Unbelievably, this High Victorian Gothic masterpiece (1898) was repeatedly slated for demolition before it was restored in the mid-1980s. Occupying an entire city block on the site of the city’s first markets, the QVB is a Venetian Romanesque-inspired temple to the gods of retail.

Sure, the 200 speciality shops are great, but check out the wrought-iron balconies, the Byzantine copper domes, the stained-glass shopfronts, the mosaic floors, the ballroom, the tinkling baby grand and the hyperkitsch animated Royal Clock (featuring the Battle of Hastings and the beheading of Charles I). Informative 45-minute tours (12pm daily and also 2pm on Thursday and Saturday) depart from the concierge desk on the ground floor.

Outside there’s an imposing statue of Queen Vic herself. Nearby is a wishing well featuring a bronze replica of her beloved pooch, Islay, which disconcertingly speaks in the baritone voice of radio rabble-rouser John Laws.

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