* Prices may differ from that shown
Bitterly dissapointed.Booked a 4pm timeslot, got there at 3:50pm queued up outside the entrance with 20 other families who also had 4pm slot, went through the entrance to see a line of people who must have had the 3:20 slot. Waited for 45 mins to see santa, atmosphere was more "frustrated" than "fun". Staff were inconsistent with the children, some got attention others none. Santa himself was great. The staff in the "commercial" bit were also pretty rude and abnoxious. We won'd be returning, i wouldn't say having 80% of the staff being in their late teens with attitude of counting down the minutes until their shift end is conducive to great service.
Meadowhall for me is right on my door step and over the years has been a great place to go for a day out, or even just to pick up some last minute christmas shopping. They have a wide range of shops there from HMV to WHSmith. The layout is very simple and easy to navigate with plenty of maps and boards to guide you about. The shops are all very clean and tidy, and usually have some music playing when inside.
The staff are friendly and they are quite happy to help with enquiries about pretty much anything meadowhall related. parking is a bit of a faff though, the car parks are devided into colours and you have to drive for quite a while around the entire outer walls of the centre just to get to different colours. Red and yellow are thea easiest to access from the M1 but are usually crammed and it takes ages to find spaces there. I usually go for Orange Car Park around the side.
Shops are actually forced to open on some special days (boxing day springs to mind) and i think Next refused a few years back and payed a fine. Other than that the centre always has its shops open ready for business and open and close at roughly the same time.
The thing i like about meadowhall is the facilities, there's an enormous food court called the Oasis which has recently been redeveloped with new tables and seating areas, and a few new cafès here and there. There is also a cinema and lifts to access each floor. Theres a huge choice of food and drink from well known fast food takeaway's like KFC and harry ramsden. There are quite a few millies cookies shops scattered about the mall which do more than just cookies, and festive seasonal cakes.
They usually dont have empty shop spaces but occasionally they do and put up banners saying "were making this space avaliable for your shopping experience" or something like that, meaning they have a new shop coming there. There are also plenty of cash points and toilets scattered throughout the mall and a couple banks here and there. You can do pretty much anything in one go and there used to be a crechè which has now closed down and the lanes have been shortened. The lanes being a row of small businesses like tool shed and music box.
Overall its a greeat shopping experience i would recommend.
We visited the shopping centre on our way home from our few days away in Birmingham and it was really easy to find, it is situated just off junction 34 of the M1 near to Sheffield. The centre is well signposted and once you leave the main road it only takes about 5 minutes to reach.
We visited on a weekday in August but was still surprised to find the car park with hardly any cars in it, the car park is on the upper level of the shopping centre and provides for children and disabled with plenty of each type of space. There are covered walkways for people to get to their vehicles in bad weather which impressed me as I hate going to a shopping centre where you don't need a coat and then leaving to find it is bucketing down. The car park is in a good state of repair without pot holes and the like and the spaces are wide enough which is a bonus for me as I have 2 young children and generally find normal parking spaces too narrow to leave plenty of room on both sides of the vehicle.
The layout of the centre is basically a circle with legs coming off the four corners each of course filled with shops, there is also a walkway through the middle. When you arrive you are best to find one of the map points and then you are able to look at a large board showing you where you are and where everything is situated and also pick up a folded map which you can carry with you. I personally have a memory like a sieve and so a foldable map is perfect for me as I can only ever remember how to get to one shop at a time.
The toilets seemed to me as though they were only on the lower levels but this wasn't as issue because as each leg of shops comes from the circle there is a lift to allow you to change floors easily, the lift is one that you can see from as you move which our daughter wasn't sure of at the beginning of the day but loved the fact she could see everyone by the end of the day. The toilets are large and clean, they were well stocked and the baby facilities are excellent. Within the baby changing there is room to change about 3 babies at any time with a small room where you can feed your baby in private. A place always impresses e when it provides for nursing mothers as I am someone who did try to breastfeed and I was always wary of going out near to a feed time incase of stares and abuse.
The centre holds many different shops some of which I have only ever heard of and never seen such as Lush and some of which are well known and everywhere such as Boots. There are discount stores such as Poundland and great value stores such as Primark but then there are also the more upmarket shops for when you want something special. If you want to see a full list of stores you can find them by alphabetical order on the website as it seems a bit pointless for me to list them all and there would be far too many. I was impressed by the shops and treated myself to a burner for my Yankee Candles from a beautiful shop although I had to leave my daughter with the other half outside as I would say 90% of the store was breakable!
There are so many choices for food within the centre that you wouldn't be able to ever go hungry, there are the usual Greggs etc dotted around but then there is also a full food hall. The food hall seemed to be having worked done whilst we were there with barriers up and this may be why it seemed so dull if not then I wasn't impressed by the amount of light available to eat by around Frankie and bennies. We decided on a Mcdonalds before we left and we found that the food places all shared the same eating area and we couldn't get seated. Like I said previously the car park wasn't exactly busy and so to find the food hall full I would say there is nowhere near enough seating and the seating already seemed to be crammed in and certainly not friendly to people with buggies.
I was impressed by the layout as it was easy to find the shops you wanted to visit, I was also impressed that there were rides such as a mini carting ring throughout the centre and therefore something you could use for bribery with misbehaving children. I liked the way the baby change was set and it seemed that the constructors had really thought about what someone with a baby would need but then on the other hand it didn't seem like they want people with babies to be able to sit and have some food. The centre is large enough to fill a full day and I would consider doing Christmas shopping there if I didn't do it bit by bit throughout the year as I really think you would find something for everyone in there. The shops are tailored to all budgets and the centre was comfortable to walk around without getting too hot or too cold, there were also benches for those who felt they needed a rest. I would recommend this shopping centre they just need to sort the food hall out.
Meadowhall is a large shopping centre conveniently located off of Junctions 34 on the M1 motorway in Sheffield. The place is unmissable as the turquoise coloured dome shaped roof can be seen before turning off of the motorway.
Meadowhall has around 12,000 car parking spaces all free to use. Not only that but also it's own helicopter landing pad! Meadowhall (also known as Meadowhell!) is the largest of all shopping centres in the Yorkshire area, covering 1.5 million square foot of space with over 250 shops and a huge VUE cinema complex.
You can access Meadowhall by car, train or the bus. Some car parking spaces are undercover, and others one floor up with numbers so you can remember where you have parked. Access by train is easy too. From the train, you go straight indoors and carry on walking through until you reach the actual entrance, which is great as if the weather is bad, you don't get soaked! I have never actually been by bus, so I'm not sure of the service that it provides. The tram terminus can take you into the Sheffield city centre in around 15 minutes.
All throughout the year, meadowhall is open from 10am up until 9pm on weekdays, 9am up until 7pm on a Saturday. On Sunday it is normally open 11am up until 5pm but this could change when stores have special events going on. In the month of December, Meadowhall is open an extra hour on weekdays (I am not sure as i haven't been that late!) Personally I would avoid going on a Saturday as Meadowhall gets extra busy. This is probably because everybody is off work and school and fancies a stroll around the shopping centre!
There are lots and lots of shops in Meadowhall as I have already mensioned, over 250. I'll start off with the Oasis! The Oasis is basically the food court. It has lots of seating, but on days like Saturday it is really hard to find somewhere to sit and eat. There is 2 levels, both of which have seating and lots of fast food restaurants. Some of the restaurants are: McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Jacket Potatoes, Chinese, Indian, Fish And Chips, Nando's, Frankie And Bennys, Pizza Express, KFC, Chilango and many more.
Near to the oasis is also an extremely large VUE cinema. I think it is around £4.50 for a child £5.50 for an adult and £1 extra for any 3D film you watch. They also sell popcorn, fanta freezes and pic'n'mixes.
Their is a huge variety of shops in Meadowhall so of course I can't go through all of them. Here are just a few of what is available:
Quiz, Primark, Newlook, Next, Debenhams, Topshop, H&M, M&M and Boots which are most of the larger shops around the place. There are also lots of Jewelery shops, Sport shops and Shoe shops. I also like the small shops like Paperchase which sell some unique items, funny cards for special occasions etc.
The lanes are also stores, doing t-shirt prints and are also like market style shops!
Meadowhall is a large shopping centre located on the site of former steelworks in Sheffield. I live about 8miles away and therefore go there quite a lot! (Much to my husband's disgust!!)
It is easily accessible from the M1 motorway (junction 34) and has lots
of free parking, including many overflow car parks for busy times -
although these are often quite a walk from the centre (generally only used in the run up to Christmas).
It also has its own transport interchange where you will find local and national bus stops (Megabus and National Express stop here), a train station and a tram terminus which can take you into Sheffield city centre in about 15minutes.
Generally people from Sheffield either love or hate meadowhall - known
locally as Meadowhell! I'm one of the ones that loves it but only if you
go at the right time, being so close means I can pick and choose when I
go which is definitely a major advantage for a large shopping centre
Throughout the year, the centre is open from 10am until 9pm on weekdays, 9am until 7pm on a Saturday and 11am-5pm on a Sunday - there are a few exceptions to this when stores have special events.
In the run up to Xmas the centre is open until 10pm on a weekday which
Best time to go:
Always avoid a Saturday unless you plan on getting there for 9am and
leaving about 11am! Even in the middle of the year Meadowhall can be
unbearably busy on a Saturday afternoon and you may find yourself
waiting around for a parking place.
During the week generally Mondays are the quietest and then it gets
gradually busier towards Friday. It will get busier around tea time when
people finish work and people who have gone for the day haven't left. If
I'm going for the day it's normally on a Friday and I don't really have
any problems. The quietest time to go is in an evening, normally the
last couple of hours - between 7pm and 9pm, by 8.30 you practically have
some of the shops to yourself!
My all time favourite time to go has to be in an evening the first week
that they start opening late in the run up to xmas - this is normally
the end of October/beginning of November just after they have switched
on the xmas lights. The shops are open until 10pm and you really do have the malls to yourself in that last hour!
Other than evenings it is probably best avoiding meadowhall for the last
few weeks before Xmas - it can be an absolute nightmare! (Unless you like queueing to get in, queueing to park, queuing to try on, queuing to pay, peple walking into you, queuing for food and then queuing to get out!)
There is a huge variety of shops in Meadowhall. M&S, Debenhams, Next and House of Frazer all have big stores, With Topshop, Primark, H&M New Look all occupying large areas of the Malls. You have got lots of sports shops, Jewellery stores, designer stores and shoe shops. There is a small area called The Lanes which has several small market style stalls
selling all sorts of things - there is a tool shed, a bag store, a croc
shop and many more. I find Meadowhall has a good mix of stores that will
generally suit everyone's style and budget.
The Oasis Food Court has an upper and lower level, the lower level has a
large seating area with mostly fast food restaurants - McDonalds, KFC,
Pizza Hut, a Chinese place, Indian, Jacket potato, fish and chip, a
sandwich stall etc. On this level there is also a Nando's and La Tasca
The upper level was extended a few years ago to incorporate another
small seating area for busy periods which can be useful. There are also
more restaurants on the upper level, Frankie and Bennys, Chilango, Coal
Bar and Grill, Prezzo, Handmade Burger Co, Pizza Express and more.
Along with these is a VUE cinema, so you really can make a day out!
I love Meadowhall and it is nearly always my first choice for somewhere
to shop, however the reason I enjoy it is because of the time I choose
to go, If you only ever experience Meadowhall on a Saturday or at Xmas I
can see why it can be called Meadowhell!!
Meadowhall shopping centre, Sheffield, is located just moments from Junction 34 of the M1, this central location is easily accessible from all over the country and even has it's very own train station! One thing I really value about Meadowhall is that it is the only shopping location I can think of which still offers free parking to all customers, yes, that's right - FREE. There are also more than enough spaces available - meaning you don't need to get there before the crack of dawn in order to get a space. Inside the centre everything is undercover meaning you can go any time of year without taking your winter woolies or mac! There is something to suit everyone at Meadowhall, although as you would expect, the majority of shops are for clothing and shoes there are also many shops selling gadgets, electricals, holidays, homewares, books, etc... All the major retailers have a store in Meadowhall, many of hem being of flagship standard. There is also a section called The Lanes which has smaller stores which cater for the more bespoke tastes. On top of this the centre also has it's own large cinema complex - so if dad and the boys don't want to spend hours in topshop they can always relax with a film! At the centre of the complex there is a large food hall with everything from McDonalds to jacket potatoes to curry and sandwich bars, seating is in the centre of all these so if you fancy different foods you can still sit together. If you fancy something more formal there are a selection of bistros / restaurants such as Nandos and Le Petit France to tempt your tastebuds.
My husband and I spotted Santa's Wonderland at Meadowhall in Sheffield and decided it was a must-see for our four year old twin granddaughters. It's a large shop that's been converted into a temporary Christmas attraction. The shop window has been made into a colourful scene showing Santa's workshop, with elves and toys, and inside there are more elves, toys etc and numerous glittering Christmas trees to see on the way into the Wonderland experience. We checked out the price and it's £3 each (including adults), or £10 for a family of four. This includes a toy for the children. Showings are every forty-five minutes, and it's possible to book online for an extra £1.50 per ticket, or £3.00 for a group ticket.
We duly came back a few days later with two excited twins, and although there was a queue of people who had prebooked we managed to get tickets just ten minutes in advance of the next showing. Bear in mind this was on a weekday, when older children were at school, so it was relatively easy to get in. Meadowhall is absolutely crazy at the weekends just now, so I doubt it would be so easy to get in without advance booking.
Inside we were shown to a small cinema with bench seats and given 3d glasses on the way in. The girls were very excited about wearing 'magic glasses' and were impatient to see what was going to happen. Before the film started, a storyteller came and sat on a throne at the front and started getting the children involved. He told them to look out for a 'cheeky snowman' who would throw snowballs at them, and they had to shout out if they saw him. They all had a practice, and then it was time for the film to start. The film is about Rocket the Reindeer and his lost antler, and it's narrated by the storyteller as it goes along. There is a bit of dialogue in the film but it's in something that sounds like Norwegian, which the storyteller translates. The cheeky snowman pops up now and again and throws 3d snowballs at the audience, to wild excitement from the children who all wave their arms around and try to catch them. There are also 3d tree baubles to catch, and there's a fairy who sprinkles magic dust.
This was the twins first experience of 3d and they were totally enthralled. They also loved the parts where a sleigh was whooshing over the snowy slopes and they had to lean from side to side as if they were in the sleigh (grown ups end up joining in as well!). It was an excellent little film for audience participation. One drawback was a couple of people had brought babies in, and they were crying throughout most of it. It's not very suitable for babies and I suggest if you need to take your baby in with you, have a bottle or dummy or whatever it takes to keep them calm, as anyone sitting nearby won't hear the storyteller. I also noticed that the seating wasn't quite enough and a couple of adults ended up standing at the back. The film lasts about twelve minutes, and then the storyteller has a brief word with all the children as they leave. He did a very good job and the children all seemed to like him.
After that everyone queues to see Santa. We ended up near the back of the queue and waited about 15 minutes, but there's plenty to see as you wait, as you walk past a big model of Santa's workshop. A young woman dressed as an elf asks the children their ages and names as they go in to see Santa. He's quite jolly looking with red cheeks and a rippling beard, and he sits in his sleigh where children can go and sit with him for a photo. There's not much time for a chat though and each child only gets a minute or two, but that was quite enough for the twins, who were suddenly overcome with shyness. They were delighted that Santa gave them each a small reindeer toy, like the one in the film, and they got a balloon each as well on the way out. The photo was £5 extra, which is a bit extortionate I think, but it's a nice photo and the girls are so pleased to have a photo of themselves with Santa, it was worth it.
Overall, it's a lovely Christmas treat for children, that takes about half an hour to forty-five minutes, depending on where you end up in the queue for Santa. At £10 it's quite reasonable value for money for a family of four. The film is a lovely extra touch, and the girls spent ages afterwards pretending to throw snowballs like the cheeky snowman, so it was clearly a happy memory.
UPDATE: For 2010 the the 3d movie is now on at Crystal Peaks. Meadowhall has something new for the Santa's grotto, and also a huge indoor helter skelter at £1.50 a ride.
Meadowhall is a large shopping centre just off the M1, near Sheffield. Meadowhall is two floored and all indoors. There is plenty of parking, both standard car parks and two tiered multi storey type car parks and all free.
There is a large food court known as 'the oasis' where all the food outlets are and also a cinema. The food outlets vary from sit down restaurants like La Tasca and Pizza Express to takeaway outlets serving a whole range of food (jacket potatoes, pizza, indian, chinese etc).
Meadowhall has a whole range of shops from the budget end to high end, department stores to more independent stores. The independent shops are in an area known as 'the lanes' which is just behind the food court.
Transport to Meadowhall is excellent. I used to travel here from West Yorkshire and it was easy to find when travelling by car. If arriving by train it has it's own train station. All the public transport (bus, train, tram) all arrive into the same place and you enter via the Meadowhall Interchange which is a covered walkway bringing you into the shopping centre itself.
I used to love Meadowhall when travelling from West Yorkshire, however now living in Sheffield I have come to term it, like many of the locals as Meadowhell. But saying that I still love it, just trying to avoid it now until well after Christmas due to it being crazy busy!
Great place and pretty much everything under one roof - what more could you ask for?!
I live about 40 minutes away from Meadowhall, which is located off J34 of the M1 motorway and we head up there about 4 times a year when wanting to make purchases our local town can't adequately service.
We were last there on Friday night; our son was at his grandparents and Meadowhall is open until 10pm at the moment (9pm outside of the Christmas period) and we wanted to make inroads into our Christmas shopping without having to manouvre the buggy amongst the crowds.
We headed up around 6.30 and it was very, very busy getting into the shopping centre. I guess I shouldn't have expected any different at this time of year, particularly on a Friday evening. We parked quite easily though (just checked on their website www.meadowhall.co.uk and they have a whopping 12,000 free parking spaces!)
The website also states they have 280 stores and new ones seem to appear frequently. We noticed a Hotel Chocolat had appeared since our last visit and Firetrap and Pandora are opening soon. The main stores we frequent include Gap, Zara, French Connection, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Warehouse, HMV and Boots. Typical, well-known high-street brands. Other favourites include Lush, Molton Brown and Waterstones.
There are a plethora of places to eat, from a cookie at Millies to a quick burger at McDonalds or even a 3 course meal at Zizzi's. I have recently written a review of La Tasca and another of our favourites is Nandos for the chicken, yum! A recent addition is the Yo! Sushi bar which I am keen to sample. Situated in the middle of a walkway on the upper level, you can't mss the iconic conveyor belt with coloured dishes travelling around, ready to be selected and devoured. This eatery was attracting lots of interest on Friday. Most of the food outlets are situated in the Oasis eating area which has big screens playing music and advertising and cafeteria style tables and chairs if you're eating at one of the take-away outlets.
Given that it houses 280 stores and a huge food court, Meadowhall is big. Just checked and it's actually 1.5 million square foot of floor space. Despite this, it doesn't ever feel like any shop is out of reach when trekking up and down the levels. There are plenty of escalators and lifts if required and toilets are dotted around at various points. There are ATM machines handily located close to the entrance / exit and the lighting is bright but not overly so. Meadowhall is all completely under cover so a good option when the weather is bad and the temperature seems to be at a constant, comfortable rate.
Meadowhall has its own train stop which I remember using as a teenager. The trains are frequent and efficient and worth bearing in mind as an alternative to driving. You can also catch either a bus or tram directly into Meadowhall's interchange.
Another feature that Meadowhall has, but one which I haven't used, is the Vue cinema. Could be useful if you wanted to combine shopping with watching a film? Personally, it's one or the other for me but it always seems busy when we pass by.
Meadowhall can get very busy, particularly on Bank Holidays and I wouldn't risk going on a weekend in December. I've tried it before and vowed never again. The walkways are 4 or 5 deep and the queues to eat are massive.
I would be surprised if you'd be left feeling disappointed after a shopping trip to Meadowhall, and I'd be shocked if anyone came home empty handed. Plan your trip to avoid the queues if you think this may be an issue (or if you have a buggy! Can't think of anything worse than huge crowds, big queues and a wilfull toddler screeching for a drink or snack!)
It's definitely worth a visit after Christmas for the sales if you don't mind the crowds.
To sum up, all of your favourite stores conveniently located under one roof, with a variety of food outlets to ensure your energy levels are maintained so you shop, but don't drop!
As my last few reviews have mentioned the place I did some Christmas shopping yesterday - Meadowhall, Sheffield - I thought id write a review about the place itself.
Conveniently located just off Junction 34 on the M1 motorway you can't really miss the place, its large domed glass central roof is visible from the motorway and as you approach the Mall itself and its multiple car parks you really notice how huge it looks from the outside.
Boasting 12,000 free car parking spaces, 1.5 million square foot of floor space and attracting over 24 million visitors every year Meadowhall is the probably the largest shopping mall in the South Yorkshire area, it has over 280 stores inside, a cinema complex and even a landing pad for a helicopter if you want to arrive in style.
The "Meadowhall Interchange" transport station takes you right to the door if you travel by train or bus and public transport runs on a regular timetable if you can't or don't want to drive there. Parking your car is normally easy enough though with spaces usually available, although Bank Holidays and the run up to Christmas tend to be extremely busy and parking can be a bit of a pain.
Inside the complex itself is climate controlled so is comfortable to walk round in. There are plenty of benches dotted around inside should you want to have a sit down and wheelchairs and scooters can be hired out from a customer service desk should they be needed. At this time of the year a "Gift Wrapping" service is available from another customer service area if you want to take any purchases to them do for you and the whole centre is kept spotlessly clean by an army of maintenance staff who patrol around sweeping and cleaning.
Obviously it's the shops and amenities that have drawn you there in the first place, so what does the Mall have to offer? I've already mentioned the 280 shops and stores; these range from all you would expect to find on the high street - Boots, WHSmith, Superdrug, Clinton Cards, HMV etc to banks and building societies through to upper end jewellers and designer clothes shops. You really can do all your Christmas shopping in one place in one visit if you wanted to and if you need a break in-between shopping there is the "Oasis" food hall where you can grab a bite to eat from a fast food place or sit down and have a 3 course meal in a candle lit restaurant. All budgets and tastes are catered for and there is plenty of choice available.
If you wanted to make a day of it there is a "Vue" multi-screen cinema showing new release films with comfortable seating and concession stands where you can buy your popcorn and hotdogs from. There is a crèche where you can drop of children if you want to let them play whilst you shop and the centre on the whole does try and cater for your every need.
Even though I've admitted in the past to not being fond of shopping in general I don't mind Meadowhall at all, I like the convenience of all the shops I need being under the one roof, it is always spotlessly clean and it doesn't matter what the weather is like outside as you are dry and warm inside. On a Bank Holiday it can be a bit of a pain to walk round due to the thousands of people that descend on it but normally during the week it is a pleasant place to visit.
Given the amount of choice available you can end up spending a bit more money than you had planned to, but when you consider you can make a full day of doing some shopping, having something to eat and then visiting the cinema all without having to go outside it does make for a fabulous day out.
Although referred to as "Murderhall" or "Meadowhell" by locals when it comes to Bank Holidays and Christmas it still is the best place to visit to do some shopping. Even if you don't have any high street shopping to do the fact that it has a huge Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer means you can even do your weekly supermarket shop there if you wanted to.
To give Meadowhall the rating it deserves I would have to award it 5/5 Dooyoo stars for all the reasons stated above. Avoid during busy times if you want to experience it at a nice pace or brave the masses and fight your way through if you leave your Christmas Shopping to the last minute. Mine is just about done now, so shouldn't need to go back until the new year's sales - Wish me luck for January, I'll need it!
Meadowhall's opening times from now until Christmas are 10am - 10pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm Saturdays and 11am to 5pm on a Sunday. From the 13th December the shops open an hour earlier at 9am.
Their website should you want to check it out for yourselves is:
Meadowhall is an indoor shopping centre which is in the City of Sheffield in the North of England. It is found three miles north east of the city centre & is also and two miles from Rotherham town centre. Junction 34 of the M1 motorway is where most people from out of the area will find it. It is also easily accessed by Bus, Tram or Rail & has it's own transport interchange.
The centre was opened in September 1990. The centre has a floor area of 1,500,000 sq ft, which on opening made it the second largest mall in the UK (although it is now further down the list). The centre contains over 280 stores, along with a food court, restaurants & a cinema complex.
The complex was flooded in 2007 along with a lot of the rest of South Yorkshire. Some shops were tradin again inside a week however the complex was reopened properly in October 2007.
Personally, i don't mind shopping here. There is virtually anything you want covered by at least a couple of shops. With the exception off food from a Supermarket you would really struggle to not be able to buy something that you want. On the Downside, the centre gets very busy. Especially so on weekends, near Christmas & in the January sales. This has resulted in some local people referring to it as "MeadowHell". I would definitely recommend shopping here. I know that I will again sooner or later, but it is on my doorstep. I don't know if I would travel a large distance to visit here.
Meadowhall shopping centre which first opened in 1990 is one of the largest shopping centres in the north of England. Situated at junction 34 of the M1 it's an easy journey for both those who live locally and those coming from further away.
Location and Transport:
Meadowhall is situated on the outskirts of Sheffield within sight of junction 34 of the M1 and about a fifteen minute drive from the city centre. There are about 12,000 parking spaces spread out over 6 large car parks which surround the centre therefore there is ample parking even at peak shopping times, parking is free of charge.
The travel interchange has frequent bus and tram links to places all round Sheffield and the greater South Yorkshire area. There is also a railway station with frequent train services covering routes to Leeds, Manchester and Lincoln as well as stations throughout South Yorkshire
The centre has all the typical shops that you might expect to find in any UK high street or shopping centre with Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Boots, WH Smith, Clinton, H Samuels etc etc all being represented. There are also a large number of more specialised shops such as Karen Millen, Kurt Geiger, Nut Bar and The Disney Store so you can pretty much find anything you want. There are also a wide range of high street banks and travel agents.
The only thing which is really missing from the centre is a supermarket, Marks & Spencer's food hall being the only place you can nip for a pint of milk or that night's dinner.
One of my favourite areas of Meadowhall is The Lanes, an area of smaller specialist shops where you can find all kinds of things from clothing to candles, ornaments to sheet music and jewellery to toys. I find this area of the centre great to browse around and usually head here if I'm in search of something that's a little bit different.
In addition to the main stores and The Lanes there are various stalls throughout the centre where you can often find a bargain. These stalls tend to sell jewellery or refreshments and I often find myself drawn to them whilst I'm passing.
Eating and Drinking
Situated right at the heart of the centre is the Oasis a large food court with ample seating surrounded by outlets selling all kinds of food. Whether you fancy a Chinese or a pizza, fish and chips or a jacket potato you'll find it here. The big screen in the Oasis shows Meadowhall TV which shows what's going on around the centre, features some of the best offers available and shows a selection of film trailers, music videos and some actual TV programmes.
Above and around the main part of the Oasis are a pub and a selection of eat in restaurants including well known chains such as Frankie & Benny's, Nandos, Pizza Express and Zizzi along with some lesser known restaurants which in my experience all serve great quality food and drink.
The Oasis isn't the only place to stop for a bite to eat with various coffee shops and other eateries being spread throughout the centre.
For me one of the main attractions at Meadowhall is the multi-screen Vue cinema which shows most of the latest releases. This is situated upstairs in the Oasis area
There are a number of customer service information points situated throughout the centre where it's possible to ask for help, pick up a map, purchase a Meadowhall gift card (which can be used in over 250 stores around the centre) or get an item gift wrapped.
As you would expect for somewhere this size there are numerous toilets and baby changing facilities situated around the centre and in my experience these are always clean and pleasant to use.
Finally, for those with kids ages 8 or under there's a play area where they can let of steam
Generally the opening times for the main mall are as listed below, some shops do open earlier than the times stated and the Oasis area stays open for a while after the main shopping area has closed. Opening hours are of course extended near Christmas time, usually by an hour each day from Monday to Saturday.
Monday - Friday: 10 am - 9pm
Saturday: 9 am - 7pm
Sunday: 11 am - 5pm
In summary I find that Meadowhall meets all my shopping needs under one roof. Whether I'm looking for Poundland or Paperchase, Superdrug or Shoe Zone I can find it here. The centre is well situated with great transport links. Unfortunately at peak times the centre gets very busy. As I live locally I tend to avoid Meadowhall altogether on a Saturday afternoon especially when it's getting close to Christmas.
Meadowhall Shopping Centre.
Now I hate shopping Malls, not dislike, not, grumble about.....HATE. The Individuality of shops and shopping seems to have been swallowed up by these monstrosities which are built just out of big towns, usually off motorways, and usually full of the same old shops, selling the same old stuff, with chavvy staff that do not care a hoot about the customer.
So why, might you ask am I reviewing such a place, especially when it has a tagline of 'Land of Shoppertunity'? (pass me the vomit bowl).
Two reasons, firstly, like it or not, it has a better range of shops than Barnsley and secondly, for a myriad of reasons I find myself there quite often, whether it is going to the cinema, buying a last minute present or being a taxi and waiting service for my 14, going on 24 year old son and his mates.
Many such reviews contain a long list of shops......I am certainly not going to do that......you can probably guess the shops by name, with a few exceptions of some higher price, pretentious offerings.
This review will centre more on the 'experience' of shopping at Meadowhall, or as it is affectionately known in South Yorkshire, MeadowHELL.
~~~The Shops and shopping~~~
As I have said, the shops are very samey, with a few minor exceptions. The good thing about Meadowhall shops (if there is a good thing) is the variety and choice; 280 shops (according to the website) and I don't think that includes food outlets or stalls.
With this many shops a bargain is sure to be found, and in this time of credit crunch I have found that a smile, joke and a little haggling go a long way, especially in the smaller stores...10% off is a certainty, 20% is a good possibility.
The shopping itself is okay as long as you avoid peak times and there are a few nice little shops tucked into a place called 'The Lanes' such as a music store and a few little alternative T shirt stalls, a great little shop is called 'The Last Picture Show' which sells comics, models and all things geeky.
12,000 free parking spaces sounds an awful lot, but when the centre has over 800,000 visitors a week, this means parking spaces are often few and far between, especially at peak times.
Situated just off the M1, it is easy to get to by car and easy to arrive by train and bus too.
~~~This is good~~~
A multi screen cinema, whilst expensive, is a must when the teenager goes to that geek heaven called Games Workshop for three hours...there is generally something worth watching for me and Mrs H, and the showings are rarely more than half full so we can snuggle and giggle a bit. My big tip here is buy your drinks from GT News before going into the cinema and paying double price for the same diet Coke!
The Lanes; a good little diversion from the main shopping mall, oh yeah, I like the Apple shop too, friendliest staff in Meadowhall.
The food outlets are varied and decent, right from Chavvy Fried Chicken to Nandos, Tapas bars and little French numbers....I generally have a curry.
The Meadowhall staff (not store staff) are generally helpful and cheery.
~~~This is not good~~~
The crowds. Almost anytime between 11 am and 2pm, and especially all day Saturdays.
The ignorant people, and my god are there some ignoramus's in Meadowhall...one thing that really bothers me is when they wolf down their McDonalds and just leave the rubbish on the table when they are two steps away from one of the many food bins.
It is not just visitors that are ignorant. I was in NEXT waiting at the counter to pay for a shirt, the asssitant was on her mobile, ringing my item through, I wanted to know if they had the same style in any other colours (long sleeve, grandad neck), she rolled her eyes, said on the phone to her mate "Hang on I've just got to speak to someone" and then gave me short shrift, like sorry for bothering you love!! There are more tales like this that I will not relate or I will get stressed just writing this.
~~~Top Tips and final thoughts~~~
Never go on a Saturday
Never go less than 3 weeks before Christmas
Always know what you want before you go
Compare prices online before you go, there is haggling to be done
Be assertive with naff staff, you are the customer
It aint as bad as some places I have been, but given the choice I would not go at all...convenient, spacious, bargains to be had.....but still full of chavs and shop assistants that need lessons in customer service.
Meadowhall is perhaps the shopping centre of the north. Inside this gigantic purpose built shopping centre is just about every store that you could imagine or conceivably need during a single trip, and if on the odd occasion there isn't a store you want there, often the next time you come back there will be as the place never seems to stand still. ALl that said though most of these stores are big chains that you can find in just about any town centre for the most part.
Where Meadowhall excels is down in the Oasis. The Oasis is the food court at Meadowhall which has a range of food dispensaries to visit ranging from McDonalds to Pizza Express to Nandos and a number of smaller names that I don't remember off hand. Around the edge of the Oasis is an area known as the lanes which houses some of the smaller retailers that either can't afford a full unit, or simply want that smaller space for the more unique look. The place has the feel of a typical market area but without all the cold, wet, windy weather that goes with it.
The downside of all these shops being there are that Meadowhall does become a very busy place, in spite of the massive amounts of parking available it can still sometimes be hard to find a space if you go at a weekend. Thankfully Meadowhall has a full transport interchange on site meaning that you can get there cheaply via tram, train or bus which is perhaps the best way of arriving unless you're planning particularly big purchases, especially as the interchange is linked all undercover.
Meadowhall is a great shopping experience, and although its not as big as the Trafford Centre in Manchester or Blue Water in Kent, Meadowhall still attracts 400,000 visitors a week. The centre has had a bit of a revamp in the last couple of years with several shops closing due to the recession and huge new stores like Primark and All Saints and a bigger and better Next, Topshop and New Look. Due to its location, Meadowhall was also the victim of the 2007 floods which brought Sheffield to a standstill and caused the shopping centre to be closed for several days. Many shops lost a great deal of stock and some of the lower ground had to be refurbished, but it seems as though nothing can defeat it, as it still going strong winning awards year after year.
Meadowhall has all the popular high street stores, a Vue cinema with 11 screens and a large 'Oasis' with plenty of fast food chains like Pizza Hut and McDonalds and other restaurants from Frankie and Bennys to La Tasca and Zizzis to choose from. The shopping centre has wide, clean pathways and a very simple layout - although some of the paths look the same! There are frequent customer service booths to ask for assistance should you get lost, or need any other help!
Meadowhall is very easy to get to as it right on the M1 at junction 34. If you live in the surrounding towns then a bus, train or tram will get you to the door. One of the benefits of Meadowhall is the opening times as you can nip there straight after work for a couple of hours of retail therapy:
Mon - Fri 10am - 9m
Sat - 9am - 7pm
Sun 11am - 5pm