Eckington Way, Crystal Peaks, Sheffield. South Yorkshire. S20 7PP
Tel: 0114 251 0457 „
I used to live in the North of the city and thought Crystal Peaks just had cheap shoe shops, now I've moved to the South I've found out that it is much better than that.
It is a small shopping centre, not in the same league as Meadowhall, but as well as having less shops it has less people, less crowding and a much more spacious, relaxed and friendly feel. It has a large Sainsburys which is fantastic, it also has a large Next and Clarks, along with many other food, clothing and entertainment shops, a cafe and Macdonalds, a market, banks and a Post Office (which always has long queues). There is also a First Point council office and a fairly large library which holds a number of classes / groups for children and adults.
You probably wouldn't get much of a shopping marathon out of Crystal Peaks, and I don't think it is worth travelling too far to, but if you live on the right side of Sheffield you can get there quickly and easily by car, bus or walking and there is ample free parking making it a good alternative to going into town as it is also much more compact.
Where to start with Crystal Peaks?
Peaks is really a poor man's Meadowhall. Aiming at slightly different markets you won't find your designer shops and department stores in this shopping centre - you're really better off going to Meadowhall for that!
Crystal Peaks is more of a useful shopping centre. It has a supermarket (Sainsbury's, although the queues in there can be horrendous), plenty of banks and the recently(ish) refurbished marketplace where you can buy cheap meat, use the post office or get a spare key cut.
It doesn't have the glamour of Meadowhall, but it is more useful as I don't think Meadowhall offers any of the above. Other useful shops include Wilko's, Card Factory and Poundland - again, not really Meadowhall material, but useful if you need some paint some deodorant or some cards!
You couldn't spend a day at Crystal Peaks and I doubt that anyone drives more than about 5 miles to go there, but for the people who live locally (like me), it really can be quite useful... there's that word again!
A local shopping centre in suburbia which for the last 15 years or so has catered to a growing number of houses in the area and ever increasing in circles around it. An astute business move if you ask me.
It houses large number of shops for such an area, Sainsburys, Blockbuster, O'Briens, Evans, Superdrug, Boots, McDonalds, Burtons, Dorothy Perkins, Select, JBB Sport, Wilkinsons, The Officers Club, Next, Clarks, H Samuel, Dollond & Aitchison, Iceland, Lloyds Chemist, Peacocks, New Look and a lot of other smaller chains and independents.
The style of Crystal Peaks has changed little since it was built and that's fine, it's light and airy and it feels a fairly comfortable atmosphere. There's the obligatory hard floor which features in every shopping centre and murders the dedicated shoppers feet but at least the lighting is natural instead of the harsh, headache inducing glare, created by many.
It's set out in a spreading set of arms from a central atrium and has parking off each arm. One arm houses Next, H Samuels, various card shops and smaller clothes stores and travel agents, the central atrium has Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Adams, The Works, Superdrug, Birthdays, McDonalds and a couple of others.
The next arm is shorter and houses cheaper clothing, cheaper shoes and a travel agent. The biggest arm has the markets, Lloyds and Boots, Williams, New Interiors, Wilkinsons and lots more and then leads out to the banks, the estate agents and the library.
There's a library by the bus station which is great, very handy and right by the selection of banks including Halifax and Natwest and one or two estate agencies.
There are a number of empty units yet to be filled. Crystal Peaks expanded and reshuffled some stores in the last couple of years, meeting the growing demand and they've done a good job but they could do even more. I drive 15 miles to get to a WH Smiths.
There's also a small Post Office which even opens on Sunday but the location, inside the ill considered markets is rubbish.
A decent and clean baby changing room and the cleanest public toilets I've ever seen.
They have lovely, if slightly repetitive displays at Christmas, an overpriced grotty, sorry, grotto and pretty seasonal displays.
I really dislike the markets here. The idea is good, lots of smaller traders and a busy atmosphere but most of them are just small scale rubbish now.
A very poor quantity of parent and child parking spaces, it puts me off at busy times because it's heaving and I can't safely get the kids out.
The disability parking is very poor too and they often end up in parent and child spaces because there just aren't enough to go round.
Totally lacking in decent places to buy a book or stationery, though Sainsburys does a little. A WH Smiths would provide books, DVDs, CDs, stationery, magazines, and a whole lot more. As a result I'd be in there much more often.
Overall, it's very useful and I'm happy to have such a facility but since the cinema closed down and became Sainsburys it lost some appeal, not having a WHSmiths or similar purveyor of media, like books, DVDs and CDs, I feel bereft.
There was trend during the early and middle part of the 1970's when people that lived in the large cities of Britain decided that they wanted a more rural existence, and in response to this trend several out of town suburbs began to be built.
My home town of Sheffield was no exception to this trend. In fact it followed the text book pattern almost to the letter. In the early seventies the population of the city was just over 550,000. To accommodate the ever increasing demands of people wanting to live on the fringes of the city several small villages on the outskirts began to see new housing estates being built around them. The largest of these developments were at Mosborough, Waterthorpe, Halfway and Beighton. By the end of that decade all of these places had effectively merged into one huge conurbation of almost 200,000 people. Colloquially this sprawl of middle class suburbia began to be referred to as Crystal Peaks.
It was inevitable that such a populous area should have its own facilities but to be fair the combined local authorities of Sheffield and Rotherham on whose land these new homes were built were rather slow on the uptake and it was not until 1977 that plans for a huge shopping complex were unveiled. It would however be another decade before construction was completed.
At this time purpose built, out of town shopping complexes were virtually unheard of and the scheme was not without its critics, not least because the proposed site was on an area of pleasant, green arable land, with ancient woodlands.
The choice of location however was obvious. Just 7 miles out of Sheffield city centre with easy access from both junction 31 and junction 32 of the M1 Motorway, but most important of all it was within a 15 minute drive for almost 1 million people.
I remember the first time that my parents took me to Crystal Peaks Shopping Centre as the new shopping centre had been named, it was only shortly after it had opened and we all stood and looked at it awe. Even from the outside the complex looked very new and modern. Built of clean red brick this was a low level complex with huge glass doors that opened automatically when you approached them, and beyond these doors the floors were carpeted with thick, plush carpets.
I remember my father saying that there were acres and acres of car parking space and my mother could not believe that all of the big name shops that were in the city centre had opened new, much larger and much more modern stores here. Best of all however all of this was completely undercover with heating during the winter and air conditioning during the summer. The modern age of shopping had arrived.....
Today the site covers over 40 acres and houses well in excess of 100 different stores. These stores cover most areas of the retail sector including fashion, house & home, banks & estate agents, food, books & cards, leisure, DIY, jewellery, health & beauty, and sports. Amongst the largest stores are Wilkinsons, Sainsbury's Savacentre, Boots, and Argos. There are also opticians, hairdressers and several travel agents.
During the latter half of the 1980's an even bigger shopping complex known as the Meadowhall Centre opened its doors only a few miles away. This was and still is on the scale of the Metro Centre, the Trafford Centre, Lakeside etc. and truly dwarfs the Crystal Peaks Complex.
For many people Meadowhall signalled the end of Crystal Peaks but time has proved that this was not to be the case. Today, Crystal Peaks is still a thriving place and in fact it has recently undergone a fairly substantial refurbishment. As a sign of its success there is now also a large retail park known as Drakehouse that has been built on land adjoining the Shopping Complex.
The market place within Crystal Peaks is more or less a shopping centre in its own right with almost a hundred different market stalls. This originally opened in 1988 and in 2005 underwent a £2 million refurbishment of its own.
The Crystal Peaks Shopping Complex is a phenomenal success and although it is on a much smaller scale than its newer neighbour, Meadowhall it does seem to attract a different crowd of people, and surprisingly it does not even seem to be in direct competition with it at all. Personally I much prefer the smaller, more compact and intimate feel of Crystal Peaks than Meadowhall, which I try to avoid like the plague.
Getting to Crystal Peaks is very easy as there is both a large bus interchange and the tram terminal.
Should you ever be in the area and have a sudden craving to shop then the address is as below:
Crystal Peaks Shopping Centre,
The Centre is open every day between the following hours:
Monday 9am - 5.30pm
Tuesday 9am - 5.30pm
Wednesday 9am - 5.30pm
Thursday 9am - 8.00pm
Friday 9am - 8.00pm
Saturday 9am - 5.30pm
Sunday 10am - 4.00pm
Bank Holiday Mondays 10am - 5.00pm
Some of the larger stores open longer hours, including Sainsbury's which opens until 10pm most nights.
The Crystal Peaks shopping centre is a few miles outside of the Sheffield city centre and makes a very pleasant shopping experience. There are about 70 shops in the centre including a large number of national shops, such as Boots, Wilkinsons, Superdrug, Iceland, Sainsburys, Dorothy Perkins, Burtons and many more. There is a good mix of shops in the centre, with the majority all being on one level. There is also a mixed indoor market, selling food, clothes and other non-food products. On a lower level is a food court, which includes a pizza outlet, an Indian restaurant and a McDonalds restaurant. Also on the lower level is the entrance to a ten screen UCI cinema. Access to the centre is easy with a 2000 space free car park, a bus station, and a Supertram stop. (The tram trip is about 30 minutes to the centre of Sheffield.) By car it is very easy to reach, being just a five minute drive from Junction 31 on the M1 motorway. The whole place has a very bright, spacious feel to it, with a large glass covered roof above the central atrium of the centre. There are all the usual features that you would expect at a shopping mall including cash points, toilets, a children’s play area, a petrol station and information points. There is also a very pleasant pub just outside of the centre. The only fact that I did find a bit disappointing is the lack of seating near the shops. When my wife was looking around the ladies clothes shops I would have liked to have rested my old legs whilst waiting outside for her, but there were very few places to sit and rest. The centre is open seven days a week, with late night shopping on Thursdays and Fridays (to 8.00pm). The centre will never compete against the Meadow Hall shopping centre, which is also at Sheffield, for the number and variety of shops, but it does have a very pleasant atmosphere and a good mix of shops. For more information about the centre and a full list of all the s
hops there, you can look at their web site at: http://www.crystal-peaks.co.uk/ I would not travel a great distance to visit this centre, but we have visited it a couple of times and enjoyed our visits. I am sure that when we are next in the area we will visit it again.