Newest Review: ... place is actually one of the biggest shopping areas in Europe. The large retail outlets include shops like Ikea, Toys R Us, and mostl... more
My favourite shopping centre
Lakeside Shopping Centre
Member Name: smooch15
Lakeside Shopping Centre
Advantages: Easy to get to, loads of great shops
Disadvantages: Not great for entertainment, nothing much around it apart from motorways
Lakeside is the second closest shopping centre to my home, with Bluewater being the first, so I often take a trip there when I fancy a change to Bluewater. Lakeside is in West Thurrock in Essex and is literally surrounded by just motorways, so it's very easy to get to from either London or Kent, being just a few minutes from the Dartford Tunnel.
Although the actual shopping centre isn't as big Bluewater, if you include the retail outlets that surround the shopping centre, the entire place is actually one of the biggest shopping areas in Europe. The large retail outlets include shops like Ikea, Toys R Us, and mostly furniture, home and sports shops. The whole place is so huge that every single time we go there we end up getting lost!
I generally prefer the types of shops that Lakeside has as I find Bluewater has more expensive shops. There is a huge Primark there which I love and just generally more shops that are better suited to me. This does mean that the whole place seems quite a bit cheaper than Bluewater, which I think is more of an upmarket shopping centre, but for those who don't like to buy lots of expensive designer gear, Lakeside is the better option, although there are still quite a lot of designer shops there.
There isn't as much on the entertainment side of things as there is at Bluewater and I'd never think of going there for a night out. Although there is a Vue cinema and lots of different places to eat, most of the food places are fast-food restaurants with the only proper ones you can sit down in being La Tasca, Nando's and Bella Italia, so nowhere near as many to choose from as there are at Bluewater.
There are quite a few good places to grab something quick to eat while you're shopping including Pizza Hut Express, KFC, Harry Ramsden's, Greggs and some cafes and most of these are up on the top floor which does make it a difficult decision to choose where to eat when all the different types of food are being displayed in front of you in a long row!
For entertainment purposes, Bluewater is easily the winner, but for the shopping I'd rather go to Lakeside every time as they have some great shops and I always come back with bags full of things!
Summary: My favourite shopping centre