The UK is known for a lot of things – its incredible history, its beautiful countryside and its vibrant cultural scene. However, it is also a great country to live in if you love shopping as it has some of the best malls and high streets in the world.
To help you find out where the top places to hit the shops are in Britain, I’ve compiled a list of the best shopping centres. Read on to find out more.
1) The Trafford Centre
The Trafford Centre is certainly a spectacle to behold, with the huge mall covering more than 185,000 sq m of retail space, 16,250 sq m of leisure area and nearly 14,000 sq m of dining establishments. You’ll be blown away by the impressive size of the centre, which lies in Old Trafford on the outskirts of Manchester.
Due to its location, the Trafford Centre is popular with people living in the entire north-west, including Manchester, Liverpool, Chester and the Peak District. Its catchment area is larger than any other in the UK and more than 5.3 million people within a 45-minute drive visit the Trafford Centre.
The £1.6 billion mall has 60 restaurants and cafes and more stores than you’ll know what to do with, which is why it is extremely popular with students living in accommodation in Manchester, as well as families and young professionals alike. So popular is the Trafford Centre that it sees 30 million visitors per year, with customers seemingly finding it hard to resist all the shops, as the average spend is £149 per person.
2) Westfield Stratford City
Many people associate Oxford Street as being the best place in London to put their credit card through its paces, but the latest shopping centre – Westfield Stratford City – gives the famous high street a run for its money.
Since it opened in September 2011, thousands of visitors have passed through its doors, lured by its 250-plus shops, including the likes of John Lewis and Marks & Spencer. Westfield Stratford City has more than 175,000 sq m of retail and leisure space, which includes a 17-screen cinema, in addition to its retail facilities. The shopping centre became incredibly popular during the London Olympics 2012, as it was a gateway to the Olympic Park. Since then though, tourists and Londoners have continued to visit and fill their bags with lots of new purchases.
3) Meadowhall Shopping Centre
Further up north, Sheffield is home to Meadowhall Shopping Centre. This huge mall is spread over 140,000 sq m of floor space and has 280 stores. Every year, more than 25 million visit Meadowhall Shopping Centre, attracted by its huge number of retail facilities, leisure services and 12,000 free car parking spaces, which make it easier for visitors to access.
Meadowhall first opened in 1990 and has established itself as one of the best shopping centres in the UK over the last two decades. If you’re looking for high street and designer clothes, beauty services and dining establishments in and around Sheffield, this is the place to go.
4) Liverpool One
While the Trafford Centre is perhaps the best-known shopping facility in the north-west, recently opened Liverpool One has been giving it a run for its money. Located in the heart of Liverpool, this huge shopping centre features more than 160 shops, 20 bars and restaurants, a five-acre park and a 14-screen cinema over 153,000 sq m. It is a great place to visit, especially for young people and students living in Liverpool accommodation.
With regards to shops, it has everything you need, including department store Debenhams, high street shops Disney Store and Gap, and designer labels including Boss.
5) Westfield London
Westfield London was the original Westfield shopping centre in the capital city, with £1.7 billion mall opening in 2008. The 150,000 sq m centre has 345 retailers, making it the largest shopping centre in the UK – perfect for students, professionals and families living or visiting London. Just like Westfield Stratford City, this centre means you don’t have to go into the heart of the capital to hit the shops, as it is located in west London, an area well served by public transport.
There are also 4,500 car parking spaces, so you can easily drive to the mall, although more than 200,000 people work within 2 miles of the site, which gives an indication as to how many people are able to easily visit the shopping centre every day. Its catchment area covers 2.7 million people and, as it has a gym, a 14-screen Vue cinema and a library, it’s not hard to see why many of these will come to Westfield London on a regular basis.
Natasha Al-Atassi is a property and student news writer for Manchester student accommodation brand Vita Student, collating the latest industry news about student property in the UK, the Vita Student brand and information to help students currently at university.