I have done some tireless research into a stationery shopping strip around Leeds. By which I mean I’ve done a lot of shopping for shiny things in Leeds. Unfortunately, we are not rich with independents. In fact, we don’t have any. That may change as the new redevelopments are completed, but for the moment, here is the crawl as it stands:
Arrive Leeds Station
Leeds Station is easy to arrive at, hard to leave from. There is only one gate, so emerge from that and you will find on your right…
Only a station shop, so tiny and mostly full of cards, but the right hand wall was full of stationery when I visited, including some hard-to-find Peter Pauper Press journals. None of the higher end ones, unfortunately, but I picked up a First Chapter one and a purple gel pen when I was in, which was a very pleasant surprise. They also had Moleskine, Paperblanks and Filofax.
Then leave the station by the main exit and turn right, down New Station Street, the right again on Boar Lane. On the other side you’ll see a church and the Trinity shopping centre, where you’ll find a few gems.
2. The Pen Shop is two floors above this entrance, close to the top of the escalators and the lifts. It’s a tiny little shop, but full of absolutely beautiful stuff. From sparkly stylus pens to limited edition Mont Blancs, there’s something for every eye and every budget. The staff there were very helpful with my wide-eyed, sleepless befuddlement, took me through the options for entry level fountain pens and the different nibs, and I eventually walked out with a Kingsley Buckingham that was just too beautiful to leave and a bottle of purple ink from Pellikan.
3. Blott. From the sublime to the ridiculous. Where the Pen Shop is sleek glamour, Blott is bright colours and fun. With a big display of their trademark collectible erasers right inside, pens of every colour in displays against the wall and some great practical and fun gear, this is mostly school supplies. They also stock gorgeous pastel Zatchells, and scented stationery. Win.
Come out of Trinity at the top, and you’ll find:
4. Paperchase. There’s another in the station, but this one is much bigger.
Come out of Paperchase and turn left.
5. W H Smiths is up to your left, at the intersection with Albion Place. It’s not that exciting, but I like the range of brands they get in here, and if you’re after crafting magazines then this is a good place to look.
Turn right along Albion Place and you arrive on Briggate. To left and right you’ve got some beautiful arcades, which are worth looking around. Shops in here change and they are mostly fashion, but 6. Bayliffe and Lupton in the County Arcade is a family-run card shop that stocks a nice selection of social stationery.
Enjoy the arcades until you reach the Headrow, and then turn left. There’s not much along here, but you want to be on the opposite side of the street.
7. TK Maxx is my favourite place to buy notebooks and journals. Homesense is better, but that’s right out on a shopping estate on the motorway. Stationery is downstairs in the far corner from the escalators, and they have some absolutely gorgeous storage solution from Punch Studios, Tricoastal Design and Lady Jayne, and an impressive selection of notebooks. It’s always a bit of a rummage, but they get in stock from all over the place. When I was in yesterday they had leather-bound journals, some lovely sketch books, boxes of exercise books and a stack of letter sets. I did not buy this time, but the excitement is in finding out what they’ve got in this time. In the past I’ve bought scrapbooking papers, Eccolo journals and a lovely attaché case that’s now full of my writing gear.
Turn right up the side of TK Maxx, thorough the St John’s Centre, to the Merrion Centre. Here you will find:
9. The Works
From the Merrion Centre, come back down Albion Street. On your left you’ll see.
10. Waterstones. Stationery is on the first floor, by the check-out. Not a massive selection, but plenty of Moleskines and Paperblanks, of course, and some specialist reading stationery like a make-your-own-library kit.
Albion Street will then lead you back down to the station, to where you started.