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Play, Shop and Eat At Mackinnon Mills..
Mackinnon Mills (Coatbridge)
Member Name: angelboouk
Mackinnon Mills (Coatbridge)
Advantages: location, lots to browse, food quality, play area is reasonably priced, layout
Disadvantages: unsupervised play area, expensive food, toilets stinky, needs a path for those arriving on foot
Mackinnon Mills is a Factory Outlet which is located just off the M8 in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire. It is open 7 days a week (midweek 10-5.30pm and weekends 10-6pm). There is a large car park outside which offers free parking and the First Bus service 201 stops close by.
Mackinnon Mills is disabled and pram friendly throughout and has toilet and baby changing facilities. This outlet has an open plan arrangement but the different shops have their own area. Mackinnon Mills boasts a range of fashion clothing for all ages, gifts, food and more. There is restaurant and a Costa Coffee as well as a play area for the little ones. I would imagine this type of outlet would be popular with those travelling on the motorway and wishing to stop for something to eat before carrying on with their journey.
~Why We Choose To Visit Here~
We live around 20mins by bus from Mackinnon Mills. I used to visit here regularly as a child with my Mum and Gran. I visited with my Mum during December and spotted that there was now a play area so figured a return trip with my son was needed. We returned yesterday (Saturday 16/02). As I don't drive, we arrived by bus. This outlet is definitely more aimed at those who drive. The bus stop isn't too far away but there is no actual safe path into the outlet which doesn't involve risking your life by crossing the busy car park. I think this is something that needs to be addressed.
It think it is really good to be an outlet like this nearby as there is something for everyone under one roof. The building is huge despite not looking overly big from the outside. It is clean throughout but I would say that the toilets could do with a major overhaul as they really let the outlet down in my opinion. The outlet was beautifully decorated in the run up to Christmas and there was a Grotto too. I will give my opinion on the areas of this outlet that I have experience of. My review is mainly based on my last two visits to the outlet.
*Tree Top Tumble*
The play area was out first stop of the afternoon. It is located near the back of building and is classed as an 'unsupervised' play area. I paid £2.50 for 1hour of play for my son. When we arrived it was very busy. There is a member of staff taking money but apart from that, they do not do much. She explained that it was the parents responsibility to ensure children were safe at all times. I am fine with that but I do feel the gate to the play area should be locked as children seemed to be running in and out constantly. I looked up to see my son making a dash for it and by the time I caught him he was up the back of the building in a shed! Not particularly good in my opinion.
Anyway, the play area has a two storey arrangement and looks very colourful. It looks safe in terms of structure but there seemed to be too many children in at one time and adults as well which made it more difficult for children to move around freely. There is a small padded area for babies within the main area but I feel this would be better suited in a different area. The older children have free run of the frame which includes climbing nets, slides and ball bools.
There is quite a large seating area next to the play area for parents to be comfortable. They have the option of leather sofas or tables and chairs. I chose to sit at the tables with my drink and magazine. One particular issue is that the Costa Coffee shop is right next to the play area. Whilst this is practical for parents wanting to buy a drink and cake, it isn't ideal for them to be walking around with hot drinks when children are being allowed to run in and out of the play area.
My son enjoyed the play area but he much prefers the one local to us which is much bigger and often less crowded. I feel £2.50 is fine for an hours play. There is the option to purchase a play and food deal which includes a kids box for £5.50 but with my son being very fussy with food we declined. Overall I would say the play area needs some improvment. The staff aren't the happiest especially considering they work with children.
There is so much choice in this outlet. It is great to browse and ideal if there is something specific that you need from a certain part of the store. The different stores are laid out well and there is a good amount of tills dotted around but finding someone to serve is a nightmare. Most tills are left empty and unmanned which is disappointing.
The main focus is on clothing. There is a huge area devoted to outdoor clothing and clothing which would be suitable for hiking or mountain climbing. This isn't something I participate in but a quick browse showed a huge selection suitable for purpose and at reasonable prices. There is a department offering a range of cashmere jumpers which were priced at £49.99. There is a large area dedicated to shoes and clothing which I would say is more aimed at those older than myself and also an Edinburgh Woolen Mill. There is a lot of focus on quality knitwear and the prices seem fair for this type of purchase. My Mum often buys bits and pieces for my Gran including skirts that she cannot buy elsewhere. They appeared to be having a store wide sale yesterday of up to 50% off.
I was pleased to see that there is a large Peacocks department in Mackinnon Mills. Our local Peacocks (along with many others) has closed down. This particular Peacocks offers a large selection of mens, ladies and childrens clothing. It is fairly priced as well. Because I am losing weight at the moment, I don't want to spend much on everyday clothing. I managed to pick up a pair of joggy bottoms for £5.00 in the reduced section.
If you are obsessed with suitcase buying like my Mum, you will be pleased to hear that there is a large selection on offer and also holdalls. They always seem to be on a special offer. There is a Ponden Mills at the entrance selling a range of curtains and bedsheets etc. Towards the back of the store is a gift department. The stock seems to change regularly. Yesterday there was a range of Mothers Day gifts which were very reasonably priced and looked much nicer than items sold in other shops. There are some beautiful ornaments on offer too.
One area which I was drawn to during the last two visits is the toy and book section. My son was pleased to spot a display of Thomas the Tank books priced at just £2.50 each. There was also a range of childrens DVDs on offer for around £3.99. My Mum bought a few for to put in with the childrens Christmas presents late last year and today Boo decided to spend his pocket money on a new Fireman Sam DVD for under £4.00. There was a nice little selection of toys and colouring sets on offer and not too badly priced either. The books section is excellent for childrens books and cookery books. The prices are similar to that of discounted book stores.
We spent quite a bit of time in the train and vehicle section of Mackinnon Mills yesterday. As well as offering a large collection of Hornby products (some reduced to £65 from £150 a set), they also sell a few classic Thomas the Tank trains and a range of vehicles. My son loves any sort of vehicle so was delighted to see lots of buses and trains on offer. He has his eye on a die cast Royal Mail truck (£10.00) which I feel he may now receive on his birthday but unfortuantely the National Express bus was a bit out of our price range at £31.00! There was a range of Scalectrix sets too including a Cars set for £65. My son was pleased to see a huge model railway with Thomas trains on display - a little boys dream!
Crafters are in for a treat as there is a huge section of beautiful cards, papers, stampers and paints of all kinds. I go through phases of enjoying doing my own crafty things and hope to do more when Boo starts school. I will certainly be going here as I feel the prices are really good and the quality even better. To give an idea, 6 pieces of glitter foam card for £4.00 and pots of glitter for 50p. Before Christmas I was able to pick up two packs of gorgeous paper for 25p a pack. Much cheaper than the craft shop in the next town.
There is a small section of Yankee Candle products in this outlet too. The selection on offer includes jars, hand gels, wax tarts and diffusers. There is a limited selection of scents on offer compared to other Yankee stockists but the prices are the same ie £1.25 a tart. There was a few bits on offer at 50% off yesterday but nothing that took my fancy on this occasion. The gift sets are gorgeous though and would make ideal gifts.
The final section within this outlet is the Scottish store. Everything that you would expect to find in a Scottish themed shop in Edinburgh is right here. Think tartan design pencils, notebooks and tops. It wouldn't be a Scottish shop without shortbread which is available in its regular form or even in the shape of Scottish terrier dogs. Lots of sweeties and jams including fudge and table too. The prices are great and the food is of a high quality. A fancy shortbread tin is under £5.00 and would make an ideal gift. I love this part of the outlet as I find it perfect for buying little gifts. I bought quite a lot from it in the run up to Christmas.
There is a beauty salon within Mackinnon Mills called 'Beautiful By Cindy'. I have yet to visit here but it looks lovely inside and there are price lists available. It seems a little more expensive than my regular salon for waxing treatments but ideal for a little bit of pampering whilst out shopping. Appointments aren't always necessary. The salon offers everything from hair cuts and colours (from £10) to hair extensions (£250). Treatments include waxing of all areas, manicures (including shellac at £22), facials (from £18) to non surgical face and body lifts (from £25) and also massages (from £20). They also offer packages at discount prices. I'm hoping to book in for something soon!
I had a rest in the Costa Coffee area whilst my son played. The choice in Costa Coffee is more varied than a regular Costa Coffee outlet. They offer a range of baked potatoes, panninis, sandwiches etc all freshly prepared and also some nice cakes as well as coffee, tea and other refreshments. They also offer Carte d'or ice cream. The prices seemed not too bad and pretty average for this type of establishment. The staff weren't the most pleasant and one was particular huffy about having to go get more cream for a hot chocolate. If it wasn't in front them, they weren't pleased about having to source it which I find quite rude.
I opted for a hot chocolate with mallows and whipped cream which cost £2.90. This was served in a tall glass. Once the whipped cream had been found, the hot chocolate looked a bit sloppy and untidy. I normally like Costa Coffee hot chocolate but found my drink to be incredibly bitter. I spooned out the cream and mallows but left most of the actual hot chocolate as I didn't enjoy it.
Once my son had finished playing, we went to the main restaurant near the entrance of the outlet. This 120 seater restaurant is nicely decorated and arranged. The large windows overlook the carpark but there is something quite relaxing about looking out and seeing the motorway - I'm quite funny that way! The service in the restaurant was quite good and tables seemed to be cleared quickly. This is my second visit to the restaurant now and I find it ideal for a cake and coffee or a full, proper meal.
I would say that there is a nice selection of food on offer at this restaurant. A self service chiller offers a range of delicious cakes including chocolate fudge cake and caramel shortcake. Pre-prepared sandwiches are also on offer and a range of scones. The restaurant offers afternoon tea for 2 for £9.99 which I consider excellent value for money. In terms of hot food, they offer homemade soup. Main meals include macaroni cheese, steak pie, sausages in gravy and chicken curry from what I could see. A range of hot and cold drinks are on offer too. They have special offers for Mothers Day meals. The staff seem friendly.
Back in December my Mum and I had a spot of lunch here. I opted for macaroni cheese with chips whilst my Mum had steak pie with potatoes and vegetables. We shared a cold drink and the bill came to £15 which I consider very expensive. The food was tasty though and cooked well. Dining with my son isn't a simple task. My four year old is incredibly fussy with food and I found that there was nothing plain for him to eat. He would have happily had the sausages had they not been covered in gravy. I ordered him a bowl of chips and a petit pain roll which he enjoyed.
I enjoyed the macaroni on my last visit but thought the curry looked tasty and well presented. I received a hearty portion of chicken curry, yellow rice and chips. All were cooked very well and I enjoyed my meal. The food in general is really good if a bit expensive. We had picked up a 20% discount voucher from the play area desk and I paid just under £11.00 for my curry, a bowl of chips, a roll and two drinks. This included the discount so was quite expensive. We did enjoy our food though and would happily pay this again. I fancy returning for the afternoon tea with my Mum one day.
Yesterday we spent around 2 hours in Mackinnon Mills. My son enjoyed wandering around more than I thought he would as there was something there for him as well as Mummy. I feel Mackinnon Mills is the ideal place to shop, play and have a bite to eat within one building. It is somewhere that I would happily return to time and time again as it has so much to offer.
Thanks for reading :)
Summary: a great factory outlet