Kirkstall Abbey Markets celebrate third birthday

By June 11, 2014

Fashion. Leeds.


Leeds is well known for its abundance of markets – not only playing host to one of the largest indoor markets in Europe, but also to a wide variety of Arts, Crafts, Food, Vintage and Antiques markets across the City every week.

Two of such markets are held in the beautiful surroundings of one of Britain’s best preserved abbeys – Kirkstall Abbey. The ‘Deli’ and ‘Crafts & Collectables’ markets are about to celebrate their third birthday later this month and TSOTArts discovers how these popular markets have grown from just 14 to 50 stalls with such great success…

Held on the last Saturday and Sunday of the month from 12noon-3pm, the markets provide visitors with a great day out along with high quality products supplied by local producers from March through to November.

Set in the picturesque 12th century Cistercian ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, the market was initially funded by Leeds City Council’s inner north-west area committee and supported by local councilors. The aim was to provide visitors access to locally sourced produce and give people the chance to buy good quality food, plants and goods from local producers. It was hoped that by providing a venue and market infrastructure, the abbey would be encouraging innovation and entrepreneurial activity.

With the first 10 stalls bought using the funding and a further twelve provided by Leeds Markets, the market was able to expand from an early stage and has continued to grow from strength to strength since the first event was held on May 28 2011.

The first market had just 14 stalls but after attracting 1300 visitors in just three hours on its opening day, the signs were already there that here was an event that was going to be very popular. Within a few months the market had grown from 14 stalls to nearly 40 and had to relocate into the cloister of the abbey – now its current home. As well as providing more space for stalls, tables and chairs, the new space has also allowed the markets to play host to a variety of entertainers each month with regular bands, singers and even magicians performing for the visitors and stallholders.

Due to popular demand and the success of the Saturday market, it was decided that a general market should be held the following Sunday with food stalls from the deli market along with crafts, collectables, art and fashion. After a two-month trial which again turned out to be very popular, it now has become a regular fixture at the abbey and boasts as many stalls and visitors as the deli market.

Three years on, the markets now boast up to 50 stalls and over 80,000 visitors since the beginning. Both markets are regarded as a perfect place to visit to find high quality local produce, plants, handmade crafts, collectables, vintage treasures, jewellery, artwork and household items from across Yorkshire.

The deli markets will be held on the following weekends in 2014:

May 31st & June 1st

June 28th & 29th

July 26th & 27th

August 30th & 31st

September 27th & 28th

October 25th & 26th

November 29th & 30th


Details of stalls appearing at this year’s markets can be found at


Kirkstall Abbey is one of the most complete Cistercian monasteries in Britain. The abbey continues to be a much loved visitor attraction in Leeds, and throughout the year is home to a variety of family fun events and activities. This includes the recent launch of the ‘Happy Abbey’ art project, which when completed, will see community and disabled groups from across the city decorate 20 hardboard monks before making their way to a new home at the abbey.

For more information on The Happy Abbey project, visit

Filed under: Fashion, Food