Based on each shopping centre’s area (m²), here are the UK’s six largest to visit and what they can offer visitors.
1. Westfield London (235,900 m²)
Located in Shepherd’s Bush, Westfield London is a pioneering shopping and leisure destination with more than 250 luxury, premium and high street retailers from more than 15 countries. As well as being the UK’s largest shopping centre, it is home to an array of arts and educational events beneath a spectacular glass roof. There are also good transport links, including four underground stations which provide trains on average every five minutes.
2. Metrocentre, Gateshead (192,900 m²)
Since 1986, Metrocentre has been the UK’s original ‘mega-mall’, housing well over 250 stores, 60 places to eat and not to mention its many leisure attractions such as Treetop Adventure Golf which is due to open soon. Groups can hunt for bargains across many well-known brands including Apple, B&M, Guess and River Island, while making use of free WiFi to keep tabs on all their group members off exploring. The Angel of the North is around 15 minutes down the road for those who want to factor in a stop to see the landmark.
3. Trafford Centre, Manchester (188,000 m²)
As the third biggest shopping centre in the UK, Trafford Centre in the heart of Manchester is renowned for its retail experience, offering visitors a broad selection of must-have brands, high street favourites, various catering options and ever-changing events to entice people back. Manchester is also teeming with fantastic attractions nearby to the centre, meaning you can incorporate a morning of shopping with a visit to the likes of the Imperial War Museum North or SEA LIFE Manchester to make a real day of it. It also offers a meet and greet service including a free tour and discounts and promotions.
4. Westfield Stratford City, London (184,100 m²)
The second and slightly smaller (not by much!) Westfield shopping centre in London offers groups another fantastic retail experience, but across to the east of the city next door to the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park. Built on three levels in a crescent shape, Westfield Stratford City is more compact and easy to walk around with escalators at each end compared to its western counterpart, although you’ll find more food options here, with around 70 places to choose from, including fast food chains to more cultural cuisine in the World Food Court.
5. Bluewater, Kent (169,200 m²)
Set across two levels with three major department stores (Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and House of Fraser), Bluewater is the UK’s fifth largest shopping destination for groups to try. Along with countless stores and eateries, the centre is surrounded by 50 acres of landscaped parkland which includes a walk through the Mosaic Gallery Tunnel which leads to a huge lake. Thrill seekers can also opt for a ride on England’s longest zip line at Hangloose Adventure nearby. Groups can book a visit to the centre with dedicated coach pick-up and drop-off bays as well as other benefits and incentives.
6. Bullring & Grand Central, Birmingham (163,000 m²)
You’ll find a wealth of stores at Bullring & Grand Central covering home, electronics and fashion brands at Birmingham’s largest shopping centre, including a Selfridges for those looking for a touch of class. Whether you’re looking for a new pair of shoes or a special outfit for your next fancy outing, this space has you covered. Don’t forget to take a quick picture in front of the famous bronze bull, weighing in at six tonnes and rated one of the world’s top ten pieces of public art in the world since its installation in 2003.