“ Opening: 20 September 2007 „
Hull city centre is a little bit spread out and can be hard to find anything if you haven't visited before but shopping centres, like St Stephen's, can offer a variety in one area. Situated across the road from the train/bus station it also benefits from a great location as well as catering for locals and tourists alike.
A bit of history.
St Stephen's stands on what used to be a large chunk of the old bus station in Hull. The station wasn't particularly fit for purpose and the city has been graced with a sleeker design that is more environmentally friendly. So the spare land turned into a shopping area for all in September 2007 and has been popular ever since. Most stores are still the original ones, such as the large Tesco and Next, but newer stores are taking up the empty spaces.
What can you find there?
There are some stores in the shopping centre that aren't as unique, such as Next and New Look that also have at least one other store elsewhere in the city, but some stores you can only find in Stephen's (at least in Hull anyway), such as Domo and Build-A-Bear Workshop. The 'High Street' area is a curved street-like walk-through with stores lining the sides and stands in the middle. This area is where you find the clothes and entertainments stores but there is also a Tesco supermarket. There is two entrances either side of the High Street area and another entrance underneath the Tesco, which is where you enter from the large car park. There is a lift, stairs and escalator going to another level where you can find a few different eateries ranging from Gregg's to Nando's and a noodle bar. Also upstairs is a cinema and a gym.
Why shop there?
I am a big advocate for shopping local and supporting local business' so I am not going to blow a shopping centre's trumpets too much, however, sometimes there are some things you can only get from a large shopping centre. Build-A-Bear is a fun place to get a more special present for a child and the clothes shops are fantastic for a good sale every now and again. I am local to Hull so the Tesco supermarket is where I get a large portion of my food shopping from as I also don't live far from St Stephen's. A couple of the restaurants are also quite good and there is a Krispy Kreme downstairs for all your overpriced doughnut needs.
Why not to shop there?
Avoid during weekends and holiday times as everyone decides they will shop at the same time and the area becomes full of groups of school and college age children, walking through the main area or trying to enjoy food at one of the eateries feels more like herding cattle at those times. St Stephen's is hardly a promoter of local business' or markets. Another shopping centre nearby has a great monthly market but I have never seen anything run by local people in St Stephen's apart from the odd local football team promotions, all the stores within the centre are also big chain companies. I have been to the cinema there once and would avoid it, my butt being numb from the hard chairs was just one problem and there are other cinemas to choose from. There isn't much in St Stephen's that you can't get elsewhere on online so it doesn't have the unique, more High Street feel I think it was aiming for. There are a lot of better shops in the city and a lot of better shopping areas that I would recommend trying first.
If fashion or grocery shopping is what you're after then St Stephen's is the perfect place to go but if you're after something more personal or special there is a lot more that Hull has to offer.
The St Stephens shopping centre first opened it's doors in September 2007. The development was part of a massive regeneration project in the centre of Hull, which also involved a new transport interchange just across the road from St Stephens.
On my first visit to the centre I was left feeling very underwhelmed. There had been enormous hype surrounding the opening and I was expecting great things. St Stephens looked fantastic from the outside from day one, it is very modern looking compared to other buildings in the area, and has a huge glass roof but the building style itself brought problems, one main problem which even now in 2010 still stands. St Stephens is absolutely freezing cold, even in Summer it can be lovely and warm outside, and still be freezing in there. It is no warmer than shopping outdoors. I have just returned from the centre and I am still rubbing my hands together to get warm. However there were other things that let the centre down. When it was first opened, many of the units were empty, and the majority of the shops that were open were already in Hull elsewhere. Shops such as New Look, Topshop, River Island and Peacocks. These are all shops we have in Hull City Centre already, a 15 minute walk max from St Stephens. We wanted new shops we did not already have access too, and this is what we originally thought we were going to get. Of course there were a couple of new to Hull stores, namely H&M and Oasis, but I still felt quite disappointed, maybe our hopes were raised too high. Another problem back in 2007 was the complete lack of places to eat, we had Tesco's Cafe and that was it. In hindsight, St Stephens probably opened too soon, before it was really ready, but 3 years on and my feelings towards the centre have changed considerably.
So, how do things stand in February 2010. Well a lot has changed, shops have been and gone, and we have new shops in their place. Here is a current list of the shops inside St Stephens:
The Body Shop
The Carphone Warehouse
It is amazing when you start reading through the list just how many shops they have managed to squeeze into the centre. There are also new shops opening soon, Cult and The Entertainer toy store. There is such a huge variation in shops, with a supermarket, mobile phone store, hairdressers, opticians and a vast array of clothes stores all in one building. We even have places to eat and drink nowadays. We have BB's, Greggs, Moo Shakes, Naked Fish, Nandos (my personal favourite), Potato Bakehouse, Prezzo, Subway and a very cool Starbucks pod. We really are spoilt for choice. There is a lot more to St Stephens than just shopping and eating though.
Reel is St Stephens very own cinema, showing all the latest movies. There is also a children's play centre, named Monkey Business and a hotel, Holiday Inn Express. Hot of the press, just opened today is Health Central, offering a range of NHS services. It was also recently announced in April a 24 hour gym will be opening, named Fit24.
As well as all this, there are two car parks on the St Stephens site. There is a car park specifically for Tesco customers, were parking is free for 2 hours. There is also a huge multi-storey car park which provides very reasonably priced car park. Also, if you are parking in there to watch a film at Reel parking is free of charge. If you don't drive though, the shopping centre is easily accessible by public transport, with the Interchange literally just across the road which is the final stop for both buses and trains coming in to Hull.
I have really warmed (not literally unfortunately, it's still freezing in there) to the centre. I can go shopping, and just spend a day in St Stephens as there is such a big selection of shops. You can shop, have something to eat, catch a film all in the same place. If you're in Hull, it's definitely worth a visit.
Having been to the new St Stephens shopping centre just yesterday, and having ventured round a bit more of it, I figure the time has come to review it...
The shopping centre opened in September 2007, as part of a regeneration project in Hull, which included the development of the city's transport interchange alongside, & the re-location of the Hull Truck Theatre.
The centre is beautifully designed, with the glass roof representing a giant wave, but, whilst the design may LOOK good, it is fundamentally flawed in as much as the doors at either end are in a direct line, creating a 'wind tunnel' effect, giving rise to the local nickname 'St Freezens'. Yes folks, it's COLD in there.
The ground floor houses many high street stores, including TK Maxx, Argos, Adams Kids, Pumpkin Patch, USC, Zara, H&M, Topshop/Topman, Next, River Island, Clintons Cards, Dorothy Perkins, New Look, Build-A-Bear, Jane Norman & others. Entry to the new Tesco superstore is also through the shopping centre. Toilets are conveniently located in the centre (off to one side), & there are small concession stores in the middle of the walkway. Refreshments come in the form of BB's coffee & Moo-Shakes.
The upper level houses eateries such as Subway, Prezzo, Nando's & the recently opened Naked Fish. I've never ate at any of these restaurants, so can't comment on the quality (& rest assured I won't be eating at Naked Fish any time soon - £16.95 for haddock & chips?! Have they realised that Hull is in Yorkshire?! It'll never last.....). There is also a Starbucks within a suspended pod overlooking the main walkway. The cinema & bingo hall can also be found upstairs.
Youngsters can be entertained at the Monkey Bizness play area, with parents enjoying 3 hours free parking to shop whilst the little ones play.
There are 2 car parks. One is for Tesco (although anyone can park there), with 2 hours free parking. The main car park offers 1 hour free parking, or 2 hours for £2, 3 hours for £2.50 & 4 hours for £3.20. Parking on Sunday is a mere £1 for all day. Visitors can also park for free after 6pm when visiting one of the restaurants, cafes, Reel Cinema or Gala Bingo by presenting a stamped ticket to the car park management office.
Overall, a good experience, with plenty to see & do. It's just a shame that the opening of this new part of town has led to the demise of so many other parts....
St Stephens shopping centre is the newest shopping centre opened in Kingston Upon Hull. It is a monster of a building in the Centre of the city. Hull really needed a large modern shopping centre to attract some of the bigger names in retailing that were absent from the City. It was opened in September 2007 and was no where near the finished article.
The new building is very modern and it is interlinked to the transprt interchange, and the new Hull Truck Theatre. It has made a big differnce this area of the city centre. An area that was very dated now looks very modern and has the new focal point of the city centre.
When it was first opened there was a lot of empty retail units and this gave the place a cold feel. Gradually some of these units are starting to fill up more and more. With more retail companies and other facilities become available.
Currently there are shops such as NEXT, H&M, Zara, Oasis, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Pumpkin Patch, Topshop Topman, The Body Shop, and many more. The complex also contains restaurants such as Nando's, Prezzo, and Starbucks. AS well as these shops there is now a REEL cinema and a Gala Bingo.
As part of the project there is a large Tesco Extra which is based at the very back of the complex. This is open 24 hours Monday to Saturday.
I feel that this place as starter to develop more and more over time. When it first opened yes there were problems and it did look a bit empty in places but now it has started to grow. The Tesco's store is always very busy now throughout the week and the weekend.
One thing to not is if you are not stopping for a over two hours park in the Tesco carpark at the back of the complex as it is free for two hours. If you stay any longer though you can not pay you simply have to move the car. The entrance to this car park is not from the City Centre but actually from Park Street, this runs between Spring Bank Avenue and Anlaby Road.
You can however follow the parking signs and pay to park in the carpark above the shopping centre and the entrance to this is of Ferensway A1079.
Shopping Hours are as follows:
Monday to Wednesday: 9am - 7pm
Thursday: 9am - 8pm
Friday: 9am - 7pm
Saturday: 9am - 6pm
Sunday: 11am - 5pm
Bank Holiday Monday: 10am - 5pm
The web page to have a look at this place is http://www.ststephens-hull.com
i really do think the st stephens center in hull is a real disipiontment to hull. i think it is exstremley cold, i recon they made it so cold to make you go into the stores so you see things that make you think ''oo that looks nice''. they could of made a much better job.
however the design is fantastic and the layout is really eye catching to make you want to go in. on the other hand they have dropped the car parking spaces from 3 hours to 2 hours.
over all it is a very clever designed building with a log looking cafe up stairs but it is ever so small