When it comes to shopping hotspots, London is one of the world’s most popular and trendiest cities to make your purchases. So whether your looking for the latest in fashion or a bite to eat, ilikelondon has compiled a list of our top five favourite shopping centres accessible to Londoners. Make sure to visit them this year!
Brent Cross Shopping Centre
In the latter half of the 1970’s, Brent Cross Shopping Centre became the first of it’s kind to open in the UK. Today, it is still a fantastic place to shop, with large departmental stores such as John Lewis and Fenwicks, as well as your regular high street brands like H&M, Top Shop, Zara and Office.
Restaurants are a plenty with expected staples like McDonalds, Burger King and Pizza Hut, along with more upmarket chains like Wagamma. Stiffer competition especially from the likes of the newer, much bigger and feature-rich Westfield shopping malls in Stratford and Shepherds Bush, have certainly stolen some of the thunder in Brent Cross. It’s transport links are also not as convenient, with the nearest underground station not as close as one might expect, although bus and car links are good. Free parking is also excellent.
Westfield Shopping Centres (Shepherd’s Bush. Stratford City).
With a very modern structure and appeal, the Westfield Shopping Centres in Shepherd’s Bush and Stratford City have become immensely popular since their opening in October 2008 and September 2011 respectively. The shepherds bush centre has a retail floor area approximately the size of 30 football pitches! Meanwhile the Stratford City branch is the largest urban shopping centre in the European Union. There are 255 stores in the Westfield (Shepherds Bush), among them you will find brands such as Apple, All Saints, French Connection, HMV, LEGO, Marks and Spencers, Starbucks, Topshop and Zara. There’s also a high-end retail area called The Village, which boasts premium brands such as Burberry, Dior, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Versace.
Westfield (Stratford City) has approximately 400 stores 70 restaurants. It also has very large department stores including John Lewis, Waitrose supermarket, and Marks and Spencers. The centre also contains a 24-hour casino and hotels, including Premier Inn with 267 rooms. Both centres have a seventeen-screen Vue digital cinema which can seat almost 3,000. There’s plenty to do, shop and eat at the Westfield centres and there are multiple transport links to them via London Underground/Overground, Bus, taxi and private transport.
Based in Kent, England, Blue Water is an out of town shopping centre which opened in March 1999. The fourth largest shopping centre in the UK it features 330 stores and serves over 27 million visitors a year. A major rival to the older Lakeside shopping centre, you will find staples such as John Lewis, Waterstones, Showcase Cinema as well as House of Fraser, Nando’s, Costa Coffee and Giraffe Restaurant.
Like Blue Water, Lakeside (now re-branded as Intu Lakeside) is an out-of-town shopping centre in West Thurrock, Essex. Opening in October 1990, there are over 250 shops including Primark, Debenhams and House of Fraser. There are also 50 cafes and restaurants, altogether the centre brings in an average of 500,000 visitors a week. It is open from 10am – 10pm on weekdays, 9am – 9pm on Saturdays and 11am – 5pm on Sundays.
Bicester Village is an outlet shopping centre in the town of Bicester, Oxfordshire, England. The UK’s leading designer outlet village, this shopping centre is recognised for it’s range of luxury designer brands including Alexander Mcqueen, Armani, Hugo Boss, Bose, Chloe, Calvin Klein, DKNY, Dior, Gucci, Lacoste, Timberland and many more. If you’re looking for signature designer brands, there are fewer places with this much variety grouped into one place. This outlet centre doesn’t have any covering on the main walkway to protect you from our gloriously typical British Weather, so keep an umbrella handy on rainy days. Also while there are restaurants available you won’t find a selection of fast food or places to eat quickly apart from the food stalls outside. You can reach the centre from London via train to Bicester North followed by a shuttle bus straight to the boutiques. Two regular buses run from Oxford to Bicester Village every half hour. If going by car you can travel via M40 and exit junction 9 onto the A41, parking is free.
Did you know? Westfield Stratford is so big that it had to be given its own postcode. This is the first time that a new postcode is created in London since 1960! The new Stratford City postcode is E20 and was previously used in the popular TV soap Eastenders as the postcode for the fictitious borough of walford.