Queen Victoria Building, Sydney Overview

The Queen Victoria Building is one of the most prestigious and popular shopping complexes in Sydney. The building is a fine example of splendid architecture and historic charm. The expansive structure covers a whole block on George Street and it features more than 180 of Sydney's most fashionable boutiques, homeware, restaurants, cafés and several others. This imposing structure was built in 1890, and even then it was a large-scale Municipal Market.

One of the grandest structures housed on mainland Australia, the Queen Victoria Building is a magnificent shopping plaza sprawling across the length of an entire block. The beautiful Romanesque structure was built in the year 1898, and its elaborate design was specifically planned in order to employ a large number of workmen for its construction, in a time when Australia was going through recession and it is one of the best Sydney tourist places.

The Building was named thus to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of the long reigning monarch. The glorious structure is characterized by its beautiful stained-glass panels, its magnificent domes, pillars and arches. The building premises also houses a number of architectural wonders, such as the bronze statue of Queen Victoria and other similar sculptures.

The grand shopping plaza houses more than a hundred different shops, including retail stores, galleries and diners. Queen Victoria Building is especially well known for its dining options, offering more than 20 cafes and restaurants for grabs. Among its many dining options stands out the Tea Room, a heritage diner built in the concert hall once housed here.

There are several charming exhibitions scattered across the Queen Victoria Building premises. Along with the portraits of the eponymous Queen, the building also houses a secret sealed letter by the Queen, a Town Hall Palace, a Royal Wishing Well and two magnanimous clock structures.

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• Features over 180 of the most fashionable boutiques, jewellery stores and restaurants in Sydney.
• The building has beautiful stained glass windows and incredible Romanesque revival architecture.
• Another major highlight of the Queen Victoria Building is the Royal Automata Clock which is right in the centre of the complex and it chimes on the hour from 9am to 9pm.
• A curious and exciting display in the Queen Victoria Building is a sealed letter written by Queen Elizabeth II and which is to be read in the year 2085 by whoever is the lord or the mayor of Sydney in that year. No one knows the context of that letter.
• The Building is also known to house several rare and unique artefacts over the years; one such artefact is the Chinese Bridal carriage made entirely of jade. This, however was gifted to The Chinese Garden Of Friendship back in 2006

How To Reach

By Train:

The best and most hassle-free way of getting to the Queen Victoria Building from the Sydney Airport would be to take a train from the International Airport Station to Central Station, which would take around 16 minutes. 

By Car:

Alternatively, driving from the airport would be the cheapest option, and the drive would take around 14 minutes. 

By Shuttle:

One might also choose to take a shuttle from the Airport to the Queen Victoria Building, which would be the quickest option and would take around 13 minutes.

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Best Time To Visit

The best time of the year to visit the Queen Victoria Building would be during the summer months, between November to February. During this time the weather remains cool and the temperature pleasant.

It is better to visit the Building stores during the early hours of the day, when the crowd here is least, or during the late afternoon time, to avail maximum discounts at the retail stores.

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Other Essential Information

Places to Dine at the Queen Victoria Building

Apart from its shopping opportunities, Queen Victoria Building offers a number of excellent dining options. The cafes, restaurants and diners present here promise a multi cuisine experience, catering to the taste of one and all.

1. Assamm -

Exploring a number of authentic Asian flavours, Assamm in QVB is famous for its Thai offers. This Thai eating House offers authentic South Asian flavours that have become a part of the country’s culture over the years, and includes a wide variety of other tastes as well, such as that from Malaysia, Southern Indonesia, China, Vietnam and India as well.

2. The Tea Room -

A vital part of Australia’s cultural history, the Tea Room was initially used by the English Royalty as a ballroom as well as, as the name suggests, a tea room. The iconic diner, with its traditional English architecture, serves as a heritage visit and offers a delectable range of authentic European dishes to choose from. Along with its dining options, the Tea room serves High Tea on all days of the week.

3. Kikko Café -

This quaint café within Queen Victoria Building offers a delectable breakfast and lunch experience, with the preparations made from the freshest local produce. The Café is best known for its offer of specialty coffee, which is deemed to be one of the best in Sydney.

4. Esquire Drink +Dine -

Known for its fine dining options, Esquire Drink+Dine is a late night diner located within the Queen Victoria Building. The diner serves authentic Australian cuisine, and boasts of an expansive bar of its own. Esquire is most sought after for its casual ambience, offering a leisurely and relaxing experience to its diners.

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Places to Shop in Queen Victoria Building

Despite its architectural brilliance or its heritage value, the Queen Victoria Building is known best for its shopping variety. The market complex, which was initially constructed to house a number of tradesmen and shops, now hosts a grand variety of brands, both local and international, offering a host of products that would cater to everyone’s tastes.

1. Folli Follie -

Designed especially to bring out the happy side of every woman, Folli Follie prides in an array of trendy watches, accessories and jewelry offering a unique feel good factor. The products are smart and attractive, and priced moderately.

2. The Art of Dr. Seuss -

A must visit for every Seuss enthusiast, The Art of Dr. Seuss is a unique art gallery inside Queen Victoria Building, offering a delightful insight into the mind and works of the master storyteller. One can enjoy the array of artwork displayed, talk to the Seuss experts, or even purchase some original artwork made by Seuss himself.

3. Kikki.K -

A minimalist brand hailing from Sweden, Kikki.K prides in a fantastic collection of stationery and gift options that are designed seasonally to fit the needs of the buyers. The brand boasts of a fantastic collection of simplistic items, and is a must visit for any stationery lover.

4. Anne Fontaine -

Initially established in France, it was Anne Fontaine that made the white shirt a staple part of every woman’s wardrobe. Over the years, the brand developed into a full fledged lifestyle brand centered around this same white shirt, and developed other clothing options as well. The Anne Fontaine outlet at Queen Victoria Building is one of the largest in the world, offering a wide variety of styles across all ranges.

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Facts about Queen Victoria Building

Sprawling across an entire street, the Queen Victoria Building is one of the most elite shopping centers in Western Australia. With its towering domes and fantastically sculpted decorations, the magnanimous structure has many marvels to offer. Here are some general facts about the Queen Victoria Building:

The Queen Victoria Building was initially established to commemorate the monarch’s Diamond Jubilee, and replaced the original Sydney Markets that stood in its place before.

The designer George McRae, initially submitted four styles of design for the Building: Gothic, Queen Anne, Romanesque and Renaissance. The Market’s committee then decided Romanesque to be its designated style of design.

The basement of the Queen Victoria Building contains wine cellars, cooling chambers, strong rooms and public toilets.

The tearoom within the Building was initially built as a concert hall, and then later refurbished into a diner after its reconstruction. 

Queen Victoria Building offers guided tours across its premises. The tours last approximately 45 minutes, and gives a detailed account of the conception of the building, its design and its historical past. One of the tours provided here is also followed by a complimentary High Tea in the building’s famous Tea Room.

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Tips To Visit The Queen Victoria Building.

  • If you want to know more about the history, design and restoration of Queen Victoria Building then go for a guided tour of the building.
  • Make time to ride the vintage lift which still uses a lever and chain like the old days.
  • If you're going for bargain buys then stick to the shops in the basement areas. The higher floors have most of the popular and high-end fashion boutiques and jewellery stores as well as designer homewares. 
  • The Centre is wheelchair friendly with elevators and facilities for the disabled available on all floors.

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Day Wise Timings
Open Today
Normal Timings:
09:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
09:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
09:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
09:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
09:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
09:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
11:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Point of Interest for Queen Victoria Building, Sydney
The Great Australian Clock

The Great Australian Clock

Designed by expert clockmaker Christopher Cook, the Great Australian Clock is the largest hanging turret clock in the world. The clock seeks to narrate a detailed account of Australian history from both European and Aboriginal perspectives, and does so through 27 detailed paintings, 33 different landscapes and several animated figures.

The towering clock also has 32 smaller clocks within its structure displaying the time in different cities from around the world, as well as a 23 carat gold coated dome. Hanging towards the Northern End of the building, the Great Australian Clock is a wonder to behold.

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The Royal Clock

The Royal Clock

Designed by Ned Glasser, The Royal Clock is an animated clock to be found towards the southern end of the Queen Victoria Building. The clock activates on the hour between 09.00AM and 09.00PM, and displays a performance on the striking of each hour. Each performance begins with the music of the trumpet, as four animated trumpeters emerge from the four clock turrets.

The music is then followed by a show of six scenes through the two clock windows on each side, which face the rail walkways on the two adjacent sides. Each scene is painted to display the history of the English royalty.

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Queen Victoria’s Letter

Queen Victoria’s Letter

Housed within the Queen Victoria Building is a sealed case containing a secret letter written by the Queen herself. One of the most mysterious attractions in the world, this sealed letter was composed within the building in the year 1986, and then instructed by the Queen to be opened in 99 years.

The letter, addressed to the Lord Mayor of Sydney, remains secured within a case just below the Great Dome, and will remain so until its date of inauguration in the year 2085.

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The Central Dome

The Central Dome

The central dome is the most predominant architectural feature of the Queen Victoria Building. The dome structure consists of an interior glass dome, covered by an exterior copper-sheathed dome on the outside. The interior dome has three stained glass panels.

The central panel consists of Sydney’s coat of arms, the left panel displays a symbol for the Council of the City of Sydney, and the right panel represents Ipoh Gardens Berhad, the Malaysian Company that restored Queen Victoria Building.

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The Statue of Queen Victoria

The Statue of Queen Victoria

Designed by John Hughes in 1908, this pure bronze statue was first installed in Dublin, Ireland, and later moved to Australia. This was the last royal statue to be erected in Ireland. The statue is a tribute to Queen Victoria Regina as the ‘Irish Queen’ and not the ‘British Sovereign’. The structure displays the Queen sitting in a low chair rather than an elaborate throne, wearing a simple coronet instead of a coronation crown.

A bronze statue of the Queen’s favourite Skye Terrier, Islay, stands nearby. This much smaller statue was erected as a publicity act to help raise donations for supporting deaf and blind children. The bronze figure of the dog stands above a wishing well, which is used for storing the donated money.

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Queen Victoria Building, Sydney FAQs

What shops are in the Queen Victoria Building Sydney?

The shops at Queen Victoria Building caters to all ages and interests. One will find a number of jewellery stores here, such as Elvie, Gemtique, Baku, Longines or Les Nereides Paris. There are a number of apparel stores for both men and women, such as Camilla, Asics, Coach, Furla, Fossil or Michael Kors. There are a number of variety stores as well, such as Victoria’s Basement, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Art of Dr. Seuss. Gifts shops here include Florentine, Country Classics Australia, Bird Cage Australia and the Aboriginal Art Gallery among others.

How old is the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney?

The Queen Victoria Building in Sydney was initially established in 1898. As a result of the Hilton bombings of West Australia in 1978, the Building was nearly destroyed, and was then refurbished in the year 1984.

Why was the QVB built?

The Queen Victoria Building was built as a designated marketplace which would replace the existing Sydney Markets in that area. The markets were initially named as George Market Street, after its designer George McRae, and was later renamed as Queen Victoria building to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

What was the QVB used for?

The Queen Victoria Building was initially used as a marketplace. The initial design of the Building included a concert hall, coffee shops, showrooms, warehouses, and a number of offices that administered the working of the said stores.

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