Newest Review: ... arcade. They include handbag shops, a pet shop, and my personal favourite, a traditional sweetshop. Many of the shops are un-staffed... more
Bound for the Botany Bay!
Botany Bay (England)
Member Name: cpj1987
Botany Bay (England)
Advantages: An enjoyable, traditional shopping experience.
Disadvantages: You have to pay to enter, but at least it's cheap!
I've been visiting Botany Bay once or twice a year for the past three or four. My two aunts are a fan of the place, and we make a point of taking trips there to stroll around occasionally.
Botany Bay is a five-storey shopping centre set within an old mill. Inside, you'll find a children's play area (Puddletown Pirates), various traditional market shops and stalls of various sizes selling craft products, gifts, toys and accessories, and a few small tea room style restaurants.
The ground floor shops are in the theme of a Dickensian arcade. They include handbag shops, a pet shop, and my personal favourite, a traditional sweetshop. Many of the shops are un-staffed, meaning that you'll need to find someone to pay for anything you wish to purchase, but they make an excellent and relaxing place to stroll and to browse in peace.
The first floor sells gifts, garden products and kitchenware, including home-made preserves in beautiful jars, curry sauces, chocolates and biscuits, and beautiful ornaments, whilst the second floor sells furniture from around the world, including wonderful hand-crafted beds and dining tables.
Clothing for men and women can be found on the third floor, alongside home-made craft products, collectable merchandise and toys for children. Most of what's available on this floor appears to be second-hand goods, and I've spent a long while in the various small shops and stalls admiring 1990s Beano annuals which I once owned, and old Disney toys.
The top floor is seasonal. My aunts and I tend to visit around Christmas time when it's filled with decorations, and this is also the home of the centre's main restaurant and tea room, where we stop for jacket potatoes, sandwiches and cakes, all of which are sold at very reasonable prices. The sandwiches, in particular, are very filling.
Botany Bay is easily accessible from Junction 8 of the M61 (straight off the roundabout, and very well signposted), and is cheap to enter. A 12 month membership costs £3.99, whilst a lifetime membership is £5, though the website (www.botanybay.co.uk) also has regular offers for free annual membership, worth looking out for before you visit.
The centre has excellent parking facilities, and though Puddletown Pirates is a separate chargeable attraction, is well worth a visit for families. It'll keep you occupied for a few hours on a rainy day!
Summary: A traditional mill-to-market conversion with plenty of unique and handmade gifts.