Oooh the leaves are turning, there’s a chill in the air, and the shops are rapidly filling up with…you’ve guessed it…Christmas decorations! Being a fan of getting in there early before my panic that I’ll miss someone reaches stratospheric levels, I like to kickstart my shopping with a day in a shopping centre. This is great if it rains, plus there’s always all sorts of great places to eat too. So here’s my selection of the top UK shopping centres.
image by jonoakley
The UK’s largest shopping centre, MetroCentre, is based in an industrial estate in Gateshead. You can easily get here with a cheap flight to Newcastle Airport as there’s a choice of public transport that goes straight to the door. You’ll find 340 shops here including a huge Marks and Spencer, Guess and one of the UK’s only Forever 21 stores, plus a whole host of independent stores too. If you get hungry there’s a wealth of choices from YO! Sushi to Nando’s and there’s even dodgems, a cinema and ten pin bowling if you’re all shopped out.
The Trafford Centre, Manchester
image by *Debs*
Next up it’s the UK’s most costly shopping centre – for the owners, not your pocket – it cost £5 million! Amid the sweeping staircase and chandeliers you’ll find an Apple Store, Coast and the first Selfridges outside London. Eat at The Orient, Europe’s largest food court, where there’s more choice than you could ever need. Why not hop on a flight to Manchester and treat yourself to a weekend away?
Westfield Stratford City, London
image by EG Focus
The latest in the Westfield chain, this newly opened centre is right next to the Olympic Park in East London, and the floor generates energy from pedestrians! From kids shops like Build-a-Bear to designers like Mulberry and shoes at Schuh there’s plenty to please everyone. And when you get a little peckish there’s a Busaba Eathai, a shop dedicated to cupcakes and a Giraffe too! If you fancy gambling your Christmas shopping budget then you can do that as well, with the largest casino in the UK – but we think you should definitely get the kids’ presents first!
top image by by Monica Arellano-Ongpin