Regeneration is a splendid thing if it's done correctly. A good example is Bluewater in Kent, situated just 1.5 miles from J2 of the M25 on the A2 towards Dover and less than 40 minutes from Central London by train, the shopping centre is more a celebration of retail than it is a shopping mall, yet its also a place that has a lot to offer any family or couple that go there, noting that its easily possible just to spend the day there and shop, eat and see a film without ever having to go back to your car.
Built on a site of an old disused quarry, Bluewater has built itself to be the ultimate shopping experience, and even with the nearby Lakeside that has rapidly fallen behind in recent years the whole feel of Bluewater has a buzz about it. With 13000 car park spaces available and free to park, as well as its own Bus Station and a regular shuttle service to nearby Greenhithe railway station with direct links to Cannon Street or London Bridge, its safe to sat that Bluewater is well connected and in the 12 years since its opened in 1999 it has become well established as a shopping centre in the South East. I was surprised to see a designated coach area as well and was even more surprised to see a whole plethora of coaches park there as well, not a few but well over 30 whose companies had organised shopping trips to Bluewater. This is a good example of how busy it gets and even though the mall itself is well covered with CCTV, the car parks being regularly patrolled and a host of security available it does seem strange to have a Police Station on-site as well. All in all you do feel safe when inside, that makes you feel comfortable and also means that you are more likely to return.
Its an amazing place to go to, the design of the place is good as it is triangular in nature with three separate malls meaning that unlike Lakeside or Westfield you cant really get lost, as you just keep walking round to you find what you want. Each mall has it own theme and its obvious on the plenitude of maps that are easily available to take in leaflet form or illuminated to seek whatever you want. My favourite out of the three being Thames Mall where the theme is the River Thames. Down the middle of the mall itself being a map of the Thames from source to estuary marking out towns such as Staines, Kingston and Putney as you walk along the silver line that has captured all the curves and bends of the river in it. While other features include poems carved in ten foot high letters in the spaces above shop entrances, seating areas that are made up of big leather chairs that swivel and are so comfortable that they hug you as you tend to await your other half to come out of a shop, especially useful as my other half seemed to take a trip to Narnia in one shop and left me outside waiting for just under 45 minutes - I believe these chairs are now called "The Widowers Row" as a lot of husbands wait here for their wives to return! It is light and airy as well, but can in the Summer get quite hot, yet you don't need a coat anyway as everything is indoors so its easier to relax and simply shop then having to worry about carrying a coat around with you.
The vast range of shops are absolutely excellent, from High Street names such as H&M, WH Smiths to John Lewis, House of Fraser, Zara and the more designer shops such as Timberland and Calvin Klein. Interestingly the range of shops are somewhat higher than the ones at Lakeside, for example there is no Argos at all, which given Bluewater's emphasis on attracting people is something that means a shop like Argos would never be seen in a place like this. Its also a place that business will hold there flagship stores, by this I mean that no expense has been spared in making the shops the highest possible level they can be, whether its flashy with the window displays or even having events such as book signings at the two floor Waterstone's means that there is always something to see as the shop fronts are never really boring or in some cases static to look at, All Saints has recently opened up and the whole shop front consists of Singer sewing machines. Even the HMV that is considered to be small in comparison to other sites is constantly busy and this is one shop that could do with expansion as could Game, there are two at Bluewater ion both the upper and lower levels and both the shops have long queues, especially at the weekends or running up to Christmas where arriving as early as 6am means that a car park space is guaranteed, I talk from experience!! This is the place where we do all our Christmas presents in one hit, it just fits the bill, and yet we don't go at the weekend as Bluewater tends to stay open till 10pm on the run up to the looney.. oh sorry festive period so its even possible to go after work in some cases!
It's more than shopping, there is a Cinema that comes into its own in the evening, with restaurants surrounding the entrance that means you can spend the whole day here. I suspect that was the ploy from the beginning anyway to grab your money, but the fact is that everything you'll ever need is under one roof. It even attracts people from around the area as well and Saturdays can see the TGI's or La Tasca get very busy with a pre-film meal and drink and it is a good atmosphere as well. In fact anything to do with food is catered for at Bluewater and the scope of variety is second to none when it comes to choice of food. A huge Food Court is located on the northern side of the mall itself, this has the obligatory McDonalds and KFC, but also caterers such as Battersea Pie that specialise in Pie and Mash as well as Shere Khan for Curry and Harry Ramsden's for Fish and Chips. Also a Pizza Hut restaurant as well, but I found the service here to be somewhat below standard in the past. As you walk around the chance to simply stop and get a Coffee is thrust upon you at numerous opportunities - Costa, Coffee Republic and Starbucks are usually situated at an entrance to the Car Park, convenient in some way as this means the Toilets are nearby as well and yet can be a pain as it becomes a social gathering point. On past visits I have seen the majority of these establishments simply run out of Coffee and food and having to close early whilst a run to the local cash and carry was performed, this was at 2pm!! I think lessons were learnt from this with the managers given the fact there estimations were blown out of the water entirely, although this was on the run up to Christmas so the expectation to stock up might not have been taken.
Toilets and baby changing facilities have been set up as regular intervals as well, handy to get to and are spacious and clean. I did notice there were regular checks being made and the attendants were polite and well presented. I know its silly but I rate the state of the loo's as a benchmark to the establishment as it is the one place that the majority of people will visit, not everyone will go into the same shop throughout the day, yet almost everyone will go to the loo.
If you just want to get away after you're shopped out then Bluewater does offer a number of ways to get fresh air. At the back of the Food Court there is a lake that recently has become a building site to have a castle and play area built next to it and while this is a great way for the kids to relive the boredom and burn of some energy there are also a number of trails that take in the area surrounding Bluewater and takes you away from the sheer business for a while, I have done a few of these and they can be nice and relaxing to walk along. Obviously you know that you're never too far away from the action, yet the tranquillity this offers is a nice balance to the hustle and bustle of the mall itself. There is a plenitude of wildlife here as you would expect and the moment you hear the birdsong simply takes you into another place, I recommend this entirely as the balance is off the scale that you are in the grounds of a shopping centre yet can sit on a bench and hear uninterrupted birdsong.
This was only due to be Phase 1, Phase 2 was going to be a new residential area opposite in the other quarry areas that was going to be regenerated as well, whether that will go ahead is open to question given the current climate. I much prefer Bluewater to Lakeside or any of the Westfield's as this is high level shopping but on a simple basis that its attractive to be within and isn't simply a catchment of shop fronts, in this case each has an identity that makes it stand out from the rest. One interesting point is that the only thing stopping people from going to Lakeside as well is the Dartford Tunnel. Lakeside is positioned in the same area but on the north side of the Thames as Bluewater is on the south and it would be safe to say that the two have a little rivalry, however it was reported that plans for an underground train between the two was put forward, this would mean that people could park in Lakeside and get the train to Bluewater, I thought the idea would have worked to relieve the pressure off the tunnel/ bridge, yet the idea was immediately rejected by Lakeside.
Overall, this delivers what I want from a place that I can go as "one-stop shop" as in all honesty I do get what I want whether its vouchers or even the designer shirt of my dreams, the whole place as different aspects such as a Christmas Market, and Ice rink that allows it to be flexible throughout the year whatever the occasion or event, and yet coming here you can see the impact that this can have on the local area, Dartford Town Centre being one victim that has had to raise its bar to compete as has Lakeside which has been totally refurbished.
Bluewater, as Europe's biggest shopping centre, can be your idea of true heaven or your absolute worst nightmare depending on how much you rate the whole experience of shopping.
This commercial emporium is located at Greenhithe in Kent, and stands proud in an old quarry, nestled amonst dramatic white cliffs, just off the M25. It boasts a staggering selection of over 300 shops, plus an array of restaurants and entertainment facilities including a large cinema.
Designed as a sort of giant triangle, the beauty to this place is that you avoid walking up and down in a straight line like in most shopping centres, and instead just carry on walking and you will eventually come back to where you started.
Most people love this concept, but as I am a boring old so and so, I find it a little confusing and disorientating as I never know where I am or how far away I am from the shop I am seeking, primarily because the corridors all look the same to me.
The shops in Bluewater are varied and there are plenty of them, but compared to the nearby competition which is Lakeside, Bluewater tends to cater more to high end preferences and has more 'middle-class' shops such as John Lewis, Phase Eight, Reiss and Monsoon. There is not a Peacocks or Primark in sight, more's the pity!
I am a bit of a tightwad when it comes to shopping for myself and favour cheap and cheerful clothes so I rarely buy anything for myself here, although I find it a fantastic option when buying for other people as there is so much choice and variety. It's also great for a special occasion.
This shopping mecca aims to please, and set out 10 years ago to create a place where shopping can be stress-free and enjoyable. As part of this philosophy, outside space is important here, and so there is a little lake with picnic areas, as well as a whole host of other things going on including a playpark and loads of kids events such as a Christmas grotto and an area where you can hire pedal trikes.
I'm one of those shoppers who likes to know what I am going in for, and so I tend to go about my business when the complex is quiet and this is where late night opening is a godsend. The centre opens right up until 9pm Monday to Saturday so I go at around 6pm and am in and out, minimum stress involved!
This place can get very busy though, and be warned Christmas is an absolute hell on earth, as competition for parking spaces is fierce and everyone seems to hone their survival instincts when trying to get that all important space! That is the downside to free parking, but most of the time it's not a problem.
I am very lucky and sometimes get a Bluewater giftcard as a Christmas pressie from my in-laws, and this is like any other store giftcard, except it is obviously usable across most of the shops. The huge problem with this system is that the store assistants don't have access to the amount left on your card, and therefore you need to know how much is on there to save blushes at the till. The concierge is able to tell you your gift card balance, but as this place is massive it can be a hassle trying to find a desk.
As Bluewater is a modern building it complies with relevent disability legislation, meaning there is good access, plenty of lifts and a decent amount of specific parking. Again it is good for parents as there are decent baby changing facilities, although there should be more facilities for breastfeeding mums, but sadly most places lack these.
I tend to go to Bluewater once every couple of months and nearly always get what I came for. You can make a day out of it as there are endless eateries dotted around to break up the time a little.
All in all I can't fault Bluewater, although I don't get excited about it either. It does the job and offers everything a consumer wants, all under one glitzy, purpose-built roof.
Bluewater is a huge shopping centre in Greenhithe, Kent, which is just on the outskirts of London. It's the closest shopping centre to where I live so the one that I visit most often, with Lakeside being the next closest.
It's only been open for about ten years so the whole place still looks and feels quite new. It's a huge kind of triangular building and the shops go round in a large curved triangle - I like this as it's better than just walking back up and down the same length of shops a few times like you have to do at most shopping centres. The shops are on two floors and the place is so big that it's the second largest shopping centre in the UK.
There are obviously plenty of shops at Bluewater, however, the majority of them are targeted towards those who like to spend a bit more money on clothes and things and, as I prefer to shop in places like Primark, these aren't the sort of shops that I usually go to. The main shops that I visit here are New Look, Boots, Burton and Top Shop so there really isn't' much of choice for those who don't like to spend too much on clothes. But otherwise, there are plenty of popular places to spend lots of money at, as well as Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and House of Frasier as the three large department stores.
The reason I visit Bluewater the most is for the entertainment side of it. There are loads of different places to eat as well as a huge cinema with about 13 screens and it makes a nice change going here for a night out rather than my usual town.
There are the many fast-food restaurants with jus a few of them being McDonalds, KFC, Harry Ramsden's, Spud U Like and Eat, where it's easy to grab something quick while you're shopping. For a proper sit down meal though, there is TGI Friday, Pizza Express, Pizza Hut, La Tasca and Nando's, so a great choice of places for a meal or special occasion.
They also do quite a few little extra bits such as Santa's Grotto and an ice skating rink at Christmas as well as some activities going on in the middle of the centre and a boat lake and playground outside.
Personally, I prefer Lakeside, as the shops there are better suited to me considering I don't like to spend a lot of money on clothes. But for those who like their designer bits and bobs, Bluewater is a great place to shop and just the entertainment side of things makes it a great place to go for me.
Update: It now has an events venue on site which holds special exhibitions and trade fairs.
When built, this was Europe's largest shopping centre (and it may still be), but due to its great triangular design it is easy to navigate and not too tiring to walk round, unlike some other shopping centres. You never have to double-back on yourself - unless you forget something - but can just go on round.
This place is big. Seriously big. 13,000 car park spaces but at Christmas that's still not enough and people end up parking on the roads and car-part ramps. Most of the time though you can find a space. The car parks are colour coded and have mythical beast symbols, each floor has a number, and each row of spaces has a letter. So as long as you are not a complete dingbat or too phased out by hours of shopping, it isn't hard to get back to your own car.
There are over 50 restaurants and other places to get food and drink - but Bluewater does count even ice-cream stalls in that 50! However, as well as the usual McDs and pizza places, there are several quite nice restaurants for a grown-ups night out. I believe they are all chain places rather than independents, but there's a good selection including TGIs, Nandos, La Tasca, Leon, Loch Fyne and more. Personally, I'd advise avoiding the Amoy place; it's always half empty for a good reason...we've not had one good meal in the couple of times we gave it a try.
For a quick break there are numerous cafes and coffee places. There is also plenty of seating around.
Alright, alright, I'll get on to the important bit - the shops - in a minute, but this is worth a bit of attention. The centre was created in an old quarry site, so you don't see it until you enter. It has a well-planned network of roads surrounding the triangular centre.
Inside, there is plenty of architectural interest, if that's your thing, with a fair bit of humour involved. There is a silver plan of the River Thames running round part of the ground floor, with towns marked, and as its set right into the tiles, kids have a lot of fun following it. There is a giant seagull sculpture up on the top floor, which flaps its wings when someone on the ground floor winds the handle round. Poems run around parts of the walls. There are sculptures of traditional craftspeople running round just under the ceiling. Right by some of the food places there is a rather odd frieze of nudie people swimming/dancing (but tastefully done, don't worry, it doesn't need an 18+ certificate).
It feels like I spot something new every time I go. So for those who aren't enthralled by shops (me) it can still be quite an interesting place to go.
Yes, yes, I know, I'm getting to the shops...
There are pleasant garden areas but not a lot is actually accessible unless you've spent the time working out which car-park to stop in and which path/underpass to follow. There's a LOT of water around.
Outside the 'Wintergarden' section is a lake, which in summer is THE place to take your kids (right by the McDs too). There is a nice little playground for the little'uns, and you can hire boats and some really fun bikes/trikes/quads for up to 4 people (although you are only allowed to go round and round the lake). There's a high level adventure place too, which is also charged for. There's a crazy golf round newly opened at the end of 2010. But the playground and feeding the ducks is free...
There is a big department store at each corner: M&S, John Lewis and House of Fraser. Each side of the triangle has its own name, and each area can be defined by the type of shops mainly found there. The part between John Lewis and House of Fraser is definitely designer alley, with shops such as Apple, Karen Millen, Jones Bootmaker, and Mango. The other two sides are more family/high-street shops.
You'll find a good mix here and pretty much anything you are after: clothes, toys, electrical, games, more clothes, household, shoes, bags, even more clothes, and then a few quirks like Chinese medicines, villa holidays, bonzai trees and Eurostar travel.
There's a pretty big Showcase cinema, but it gets busy, so pre-book your tickets on-line is my advice.
They are building a live events centre somewhere on site.
10am to 9pm Mon-Friday. 9am to 9pm Saturday. 11am-5pm Sunday. These are the shop hours with restaurants and cinema open later.
Tips from a local
1) Try to avoid it at Christmas
2) If you have to come at Christmas, and are coming on the A2 and don't want to get stuck in the queue, do NOT take the Bluewater turnoff. Take the turnoff just before the toll tunnel (if you are coming from Kent) or just after the toll bridge (if you are coming from Essex). I mean right on the tolls. You'll come to a roundabout on the slip road, and Bluewater is signposted from there (about 5 minute drive). It's usually a bit quicker.
3)Don't try to do the whole place all round, both floors, in one go without stopping for something to eat/drink as fuel. Especially if you have kids/non-shoppers with you, as they'll start moaning their heads off otherwise.
4) Although the shops don't open until the official time, the centre itself opens about an hour before that, so get there early for a good parking space and kill a bit of time.
Warning: They sell gift cards that you can use in the majority of the shops there. Great idea - but the credit only lasts for 6 months! So use it or lose it. One of my friends lost over £100 and no matter how much you beg, if you don't spend it in time, Bluewater will just keep your money and you get nothing.
What might be coming?
I believe they are building a live gig/show venue there at the moment, so an addition to the currently rather pathetic local entertainment choices.
Great selection of shops
About the only place locally to go for a bit of entertainment!
Kids don't get too bored
Plenty of free parking
Good variety of food for all tastes and budgets
Turns into hell on earth at Christmas (oh and the 'christmas German-style market' is really pants, don't make a special trip for that, for goodness sake).
A great place if you have an aim in mind, get in, get out, but personally I don't understand the 'visit a shopping centre for a day out' thing a lot of people like to do there.
Bluewater is like a giant mother and baby centre and I love it!
If you know a little bit about Bluewater please skip the basics I have to cover first before getting on to my experiences.
Bluewater is an enormous under cover shopping centre in Greenhithe Kent (DA9 9ST for your sat nav). Junction 2 off M25 for A2/M2 it is very well sign posted. With 13,000 car spaces including lots of parent and child spaces, especially in the under cover John Lewis car park on the ground floor. They have just recently added more in this area and I very rarely have to park in a non child friendly space. By bus is relatively easy within Kent especially nearby towns/villages serviced by Arriva buses. If arriving by train you will still have to get a bus as no stations are in walking distance. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 10am to 9pm Saturdays 9am to 9pm and Sundays 11am to 5pm.
There are 3 main department stores on each corner of the centre. Marks and Spencer, House of Fraser and John Lewis. Although there is a large amount of shops I would say they are mainly clothes stores and if shopping for white goods/electrical/furniture Bluewater is not my first shopping destination. The shops tend to be mid to higher end of the market so if you love Primark brace yourself there is not one here yet.
Other attrations include a multi screen cinema which has a great snack counter and very comfortable seats however the air conditioning can make it a little cold watching films, I always take an extra layer to wear inside there than I would just walking around the centre.
Moulton Brown has a spa here, it is not cheap but I'm told by friends a very relaxing experience. If you want a spa day they would recommend going to a purely spa facility so you can use a swimming pool, jucazzi,sauna,gym etc.
Restaurants/eating places are in abundance here and as you would imagine the variety is excellent, I highly recommend the amazing seafood restaurant Loch Fyne, one of their newest places to eat.
When you walk around you will see lots of buggies here as it is a very popular destination for yummy mummies. The baby changing areas are excellent, always very clean and you are never far from one. My favourites are the facilities in John Lewis and by the food court area as they both have dedicated breast feeding areas that make you feel comfortable and confident feeding when out and about. If feeding in Mothercare there is no special area just one room for feeding and changing. So be aware dads may be coming in to change nappies not just mums if this makes you uncomfortable.
It is not very widely known but you can hire a pushchair from the conceige desk for free with a £30 refundable deposit, ID is required. Also available from this desk are wrist bands for your children. They are strong, brightly coloured and waterproof with your mobile number on them. An excellent idea if your precious little one gets lost. This is especially good as I rarely see any actual Bluewater staff walking round the centre and places don't like to put out lost child tannoys now.
I know there is already several Bluewater reviews but after visting Lakeside shopping centre in Essex, which is no where near as baby friendly I realised just how fantastic Bluewater was. I couldn't find any breast feeding areas and we only came across one baby changing station. Finding it to be inconvient for people with new borns is a shame as there retail park by the centre has an amazing variety of stores.
I hope this has been of help to everyone especially new parents.
I am a regular shopper at Bluewater and have been since it first opened. Bluewater is a large shopping centre in Greenhithe, kent and is located just off the M25 and A2.
Bluewater is a great place to shop if you want a mixture of high street and designer shops.
The centre is set out over 2 floors and is a circular shape. There are many car parks dotted around the centre, making it easy to park, no matter which store you want to visit.
There is a large cinema and several restaurants, each offering very different types of foods. From places such as yo sushi and McDonalds to La Tasca and a spanish tapas bar.
There are many differnt shops at Bluewater and a wide range if items to choose from. You can shop there for almost anything. They have 3 large department stores, Marks and Spencers, House of Fraser and John Lewis. Each of these has a seperate entrance from their own car parks and they all have their own cafe or restaurant.
I often visit Bluewater and think it is a very pleasant and enjoyable place to shop.
The only problem I have with Bluewater is I would like to see some other favourate stores there like Debenhams, Yours and a selfridges would be great, but you just can't have it all I suppose!
Bluewater for me, is easy to get to and opens late most nights. I like that you can park outside a lot of shops and they coffee shops everywhere, which is good after a long days shopping.
I went here last thursday for the first ever time on a coach trip and was just amazed by the scale of it. The huge variety of shops is just stunning theres shops to suit everyones price range from designer clothing to budget clothes like New Look. I went primarily to do my christmas shopping but ended up spending more on myself.
There a wide range of shops selling a wide variety of products including Toys, Clothes, Shoes, and various others. There are also a wide range of Food and Drink stalls including the classic Mcdonalds, millies cookies and many more. So you are bound to find something you like. As i was on a coach trip i was only given a certain amount of time to walk around and i really wish that i could have had longer, i could have really done being there from opening to closing time there are just so many shops to go in you really do need a long time to walk around at a nice speed.
It's well worth a visit beacuse theres so mething for everyone for every age and every budget.
I live locally to Bluewater and often find myself popping in there as the variety of shops is amazing !! I am a bit of a shop-a-holic oh who am i kidding i am very much a shop-a-holic !! what better place to spend some well earned pennies than in a nice big shopping centre right on my doorstep.
The centre is built in a old quarry site which has been developed beautifully so that it not only has a lovely shopping centre but also park land and lots of lakes where i often take my two little boys to feed the ducks.There are excellent parking facilities i believe the centre offers over 13,000 spaces which is excellent and the only time i have ever heard it to be too busy for people to park is the usual time of xmas sales !!
The centre is 10 years old this year and has seen lots of shops come and go inside but even when shops are either being replaced or have just gone bust this has no effect on your shooping experience.The centre is open from the following times
Mon-Fri 10 am - 9pm
Sat 9 am - 9pm
Sun 11am - 5pm
Although on a sunday quite a few offer the browsing time from 10.30am which is a excellent idea especially if you just want to get in and out in a hurry !!
Bluewater has a great variety of shops, some you will never have heard of before like Octopus and then the good old high street favourites like topshop,new look & next.There are 3 big department stores which are very large and offer a very big range.They are John Lewis which now has a food hall too,marks & spencer & House of fraser.The large department stores are excellent and have alot to offer they are like 3 individual shopping centres !!
There is a cinema within bluewater which is great for after your shopping and that cinema has 12 screens so i imagine most people will be able to find something suitable.Next to the cinema there is a bar which is quite small yet great to just grab a quick drink before or after your film.Really you could come to bluewater for a whole host of reasons and end up soending the whole day there....
The layout is very easy to work your way round and the facililties are impeccable.I have two children both of which go in a pushchair and one that wears nappies still so a baby friendly environment is very important to me.There are family toilets which are very clean and also very roomy giving mums a place to not only change nappies but also to breastfeed if you do not feel comfortable to do so in public.These family toilets are situated all around bluewater and in the food court there is a big baby changing & feeding section.
There are lots of places to eat in the centre ranging from sushi right down to macdonalds.There are places like nandos,pizza hut,spud u like,harry ramsdens,tgi fridays just to name a few...but basically you have everything froma sit down meal to a grab and run lunch.The foodcourt area is very spacious with lots of seating both inside and out.
There are childrens high chairs provided and lots of staff members around always making sure the areas are clean.
Bluewater itself is beautifully built and as you walk around you will notice the great amount of detail in the walls, ceilings etc and take in the atmosphere.I love shopping here as it has all the stores i like to go to and its a lovely clean shopping centre.
My only issue would be that there could be a primark here and then i would never need to cross over to lakeside ever again.
Lovely centre and lovely shopping experience especially at christmas which they make the whole centre so lovely i could go visit everyday this year they are making a winter wonderland with free santas grotto, christmas market and also a fun fair.Lots of fun for the whole family !!
visit www.bluewater.co.uk for more information on the centre
Bluewater is a large indoor shopping centre in Dartford in Kent. It's easily accessible - just off the M25 (5 minutes from Junction 2 in fact) and over the bridge/Dartford tunnel - and there are also bus routes that service the centre from parts of Kent as well as Lakeside Shopping Centre and parts of Essex. There is a train station called Greenhithe which is about 5 minutes on a bus as well - trains to here come from the other side of Kent or Central London which is handy.
I haven't been to Bluewater as many times as I have been to Lakeside, mainly because I am the wrong side of the river and also because of the lack of Primark in this centre. But Bluewater is a great shopping centre with lots of choice in places to eat.
The centre is set over two floors, both house shops and eateries. It's in a triangular/circular shape so you walk around and end up back where you started from. Not ideal it has to be said but seems to work quite well. There is a little section which has more designer type shops (more expensive!) and you also have all the usuals like Topshop, H&M, Marks and Spencer, Burtons etc. Bluewater also has one of my favourite shops - Hollister (owned by Abercrombie) - check it out - it looks liker a surfers hut from the outside - it's great! Of course Bluewater has all the different sorts of shops you need - clothes, jewellery, shoes, department stores like John Lewis, chemists like Boots and Superdrug, restaurants, fast food places, electronics etc.
The one thing that sets Bluewater apart from somewhere like Lakeside is it's lack of Primark. Bluewater is a bit more high end than Lakeside and although has shops like Topshop and New Look in common, some of Lakesides cheaper shops do not feature in Bluewater. Bluewater is a bit of a nicer centre actually - it's not quite so bright and cheap looking - it's a bit more expensive looking and the décor is newer and fresher. It has more choice in places to eat than Lakeside does - some you may even need a reservation for in peak times! There is also a Showcase cinema inside the centre.
Their opening hours are as follows -
Mon to Fri - 10:00am - 9:00pm
Saturday - 9:00am - 9:00pm
Sunday - 11:00am - 5:00pm
There's plenty of parking spaces - over 13,000 - so you will never not find one - and plenty of places to sit down and rest your feet and grab a drink on the go. And of course as it's all under cover you can shop here no matter what the weather - and it's never as busy as the high street or Oxford Street in London (except perhaps at Christmas).
Definitely a great shopping centre to visit - you could be occupied here all day with shopping, films and food! For more info on how to get there and a downloadable store list visit their site at www.bluewater.co.uk
Having just returned from a trip to Bluewater, I thought it was high time I gave this shopping centre a review, as it is a favourite haunt of mine, much to my accountants dismay...
Situated in Dartford in Kent, it is accessible from the M25 and is easy to get to by car. There is also a bus service, and it is accessible by train and then a shuttle. There is ample car parking space, very close to the actual shopping centre, so you don't have to walk far!! It isn't particularly near a city, the nearest town being Bean, which is tiny!
The shopping centre is on two layers, upper and lower, and is in a triangular shape. On the three corners are the three big department stores: Marks and Spencers, John Lewis and House of Fraser. On the lower floor, it's mostly your up market shops, with some designers, especially along one side. There are also the classics: WHSmith and a two floor Boots. There are a lot of maps around to help if you get lost as well: very useful!
At Bluewater there really is something for everything. For beauty fanatics, there's The Body Shop, Boots, Lush and Superdrug among others and for the fashonista there is every shop under the sun (apart from Primark unfortunately). There are high street staples: New Look, Topshop, Dotty Ps, the lesser known ones such as Republic, and then the higher end shops such as Karen Millen and Miss Sixty. Along each walkway, there are several little stalls.
There is a food court where you can get everything from noodles, to pizza, to burgers, to toasties. There are also coffee shops at every ten paces, so you won't go thirsty or hungry! There are also a lot of benches and bins everywhere, so the place is very clean and if you get tired, you're never too far from a stop.
Something for everyone: a very good shopping centre, if it lacks in the atmosphere of London.
I love about 45 minutes from Bluewater and can remember the day it opened. I went up there with a friend and we got free goodie bags from lots of shops giving stuff away. It was such an experience. Before Blue water opened lakeside was the nearest shopping centre to me. It was a longer drive as it was over the dartford tunnel and in comparison it was a much tattier shopping centre. When Bluewater opened, it seemed to shiney and new, it was a luxurious shopping experience, and amazingly they have managed to keep that up. It still looks new to this day.
Another comparison is that Bluewater is much easier to navigate around than Lakeside. Bluewater is set up to be two triangles (with only a few offshoots) one triangle above each other, so that you cannot get lost. The only downside of being a triangle is that everything looks the same, but luckily there are plenty of maps scattered around so you can easily double check where you are. The acoustics in bluewater are much better, the noise seems to fizzle out so you can hear who you are talking to easier and it doesnt seem such an intense experience.
I love the shops at bluewater, they have everything I need. They have french connection, ted baker, john lewis, and smaller shops also. The Food court is great, with loads of different foods to chose from, there are actual restaurants and bars, in the water circus area, and smaller snackier lunch venues in the food court, including pizza hut, macdonalds, and my favorite, spud-u-like.
The other great thing about bluewater for me is the cinema. You can just pop in at any point in your shopping experience and a film will be almost ready to start. If you fancy splashing out then treat yourself to the gallery, unlimitred hot chocolate and some free celebrations, along with a comfy seat makes it the ideal experience!
Ever since Bluewater has oppened I have absolutely loved going there. I am very lucky living within access to it because it just such a greta place too visit. I firslty love the cinima complex that they have which shows all of the latest films and they are reasonably priced. I found that the cinema is very clean with modern facilities making it ideal for going to on a nice day out. I didn't like how you have to buy food from the cinema shop which is very expensive but despite this it is a greta place.
The shops are just fantatsic with a large variety, however, I don't like how there is a bit too many fashion shops. There is even an Apple shop which is just superb. many people may worry about the prices being really high but I find that actually there are regular sales on making it quite easy to get a good by. I really liked how bluwater is so well connected because it means that I can either take the train, bus or come by car! Perhaps my favourite part about bluewater is just the general atmosphere
and the quality of facilities. Everything is so modern and well cleaned that I just think its the ideal place to go for a day out!
The resteraunts there are superb, I have personally loved the Nando's and many other resteraunts there. I also loved how you can go to the food court where you can get a cheap lunch. Its a great place to meet up with friends and family I find because it is so well connected and it is an enjoyable day for everyone.
Bluewater was built in 1999 and was at that time the biggest shopping centre in Europe. It is located just outside Dartford and is accessed via the A2, and is just minutes from junction 2 of the M25. The Bluewater project was built in a disused quarry and, despite how it sounds is actually quite a nice place to be. There is a nice lake and walking round the outside of the shopping centre is quite pleasent. At night, the quarry walls surrounding the centre are bathed in coloured light and it all looks quite pretty. Bluewater is really only accessible by car, there are some bus routes but a car is the best way to get there, and with 13,000 free parking spaces your sure to be able to park easily. The shopping centre is layed out on two levels in a triangular shape with bigger major stores John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and House of Fraiser at its 3 corners. There are 3 areas that spur off the triangle layout that contain resurants. There are over 40 places to eat from places to grab a quick bite to resuraunts where you can sit and have a meal. Bluewater also has a large cinema which is a great place to see a film, with large comfy seats and even a "gallery" area which you sit on sofas and have free food, and a bar. There are over 330 great shops at bluwater with something for everyone from clothes, to electrical gadgets, there is plently to buy. Theres things for the kids to, outside theres a play area, boating lake, go kart hire and climbing area with rock climbing etc. Overall, bluewater is a great day out, you can combine shopping with eating and a film, there is something for everyone!
Bluewater shopping centre is an American style mall where everything you need is under one roof. The shopping area is in a disused quarry in Kent on the outskirts of South East London. It is not always the easiest place to get to without a car as the there is no direct train link and the bus service to surrounding areas is unreliable and expensive. There are lots of the normal High Street shops like Next, M&S, Topshop but with bigger stores. There are also a large number of designer shops and specialist shops. There are numerous restaurants and food stalls as well as a cinema. Bluewater can be a nightmare during really busy shopping times like Christmas and January sales, the queues are crazy and even getting in to the car park you can be queued back to the A2. The building is massive and there are a lot of art work and creative areas that really add to the place and at christmas the lights are normally very impressive, especially the giant reindeer.
Last Sunday I visited Bluewater and I really enjoyed it.
Bluewater is a very big shopping mall which located in Kent. The size of Bluewater is almost as a small village.
It has attracted more and more people from and outside the UK since 1999.
The building of Bluewater is a triangular shape with big glass ceilings. There are many sculptures with different themes on the inside walls.
There are over 300 different shops in Bluewater. The big three shops are Marks and Spencer, House of Fraser and John Lewis.
After I visited this M&S I changed my idea about it. Before I heard and also I thought M&S is more suitable for over middle aged customers from middle class.
But this M&S in Bluewater seems very popular with all ages of customers. There are always long queues waiting for you when you want to try in the fitting rooms or to pay on the counters.
It's the first time I found I have many choices in M&S. I was in difficulty to decide which one I should buy.
There are numerous restaurants and fast food chains that provide worldwide meals.
Two restaurants impressed me. One was YO Sushi, a Japanese food. It was so popular. I was surprised to see people waiting in very long queue to be seated.
Another one is called Loch Fyne that provides seafood. I was there and found they really know their business.
However if you don't want spend your valuable shopping time on food, you also have many choices, such as Mc Donalds, Kfc, Pizza Hut, and Nando's etc.
You can also visit Showcase Cinemas to have a look of the latest blockbusting movies.
No matter you love shopping or not, you will still find fun in Bluewater.
From 9 am until 9 pm (Monday - Saturday)
11 am - 5 pm (Sunday)
Over 60 buses pass by Bluewater with regular services.
It is just 2 miles from the M25 and with very big free car parking spaces. Travelling by car couldn't be easier.
By coach or by train are also available.