Thornton's Arcade entraceway off Briggate

©Lorna Parkes/Lonely Planet

Thornton's Arcade


Though not the grandest, Thornton’s Arcade was the first Victorian shopping arcade to be built in Leeds and remains one of the most interesting. Its sky-coloured, neo-Gothic arches rise up to a glass ceiling and its cupboard-sized shops host some of the city’s best independent retailers and cafes. At the western end of the arcade, a giant automaton clock manned by life-sized figures of Robin Hood and Friar Tuck rings in the time on the hour.

It opened in 1878 and is named after Charles Thornton, the local entrepreneur who first came up with the idea of covering over one of the yards off Briggate and building a sheltered shopping arcade within.

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