Grade I listed building dates back to 1857 boasts the first covered retail street in Leeds and is home to the birthplace of one of Britain's biggest global brands Marks & Spencer which still has a presence. As soon as you enter this impressive Victorian masterpiece you feel alive! There isn't anywhere like this in the UK.

 

 

Leeds Corn Exchange is one of the city’s most recognisable and most impressive Victorian buildings. This Grade I building houses a wide range of independent retailers and tasty eateries, and regularly hosts vintage markets and record fairs under the famous domed roof.

 

 

Victoria Gate - Sep 16 - Courtesy of Hammerson
The Victoria Quarter
Kirkgate Market - VisitLeeds
Corn Exchange - Credit Simon Dewhurst

CATCH A SHOW IN A HISTORIC SETTING

Leeds Grand Theatre Auditorium - credit Leeds Grand Theatre
City Varieties circa 1911.Credit - postcard donated by Maurice Friedman - British Music Hall Society

 

The City Varieties Music Hall, now famous around the world, opened in 1865 as ‘Thornton’s New Music Hall and Fashionable Lounge’ delighting the crowds with comedians, contortionists, trapeze artists and reptile conquerors. Today you’re more likely to find comedians, plays, musicians and firm favourite, ‘The Good Old Days’; celebrating the golden era of Variety and Music Halls.

 


Amidst great excitement, Leeds Grand Theatre opened its doors in 1878. The theatre is widely regarded as a major milestone in Victorian theatre building and continues to welcome and entertain audiences in the lavish auditorium. Catch a west end show or take a tour to find out more about the buildings history.

 

 

The famous Leeds Town Hall was designed in 1852 as a statement of wealth and civic pride. Completed in 1858, the Town Hall was opened by Queen Victoria herself. Leeds Town Hall now hosts breath taking classical music concerts from some of the country’s leading orchestras and performances from top comedians. You can also explore the hidden secret side to the Town Hall on one of their tours!

 

 

A REAL VICTORIAN EXPERIENCE

 

For a really immersive Victorian experience, step back in time and wander through the enchanting streets, shops and houses, and find out what life was like as a Victorian at Abbey House Museum! On special event days you can even see people in traditional Victorian costume wander through the recreated Victorian Streets.

 


For those with a strong stomach, discover the sights, sounds and smells of a Victorian street in Leeds at Thackray Medical Museum. Try to work out which contagious disease the characters have before you get infected too!

 


Leeds was one of the great railway towns of Victorian times. Some of the original locomotives are on display at Leeds Industrial Museum.

 


Leeds City Museum was designed by Cuthbert Brodrick, the architect of the Town Hall and the Corn Exchange. Completed in 1868 it remains one of the most impressive Victorian buildings in the city. Visit the museum for free for a fun day out.

 

Abbey House Museum - Leeds Museums and Galleries
Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills - Leeds Museums and Galleries

FOOD AND DRINK IN ICONIC SURROUNDINGS

Whitelocks Pub

 

On lower Briggate, in the LGBT* Quarter of the city centre, you’ll find Queens Court. Queens Court occupies a large and spacious area of this ancient warehousing district, now full of popular, lively bars. Narrow alleyways, once bustling with textile workers, lead to a private and unique cobbled courtyard area, offering outside drinking and dining in an unusual setting.


Other historic venues where you can enjoy some refreshments include the Black Prince Pub; a Grade II listed building opened in 1843, you’ll find La Rambla Tapas and The Office housed in a beautiful 19th Century building and Leeds oldest pub, Whitelocks, established in 1715, is still open for business!