As many high streets up and down the country are becoming like ghost towns, this has led to more extravagant shopping centres where people no longer go to just shop, but also as a weekend break.
Best Shopping Centres
- Location: Greenhithe, Kent
- Area (m2): 155,700
- First Opened: 16th March 1999
- Number of Shops: Approx. 330
- Parking Spaces: Over 13,000
- Parking Cost: £FREE
At night, Bluewater lights up the nearby darkness – situated in Greenhithe, Kent, Bluewarer is surrounded by greenery, lakes and lots of parking spaces (never worry about having to waste hours searching for a place to park!).
Bluewater caters to the more upmarket visitor, having approximately 330 shops including John Lewis, Zara, Uniqlo, GAME, HMV, Nespresso and more!
And never forget about the fancy food and restaurants – there is a wide range of cuisines on offer so if you fancy some Italian, you can go to Zizzi’s or Jamie’s Italian or perhaps Comptoir Libanais for some Lebanese food. There are also many cafes and fast food places to choose from.
If you are bored of shopping or eating, you can also check out all the leisure activities available – go watch a movie at the cinema, jump about in the Gravity Trampoline Park or take a pleasure stroll around the Bluewater Nature Trail.
2. Westfield London
- Location: White City, Greater London
- Area (m2): 241,547
- First Opened: 30th October 2008
- Number of Shops: Over 300
- Parking Spaces: 5,500
- Parking Cost: £3 (0-1 hours), £6 (1-2 hours), £8 (2+ hours on a weekday), £9 (2+ hours on a weekend)
England’s and Europe’s largest shopping centre is located in White City, West London – there are plenty of ways to get there thanks to nearby transport links, so you can explore all of Westfield, as well as the nearby Shepherd’s Bush market.
Elegantly designed externally and internally, this 5 floor building uses lots of glass roofing for optimised lighting and is soon to undergo more development concerning extension. When this is completed, there will be more retail space, as well as new offices, new streets, more public space, and over 1500 new homes (as of Sept 2018).
With over 300 shops and counting, you can shop all you want – whether you’re looking for clothing, jewelry, stationery, or entertainment, you’ll be able to find it all here at Westfield. There’s even a separate section called “The Village” which houses 35 world-class luxury stores.
3. Westfield Stratford
- Location: Stratford, Greater London
- Area (m2): 175,000
- First Opened: 13th September 2011
- Number of Shops: Approx. 280 (and 70 restaurants)
- Parking Spaces: 5000
- Parking Cost: £2.80 (0-1 hours), £5.60 (1-2 hours), £6.70 (2+ hours on weekdays), £8.40 (2-3 hours on weekends), £9.80 (2+ hours on weekends)
One of London’s other major shopping centres, next to a smaller shopping centre (the Stratford Centre), is yet another Westfield, but on the east side of the city. It’s near train stations, as well as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which a river runs through.
Approximately, there are 280 shops, including Primark, Paperchase, Urban Outfitters, Swarovski, and many more. Out of the three floors, there is one floor dedicated to food and there are 70 restaurants scattered across the shopping centre.
Furthermore, there are many leisure activities available such as the All Stars Lanes for bowling, the cinema, and various events all year round (in September, there will be the pop up fashion and design zoo!)
4. Intu Lakeside
- Location: Thurrock, Essex
- Area (m2): 133,780
- First Opened: 25th October 1990
- Number of Shops: 245
- Parking Spaces: 125
- Parking Cost: £FREEIntu lakeside– arguably Essex’s favourite shopping centre. Located nearby a large retail park that features Decathlon, SportsDirect, Ikea and a Currys megastore, Lakeside sits beautifully besides the 100,000m2 Alexandra Lake (thus the name ‘Lakeside’). Recently, it has undergone some refurbishments, which included new Italian porcelain flooring, new ceilings, new lighting, accompanied by new glass roofs for extra natural light.Additionally, there are now new and faster lifts, additional escalators, and automatic doors for optimised travel within the shopping centre.
With 245 stores and about 50 cafes and restaurants, Lakeside shopping centre caters towards working-middle class shoppers with well-known fashion brands such as Primark, JD Sports, H&M and Zara.
- Location: Liverpool
- Area (m2): 154,000
- First Opened: 29 May 2008
- Number of Shops: Approx. 170
- Parking Spaces: 3000
- Parking Cost: from £2.70 per hour
A short distance away from the River Mersey, Liverpool Cathedral and Liverpool’s Chinatown, Liver pool is the largest open air shopping centre in the UK, therefore you can appreciate the sky and enjoy the fresh air between the six districts.
Liverpool One can be easily identified amongst other shopping centres due to the use of different architects. There hasn’t been many developments in the past decade, except for in 2009 when the final residential blocks were opened.
Each of the six districts at Liverpool One are specific to different tastes, for example, if you’re after something designer and luxurious, you can head right over to Peter’s Lan. On the other hand, if you’re searching for technology, fashion and food, you can visit Paradise Street.